Put These 8 Things in Your TOMATO Planting Hole For The Best Tomatoes Ever

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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Do you want to grow the best tomatoes in taste and size? And want to have a bumper harvest? Then put these things in the hole before planting your tomato plant!


The homegrown TOMATOES are so delicious, and when you pick them fresh and eat, the delightful taste you get is just unmatchable. Better than any store-bought fruits. The thick, juicy, plump, sweet, a bit acrid, and so satiating– the tomatoes are one of the first fruits (vegetable, if you say) everyone wants to grow from the beginning of the gardening season.

1. Baking Soda

It works and really a good trick (especially when you’re growing tomatoes in containers) if you want sweeter tomatoes. Simply sprinkle a small amount of baking soda around the base of your tomato plants. The baking soda will be absorbed into the soil and lower the acidity levels, thus, giving you tomatoes that are more sweet than tart.

2. Fish heads

fish head

Fish heads have been used as a natural fertilizer in the garden for a long time. Their popularity with tomato planting is not a myth that needs to be busted. It works! Their decay releases nitrogen, potassium, many essential trace elements, calcium, and phosphorous. The only problem with burying fish heads is that critters may dig them up. To avoid this, bury deeply, at least a foot. You can drop them into the hole whole or use groundfish scraps, which you can mix with water (2 cups) and milk (1 cup) for a supercharge solution. If you want to read more on this, here’s an article in detail!

3. Aspirin

Drop 2-3 aspirin tablets in the hole, either whole or ground; this is to boost plant immunity. It also helps to ward off diseases like blight and increases yield. The salicylic acid, a compound in aspirin, is the reason why it works. You can also spray plants with the solution containing this drug. If you want to read more about ASPIRIN uses on tomato plants in detail, visit DailyMail UK.

4. Eggshells

Eggshells boost the calcium content in the soil. And just like us, Calcium is one of the most essential components that a plant needs for growth. Here’s a very educative article to read; it also helps prevent blossom end rot. Whether you’re planting tomatoes in the garden bed or containers, you can always put eggshells before planting.

Also Read: Eggshell Uses in the Garden

5. Epsom Salt


Tomatoes suffer from magnesium deficiency. That is why it’s a good idea to add 1 or 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt while transplanting the seedling to the bottom of the planting hole (both in containers or a garden bed). Cover this with a thin layer of soil; this is to make sure that roots are not directly touching Epsom salt.

Epsom salt must be used when growing tomatoes; it can do miracles. Read why you should use it here!

Also Read: 13 Great Epsom Salt Uses in the Garden

6. Kelp Meal

Kelp meal is rich in micro-nutrients and trace elements. It provides complete nutrients for plants, and the addition of kelp gives tomatoes a turbo-boosted start. Slow-release kelp fertilizer contains the tomato with sufficient nutrients over a period which prevents the plant from experiencing shock as is with the use of excess fertilizers. One cup full of kelp meal is adequate for the plant at the time of planting. If you want to read more about kelp fertilizer, click here!

7. Bone Meal

Similar to a kelp meal, a bone meal is also an addition to the tomato hole during planting. A handful or cup full of bone meal is essential for the blossoming and quality fruits of the tomato plant since it provides the much-needed phosphorus nutrient, which is one of the most vital components for healthy tomato growth.

8. Used coffee grounds

coffee grounds to the planting hole for tomato

Add well-composted coffee grounds to the planting hole when transplanting tomato seedlings to improve soil composition and provide a source of slow-release nutrients to your plants. It is an excellent source of fertilizer and can be used even as mulch. We have written a comprehensive guide on coffee ground uses; take a look!

Also Read: How Far Apart to Plant Tomatoes

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Do you want to grow the best tomatoes in taste and size? And want to have a bumper harvest? Then put these things in the hole before planting your tomato plant!

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  1. I have a tomato plant grown in my container garden….can I add the above things to its soil now after it already about a feet tall????

  2. Hey cool article. What I do, if it’s any help, is plant my seedlings in egg shells, after I hav used the egg of course. Is a cool little container for a seedling and when it is ready to go into the ground just break up the bottom a little so the seeds can grow through and then you don’t disturb the roots too much and you have your source of nutrients. Hope this helps a little.

