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When & How To Fertilize Garden Plants – 5 Big Secrets To Success!

When it comes to successfully fertilizing the plants in your vegetable garden, when and how you fertilize is just as important as what fertilizer you use!

No matter how rich and fertile a garden’s soil is, most vegetable plants still require a few boosts of fertilizer now and then to reach their full potential.

Tomatoes are heavy feeders, and need a steady supply of nutrients for maximum growth.

Tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, like many vegetables, are heavy feeders from the soil. And as they grow, they begin depleting the soil of nitrogen, potassium, and other vital nutrients.

But by simply applying the right kind of fertilizer, at the right intervals, plants can have the energy they need to grow strong and healthy. And of course, in the process, produce a bigger harvest!

With that in mind, here are 5 big keys to fertilizing your garden for success – including when, how, and what to use to get the best results possible from your garden!

Fertilizing Garden Plants – 5 Secrets To Success

#1 Allow Plants To Get Established Before Fertilizing

First and foremost, don’t fertilize too early. Fertilizing before plants develop in the garden can injure plants, and in some cases kill them.

Young tender seedlings and transplants need time to adjust to the soil and outdoor life. Unfortunately, a big burst of early nutrients can shock or burn their tender roots.

Allow 7 to 10 days after transplanting to begin fertilizing. With seed crops such as corn and beans, allow the seeds to germinate and grow for a few weeks as well.

#2 Fertilize Early Morning / Late Evening

Never fertilize vegetable plants during the heat of the day. Plants are at their highest level of stress during the mid-day sun.

Not only are they less likely to be able to soak up the nutrients, depending on the fertilizer and method used, the scorching sun can burn and injure plants.

Instead, fertilize plants in the early morning or late evening to avoid any issues and maximize the nutrients.

#3 Choosing The Best Fertilizer

So what are the best natural fertilizing options to use for garden plants? The key is picking fertilizers that provide a burst of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. These are the key nutrients most vegetable plants need most.

We prefer using liquid fertilizer over granular. Liquid fertilizers such as compost tea, worm casting tea, or all-purpose liquid organic fertilizers provide a much faster boost to plants. And they all include the needed ingredients for fast growth. (See : 4 Liquid Organic Fertilizers To Power Your Garden)

Liquid fertilizers also have the added benefit of being absorbed both through the roots and foliage. For our plants, we apply a quarter gallon of liquid fertilizer to each plant every two weeks for 8 to 10 weeks. (Product Link : Performance Organics Fertilizer)

#4 Power Mulch For More Nutrients

Perhaps this is the biggest “secret” of all to fertilizing garden plants. In addition to the liquid fertilizing intervals, power mulch your plants for even more success.

What is power mulching? It is providing a nutrient filled mulch at the base of each plant that slowly releases nutrients over time.

We mulch our plants with a few inches of compost about 8 to 10 inches around each plant. And mixed into that compost is a quarter cup of worm castings to add even more slow-release power.

This “ring” of power around plants holds in moisture and prevents weeds. It also helps soak in the liquid fertilizer when applied, and keeps it from running off. But even more, it releases nutrients to the roots below every time it rains or you water.

#5 Know When To Stop

And finally, it is also important to know when to stop fertilizing your garden plants. Once a plant hits full production mode in mid-summer, it is time to cease fertilizing all-together.

At this point, the plant will only use the added strength to grow additional foliage – and not produce or fill out the blooms and young crops on its stems and vines.

In fact, fertilizing vegetable plants too late in the summer can actually decrease yields. For best results, fertilize every two weeks for the first 8 to 10 weeks, and then stop.

Here is to fertilizing your garden plants for success, and to your biggest and best yields ever! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.

When and how you fertilize your garden plants is just as important as what you use to fertilize. See the 5 big secrets to success when fertilizing!

The 8 Best Fertilizers of 2020

Feed your garden right

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If you’ve ever wondered how bloggers grow such luscious houseplants or how your neighbor keeps their grass so green, chances are their secret is fertilizer. Plants require a variety of nutrients to grow and thrive—including the three “macronutrients” nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, as well as small amounts of micronutrients like calcium—and if they’re not getting these key nutrients from their environment, they may not be able to develop roots, stems, leaves, or flowers.

