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Recommended NPK ratio

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:07 pm
by Brown Thumbs
My garden spot is two years old and it's not the best of soils. Living on a hill and the soil is likely acidic, slightly redish (not dark brown or black). Last fall I added some mulched leaves and a little lime. This spring when I planted my vegetables, I added a good handful or so of 13-13-13 around each plant and mixed it in. That was late April to early May. Now it's July and I want to know if I should be adding more and what the recommeded ratio of NPK is for a small garden with tomatoes, squash, and peppers. Should I pick one with lower N levels than I used earlier and how long does fertilizer last?

I planted a new tomato yesterday that I rooted. When I dug the hole I found the hard pan I assume. Very hard dirt and was orangish in color. It was around 8-10 inches below the surface. I wondered if this is causing problems for root developement with my vegetables.

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:45 pm
by Tonio
Hard pan does hamper the root structure. Add more organic material whenever you can, and grow some cover crop with deep roots to break up the pan.
Some hard pans can be thick, so you may want to see off season what you're dealing with.

We get hard pan about 2' down and is about 1' thick. Under that is rocks and sandy clay.

Nothing against the no-till method, but sometimes you need to know what going on down there.

As far as ferts, yes too much N will give you more foliage than fruit. But N does leach out quicker and is mobile. P, K needs to be in the root zone.

Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:49 pm
by Brown Thumbs
Tonio wrote:Hard pan does hamper the root structure. Add more organic material whenever you can, and grow some cover crop with deep roots to break up the pan.
Some hard pans can be thick, so you may want to see off season what you're dealing with.

We get hard pan about 2' down and is about 1' thick. Under that is rocks and sandy clay.

Nothing against the no-till method, but sometimes you need to know what going on down there.

As far as ferts, yes too much N will give you more foliage than fruit. But N does leach out quicker and is mobile. P, K needs to be in the root zone.
What's a cover crop?