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How much calcium nitrate per tomato plant?

Tomato plants require four key elements ensuring healthy growth and a maximum crop yield. Nitrogen, calcium, potassium and phosphorus all affect tomato plants' growth but in different ways. The delivery of these four elements makes a difference. Nitrogen is most effectively delivered as calcium nitrate. Too much nitrogen decreases the plants' health. Know how much is enough and how much is too much.

Nutrient Needs

Tomato plants usually often get much nitrogen and too little calcium and phosphorus, required for strong, thick tomato stalks, strong plant cell walls and disease-resistance. Nitrogen produces early, lush foliage, but impedes fruit set and reduces leaves and fruit production later in the season. Potassium also promotes growth, blossom and fruit set.

Soil

Soil for tomato plants should be well drained but holds moisture. The best time to prepare the ground is the previous autumn. Plough and then test the soil. The two nitrogen levels your test will report. AN and NN should be 40 phosphorus and potassium readings 240, calcium 3,000 and magnesium 400. Correct low or high levels.

Watering

Fertiliser alone won't produce healthy plants. The availability of calcium and phosphorus depends chiefly upon soil moisture. Too much or too little moisture impedes plant uptake of nutrients. High-calcium soils may produce calcium deficient plants if improperly watered. Microorganisms and organic acids in the soil also affect phosphorus and calcium absorption by the plants. Waterlogged or arid soils inhibit microorganisms and organic acids from doing their jobs.

Nutrient Depletion Issues

Horticulture scientists in Iran demonstrated that attention to calcium and potassium in fertilisation produces the best quality tomatoes. During fruit development, tomatoes deplete potassium and weaken plants. Applying potassium, phosphorus and calcium restores minerals absorbed for fruit growth.

Application

Space tomato plants 2 to 3 feet apart in rows 4 to 5 feet apart. Apply fertiliser on transplanting and again when the first fruits are one third grown. Apply 1.59kg. of calcium nitrate per 100 feet of row or 312 to 340gr/ per plant, mixed into the top inch of soil. Avoid dusting the foliage with the fertiliser. Wash it off if you do. Calcium nitrate is found in many tomato specific fertilisers that also contain potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. An 8-32-16 or 6-24-24 tomato-specific fertiliser is most widely recommended by horticulturists. Fertilisers with calcium nitrate not only provide nitrogen, but calcium as well

Calcium Nitrate Effects

If your tomatoes show distress during the run up to harvest, calcium nitrate boosts plant growth, strong stems and branches. Calcium nitrate delays flowering and seed set. Some gardeners use it for that purpose, applying 1 to 3 gallons of calcium nitrate per acre per week during plant growth. Discontinue calcium nitrate before fruiting begins.

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About the Author

Tom King published his first paid story in 1976. His book, "Going for the Green: An Insider's Guide to Raising Money With Charity Golf," was published in 2008. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern Adventist College.