7 Secret Ingredients for the Best Tomatoes

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There’s nothing more satisfying than walking into your backyard and picking fresh, juicy tomatoes for your salads, sauces and snacks. But what if I told you there was a way to take your tomato harvest to the next level of amazing? By adding a few affordable and easy-to-find ingredients to your tomato planting holes, you can supercharge your plants for bigger, tastier and longer-lasting yields. Get ready to have the best tomatoes on the block!

As a gardener, you know tomatoes are notoriously hungry plants that need the right nutrients and minerals to truly thrive. While you can buy expensive fertilizers, why not use simple household items to create your own nutritious “tomato planting hole recipe”? These 7 secret ingredients will give your plants the perfect nutrient boost from the very start:

1. Eggshells

Save those eggshells! They’re an amazing free source of calcium carbonate which helps prevent issues like blossom end rot. The calcium allows your tomatoes to grow big and beautiful without any unsightly black spots on the bottoms. Rinse out the shells, let them dry fully, then crumble up 3-4 per planting hole. You can also work some throughout the soil around the base to provide extra calcium as plants grow.

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2. Aspirin

This one may sound a little crazy, but using aspirin in your tomato planting holes has been proven to boost disease resistance in plants! The salicylic acid in aspirin activates tomatoes’ natural immune response, helping them fend off blights, mildews, and fungal diseases that can wipe out entire crops. Simply crush up 1-2 regular strength (325mg) aspirin tablets and toss them into each hole before planting.

3. Bone Meal

For strong, healthy root systems and prolific fruiting, tomatoes need plenty of phosphorus. An easy way to provide this essential nutrient is with a scoop of bone meal in each planting hole – about 1/2 cup does the trick. This organic source releases phosphorus slowly into the soil right where plants need it most.

4. Fish Scraps

If you have access to fish heads, guts, shrimp shells or other untreated seafood waste, you’ve got an amazing natural fertilizer on your hands! These scraps contain nitrogen, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and other key minerals that tomatoes crave. Bury a handful or two in each hole and let them decompose, feeding your plants for months.

5. Banana Peels

Don’t toss those banana peels! They’re packed with potassium, phosphorus, calcium and other nutrients. As they break down, they provide a slow-release fertilizer perfect for heavy feeders like tomatoes. Drop 1-2 peels (or overripe bananas) into each hole before planting. You can also bury more around the base as the season progresses.

6. Epsom Salt

One common issue gardeners face with tomatoes is magnesium deficiency, which causes plants to develop unsightly yellow leaves between the veins. The easy fix? Add 1-2 tablespoons of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to your tomato planting holes to provide this crucial nutrient. Magnesium also promotes bushier plants and bigger fruits.

7. Multivitamins

Maybe you have some old, expired multivitamin or calcium pills lying around? Don’t toss them! The varied minerals and nutrients in these supplements make for excellent slow-release fertilizers for your tomatoes when buried in the planting holes. Use 1 adult multivitamin and 1 calcium pill per hole, crushing them up first.

Putting it All Together

To create your ultimate tomato planting hole, start by digging a hole twice as wide and about 6-8 inches deeper than the nursery container your tomato seedling is currently in. Place all 7 of the ingredients in the bottom of the hole, then cover with 2-3 inches of soil to create a mounded top.

Next, remove the bottom couple sets of leaves from your seedling and carefully place the stem portion into the hole, burying it up to the top remaining leaves. This allows the plant to develop extra stem roots for a stronger, more vigorous plant and bigger harvests. Gently backfill the hole with soil, packing it firmly around the rootball.

Water your newly planted tomatoes well with a hose attachment sprayer or watering can. Then, give them their first foliar spray of aspirin solution to immediately activate their disease resistance. Simply mix 1 crushed aspirin pill per gallon of water and apply all over the plant.

Care and Maintenance

While this powerhouse planting hole provides plenty of nutrition for prolific tomato production, you’ll want to supplement every 4-6 weeks with compost, manure or other balanced organic fertilizers as the season progresses and fruits develop.

Another key is consistent watering – tomatoes need at least 1-2 inches of water per week, more in extreme heat or drought. Water deeply at the soil level in the mornings. If you notice wilting, prevent issues like blossom end rot by mixing 1-2 tbsp of Epsom salt into your watering can and slowly pouring the magnesium-rich solution around the base.

With just a few simple, affordable ingredients and care strategies, you can grow the most amazing tomatoes for salads, sauces, snacking and more! Not only will you have prolific harvests, but the flavor and quality will be next-level incredible compared to anything from the grocery store. It’s a lot of “wow” for very little work or money invested. Try this tomato planting hole trick and get ready for some serious veggie garden bragging rights!

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