Tomatoes take up nutrients best when the soil pH ranges from 6.2 to 6.8, and they need a constant supply of major and minor plant nutrients.
To provide the major nutrients, mix a balanced timed-release or organic fertilizer into the soil as prepare planting holes, following the rates given on the fertilizer label. At the same time, mix in 7-10cm (3-4") of compost.
The compost will provide minor nutrients and help hold moisture and fertilizer in the soil until it is needed by the plants.
Well drained sandy loam soil with high level of organic contents is best suitable for tomato cultivation.
Soils with high acidity are not suitable for tomato cultivation.
Three to 4 q of suitable lime can be applied in the field in an interval of three years to reduce the level of acidity to tolerable limits.
There is a need to go for soil testing at the beginning of the crop season.
Tomato has given good results when grown in well managed sandy loams and heavy clay loams free of hardpan. However, best results are obtained in deep, well-drained loams.
The soil should be rich in organic matter and plant nutrients, with a pH value of 6 to 7. The soil should be well-prepared, loose and in good tilth.
Tomatoes should ideally be grown in deep, fertile, humus-rich, free-draining, but moisture retentive soils, which are free of nematodes.
Sandy loam to clay loam soils, with a clay content of between 15 and 35 percent, are considered to be the most suitable.
Sandy or gravelly soils are acceptable, provided the soil moisture content can be kept at the desired high level.
Heavy clay soils are less suitable because the slower drainage can cause unfavourable water-logging during prolonged or heavy rainy spells, particularly where these occur just after a good irrigation.
In entirely unrestricted soils, a few tomato roots may penetrate to a depth of over 2m, but the greatest concentration of roots occurs in the top 600 mm of soil, which is considered to be the effective rooting depth of this plant.
Soils with a minimum depth of 600mm should thus be selected, with even deeper soils receiving preference. The tomato does well in humus-rich soils and will respond well if grown after a green manure or soil-improving crop.
Loam and sandy loam soils are best for tomato production, but these plants will grow in almost all soil types except heavy clay. If you your soil has lots of clay, you can improve the texture by tilling the soil and incorporating sand, sawdust, peat moss or other amendments before planting.
The soil should be fairly loose and well-drained. Tomatoes don't do well in dry soil, but avoid planting them in excessively wet, waterlogged soil, or anywhere standing water gathers after a rain.
Soil's acidity or alkalinity is measured by its pH. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, while anything lower is acidic and anything higher is alkaline.
Tomatoes grow best in neutral or near-neutral soil, so you may have to modify your soil's pH for best results.
If necessary, you can raise pH by incorporating ground agricultural lime into the soil before planting. You can lower pH by adding elemental sulphur or fertilizers that contain ammonium sulphate.
Tomatoes prefer soil that is well-drained and amended heavily with organic matter.
Rotted manures, compost, rotted sawdust or other humus can be tilled into the garden site as soon as the soils can be worked in the spring.
Tomatoes require a soil with a pH in the range of 6.2 to 6.8. The pH is the general measurement of acidity in the soil.
Soil testing through your local county extension office is the best way to determine the pH.
If the pH of the soil is too low, add dolomitic limestone according to the soil recommendations.
In the absence of a soil test, apply lime at the rate of 5 pounds per 100 square feet of area.
Add lime several months before planting to allow time for it to react with the soil.
Till or spade the lime into the soil. Dolomitic limestone also provides calcium and magnesium, which are important elements for the growth and health of the plants.
If the pH test comes back normal, but the calcium level is low, apply gypsum at the rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet.