( Log Out / The leaves on the plants … When it comes to growing your own vegetables , tomatoes can give you some of the biggest bang for your buck. Use Grass Clippings As Mulch. Q: I planted tomatoes in a raised garden. Septoria leaf spot on tomato is an example. Their small size makes it easy for them to be spread in tight spaces and between smaller garden plants. You have many options when it comes to providing a healthy environment for plants. The only issue with straw is seed sprouting. Although grass decomposes rapidly in the soil for optimum plant nutrient spread, you may also use the clippings as both a mulch and fertilizer. This is another super easy, super quick and super-fast tip. Although grass decomposes rapidly in the soil for optimum plant nutrient spread, you may also use the clippings as both a mulch and fertilizer. Initially, you spread the clippings around the tomato plant's base as a mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds. Tomato plants are both hungry and thirsty, so they need plenty of moisture, warmth and nutrition. Yes you heard me right, it’s FREE. Grass clippings break down within a few weeks, so replenish them throughout the summer. The first photo is of fresh grass clippings, the second photo is of dried grass clippings (covering all the raised bed). Adds nitrogen back into the soil. Many farmers and home gardeners have reported damage to vegetable and flower crops after applying horse or livestock manure, compost, hay, or grass clippings to the soil. Fumes from the clippings or irrigation water transporting chemicals to the tomato root zone are the proximate cause of damage. Adding extra clippings to your soil as fertilizer causes more harm than good. Spread a 2 to 3-inch thick layer near the base of plants. Grass clippings contain 4 percent nitrogen, which is an essential chlorophyll-producing element for all plant life. on tomato plants. Straw: Straw makes great mulch for tomatoes and other veggie plants. Leaving mulch around flowers, vegetables, trees, and shrubs in the yard helps control weeds and regulate the temperature and moisture of the soil. Tomato plants need at least 1.2 inches (3 cm) of water per week; so water them well, especially during dry spells. Grass clippings contain quite a bit of soluble nitrogen, so I often add a few handfuls when making liquid fertilizer by the bucket. While grass cycling is recommended, there are instances where composting yard waste is more convenient than mulching grass clippings back into your lawn. Your lawn needs nitrogen and using your grass clippings as mulch will help add some nitrogen back into the soil so it is definitely a good idea to mulch your lawn. How do I grow all those tomatoes? Depending on your methods and management practices, it could take anywhere from three months to a year to fully break down the material into usable compost. i appreciate it. Tomatoes are extremely sensitive to herbicides. Initially, you spread the clippings around the tomato plant's base as a mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds. I've never had a problem. They make excellent mulch for use in the garden and are readily available for most homeowners. In addition they are likely to form a pretty good mat which won't let any air flow into for those who put the grass clippings on in a thick layer. In addition to acting as mulch, grass clippings will provide lots of nitrogen to your garden when they decompose. Use proper plant spacing: Crowded plants reduce air circulation which enhances leaf spot diseases. But your tomato garden also benefits from grass clippings as an organic form of fertilizer, if it is properly applied during the growing season. We have a big lawn, and eliminating the grass clippings had always been a problem. If you apply more than a 1-inch layer to the soil, the thick grass may produce an unpleasant odor, even if it is tilled evenly into the ground. With an electronics degree and more than 10 years of experience, she applies her love of gadgets to the gardening world as she continues her education through college classes and gardening activities. In the other soil, the tomato has been planted without adding the extract. For best flavor, allow tomatoes to develop on the plant to their full color before picking. Tomato gardening is easy when you use this method. Since grass clippings are an excellent source of nutrients there is no need to bag them. And with that in mind, it is always a good idea to keep your tomato plants out of the compost bin! But, and this is the big problem, mulching this way with grass clippings and cardboard provides a perfect habitat for slugs. Tomato plants are the most widely grown of all backyard vegetable garden plants. What Percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorus & Potassium to Use on Lawns, Apple and Pear Trees: Best Fertilizer for Fruiting, Purdue University: There's Much Ado About What's Best for Tomatoes, Virginia State University Cooperative Extension: Mulches for the Home Vegetable Garden, University of Missouri Extension: Grass Clippings, Compost and Mulch: Frequently Asked Questions, University of Missouri Extension: Growing Home Garden Tomatoes, West Virginia University Extension Service: Growing Tomatoes, How to Mulch Vegetables With Grass Clippings. Grass clippings are an excellent choice of mulch because they’re lightweight and quick to break down. Active organisms in the soil keep the texture loose for the tomato plant to spread its roots wide in search of air and moisture pockets. The grass clippings also help to keep the weeds to a minimum. Up thread someone said not to use it in a compost pile, but I also use it there---just not 100% grass clippings in there and I get beautiful compost. Yes- that is mulch... and grass clippings can do several things for your tomatoes... but not ALL plants like grass! Grass clippings are one of the most recommended sources of mulch for tomato plants. Mix them well with some shredded paper, straw, cardboard or other fibrous materials and add to the compost heap. Sudden wilting of tomatoes and peppers can be caused by diseases such as verticillium or fusarium or by placing herbicide-laced grass clippings around the plants as mulch. ( Log Out / Keep me updated on your tomatoes. To protect your vegetable garden from a similar problem, always know the source of any grass clippings, hay, straw or animal manure you plan to use in your garden. Choose from bush or dwarf varieties; many cherry tomatoes grow well in pots. Sal, don’t forget you can also pack your zucchini plants, peppers plants, and cucumbers plants; I put grass clippings around just about everything I grow. Sunny Mixes. 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