Why are my tomato plants beautiful and healthy, but bear no fruit?
This can happen in two ways. The plants can be healthy and never blossom, or they can blossom and bear no fruit. Both things are probably due to the same problem. This is a technical problem, but it is solvable. You may even try this at home.
There are three elements associated with fertilizer. You will often see their relationship expressed with three numbers separated with dashes. These are represented by N-P-K. N is nitrogen, P is phosphorous, and K is potash. Typical flower garden fertilizer is formulated with something close to 24-8-16, and a tomato fertilizer is typically closer to 18-18-21.
If you are getting very lush plants and the flowers are not setting you have likely added too much nitrogen to the garden soil. Using a flower bed fertilizer on tomatoes could cause this problem.
The real problem here is that the excess nitrogen in the soil prevents the plant from absorbing calcium. Calcium is essential for setting the fruit. “Setting” is the term used to describe the transformation of the blossom into a tomato fruit.
My preference is to use compost in place of chemical fertilizers. Compost does at least three things that improve your garden soil. Compost adds organic material to your soil which allows it to hold moisture for a longer period of time. It adds beneficial bacteria to the soil and it helps to maintain a proper pH level. For tomatoes 6.5pH would be appropriate. If you have a seemingly unsolvable problem take a soil sample to the Baltimore County Extension Center and have them test your PH level. They can suggest ways to amend your soil. But my first suggestion would be to learn about composting.
I'll talk more about composting next time.