    • I did this last year also! But I didn’t know about all the rest till now. Except Epsom salt. I read another article last year that I wish I hadn’t tried. It killed everything in the garden around AND INCLUDING what I used it under! If you use Epsom Salt that is in mineral form (unless you have know of a plant that has survived roots sitting in or too close too the salt) may i offer a suggestion to read and follow her directions with a layer of dirt between the root and the salt. Not a sprinkled layer, but I tried 1-1/2 inches dirt between new plants and salt and one inch with my existing transplants and salt. My existing plants are used to a spray of e.s & water to strengthen their stems and get a little in the dirt too. So they have been exposed to it for some time. Just wanted to post so no one else goes thru that sadness & disappointment. I love my gardens. That was heartbreaking. Thanks for your time!

      • Where you grow Tomatoes & get 300 lbs tomatoes with 10 plants.
        I grew tomato plants in my small home garden, they didn’t gave me fruits. They gave flowers only. Pl guide me & oblige.

        • Tomatoes have to have some sort of stress to bare fruit. In grad school, I grew big beautiful plants with lots of blossoms and never got a single tomato. Then I learned they need stress to bare fruit. So you should only fertilize them once when planting. A little shortage of water is supposed to be enough to stress them. Also, cutting back the plants can do it.

          • The flowers are not getting pollinated if they arent producing fruit, once your plant starts to flower, go around and lightly shake all your plants or tap repeatedly for maybe 30 sec or so on each truss of flowers. But just shaking the plant lightly is enough to release pollen and have it fall onto the stamen within the flower. Also spray epsom salt onto the blossoms, it helps the fruit to set. So shake them like mentioned and then spray them. Mix epsom salt with water and spray on the plant.

      • Tomatoes flowers pollinate by wind not by bees. Take a small paint brush and go from flower to flower, like a bee and you will get more tomatoes.

  3. I harvest about 300 lbs of tomatoes each yeare from 10 plants and I do use eggshells coffee grounds. My biggest booSt however was when a friend told me to throw one adult multivitamin in each hole. I buy the cheapest mega bottle and use it now in every planting hole in my 1/2 acre garden. My plants are double the size they use to be and more flavorble.

  4. Aspirin? Please don’t poison the clean soil with drugs, use permaculture principles, make and use compost instead to “boost immunity” and yield better crops.

  5. You know there are tomato fertilizers out there that will do the job so you don’t have to round up all these ingredients and hope they will work. As for adding vitamins…..that’s stretching it a bit. Years ago I had a spot on my property where I burned leaves and brush every year. Then I decided to move my garden to that very location. For several years I grew the most amazing crop of tomatoes ever. I was stunned but I learned later that it was the potash from burning that turned my normal toms into supertoms. Nowdays, I always make sure my garden gets all the potash it needs. Try it this spring.

  6. this is all very interesting. growing up in hog country the garden at my dads house was an old barn yard and at my second house was an old barn yard and boy did these little pieces of earth grow vegetables, especially tomatoes. since, we built a house in a in an old hay field, clay ground super hard after three days of sun. the first couple years the garden did OK, the last 5 years i have tried many things and the tomatoes get a blight. i put the garden in different areas of the yard. i have taken soil samples to the fertilizer service. i am thinking about a way i can put hog manure from my father in laws hog barns and work it in the soil to give the ground some staying power. any thoughts on this. i will also try some of the eight items from this article.

    • It is better to grow your tomatoes under a hoop house. The rain splashing is what bothers your plants. Be sure to orient the house into the prevailing winds. You don’t even need ends on it.

    • You really need to add as much organic matter into the soil as possible. The best is compost and mature (composted) manure. I have similar problem with the soil – native one is red(ish) of clay variety with lots of rocks in it and so on… I live in the Mediterranean and believe me that I really know what it means to have poor soil and periods with a lot of sun and no rain – your soil turns to dry and hard and vegetables are really suffering in it.
      Main problem is that this type of soil is low on organic matter wich serves as (among other things): much better water retention capabilities, home for many benefitial soil microorganisms and earthworms (king of the beneficial animals for gardeners!) and so on.
      The thing is – plants in a poor (and/or hard) soil are weak and cannot fight properly any number of deseases and pests. First thing to do is to have a healthy and rich soil to start with, and then you can add some supplements (as in the above article) when you are planting/sowing.
      I experimented a lot through the years and the best solution, and if you ask me – only solution working long term, is to put high quantities of compost and some rotten manure in your soil. Best time for it is after summer harvest and before low and freezing temperatures. Just adding fertilizers doesn’t help long term and it doesn’t help at all when your soil goes to dust or hard clump because it can not held water properly.
      Hope this helps!