There are two main types of plant fertilizer you’ll find today: mineral and organic. Mineral fertilizers are chemically processed to supply plants with exact quantities of essential nutrients, while organic fertilizers are made from plant residue, livestock manure, or other natural sources but generally provide less precise amounts of nutrients. Fertilizer also comes in many forms, including granular, liquid, slow-release capsules, and more.

Here, the best fertilizers for your garden’s needs:

Best Overall Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro Water-Soluble All Purpose Plant Food

Miracle-Gro is a well-known and trusted brand among gardeners, and its All Purpose Plant Food is a versatile and wallet-friendly mineral fertilizer that you can use on vegetables, trees, houseplants, and more. All you have to do is dissolve the water-soluble formula as directed and use it to feed your plants every one to two weeks. It instantly provides them with the nutrients they need, resulting in bigger, healthier plants!

Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food is safe for all plants, including vegetables, and it’s guaranteed not to burn them when used according to the directions. It can be applied at any time of day using any kind of watering can, and its NPK ratio (which stands for nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) is 24-8-16.

Best for Lawns: Scotts Turf Builder 12.6 lb. 5,000 sq. ft. Lawn Fertilizer

It’s hard not to envy your neighbor whose lawn is always thick and luscious, but you can get the same healthy grass with the help of Scotts Turf Builder. Scotts is one of the top brands for lawn fertilizers, and this particular product helps to thicken grass and provide even greening, all while crowding out weeds.

A 12.6-pound bag of Turf Builder can cover up to 5,000 square feet of lawn, and it can be used on all grass types. It provides nutrients to your grass, helping it to grow deep strong roots, which in turn helps to strengthen your lawn against heat and drought. This fertilizer has an NPK ratio of 32-0-4, and it can be applied in any season and lasts for up to six weeks. Just be sure to follow the instructions, as applying too much can burn your grass.

Best for Tomatoes: Vigoro 3.5 lb. Tomato and Vegetable Garden Plant Food Plus Calcium

You can increase the yield of your tomato plants with the help of Vigoro Tomato and Vegetable Garden Plant Food. This mineral fertilizer has an NPK ratio of 12-10-5, which is ideal for fruits and vegetables, and it promotes vigorous growth and high yields. It can even help prevent blossom-end rot and splitting!

This slow-release fertilizer needs to be watered after application, and it’s safe to use around other plants, as well. It comes with a money-back guarantee, but chances are you’ll find no need for that, since you’ll be harvesting plenty of tomatoes all summer long!

Best for Gardens: Jack’s Classic All Purpose Water Soluble Plant Food

Go ahead and give your flower beds a boost with Jack’s Classic All Purpose Fertilizer. This top-rated mineral fertilizer can be used on all sorts of indoor and outdoor plants, including foliage plants, evergreens, perennials, bulbs, shrubs, and roses, making it a great all-purpose plant food to keep around the house.

This fertilizer has an NPK ratio of 20-20-20, and it releases nutrients gradually for up to four months to support vigorous plant growth. When applied according to the instructions, it won’t burn your plants, and it comes with a measuring spoon for precise application.

Best for Roses: Jobe’s Organics Flower & Rose Granular Fertilizer with Biozome

To ensure your rose bushes are flush with flowers, you need to feed the plant proper nutrients—that’s where Jobe’s Organics Flower & Rose Granular Fertilizer comes in. This organic granular fertilizer has a guaranteed analysis of 3-5-3, and it will deliver more abundant flowers when applied to rose bushes at planting and every six weeks thereafter.

This rose fertilizer helps to improve soil conditions and increases root mass, and it also helps your plants resist disease, insects, and drought. Plus, this product delivers visible results, including larger, healthier plants and numerous long-lasting blooms.

A good fertilizer provides food and nutrients for your yard and garden. We researched the best fertilizers so you can pick the right one for your plants.