Backyard Vegetable Gardens: Choosing Fertilizers

When I moved from an apartment into my first house, a vegetable garden in the back yard was my priority. My goal was to plant vegetables in season, then can and freeze any extra for use later. While the goal was lofty, it was clear that I had a lot to learn. Take fertilizer for example. I had no idea that one kind was any better than the other. Fortunately, a kindly neighbor helped me to learn the value of soil analysis, reading the information on the packages before buying any product, and how the nutrients found in the product would affect the growth of different plants. If you are a novice gardener, let me help. I'll tell you what needs to be in that fertilizer, how to spread it properly, and what it will do for your vegetables.

Tips For Using Plant-Based Organic Fertilizers


If you have decided to grow crops with health in mind, then you may want to use organic fertilizers. Nitrogen is one of the essential nutrients that your crops need, and it is likely one of the most important if you want to see some good crop growth. However, you may be used to using artificial or animal-based products. Plant-based fertilizers are much more common when it comes to organic products. Keep reading to learn about some tips to help you use these fertilizers effectively.

Apply Them Heavily

Plant-based organic fertilizers are a bit different than animal-based ones, and this is mainly due to their overall composition. The products are often made from a type of meal that is predominately soy, alfalfa, cottonseed, or a mix of these ingredients. These meals are more balanced regarding nutrient content. This means that they contain an equal amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

If you are used to laying a thin layer of fertilizer down, then this is not the best idea when it comes to plant-based products. More of the fertilizer will be needed to supply the ample amounts of nitrogen that you are used to using on your crops. Make sure to add a generous amount of the fertilizer. In some cases, you may want to use double the amount that you would if you were using a traditional product. 

In general, the fertilizers are less concentrated too, so apply the fertilizer twice to the soil during the growing season instead of once.

Add Them During The Warm Weather

If you live in a warm weather area, then plant-based fertilizers can work well all year round. However, if you live in a colder climate, then wait until the ground fully thaws until spreading your product. The nutrients within the fertilizer will release when the ground is warm, and microorganisms are active in the soil.

Also, the warm earth will allow you to mix the soil into the top few inches of the ground. This is necessary for a few reasons. It will help the seeds receive the nutrition they need since the fertilizer is not as concentrated. Also, it will prevent animals from eating the fertilizer. Alfalfa is a favorite of rabbits especially, so mixing it into the earth will prevent them, and other animals, from consuming the fertilizer before the plants can use it. 

If you want to know more about organic crop production fertilizer and which ones will work best for your organic farm, speak with a fertilizer professional. 


17 March 2018