      • I totally agree. Compost is best but it takes a lot of compost and manure to keep up with even a small garden. The amendments mentioned above work well until you can get a large enough compost pile to keep up with the demands of your garden. And used coffee grounds…worms love them.

    • Great idea that works. Make sure that you know what the hogs are being fed. I used some cow manure on my raised beds and it didn’t work. Later found out that the grassing grass for the cows had greyzone sprayed on the pasture.

    • I had once blight affect my tomato plants. The fungus can affect other nightshade plants (potatoes) as well and can stay for quite a few years in the soil. It rapidly spreads by wind-borne spores. Try changing the location of your tomato plants for a few years and plant something else in that spot. Full sun and watering from the bottom are also more beneficial. I always thin the big non-bearing fruit leaves out, for the plant to have more air circulation. That way the plant has more air circulation and all the energy goes into the fruit as well and not into all the leaves, which in return gives you an abundance of blossoms and better self-pollination. I do add some of my compost, Epson salt, eggshells, and coffee grinds to the soil and have always an abundance of tomatoes. Just throw the eggshells in a blender for better root absorption, and mix it into the soil.

  7. I don’t think doing all things at once is advisable. You might add too much nitrogen to the soil. I think as in all things (even watering), moderation and balance are key.
    Sarah from littlepatiogarden.com

  8. I’ve read a lot about just putting some nettle leaf.
    Apparently it’s a very good natural fertilizer.
    I’m also making water manure myself with nettle leaf. I’m surprise we don’t hear much about it in US. Apparently nettle can’t easily be found? (here in France , we have A LOT)

    • I use chopped up banana peels every year. They are a great source of potassium, which helps you tomatoes to thrive and taste sweeter.

    • I soak dried banana peels and add a few now and then to the compost tea. I plant with egg shells, rabbit droppings, an aspirin, even alfalfa pellets and coffee grounds to enrich my poor high desert soil. Its getting better. Worms are beginning to come. Its been years working on it.

  9. One other benefit to epsom salt is it helps to break down clay and alow plants to access the water better. Do not over do the salt. If you do, gypsum will help counter along with some good manure. Be careful using hog and chicken manure as they are very rich and contain a high salt content.

    • I grind up cleaned and dried egg shells and time and I add some Epsom salt either in water or I just sprinkle it on the dirt at the base of my plants and water in. I don’t drink coffee or I’d be using that too. Mushroom compost is wonderful. To mix into the dirt when planting. I also mix in the above mentioned mixture with Epsom salts right into the dirt a few days before I plant just to let it settle in. I also rotate my crops and I have raised beds for most of my garden. Strawberries and raspberries are directly in the ground however. Hope that helps a bit. 😊

    • Lantanas grows wild in parts of the world that never freeze. It’s possible you are using seed from hybridised plants that will have a much lower germination rate. Try putting the seeds in moist soil, then letting the soil dry out for 2-3 weeks before starting to water again..

      • You can take root from a plant …cut canes back just before spring to avoid cane/root damage from rain. I transplant roots every year almost have a fence row of them from one plant.

  10. Hi I have a tomato plant growing in my garden, but the leaves keep turning yellow and drying up. Can I use those stuff to help.

  11. I am gonna try the multi vitimin this year along with the salt, and egg shells…. but my question is do you do this for all plants ? Not just tomatoes?

  12. My Dad always used egg shells and coffe grounds on all his plants especially tomatoes and flower plants and it worked great. But I am trying to grow tomatoes and cucumbers this year and believe me I did not inherite his green thumb I usually kill plants so wish me luck lol.

  13. I grow ventanas from cuttings Boy from seed. I tal e about 5 cuttings 3 ” Long adn oír them in one golpe adn fertilidad them. One of them cuttings is liable to grow. I do the same with Crepe Myrtles trees.

