Only plants can transform air and water into food.... Vegetable garden fertilizer helps plants with this process. Garden fertilizer provides the nutrients to vegetable plants that become the carrots we eat, the salad we order at our favorite restaurant.
Organic fertilizer like compost and green manures help balance our garden soil and release the vital nutrients that keep our vegetable garden thriving
Building the organics in your soil is important to increase fertility and healthy plant growth. Soil rich in humus (plant material) provide plants with important minerals and increased water holding capabilities.
Nutrients help vegetable plants convert sun to energy to complete Photosynthesis.
Mulches can be used as fertilizers. Mulching around your vegetable plants will help keep moisture in the soil longer and will provide humus as the mulch breaks down.
Garden fertilizers contain three basic ingredients Nitrogen, Phosphorus
and Potassium. Vegetable plants also need Calcium, Magnesium and Sulfur
which can be supplied by your soil and rain water.
Nitrogen: is a major nutrient that plants need to grow quickly; it helps in seed and fruit production and contributes to leaf and foliage growth. Plants need strong roots to take up enough nitrogen.
Organic Sources of Nitrogen:
Phosphorus: all plants need phosphorus. It is important for strong root development. It converts sun into energy that helps the plants with stress. Encourages brighter flower blooms.
Organic Sources of Phosphorus:
Potassium (Potash): this mineral helps the plant build protein, makes the plant strong, improves fruit quality and helps the plant fight diseases and utilize nitrogen.
Organic Sources of Potassium:
Organic fertilizers take longer to release to the plants as the nutrients are broken down in the soils during decomposition. This slow action keeps the fertility of the soil up and the vegetable plants have the nutrients during all of the plants growing fazes.
Commercial vegetable garden fertilizers list their formulations with numbers on the front label 12-12-12 indicating the percent of the three major nutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Nitrogen is the 1st number, Phosphorus 2nd and potassium the 3rd number. Some blends include micro nutrients and others do not.
Most vegetable garden fertilizers contain even percentages of each nutrient. Vegetable plants need the extra phosphorus and potassium for fruit development. Too much nitrogen in vegetable plants can increase foliage growth and inhibit fruit development. It is important for vegetable garden fertilizer to have a balance of nutrients.
Garden fertilizer comes in quick release and time release. Osmacoat type fertilizers are coated in sulfur to release the nutrients slowly over time. These fertilizers last for 6 to 8 weeks. Quick release fertilizers release all at once and can be use for quick applications to nutrient deficient plants. It’s like giving plants a shot in the arm. Care must be taken so as not to over fertilize which can burn the plants.
A light dressing of a good 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 garden fertilizer tilled into garden rows helps keep fertility up as you improve your soils structure with organic matter. Rotating your vegetable plants each spring also keeps soil fertility up.
Mulch used around plants is rich in minerals and feed the plants gradually as they break down. Mulching the garden control weeds and keeps the soil cool and moist.
The following organic materials work well for mulching and fertilizer;
Straw and Hay
Mulches can be worked into the soil in the fall or left on top till the
following spring. The rain and sun and elements will break down the
mulch slowly adding nutrients to your soil along the way.