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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Fertilizer Education 101

I hope this information is helpful to everyone after reading a lot of the threads I see several people don't know about fertilizer and other things related to gardening.

I think most people probably buy their supplies from Lowe's, Home Depot, Wal Mart, etc. You will do better to buy your fertilizer and other supplies from your local farm supply store. The Ammonium Nitrate that Wal Mart sells is not the same as the Ammonim Nitrate you can buy at a farm supply store. Since the Oklahoma City bombing manufactures are now producing a none explosive form of Ammonium Nitrate sold at Wal Mart and other places this is not very good stuff compaired to what you can buy at farm supply stores.

Fertilizer is rated with 3 numbers like, 15/15/15, 6/12/12, 34/0/0, etc. The first number is nitrogen. The second number is Phosphate. The third number is Potash.

Nitrogen increases plant and fruit growth above the ground.

Phosphate inhances growth, color, strengthen the stems, increases blooms.

Potash increases growth below the ground like potatoes, carrots, onions, roots.

Lime reduces the acid of the soil and unlocks nutrience so it is available for the plants to use.

Sulfur increases the soil acidity good for crops like potatoes, Blue Berries.

Triple 15 fertilizer, 15/15/15 is a general purpose fertilizer.

Ammonium Nitrate, 34/0/0 is good for plant growth.

Urea is 46/0/0.

Murate of Potash, 0/0/60 is good for root crops and root growth.

Super Phosphate, 0/18/0 inhances color, strengthen stems, increases blooms.

6/12/12 good for potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic.

Pellet Lime prevents blossom end rot on tomatoes.

You can do Google search and find out detailes about what plants need in the way of fertilizer, soil, sun, water, geographical location, etc. I should remember this but I don't I took a class in college 40 years ago. I have forgotten more than I ever knew. I have to look this stuff up myself I am just to brain dead these days to remember anything without making notes.

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Earl K
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Thanks 350, I used a potting soil with fert. about two months ago.They say it lasts up to 3 months.I think i will need more fert. soon.Question is-I grow most everything in containers.What would be the best application for tomatoes,peppers,cukes,squash and pole beans?

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hendi_alex
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If you are going to use a chemical fertilizer, osmocote and Staygreen (I think is the brand) sell balanced slow release fertilizers that work well on vegetables.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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Earl K
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Thanks Alex.I think a liquid would be easier than trying to mix something into a small container.I will try one of your suggestions.

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hendi_alex
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Osmocote is a slow release solid, little spheres. The product is very easy to use, never burns, and lasts for three or four months.

There are many of the miracle grow type water soluble products that work equally well. The prospect of having to constantly reapply the solution never appealed much to me. Sometimes I'll use a single application of that type of fertilizer to give an instant boost or to apply as a foliar application.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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Gary, what kind of fertilizer is good for mycorrhizae?

HG
Scott Reil

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atascosa_tx
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The best fertilizer for mycorrhizae is liquid mollasses ..
it feeds the bacteria,,
and helps the bond with the bacteria and the roots.

Chemical fertilizers will kill mycorrhizae
defeats the purpose
Feed your soil and your soil will feed you

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Pebbles
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:shock: :roll: :? wow so much information. I think I'll take up knitting instead :oops: :wink:

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Feed your soil and your soil will feed you
Atascosa said a mouthful right there, and that was my point for the post. When we chemically fertilize (and almost ALL Gary's list was chemical), we are quite literally killing our soil to grow our plants (Atascosa was correct about molasses and bacteria, but mycorrhizae are fungal) When we eliminate the natural systems and replace them withr our own we tend to leave out parts that don't seem important to us but the plant really values, like mycorrhizal fungii (one of the first things to bit it when we use ammonia salts to fertilize). How's your chemistry knowledge? Can you replace every nutrient that plant was getting from the natural cycles of healthy soil? The answer I got whenever we did soil testing says no.

