Organic Tomato Fruit Production

The designation as to what can be categorized as being “organically” produced varies from state to state, some following United States government Federal guidelines, while others have developed their own criteria.

The tomato plant is known as a “heavy feeder,” therefore the challenge is finding suitable nutrient element sources that meet the requirements for being “organic,” yet able to provide the essential element in sufficient quantity to meet the plant requirement over the growing season. The essential element most difficult to find a suitable source is nitrogen (N). Although there are N sources that meet the require-ments for designation as being “organic,” most are low in N content and their decomposition rate not sufficient to provide N in sufficient quantity to sustain vigorous tomato plant growth.

A number of organic-based tomato growing systems have been proposed for both soil and greenhouse use. In most instances, plant growth has been relatively poor and fruit yield low as the quantity of available essential plant nutrient elements being released from the added organic-based substances into the rooting medium has been not sufficient to meet the plant requirement.