What Is the Best Manure for Tomatoes?
Growing tomatoes comes with many challenges, and one of them is how to identify the best manure for tomatoes. However, you can’t compare the challenges with the yields you will get later.
As a farmer or gardener, it is important to know the type of manure that will go well with your plants.
You may be wondering what on earth would a gardener need manure in this age where fertilizers are readily available everywhere.
However, it’s important to note that not all fertilizers contain the right components needed by tomatoes. Most of the best components are found in manure. This leads us to our topic. What is the best manure for tomatoes?
Cow manure is the best for tomatoes due to its balanced nutrient content. But make sure you prepare it well to get the most out of it.
Keep reading to know how to get the best out of cow manure.
Why Cow Manure Is the Best for Tomato Plants
Cow manure is the best for tomato plants because it boasts all the nutrients that tomatoes need.
Secondly, cow manure is a long-term source of nutrients that positively influence the properties of soil.
Thirdly, cow manure also increases the carbon and nitrogen in the soil and, most importantly, alters potassium and phosphorus concentration.
And lastly, cow manure has a high content of organic materials and water, thus it features some of the properties of fertilizers.
What Nutrients Are Found in Cow Manure?
Understanding what cow manure consists of will help you understand its benefits to your tomatoes.
Here are the main components and what your tomato plants stand to gain.
There is no better place where you can find high amounts of phosphorus than in cow manure.
The role of this nutrient is critical to the growth of tomatoes as it helps in photosynthesis and the transformation of energy in the plant. It also builds proteins and other vital elements.
In addition, phosphorus is also needed for the production of flowers, seeds, and fruits because it stores high energy levels. Phosphorus is good for root development and has different essential roles in the growth of your tomato plants.
Your tomato plants will regulate water and withstand drought for a long time, thanks to potassium. It is responsible for rapid fixation of nitrogen, rapid rate of growth, photosynthesis, and helps the plants use water efficiently.
If your tomatoes lack enough potassium, you will realize that their growth is slow, the stems and leaves will be weak, and they won’t be able to suppress weeds invasion. Cow manure contains enough levels of potassium needed by your tomatoes.
Without sulfur, your tomato plants will have yellowish leaves. This nutrient is responsible for the production of chlorophyll and the metabolisms of proteins. Your tomatoes require nitrogen fixation, and sulfur helps with that.
Most farmers overlook this nutrient, not knowing it’s the secret behind sugar synthesis, uptake control of nutrients, and formation of chlorophyll.
This nutrient ensures that your tomatoes remain stable and build structure. Also, calcium helps the plants to endure heat stress.
Storage, Treatment, and Handling of Cow Manure
A lot is involved when it comes to the preparation of cow manure. You don’t pick it directly from the cowshed to your tomato farm or garden. It needs to be prepared and stored for some time.
Also, there is a way you store it to get the best of it. Here are some of the tips that will help you in doing the above.
- Avoid storing the cow manure on gravel pits, sandy soil, or rocky surfaces.
- Use a concrete surface because it blocks nutrients from leaching into the soil. You don’t want to use your manure when it has already lost most of its components.
- Do not store the manure less than 60 meters from water sources like streams, boreholes, and rivers.
- Do not store the cow manure on sloppy grounds because it will be carried away in case of rain.
You may be wondering why you need to treat cow manure, and that’s understandable. However, manure is treated to eliminate harmful ammonia and increase its capacity to hold water.
Below are the different methods for treating cow manure to make it good for your tomatoes.
This is the process of getting the manure out of the shed and keeping it in large piles (you will need the best manure fork for this task). The best way to keep it is in tall piles and on flat surfaces to activate precipitation.
Stockpiled cow manure does not lose potassium and nitrogen nutrients.
This is a treatment process that helps in the breakdown of organic matter. It does this by encouraging aerobic conditions in the manure.
As the breakdown takes place, the manure tends to heat up. The heat helps in killing bacteria, parasites, and weed seeds that could destroy your tomato plants.
In addition, composting helps in lowering the mass and volume of the manure.
This is the most common method of treating cow manure, and most farmers tend to use it and skip the other methods. It makes the manure easy to carry.
How Much Cow Manure Should You Add to Your Tomato Garden?
Tomatoes thrive well in neutral soils with high levels of potassium, phosphorus and low nitrogen. Therefore, you should apply it sparingly because your tomato plants will not yield many fruits when nitrogen is too much. Also, excess nitrogen may lead to the growth of foliage.
When applying, add 2 to 3 inches of the cattle manure and mix with the soil properly. The other alternative for application is putting the manure as a top dressing.
How to Handle Cow Manure When Applying to Tomato Plants
It is obvious that cow manure can be disgusting, and therefore you must practice proper hygiene when holding it.
Ensure you have gloves or the necessary tools to protect you from bacteria.
After you are done with the application, you should thoroughly wash your hands using soap and water before touching the tomato fruits.
Can One Use Cow Manure in Potted Tomatoes?
Yes, you can use cow manure in potted tomatoes. Whether you plant them in raised beds, gardens, or pots, tomatoes will do well. They are one of the most versatile crops you can ever grow. Just make sure you space them correctly.
The space should be 2 to 3 feet between the tomato plants. With this spacing, your tomatoes will enjoy enough sunlight and suck the nutrients from the manure equally, thus yielding more fruits.
Another thing you should be careful about is to give the plants enough water.
Can You Use Other Manures?
If you have no access to cow manure, you can use horse, rabbit or chicken manure. However, their nutrients content can’t match that of cow manure. If you use any of these manures, compost them first before applying them to your tomato plants.
Growing tomatoes can be fun and comes with great yields. However, you must use the right manure if you don’t want to be frustrated. And if you are wondering, what manure is best for tomatoes, the best you can go for if your goal is to get a great harvest is cow manure. Your tomato plants will benefit a lot from it since it features all the nutrients that are needed for the overall growth and productivity of your plants.