We have only been "experimenting" with this chemical horticulture and agriculture for about a hundred yearsw, and we are not doing so well. First we decided we could deep plow ANY soil and fertilize with ammonium nitrate; the first dry weather turned that experiment into the Dustbowl. Read up about the Black Blizzards that forced school children in New York and Boston indoors for recess as the soil just dried up (salt, including ammonia salts, dies things up, folks) and literally blew away. Welcome to the new disasters of chemical fertilization, the Dead Zones croppping up all around these United States and the rest of the planet, products of the huge run-offs from chemical fertilizer that is only 30 to 50% on target (fertilizing the plant you meant it to) with the rest running off into rivers and streams and ponds (where the phopsphorus creates freshwater algal blooms) and eventually into the oceans (where it creates marine algal blooms that turn into Dead Zones). A lot of you know about the big permanent dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, but there are 14 seasonal dead zones around the U.S., including the Chesapeake and my beloved Long Island Sound, and those are growing. East coast, west coast, nobodies immune any more...

[url]https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4624359/[/url]

Add to that the fact that as these ferts are produced huge amounts of greenhouse gasses are produced (the Haber Bosch method I alluded to presurizes the air after heating it thousands of degrees, hardly fuel efficient). And the phosphorus in you fertilizer likely came from a surface strip mine where less than 10% of the total mined susbstance is used and the rest is mostly radioactive gypsum that sits in huge glowing piles. Hardly a picture of responsible green thinking...

[url]https://www.organicfamilymagazine.com/Phosphate.html[/url]

Besides, the Lancet (the rag for the Royal Medical Association, Britain's version of the AMA) just finished a twelve year study and published last year; organic veg is actually healthier and better food. Nutrient densities (how much actual nutrition is in the food) were measured and averaged and organic veggies have 25 to 30% higher nutrition than chemically raised foods. This ran as high as 100% higher densities in root veggies like potatoes or carrots! So when we are talking about food fertilization, organic makes even more sense...

[url]https://www.hawaiiorganicfarmers.org/organicnutrition.html[/url]

I choose to garden in a fashion that does not harm our planet, so I have given up chemical fertilizers and pesticides. I just want people to know why and give them some information to help make healthy choices. If you choose to go the chemical route, so be it, but I would like to keep the discussion going here to keep you all thinking about the effects you have as you garden. To date we gardeners have a pretty spotty track record in working with Nature instead of against it, but as we gain more knowledge and better tools (and we have more and better tools than ever in the organic toolbox), we can start to actually bolster and supplement natural systems our plants already know and thrive on...

HG
Scott Reil

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what kind of fertilizer is good for mycorrhizae? :?

The best fertilizer for mycorrhizae is liquid mollasses ..
it feeds the bacteria,,
and helps the bond with the bacteria and the roots. :shock:

So all the $ I've been giving to the big chain stores can be eliminated with some molasses :()
and I'll be just as far ahead, as if I had used the chemicals :clap:
and my DW will be happier as the accentric gardener is spending less on my addiction, I mean hobby. :flower:

The conversion process from chemical to organic will take some time :idea: I'll enjoy the cost savings

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rootsy
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Salt based and liquid fertilizers have their place... more so in production farming where your goal is the maximize production over a broad area. The plants take more nutrients from the soil than you can possibly replace via incorporation of organic matter on such a large scale. It takes a lot of nitrogen and a lot of water to grow 150 to 200 bushel / acre #2 yellow corn....

In a small gardening situation you don't particularly need to use commercial fertilizers if you mow your grass and rake your leaves...

In my case... For sweet corn I do a 2 x 2 incorporated starter fertilizer right from the planter... 2 inches off to the side of and 2 inches below the seed... I will also side dress with urea a month or so after planting... But for the rest of my produce, amounting to less than 5 acres, I incorporate composted chicken manure, some liquified cow manure during the winter and a lot of green manure in the form of grass, leaves and corn silage which is spread and either disced in or plowed under in the fall, depending upon rotation and trash. Come spring tillage time that green manure is broken down and ready to feed plants...

Dumping fertilizer in a spreader and broadcasting it is "easy" and doesn't take a lot of knowledge... Especially when you are a bit bigger than a small garden... Therefore it is enticing... but not always the "right" thing to do...

commercial fertilizer prices have increased enough that buying multiple 40 or 50 lb bags of triple 19 can dent the budget and eat up profit pretty quickly.

James282
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"Salt based and liquid fertilizers have their place... more so in production farming where your goal is the maximize production over a broad area. The plants take more nutrients from the soil than you can possibly replace via incorporation of organic matter on such a large scale. It takes a lot of nitrogen and a lot of water to grow 150 to 200 bushel / acre #2 yellow corn.... "


Seems like a pretty good argument against monocropping - yeah?

James



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