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How To Fertilize Vegetable Garden
For Long Lasting Fertility

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Knowing How To Fertilize Vegetable Garden Will Pay Dividends For Years Ahead

How To Fertilize Vegetable Garden

One of the secrets to successful vegetable gardening is understanding the process of soil fertility. Garden fertility is an ongoing process but can be broken into two stages, short and long term.



How To Fertilize Vegetable Garden - Short Term

Short term plant nutrition is done using fast and medium release solid or liquid organic fertilizers that are applied either prior to planting or during the growing cycle. The best results are gained with a schedule of small, regular applications throughout the growing cycle of the vegetables.


How To Fertilize Vegetable Garden - Long Term

Long term garden fertility is building a healthy soil, this is done by adding organic matter into the garden and using a quality well balanced slow release organic fertilizer. Organic matter is the foundation of soil fertility, it is the zone where beneficial organisms, bacteria and microbes thrive breaking down organic matter into humus and releasing nutrients as needed over a long period of time.

Because organic matter in the soil is depleted quickly in well worked vegetable gardens soil building is an on-going process. Replenishing organic matter is easily done at any time of the season with the use of:

Solid Fertilizer

Solid organic garden fertilizers cover the full range of slow, medium and fast release nutrient sources, giving the gardener a huge choice of fertilizers that can be utilized either during the initial pre-season fertilizing or during the season when crops need an immediate nutrient boost.

Broadcasting

Photo of broadcasting fertilizer ready for transplanting seedlings

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Broadcasting fertilizer can be done in the fall using slow release organic fertilizers as part of the long term garden fertility or in the spring, prior to planting, using fast to medium release fertilizers to provide crops with nutrients over the short period.

Photo of preparing garden for transplanting seedlings using banding fertilizer method

Roll-over image to enlarge

Fertilizer in the row targets just the area where the crop is growing is a way of reducing fertilizer costs. Ensure the fertilizer covers a wide enough area to prevent the roots from encountering a barrier of poor soil and not growing out past it.

Photo of broadcasting fertilizer ready for transplanting seedlings

Roll-over image to enlarge

Regardless of whether it is slow or fast release. The fertilizer in both broadcast and row method is dug or tilled into the garden to a depth of 6-8 inches(15-20 cm)

Side dressing

Photo of preparing garden for transplanting seedlings using banding fertilizer method

Roll-over image to enlarge

During the growing season, boost plant growth by side-dressing crops in the rows. With solid fertilizers carefully work it into the top 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) of the soil, 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) each side of the drip line. Take care not to disturb shallow roots. It is important to give the area a good watering at this time.

Photo of fertilizing individual plants

Roll-over image to enlarge

Individual plants can be given a boost with fast to medium release solid fertilizers. Spreading it around the plant, the main area to target is 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) each side of the drip line of the plant. This is where the main feeder roots are. Keep it away from the base of the plant stem, work it into the top 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) of the soil. Take care not to disturb any shallow roots. Water the fertilizer well into the soil.

Liquid Organic Fertilizers

Plants absorb nutrients through both their roots and leaves, using organic liquid fertilizer as foliage feeding is a good way to supply nutrients to fast-growing plants like vegetables throughout the growing season. Nutrient teas are homemade fertilizers that are not only another good source of instant plant nutrients, but can also provide some degree of disease and insect control.


three common ways to apply nutrient teas and liquid fertilizer

Bucket

Sprayer

Watering Can


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