Dale’s Tomato Formula

Posted at 12:05 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 17:18:44-04

South Texas makes for a great place to grow tomatoes, if you know the right formula, that is. Here’s my personal recommendation based on years of experience growing my own right here in the Coastal Bend.

There are two tomato formulas…one formula for sandy soil and one for clay soil.

The first time you use the tomato formula, use the “original” formula no matter what type of soil you have.

Original Formula / Sandy Soil

  • 1 cup 10-20-10 (1-2-1 ratio) fertilizer
  • 1/4 cup superphosphate
  • 1/2 cup gypsum
  • 2 cups cow manure


  • Dig a hole and mix ingredients.
  • Then, add regular dirt on top of formula before placing a tomato plant in the hole. Otherwise, the formula will burn the roots of the plant.
  • Don’t let formula touch the roots when they are first planted. Let the plant grow into the formula.
  • Water regularly.
  • Stand back and watch them grow! Best varieties are Sonny, Bingo, Carnival, Heatwave, Celebrity, Big Boy, Better Boy and President. Best cherry tomatoes to use are small Fry and Cherry Grande. Everything needed is available at any local nursery.
  • Please be aware that excessive use of phosphorus in our clay soil over a long period of time can be non-beneficial to your plants.

Clay Soil Formula*

  • 1 cup 21-0-0 (1-0-0 ratio) Ammonium Sulphate
  • 3/4 cup gypsum
  • 2 cups cow manure


  • Mix these ingredients together with existing garden soil and plant one tomato plant per hole mixture.

*Most clay soils in this area already have too much superphosphate, which tends to stay in the soil for a long period of time. The local nursery people tell me, the best way to correct this is by adding ammonium sulphate which is 21-0-0.