  14. I have two containers of tomatoes on my porch. They are giving alot of tomatoes. I planted them in Miracle Gro and thats all. I planted some chives and thyme in with the tomatoes

  15. I have a balcony and have to grow in containers. I usually use a 5 gallon bucket from Walmart, drill holes in the bottom and I have used coffee grounds and egg shells before. In the 5 gal bucket should I use only one tomato or zucchini plant in the container or can I put in more than one. My balcony faces dead west so I get hot afternoon sun in so/cal. Thanks
    Shirley j

  16. Karen Morris I used to use Miracle Grow as well. Till I found out it’s toxic. I did use pesticides to be healthy but here I was putting toxic ingredients on my family’s food. I was try to grow food that was healthy for my family. Now I use coffee grounds and egg shells in my garden all year round. I am going to try bananas and Epson salt in between the gardening season. My ground get really hard and has clay. I just added a multi vitamin to my plants so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that that guys wasn’t a troll trying to trick us lol and that it’s NOT toxic. Live and learn with gardening! I figured if I will eat that vitamin it can’t be all bad but you seriously never know. Happy Gardening!!

  17. Years ago I read a Jerry Baker article that advised 2 Tums per hole for the calcium to prevent blossom end rot,also a bag of tea(and I don’t know what that was for) and a couple garlic cloves,whole,that will grow along with the tomato to ward off some insects. Whenever I’ve skipped the Tums,I end up with some blossom end rot,even if I forget to put it in the hole,I now make sure to lay some on the soil near the stem so the rains dissolve them and carry it to the roots.

    • Anita, my grandmother had a awesome green thumb and even with her flowers she planted garlic, and onion to make deeper colored blooms. I am trying now to use her ideas and hope my thumb turns green with plants! She died at 96 because she wanted to go be with granddad! Salt of the earth type!

  18. I’ve been reading here for the past hour or so trying to take on board as much information as possible and to thank all the contributors for their efforts. I’ll definitely try the tomato planting as I use them all the year round here in the west of Ireland. Thank you all

  19. hi there,I’m in Botswana I have planted half a hacker of tomato trees,I want to sell to local stores,I should I do to get a great harvest,mind you!I’m taking care of them in every way.

  20. Great coversations. Thoroughly enjoyed reading all the posts. Now I am motivated to go to one of the local coffee shops and ask for their coffee grounds once again. Used to get them for free! Thank you all for your tips.. cant wait to try. … from Houston Tx

  21. To the gardeners that have heavy clay soils, the best permanent solution to this problem is, to add sand which keeps the soil more friable (loose) and add compost to your hearts delight. The sand needs to be dug in quite deeply to improve drainage. Compost on its own is not a permanent solution to to the problem of clay soils.

  22. Sheep dung in a hessian sack soaked in a tub of water, use the water on your tomatoes and expect a bumper crop, just keep topping up the water as you use it.

  23. 3 yrs ago I had my plants ready to transplant-(spread apart?)-was gonna do it “tomorrow” cuz all looked great!
    But, the next day, wen I went to make this move . . . SomeThing had eaten every-single leaf from every plant (overnight!) . . . I had, I think 4-6 plants. Does anyone have a clue as to what this could have been? . . . Def not deer, as I live in South Carolina near the Beach (bout a mile away) and is definitely no deer here. ( the plants had been there ( outside, ㏌ ground ) for several weeks & about 1.5 – 2 ft tall. (Apparently it was also a “night” creeper/creature) . . . I’m still stumped, and, well, I lost my brother right about then as well, so now I’m ready to give Tomatoes another try! . . . Thanks in advance!

  24. I put powdered milk in the soil and mixed in a little bit and my plants were huge and had lots of tomatoes. I was also told to take eggshells, coffee grounds, and banana peels and blend in a blender and put this around the plants but I haven’t tried this.

  25. I live near Cambridge, England and have alkaline soil. I renew the top-soil in my poly-tunnel each year and use French Marigolds to keep white fly away.
    The very best plants to grow with tomatoes are Nasturtiums, they seed themselves and I never get white fly with them.

  26. I’ve used powdered egg shells for years. I let the egg shells dry then crush them and throw them in a blender. Grinding them to powder makes them break down quicker when you add them to your soil but the disadvantage is powdered egg shells don’t deter slugs and ones that are simply crushed do.

    I also use kelp meal, bone meal and epsom salts. I don’t know about all the other stuff but I’m trying them all this year.

  27. i ask a farmer if i could have his horse manure his wife said there is to much to much wild weeds seeds in it better to buy buy a bag of manure at the store already treated

    • My dad used to garden (in the absolute desert, mind you) and had the lushest, most amazing garden around. His secret? He’d put horse manure in a bucket with water and let it brew for a few days, then he’d dip the water out and use it on his garden.

