Is excrement the first thing that comes to mind when you think about garden fertilizer? If you’re using organic fertilizer, animal feces are almost always a part of the mix (worm excrement is ah-mazing). It’s time to learn on how to fertilize your garden plants.
It’s a good question. To keep the results of your labor going all season long, your garden needs a little additional juice. How many people don’t give their gardens a little fertilizer? The plants are in the ground, where they will receive regular watering and lots of sunlight. Isn’t that all? Slow down a bit. Getting your garden to fruition at its fullest potential requires fertilization. If you compare the yields with and without fertilization, gardens can do well, especially if they’re in exceptionally compost-rich soil. There is a big difference.
Gardening Statistics and Facts
- More than 18 million new gardeners were born due to the Covid pandemic, most of whom are young adults.
- During the Covid epidemic, 42% of gardeners increased their gardening time.
- During the Covid epidemic, global online sales of horticultural supplies more than doubled.
- 55% of American households practice gardening
- 29 percent of gardeners are millennials.
- Cannabis growing is becoming more popular among millennials.
- Each year, the average American household spends $48 billion on lawn and garden supplies.
- The typical year’s harvest from a garden is worth about $600.
- In the United States, 35 percent of homes cultivate fruits and vegetables.
- Growing veggies increase the appetites of children.
The benefits of fertilizing your garden plants
Fertilizing your garden plants has many benefits that will help them grow healthy and strong. Some of the benefits of fertilizing include:
- Improved plant growth
- Increased flower and fruit production
- Lush, green foliage
- Stronger root systems
All of these benefits work together to create healthier, more beautiful plants that will be more resistant to pests and diseases.
Types of fertilizer and when to use them
There are many different types of fertilizer available on the market, and knowing which one to choose can be confusing. The fertilizer you use will depend on the plants you are growing and the time of year. Some common types of fertilizer include:
- Organic fertilizers: These are made from natural materials such as manure, compost, or bone meal. They release nutrients slowly, so they are ideal for use on young plants or during the growing season.
- Synthetic fertilizers: These are made from chemical compounds and release nutrients quickly. They are best used on established plants or during the flowering and fruiting stage.
- Slow-release fertilizers: These fertilizers release nutrients slowly over time, so they can be used on young and established plants.
Now that you know the benefits of fertilizing your garden plants and the different types of fertilizer available, it’s time to learn how to apply them!
How to fertilize your garden plants properly for best results
Applying fertilizer to your garden plants is not as difficult as it may seem, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind for the best results. Follow these tips when fertilizing your plants:
- Read the label: This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s essential to read the label on your fertilizer before you use it. The label will tell you how much fertilizer to apply and how often.
- Apply the fertilizer at the right time: Timing is essential when fertilizing your plants. Apply organic fertilizer during the growing or before planting, and apply synthetic fertilizer during the flowering and fruiting stage.
- Don’t overdo it: It’s important not to apply too much fertilizer to your plants. Overfertilizing can damage plants and make them more susceptible to pests and diseases.
- Water the plants after fertilizing: Watering helps the fertilizer reach the roots of the plant, where it can be absorbed and used by the plant.
Getting to Know the Fertilizers
There are numerous types of fertilizers available. Plants need three essential nutrients: Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), and Nitrogen (N). Some come in liquid form, while others are available in granules, pills, or sticks (N). Some plants require more and less of these at specific points in their development. On the label, you’ll typically see three digits.
Let’s get to know the three magic numbers. ‘Nuff said. It is phosphorus that aids in the development of robust roots. When the plant has completed the majority of its growth and is beginning to bear fruit, it needs more Nitrogen, which is why it’s usually the lowest number in the fertilizer ratio.
Some people prefer processed fertilizers to organic ones because so many options are available. Fertilizer that is processed (or synthetic) tends to be more concentrated and water-soluble, allowing it to provide a more rapid nutrient boost to plants. It’s possible that this will be beneficial depending on the situation. It is recommended, however, to use a slow-release fertilizer, such as organic fertilizer. In the long run, buying organic may be more expensive, but it is better for the plants and you when you consume some of these vegetables since it releases nutrients at a slower rate that is more readily absorbed by them.Because you’ll use less of it, it’s also more cost-effective in the long run than going the processed route.
You might want to conduct a basic soil test in your garden beds before you grab that luscious bag of fertilizer. This should be done in the autumn, when the results will have the most time to be returned. Many people don’t do this, but it’s a good idea to know how many nutrients your soil has. In some cases, if you’ve applied fertilizer consistently for a long time, you may not need to add any extra nutrients to your soil. You can actually stunt the growth of your plants by overdosing them on these three miracle nutrients.
