Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide Including Heirloom Tomatoes
The following is an excerpt from Cherie Everhart’s book the Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes: A Com plete Step-by-Step Guide Including Heirloom Tomatoes:
Another approach for feeding the soil and mitigating disease risk in an organic fashion has been developed at Michigan State University and is being marketed by the company Bio Soil Enhancers. This is basically a formulation of specially selected microbes that are added to the soil. These microbes have several important functions. Most importantly, they are designed to fix nitrogen from the air into a form the plants can take up as nutrients. Secondly, these microbes compete with pathogenic microbes in the soil and reduce the likelihood of plant disease. Finally, some of the microbes act to produce metabolites that simulate root and plant growth. These microbes essentially allow nutrients in the air and soil to become bio available for plant use without the need for additional petrochemical based fertilizers. According to Lou Elwell, who is the President of Bio Soil Enhancers, Inc., “This approach is applicable to a variety of grain and vegetable crops as well as lawns. It offers an amazing opportunity to increase world food supplies. It also promises an important reduction in synthetic fertilizer use.”
The Bio Soil team has a special, organic formulation specifically designed for tomatoes. The results using the product on tomatoes are especially impressive. “In a greenhouse setting, the use of the Bio Soil microbes increases the yield of tomato plants by 400 percent over conventional fertilizers alone.” says Lou. “The average size of the tomatoes increased by 88 percent using the Bio Soil microbes.” In addition, the tomatoes had a faster germination rate and flowered more quickly when using the Bio Soil microbes.
The Bio Soil formulation also contains humates and plant micro nutrients. Humates are the product of organic matter degradation and provide a food supply for the microbes. According to Lou, “The use of Bio Soil microbes will cost less than conventional synthetic fertilizers. Also, we are currently in the process of applying for organic certification for our formulations.”