Sweet Tomatoes – Baking Soda in the Soil is the Trick

Vegetable gardening is so satisfying and home grown tomatoes are at the top of my favorites list. There is nothing at all like those that you buy in the stores. Even the vine ripened ones can’t compare in taste to the sweetness of those you grow yourself. Here is a neat tip to get the most sweet tomatoes each year.  Put normal baking soda to use.

There is nothing like the taste of a sweet home grown tomato

Use Baking Soda to Get Sweet Tomatoes

Just sprinkle a small amount baking soda (less than 1/4 cup per plant) on the soil around your tomato plants being careful not to get the soda on the plant itself.  (You can also use 1 tsp in a gallon of water and water the plants that way!)

The baking soda absorbs into the soil and lowers the acidity levels.  This will give you tomatoes that are more sweet than tart. 

Sweet Tomatoes - Just add baking soda!

Be careful with young tomato plants and be sure to test on one plant before you try it on all of them.  If your soil is already quite alkaline, you could alter it too much by adding too much baking soda.Tomato blossoms

Sprinkle the baking soda on the soil when the tomatoes are about 1 inch in diameter and then again when they are about half grown.

You can also do this with canned tomatoes when making sauce if you like. It will sweeten them without having to add extra sugar (and calories!)

Another use of the baking soda and tomatoes is to make an organic tomato spray to treat tomato fungal disease.

Combine 1 gallon of water with 1 tbsp of baking soda and 2 1/2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a spray bottle. Stir and add 1/2 tsp of castile soap.  Spray this solution on the foliage of tomato plants until the fungal disease disappears.

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  34 comments for “Sweet Tomatoes – Baking Soda in the Soil is the Trick

  1. Tonya
    05/09/2013 at 8:07 pm

    How often do you sprinkle with baking soda and when do you start/stop? All the way through growing???

    • admin
      05/14/2013 at 9:02 pm

      I’d just do it when I planted them.

      • DJANGO
        03/23/2017 at 10:29 pm


  2. 05/15/2013 at 6:22 pm

    Can you do this to pepper plants?

    • Audrey
      07/10/2014 at 3:05 pm

      I sprinkle a ring of Epsom Salts around my pepper plants to boost them. Also at time of planting I add a small amount of wood ashes in the bottom of the hole, cover with a little soil and them put in the pepper plant. I get big healthy plants and lots of fruit.

      • admin
        07/10/2014 at 3:22 pm

        Great tips Audrey. Thanks for sharing. Carol

      • Dirty Bob
        12/03/2014 at 1:33 pm

        Epsom salts will give a plant Manganese which is a Micro Nutrient that plants only need a little bit of, but my secret is a 1/4 cup around my roses at the base and watch those puppies bloom. a little Epsom salt on any plant will not hurt it, but go easy it is still a salt.

        Your tip about the wood ash, the wood ash is heavy in phosphorus which is great for your roots, but you need to remember to only use the white powdery wood ash and not the black chunky parts. Wood ash is great when ever starting new plants, also OLD saw dust works great, do not use fresh stuff some strange results happen. A friend of mine used a very large amount of fresh saw dust on some strawberries, and they all came out yellow and deformed, like something from a different planet

        • admin
          12/03/2014 at 1:49 pm

          Thanks for all the tips Bob! Carol

        • Franc
          04/05/2016 at 10:39 am

          Epsom salts provide Magnesium – NOT manganese. Epsom Salts is also known as Magnesium sulfate. Therefore, you also dose Sulphur (from the sulfate portion of molecule)

        • D.M. Watson
          04/18/2016 at 6:45 am

          Epsom Salts will supply Magnesium and Sulfur. Not Manganese. an entirely different element. Chances are most soils don’t need them. Sandy soil may need some Sulfur. Baking soda will supply Sodium…and Chlorine. Neither of which are particularly in short supply in any soil. If you are using wood ashes in your soil…you are raising your pH already. There are a lot more trace minerals in wood ashes than you will find in baking soda (which is made from Carbon Dioxide). If you want to do something out of the ordinary for your tomato plants…find some Gypsum. Or just grind up a small piece of wallboard. It will supply sulfur and calcium….and calcium goes a long way toward preventing blossom end rot in your tomatoes.

