How often do you fertilize your veggie garden?

aaaaaaaa(6)June 6, 2011


I am sure sometime back someone had this question on this forum. However, I could not locate it.

Any way. My question is the subject itself--how often do you fertilize your veggie garden. They are usual veggies--tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, some Asia greens, gourds, cucks.

It seems that I go crazy with fertilizing these veggies!! Once a week on Friday morning with "All purpose miracle grow" fertilizer--its like there is no tomorrow.

Is this too much? My plants seems to enjoy it and looks healthy. It is 20 X 20 veggie patch.

Any reasonable suggestions/advice welcome.

Thanks in advance.

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They all have different fertilizing needs, and fertilization depends on soil, pH, and rainfall. But relatively speaking, the greens need more nitrogen than the other plants, given more times, 3 or more in a year. The rest are all fruiting plants and will be happy with a single or double N application early in the season, but need more potassium, once a season is enough.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:13AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree with glib. Each vegetable has different needs so the "vegetable Garden" itself doesn't get fed, just the individual vegetables as needed and only with the specific nutrient they need.

So yes, once a week with with "All purpose miracle grow" fertilizer" is way too much for in ground beds. Once a month - maybe. It is too much for many of the vegetables you list. It is costly, wasteful, can interfere with fruit production (lush plants with minimal fruit), attracts pests like aphids and white flies who love the excess N, builds up the salts in your soil, and creates phosphorous run off into ground water problems.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 10:04AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

need to be carefull fertilising vege's especially with high nitrogen fert's it can make them more attractive to bugs. for us we never fertilise we mimic nature so we mulch with green mulches ie.,. spoilt hay etc.,. and tuck our rottable vege scraps under the mulch along with spent vege plants.

and our worm farm is our garden beds.

no failures yet.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 1:21PM
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Yes, the P excess in these "all purpose" things is the worst part, from a waste (no new P mines have been discovered since the 1980s) or environmental point of view. and a google search shows that the OP fertilizer is 15-30-15! Asian greens need 15-4-8, and tomatoes 15-5-30.

And of course, they may not need anything except a bit of N every year. Some of my beds are in a place that was a 10-10-10 fertilized lawn for years, and I would not think of ever adding P, though I add some inadvertently through wood ash.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 1:23PM
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I do not apply much fertilizer. I am a hobby gardener with six raised beds for veggies. Most of my soil enhancement is in the preparation stage. From fall to early winter, I turn in as much compost, ancient manure, chopped leaves, grass clippings, etc, that will fit into the beds. At planting, I might throw in a little handful of an organic fertilizer, like one of the Espoma products,and a bit of Bone meal, and I might spray a fish/seaweed emulsion from time to time. After some years, I have nice dark brown soil, friable, water retentive, but with good drainage, and home to lots of earthworms and it seems to produce nice vegetables. I do, of course,experience the same growing problems others do. However, I think good soil preparation and maintenance is the easy effective way to go.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:32PM
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If you can't break the habit, at least consider using half strength.

If you want to satisfy your habit, start making compost tea. :)

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 11:00AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

yep tea or pee in a bucket and add some bath water and use that around the plants, lots cheeper than buying man made stuff. might even manage to save some drinkable water by not flushing so much urine??


Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 2:30PM
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I have an 8x8 raised bed that I filled with topsoil last year and added 300 lbs. of black cow manure as well as a barrel of compost and everything that i planted died......? This year I had my soil tested and they said all I needed to add was some 34-0-0....I also added the contents of my compost barrel as usual, and have tomato plants about two feet tall with blooms, green beans about a foot high that look great and okra that is up about 2-3 inches. My question is, did I burn it up last year with too much fertilizer and should I add anything else this year or leave it like it is? I'm new at this and need all the help I can get!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 6:32PM
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Brenda - was the cow manure fresh last year? I don't think you burned everything, unless it was fresh - what did the plants look like? Seems strange that the test station told you this year to add 34-0-0 (NPK) if there was that much N last year.

If things are looking good this year, I'd leave it alone (or at least until you test again, now that you've added fertilizer (?) and compost).

I had someone ask me today if I had problems with green beans last year, I said no they did great. He bought transplants (I didn't know you could transplant green beans), and said he hardly got any beans. He was using MG every 3 days and had lush foliage and no flowers! I just told him to lay off the MG this year, plant them and keep them watered they should do fine.

I hate to think what was running off his garden.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 6:42PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

A factor not mentioned so far is soil differences. I've had gardens and orchard on both very permeable and highly impermeable soils.

The very permeable soils need small doses of nitrogen as often as every two weeks. If I don't fertilizer at or before planting it may take weeks to get things like melons growing with adequate vigor. Then to maintain vigor more small additions of nitrogen every 2-4 weeks.

On the soil with very slow drainage all nitrogen could be applied preplant. And if too much was applied it could take 2-3 years to get fruit tree vigor back into bounds.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 6:54PM
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We work grass clippings in in the fall and add another nitrogen source in the spring. I use a synthetic starter fertilizer on any transplants when they're put out. We don't apply any further sort of fertilizer at all. The garden is in-ground and 3100 to 3500 square feet, depending on the year and what we're growing. Our soil is naturally high in potassium (Saskatchewan is a leading producer of potash in the world), so we never have to add any. It's also highly alkaline; we've started adding sulphur when needed to bring it to a more neutral(ish) level and it's making a big difference.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:57PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I agree with most posters espacially tn-gardener.
I fertilizer even less than half strength but I do it more often.

There is a good point on "P". Phosphorus binds to the soil and plants take what they need. This is just opposite of "N", which leaches and also plants are just crazy about it.

So, I have some 21-0-0 fertilizer and some all purpos. But I will get some jus "K", if it is available. For example potatoes don't need much "P" but require mostly "N" and "K". Same , I think goes wit allium and brassica.

But because This year started new container garden(Raised beds) I bought soil( with compost) from nursery. I think the soil has almost no nutrients. Therefor I started fertilizing with all purpose. Then I feed the green on ocasion, just N.

Theplans pretty much reflect the soil. If they are nice green, growing normally, producing flowers/fruits then they are happy.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:38PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

When I put in my tomatoes at the beginning of the season, I toss in a bit of lawn fertilizer just to give the plants a kick, greenery-wise. It'll be months before the things are supposed to fruit, so I'm not worried about P&K. I can't say it helps, nor can I say it hurts. They grow like crazy.

With good bed preparation, with compost and maybe a bit of mulch dug in, as well as just digging in fallen, dried leaves in the fall, I've never seen any need to add anything else. Worms aplenty. If I had to buy stuff to feed my plants, I probably wouldn't do vegetable gardening.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:04PM
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mctiggs(2b (WPG, MB))

Len, you put second hand Foster's in your garden?
Never heard of that.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 1:24PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

What is "second hand Foster's"? MC

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 3:17PM
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I'm guessing first-hand Foster's has to do with first growing certain types of grains, no? ;)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 3:31PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Fosters lager. 2nd hand because it has already been used once. Excellent on the compost heap too. (In fact my opinion of Fosters is that it's only sensible use is on the compost heap or garden.)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 4:33PM
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