Now it’s time to get down to business! Before you start your seeds, make sure you have everything you need. Mix the top 3 to 5 inches of soil with the granular fertilizer before planting. Side-dress the seedlings with fertilizer and carefully massage it in around them if you’re transplanting them. When transplanting, avoid using liquid fertilizer. Considering how quickly the liquid seeps into the soil, the delicate roots of young seedlings could be scorched by the instantaneous touch of nutrients. Before applying liquid fertilizer, give those tender plants at least two weeks to grow and establish their roots. Remember to water your plants after fertilization.
An early spring fertilizer might benefit leafy greens like kale, lettuce, and arugula. During this time, most plants truly require the extra juice, usually in mid-summer. However, long-season crops like corn and squash can benefit from a starter fertilizer application. The most efficient time for plants to utilize nutrients is when the sun is out longer and the weather is warm.
Tomatoes are a major nutrition hog. Fertilizing is necessary when the plants are growing rapidly, but after they begin flowering, switch to a fertilizer with a reduced nitrogen content to increase the number of flowers and fruits. To avoid blossom-end rot, use a tomato-specific fertilizer.
However, a little extra nitrogen is required for the majority of vegetables. When the blossoms of legumes begin to appear, they may use some. Around four weeks after planting, brassicas like cauliflower and broccoli are in heaven. If you’re growing a nightshade plant like a tomato or eggplant, you may space fertilization out over a month or two intervals. Just apply the juice after the first fruit has appeared and wait another two weeks.
On the other hand, root vegetables like carrots, beets, and turnips do not fare well with nitrogen fertilizer. Sweet potatoes and watermelons aren’t a fan of the added N. What really matters is getting to know your plants’ preferences and dislikes. It’s similar to getting to know someone on a personal level. Make sure you know what makes them happy so that you can properly care for them during the growing season.
Most people have at least one indoor plant (it would be strange if they didn’t). It doesn’t matter how many or how few plants you have; they all need fertilizer if you want to see them flourish. Even though these little plants are confined to pots, their roots are unable to seek out additional nutrients if the soil they’re growing in is depleted. It’s common for potting soil to be rich in nutrients when you first use it to plant a plant. When your nutrients are leaching in two to three months, this begins to subside.
It is advisable to use a liquid fertilizer for indoor plants. The liquid version is diluted so that you can regulate how much you’re providing to the patient. Don’t use it indoors; save it for outside. You may get your plants off to a healthy start using Fox Farms Big Bloom, which Seedsheets advises if you’re beginning them inside. It’s important to follow the directions on the package and administer the exact dosages.
More fertilizer can be worse than less. You may be overfeeding your plants if you notice yellowing leaves and reduced development. In the winter, certain plants do fall into hibernation. Reduce your nutrient intake if this occurs. When new shoots begin to appear, you can re-invigorate your garden with more nutrients. We have a blog on how to grow an indoor garden that won’t disappoint, so check it out if you want to improve your gardening skills and make your home a verdant haven.
There’s a technique to produce your fertilizer tea from weeds and herb cuttings, especially with all the hoopla about animal poop’s magical properties. Micronutrients aren’t abundant, but they’re still a good addition to the diet and a great way to get rid of weeds.
It’s not difficult at all. Gather weeds and herb trimmings and place them halfway in a pail. Add comfrey, stinging nettle, and borage to the mix and you’ll have a delicious concoction. When handling stinging nettle and borage, wear gloves. Fill the bucket with water and cover it with a cloth or mesh net, then tear up the leaves for improved surface exposure and access to those nutrients. Steep in the sun for a few days to get the full flavor (you can leave it longer, but it will get gross and stinky). Mixing the tea a couple of times a day will help to oxygenate it. This encourages the growth of good bacteria. Pour the tea into a watering can and saturate the soil in the garden with it. Strain the tea. You can also nourish the foliage by spraying the leaves.
Weeds will not be added to your garden by drinking tea made from them. Rather than throwing away those weed-producing dandelions, try steeping them in some nutritious fertilizer tea.
Troubleshooting tips for common fertilizing problems
If you’re having trouble with your plants, there are a few troubleshooting tips you can try. If your plants are:
- Yellowing: This could be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Try using a fertilizer with higher levels of nitrogen.
- Wilting: This could be a sign of overfertilization. Try using a fertilizer with lower levels of nitrogen.
- Not growing: This could be a sign of nutrient deficiency or poor drainage. Try using a fertilizer with higher levels of phosphorus, potassium, and/or iron.
Now that you know how to fertilize your garden plants, you can start reaping the benefits of healthier, more beautiful plants! Just remember to read the label, apply the fertilizer at the right time, and don’t overdo it. With a little practice, you’ll be a pro at fertilizing your garden plants in no time!
If you’re still having trouble after trying these troubleshooting tips, please leave a comment below