When To Fertilize Vegetable Gardens: A Beginner’s Guide
Fertilizers are like food supplements. It promotes healthy growth development of vegetables. It also contributes to the high production of harvest. But as a beginner in gardening, do you know how and when to fertilize vegetable gardens?
You must also know the right amount of fertilizers that you need to apply. Giving your vegetables too much food may not give you a good yield. Providing it at the wrong time may not provide you a good harvest.
What is a Fertilizer?
Fertilizers are an important substance that aids gardeners in growing their plants healthy. Fertilizers may be organic or non-organic. It is also the substance or material that enhances soil health.
Fertilizers should contain the right amount of necessary nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are the three essential nutrients for plants to grow. Nitrogen gives the vegetable its green color and needs to form the protein. This is why, when green vegetables lack nitrogen, they will turn yellow.
Phosphorus is needed for the division of the cell division and helps form roots, flowers, and fruits. So when the plant doesn’t have enough phosphorus, the vegetables will not grow well. Additionally, when a plant lacks potassium, the plant will turn pale and well not bear fruit.
Inorganic and Organic Fertilizers
Inorganic fertilizers are those that are available to buy in fertilizer stores. These are commonly called commercial or mineral fertilizers. The good thing about inorganic or synthetic fertilizer is they are fast-acting. They dissolve quickly and immediately available for consumption. Whenever plants show signs of nutrient deficiency, you can rescue them.
Another advantage of using inorganic fertilizer is its precise content. So, when your plants need a certain amount of specific nutrients, you can always provide them by buying the right fertilizer. It is also easy to use. Most inorganic fertilizers come in a ready to apply formula. It could be in granules or powder. These can be diluted in liquid and spray. So, you must know how and when to fertilize vegetable gardens.
On the other hand, organic fertilizers come from nature. It could be in the form of composts or from animals. With organic fertilizer, though, there is no amount necessary. You can apply or mix it in the soil to improve its quality before planting it with vegetables. By enriching the soil with organic supplements, you are encouraging natural plant growth. This process with keeping them healthy and make themselves strong to combat against pests and pathogens.
These organic fertilizers have microbes and fungi which shall be released to the soil and slowly absorbed by the plants as nutrients. Few examples of this organic fertilizer are animal manure, worm casting, or slurry.
Gardeners would select a fertilizer with twice as much content of phosphorus as that of nitrogen and potassium. An advisable content should be 10-20-10 or 12-24-12. That is why in buying a fertilizer, you need to check the level and its nutritional facts.
Also, before buying fertilizer, you need to determine first the soil health. Be familiar with the amount of nutrients it has and when to fertilize vegetable gardens. Some soil contains enough potassium for a plant to grow. If such is the case, you have to choose the one that has a higher amount of the two. It is not advisable to use lawn fertilizer on a vegetable garden as it contains too much nitrogen that may kill your vegetables.
When to Fertilize
The application of fertilizer may vary based on the season. But it is advisable to apply fertilizer at least once a year. Additionally, the rule is to apply it early in spring. This will encourage the growth of healthy greens and high production of flowers and fruits. If you are in the region where there are few frost drops, you should wait until the date of the last frost to prevent harming the newly grown plants.
In another season, when you feel the need to use a fertilizer, know when to fertilize vegetable gardens. Use it on plants when they are at their peak growing cycle. This is the time when the new leaves are coming out or when flowers are starting to appear. Fertilizers are also best to apply when putting on new growth.
If you are potting the vegetables, the application of fertilizers is by spraying. It can be done every month to encourage healthy growth. But avoid fertilizing during the winter season. Plants at this season are not actively growing.
In applying fertilizer, it is good to water the plants thoroughly. This is to make sure the plants absorb what it needs. Be careful not to use fertilizers on plants excessively. Overfertilization is like no fertilizer at all. It will severely harm your plants and prevent them from growing or producing bright-colored fruits.
For plants to grow healthy, you must know when to fertilize vegetable gardens. Having the right knowledge of caring for these plants contributes to its growth. When you plan on developing a vegetable garden, make sure you have all the necessary information. This is to ensure high productivity and not to waste your time and effort.
April 27, 2020
by: Annette Cockerham
Fruits are hard to plant for an urban gardener with compact space, especially if you’re talking about bananas, apples, and mangoes.