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when to fertilize seedlings?

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 4, MI (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 21, 09 at 19:19

I am currently growing turnips, carrots, romaine lettuce, bush green beans, spinach, and icicle radishes (a.k.a.
white radishes).

Is when you fertilize vegetable seedlings dependent upon which variety of vegetable you're growing?

Currently the only ones that have germinated are the white radishes, bush green beans, and carrots. The carrot seedlings have actually come up earlier than anticipated; they're supposed to germinate in 10-14 days and it's only been about a week since I planted them (the carrot seedlings just started germinating yesterday). The radish seedlings started to pop up earlier, but are still only a few days old.

My question is would it be feasible to fertilize seedlings and if so how old do they have to be before you start fertilizing them? Please specify this information in weeks or days; don't need an exact figure, a guesstimate will suffice. Would I use a weaker dosage of fertilizer since I would be using it on seedlings? The fertilizer I have
is granular and you dissolve a tablespoon in a gallon of water for outdoor plants; you're supposed to fertilize every 7-14 days after the initial dosage of fertilizer is given to your plants.

My other question is how much fertilizer to use per vegetable. Do light feeders like root crops (turnips, carrots and icicle radishes for me since that's what I'm growing) and leafy crops (spinach and lettuce for me) even need fertilizer treatment or will they be okay without it? If it's going to be more beneficial to them to fertilize them I could use advice regarding the quantity of fertilizer
to give. I'm planting my turnips in a 10 gallon container, my bush green beans in a 10 gallon container, my icicle radishes in two 3 gallon containers, and my lettuce one in a 5 gallon container and one in a 2 gallon container.

Regarding the soil mixture, there is 3 gallons each of soil, peat moss, and miracle gro in the 10 gallon containers. In the 3 gallon containers there is 1 gallon each of Miracle gro, top soil, and peat moss. For the 2 gallon containers about 1/2 gallon each of peat, top soil,
and Miracle gro.

I included the soil mix info that I'm using because I am assuming how much fertilizer you use is dependent upon how much soil you have and/or how big your plot is. I could be wrong on this, but better safe than sorry in my opinion.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: when to fertilize seedlings?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 21, 09 at 22:04

There is no need to fertilize until seedlings have their first true leaves (not cotyledons), but there is no harm, either.

The strength of the solution depends on what type of fertilizer you're using and what the temperature is, but if temperatures are above 50*, you can start out by saturating the soil with a 1/4-1/2 strength solution.

How often you fertilize after that depends on your watering habits, how fast the soil is, and what strength you fertilize at. If you're using a soil that drains freely so you can water copiously enough that a good amount of water exits the drain hole each time you water without risking root rot. You might try fertilizing at 1/2 strength every week or full strength every two weeks.

There is no reason you cannot fertilize the plants on your list with a 3:1:2 ratio fertilizer like 24-8-16, 12-4-8, or 9-3-6 and expect good results.

For more information & answers to most of your questions, you can follow the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fertilizing containers

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