  3. 05/15/2013 at 6:23 pm

    Can we do this to pepper plants?

    • admin
      05/17/2013 at 3:13 pm

      not sure. Tomato plants are acidic which is why it works.

    • Fahlina_g
      04/25/2014 at 9:24 pm

      Pepper plants prefer a slighty acidic soil.

  4. Jeanne Fries
    04/18/2014 at 2:41 am

    Thank you for this info. My mom always added and so do I add a tablespoon of Epsom salts to all pepper plants, sweet and hot. Start when they are about 6 inches tall then every 2 or 3 weeks. They get bigger, sturdier, twice as many peppers, and meatier and many more of them. I still have jalepeno and habenero’s frozen in freezer, just raw? We ate all the bell peppers .

    • admin
      04/18/2014 at 8:47 am

      Thanks for the tips Jeanne! Carol

  5. Ruth
    10/05/2014 at 1:07 am

    Love tomatoes homegrown

  6. 11/12/2014 at 4:58 am

    Thanks for that tip We have a garden in the Mission to Seafarers inside Falmouth docks uk and this year I converted an old English telephone box into a small greenhouse and grew tomatoes we had a good crop but noticed the flavour a bit on the tart side I will give your idea a go for my next crop A tip for making your late green tomatoes ripe is to remove all leaves from plant therefore all energy will go into ripening the tomatoes Drastic I know but works

    • eddie nelson
      07/04/2015 at 3:45 pm

      Another idea I use for speeding up the ripening process for tomatoes is root pruning. Slice straight down into the soil a one foot line a few inches away from the main stem using a knife, this severs some of the root system and shocks the plant into ripening some of its fruit (tomatoes). I have done this for years when I have an abundance of green tomatoes. Of course they can just be placed in the window to ripen and then there’s always fried green tomatoes!

      • admin
        07/07/2015 at 10:08 pm

        Thanks for sharing the tip Eddie. Carol

  7. Pat
    07/03/2015 at 1:55 pm

    I like the tips. However, I wonder about making the tomatoes sweeter if canning them. I understand we need to add vinegar or acid when canning tomatoes as they no longer have as much acid as they did years ago. Perhaps for those plants not being used for canning, adding baking soda would be helpful for “sweet” tomatoes.

    • admin
      07/03/2015 at 1:59 pm

      Hi Pat. Thanks for the tips. I have never been much of a canner, so it is helpful to get the perspective from someone who is. Carol

  8. Jim Markwood
    07/04/2015 at 11:05 am

    This is really bad science and bad gardening. Acidity in tomatoes is not a result of the ph of the soil. All tomatoes have approximately the same level of acidity. Perceived sweetness depends on the sugar levels(brix) of the fruit. Some varieties are naturally sweeter. Grocery store tomatoes that were picked green did not have a chance for the sugars to develop.

  9. Diane
    07/12/2015 at 8:19 am

    Great tip for the plants. I’ve been adding baking soda to my spaghetti sauce for 30 years. Never liked the sugary taste when sugar is added. I want to taste the tomato , not the sugar.

    • admin
      07/12/2015 at 9:25 am

      Hi Diane. There is nothing quite like the taste of a sweet tomato. Carol

  10. sherri
    08/16/2015 at 7:38 pm

    But doesn’t this lower the acidity of the soil? I always thought tomatoes liked a more acidic soil…..

  11. Nancy
    10/19/2016 at 1:39 am

    It it ok to spray. Epsom salt and baking soda on tomato flowers

    • Carol
      10/20/2016 at 11:33 am

      I would not spray directly on the flowers but at the base of the plant, instead. Carol

  12. 02/02/2017 at 6:02 pm

    I’ve used baking soda on diseased plants, but never to sweeten tomatoes. Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely try that this summer.

  13. Debbie
    05/06/2017 at 5:48 pm

    I have been using for several years now about 2 tablespoons of epsom salt to one gallon of water. When dissolved I add to my hand sprayer and spray all my peppers and tomatoes. In a couple of weeks you will find more flowers on yours peppers and roses. I do this about every 5 weeks.

    • Carol
      05/07/2017 at 10:45 am

      Thanks for the tips Debbie. Carol

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