  28. Hi, was reading all your tips for the past 1 hour and thank you all for these excellent tips.
    It is the first time that I have planted tomatoes around 100days ago in a pot in my balcony in Mumbai and got my 1st yield is 1lb of tomatoes a couple of days back.
    I have used few of the listed items like eggshells, banana peel cuts , epsom salts, kitchen waste and a multivitamin pill but will definitely try others items from the list n see . Thanks again n Happy gardening.

  29. I decided I wanted to start a new garden bed and I was lazy and didn’t have a tiller so I just raked up all the leaves in my huge hard and put them down a long narrow bed and left them till spring. I mowed over them until they were chewed up real good. I had too many cucumbers and not enough room in my garden so I decided what the heck and I planted the left over cucumbers in the new leaf bed that had nothing done to it but leaves thrown over hard clay and mowed over. I didn’t expect the things to live but I gave them a chance. They didn’t seem to grow, I just knew they were going to die… I started to water it every day for about 10min. a day. It took about 2 weeks of me watering them then they took off and turned bright green and looked so healthy and produced a bunch of cukes for me. That year I learned a huge lesson about what heavy mulch and water can do to old hard clay soil. If you don’t believe me you should try it.

  30. I m going to start a grow Tomatoes with Poly baskets…I hope to use your advises and instructions…After that I write my comments too…

  31. My husband Glenn and I ran a community garden for 10 years. The top soil had been stripped off and sold. We started with clay. We added mushroom compost straight from a mushroom farm(when they cleaned their barns out. We also collected leaves and started a huge compost pile at the garden. It took several years to build up the soil but we had fabulous veggies after all that work. We tried pelleted turkey manure bought at a local green house and that really made a difference with the fruit on the tomatoes and the squash.
    Be patient and nourish your soil each year.
    We are going to try some of the Epson salt in our home garden this year.
    Thank you for all the gardening tips!

    • If it is alkaline, it will lower the acidity levels, which I think is what the comment said. I have not used it myself so can’t comment on its effect.

  32. You need to plant the right plants the best plants for me are big beef tasty Lee and celebrity when I planted 300 one year I put rotten alfalfa around the plants and every time it rains it seem like they grew a foot

  33. Something picked all my green and slightly ripe tomatoes overnight . . . about 30 tomatoes. I could cry. I was told grasshoppers probably ate my pepper plant leaves. I have geckos, but they wouldn’t steal all the tomatoes. I can’t see it being birds because the entire fruit is gone. And I know it wasn’t my kid . . . that would be too much work for her! Does anyone have any ideas? Rats?
    I always keep my egg shells and bury them or sprinkle them on top. When I’m planting something, I’ll throw cut up banana peels in the hole, too. I used Epsom salts once, but all the plants died, so I’m hesitant to try that again.

  34. Hello and thank you for all the useful tips in the article and comments. I have a slug & snail problem in my garden. At one point I used to collect 54 large ones each morning! They ate all my tomato seedlings as soon as they were 10 cm tall. I got new ones and protected them with cut up plastic bottles abd beer traps.
    Best regards from sizzling Italy.

  35. I have been growing Tomatoes for years. Most of the above suggestions are good, but I never tried the multivitamins. My suggestion is never to plant in the same spot each year, that is what will cause blight.
    Blight is a virus. and giving the ground time to recover or with a green crop, will ensure that the virus dies.
    I always use chicken manure, I buy the pelletised form now, but if you can get it direct that is better.
    Also better to water only a couple of times a week rather than each day. That way they flower more, as they are stressed a bit

  36. This is all good and well, the thing you have to look at, is what’s already in your soil. No one soil is the same. You might be adding something you don’t need to. But to improve your soil, mother nature is always the best. Each ingredient that is being spoken about helps the plant in different ways. Do your research as to what elements help where. Go to the library to get publish resources. With anything, there is always a learning period.

  37. I know many have had problems with different critters eating their plants. I have 9 corn plants and one day I went out and most of the leaves were eaten. I had seen on youtube that many critters do not like mint. I planted some mint plants in a bucket nearby, as I saw the leaves being eaten i cut off some leaves and branches and put it all around my corn. It stopped whatever was eating them and they are now growing like crazy. Try doing that around any plants that animals find enticing to snack on.


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