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Wanted: Tips on fertilizing

Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:06 pm
by imafan26
I have a heavy hand on fertilizing. I kill more plants with fertilizer than anything else.
I did a soil test that basically says that all I have to add is nitrogen. Probably for years as the phosphorus is over 2000 ppm and the potassium and calcium are also in the high range. The soil test said for the vegetables I was growing I need about 37 ppm.

I usually use a pre plant fertilizer (citrus food or 10-20-20 plus minors) but since I don't want any more phosphorus, I have to go to plan B. I am adding additional compost. It does have a teeny amount of phosphorus 0.5% so I am not worried about it. I have added blood meal for slow release nitrogen. By itself, the results have been disappointing. I know it takes time to wean the garden off the synthetics but I am not crazy about handling animal by products either.

I need to add some nitrogen in divided doses.

How do you side dress with granular fertilizer? How would I know how much to give each plant and how far from the plant do I place it so I won't burn and kill the plant which is what happens when I try to side dress in bands.

Re: Wanted: Tips on fertilizing

Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:02 pm
by Wabernathy

It looks as you have done your research, and are trying to correlate the info with your particular situation. I've been there, and I sympathize;)

If the nitrogen granules is all that's holding you up because of your plant grouping and their separate requirements, I might have a suggestion that'll put things at ease. Skip the granules, and look at companion planting with something that adds nitrogen naturally to the soil, such as legumes or an ornamental clover. Guaranteed, you won't burn anything, and will actually be improving the quality of the soil.

Just my two cents...

Re: Wanted: Tips on fertilizing

Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:26 pm
by rainbowgardener
Cultivate relaxation!! :)

You have said before in other topics that you always tend to over-water and now you are saying you over-fertilize. You are trying too hard! Your plants don't need all that fussing.

I never fertilize anything! I just keep enriching the soil with compost and mulch and now maybe some compost tea. Even my house plants in containers don't get fertilized, maybe some used coffee grounds thrown in the watering can now and then (which I learned from applestar) and they get watered twice a month. Once a year I rejuvenate the potting soil so that it has some fresh nutrients in it.

It is in the nature of plants to grow and sometimes they do it a lot better if you just stand back and get out of their way. Your plants may do better and you may enjoy your garden more, if you can relax more.

Re: Wanted: Tips on fertilizing

Posted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:29 am
by imafan26
I do actually grow peas and beans, I just don't grow them as a cover crop. I usually don't check them when I do grow them to find out if they have nitrogen fixing nodules on them.

I actually did not fertilize at all after getting the soil test and the corn grew just as well on the residual, but by the time I planted the next set of corn, I had used up the excess. Now, I have to add just a little to get my corn to grow to its' usual 8 ft and two to three ears instead of the 5ft with maybe 1/3 getting a second ear.

I am adding more compost and I have cut the watering down from every day to every three or four days right now. It is the rainy season. I think I went a little too long on the peas and cukes, but they survived. So I have relaxed and listened to your very good advice.

I am saving a lot by not adding all the other fertilizers I have to the garden, although I still use them in the pots.

I don't have coffee grounds but I do have a little vermicast.

Re: Wanted: Tips on fertilizing

Posted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:29 pm
by Susan W
You can try some 'fish' for N. This is the fish emulsion, and hard to over-do. I get the deodorized, Alaska brand as I use on pots on deck and sometimes inside. The NPK are 5-1-1. I mix in 5 gallon buckets and dip water, or you can mix in a sprayer. For basils and other fast growing I try for 1/week, but ends up more like 10 -14 days. Perhaps you could try a couple of applications over 2 -3 weeks, then cut back.

Re: Wanted: Tips on fertilizing

Posted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:37 pm
by rainbowgardener
How is the deodorized version for attracting cats and raccoons? I can't use the regular kind because the critters dig my plants up, looking for the fish.

Re: Wanted: Tips on fertilizing

Posted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 6:24 pm
by Susan W
RG, the deodorized fish has some smell, not stinky. You can get it (Alaska brand) in a qt bottle at HDep or Lowes, about $8. It dilutes out to alot.