- June 29, 2022
As your garden continues to grow, you may want to think about adding some fertilizer to restore nutrients to the soil. If you added compost to your soil in the fall, this should provide your plants with enough nutrients for the entire growing season. The best way to determine what your soil needs is to
As your garden continues to grow, you may want to think about adding some fertilizer to restore nutrients to the soil.
If you added compost to your soil in the fall, this should provide your plants with enough nutrients for the entire growing season. The best way to determine what your soil needs is to have it tested. This can be done by purchasing a soil sample kit or contacting your local extension office.
If testing determines that your soil needs nutrients, you can add these using a liquid, pellets, or granules.
Liquid is the fastest method to deliver nutrients, but faster is not always better.
Pellets and granules break down slowly as they release fertilizers. I recommend slow-release, which gives the ground time to absorb and feed the plants.
The three elements in all fertilizers, synthetic or organic, are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Nitrogen is the major building block and food source in all fertilizers; this provides the protein to the plant. Too much nitrogen will cause a plant to wilt, turn the leaves yellow, and make the stem soft. This leaves the plant vulnerable to pests and diseases.
Phosphorus helps with root growth, blossoms, and flowers. Phosphorus can help a plant survive a stressful environment while growing and prepares the plant for winter. Too much phosphorus prevents the plant from taking in nitrogen.
Potassium helps plants maintain their health and grow quality fruits and vegetables. Too much potassium will slow the growth of the plant and turn the leaves yellow, resulting in the plant producing very little to no product.
When purchasing fertilizer, be sure to reference the label on the bag, container, or box. Double-check that it contains the ingredients you need, and that the ratio is correct.
If you are gardening in pots, it is best to use fresh garden soil every year; these soils can be purchased at greenhouses or lawn and garden stores. Some garden soils will have fertilizers in them, so you will not need to fertilize.
If you are planting in raised beds or in a designated area on your property, try adding your fertilizer in the fall. I think you will see positive changes the following spring.