Home > Tomato Care, Tomato Nutrition > Tomatoes Go Bananas Over Potassium

Tomatoes Go Bananas Over Potassium

Banana in lightboxI know….this looks more like a deranged Leopard versus a Banana…..and why would I show a banana on a blog about Tomatoes? That’s a good question, maybe I can provide a good answer. Well it all starts where we left off last Saturday….we were talking about the “BIG Three” for plant health…Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (N-P-K). Hey! That reminds me…N-P-K is listed on fertilizer bags in this order as a ratio or a percentage of weight, in other words, if you see a bag of fertilizer with 25-8-6 you know its 25% Nitrogen, 8% Phosphorus, and 6% Potassium. Or we could say a 10 pound bag of such fertilizer contains 2.5 lbs of Nitrogen, .8 lbs of Phosphorus, and .6 lbs of Potassium (I remember the order of these chemicals by using the word NitPicK….of course you have to remember “K” is Potassium). Where were we?….Oh yea, fertilizer ratios. Now, I’m going to wager a couple of you smart types out there are saying to yourselves, “Hey….what kind of stuff is that Jack guy trying to pull here, those weight ratios don’t add up to 10 lbs. What the hell makes up the rest of the weight in that 10 lbs bag?” OK, you caught me…..there’s 6.1 lbs of “Stuff” to be accounted for here. The “Stuff” according to all the fertilizer folks out there is called….ta da….”Filler”. “Is there a reason why I would want to pay for ‘Filler’ “, you ask. Well that depends on your mood I guess. According to the manufacturers the “Filler”is there to prevent burning when applying and for even application of the product. I guess it’s kinda like “Time”….Time is Mother Natures way of keeping everything from happening all at once.

Anyway, we were discussing what a banana is doing on a tomato blog when we sidetracked with all this fertilizer stuff. The banana is there because bananas are LOADED with potassium and I thought it would be a neat way of segueing into the requirements for Potassium in the tomato. Basically, Potassium activates plant enzymes and keeps cell fluid movement in balance. Potassium regulates water loss through stomata (tiny pores) on the leaves, and it is necessary for root formation and food storage in the plant. Severe deficiencies in vegetables can appear as deformed, stunted or yellow leaves, weak stems and premature fruit drop. I know that doesn’t necessarily sound all that interesting but it’s the best I can do. Blame the tomato for the dull accounting….it’s the one that wants the Potassium! Most soils have a pretty good balance of Potassium but you can always incorporate some fertilizer into the soil as you prepare you tomato beds…..moderation, as always, is key.

OK, next week we’ll touch on Nitrogen….kind of a friend and kind of an enemy depending on your needs as it were. We’re into the planting zone now here in Michigan…so the fun begins in earnest!

Posted Saturday, May 14th, 2011 by by admin, under Tomato Care, Tomato Nutrition.

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