I planted a garden for first time at my house this year doing tomatoes,...

Asked May 31, 2013, 8:16 PM EDT

I planted a garden for first time at my house this year doing tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and few other small things. My tomatoes are growin well but after some test I've realized my garden soil is very high in nitrogen. Some plants are starting to produce tomatoes but 2 others are in bloom but blooms are starting to die. I've not fertilized and put down some mulch n such in attempt to try and help lower the nitrogen. Can I add a little amount of fertilizer high in potash and no nitrogen to help save the tomato plants that are producing blooms but having trouble making fruit/vegetable?

Henderson County Illinois

1 Response

Generally, most soil labs don't test for nitrogen (N), because the level in the soil can change very quickly, and because the tests are very expensive. Are you certain that you tested for nitrogen?

Generally, a slight to moderate over-abundance of nitrogen will cause the plants be big and green, with few flowers or fruit. A severe over-fertilization will cause death to the roots from a chemical burn.

I generally recommend fertilizing my tomatoes with a 5-10-5 fertilizer (or equivalent), to provide the phosphorus needed for flowers and fruit, as well as some nitrogen to help the plants grow vegetatively.

Tomatoes sometimes will not bloom or set fruit if the temperature is too cool. I'm not sure where Henderson County, Illinois is, but here in southern Indiana, we've been experiencing some unseasonably cool temperatures over the last few weeks. If you planted your tomatoes too early, the cool, wet weather may be setting back flowering and fruiting. The only thing to do is wait for the weather to catch up with the calendar; once things begin warming up, your plants should begin blooming.