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Fertilizing - When?

Posted by saood Saudi - zone 10b/11 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 7, 13 at 2:03


As for watering the containers, a rule that has been prescribed by almost all of the experts is to measure the moisture level beneath 1-2 inch of soil surface and water if dry. This gives me a yardstick to determine "When" to water.

However, for fertilizer I am not able to find any such yardstick? Unlike watering they seem to be very general guidelines like vegetables are heavy feeders and containers require more feeding etc. etc.

"Heavy" and "More" are relative words and it is a bit difficult for a newbie like me to determine the "When". Most replies on this forum and on the internet in general have been more of "I do this.... and I do that..." without telling (or perhaps knowing) the reason. Seems like most follow sort of schedule for fertilizing. Is schedule the only way to fertilize? Perhaps because waiting for the plant to signal signs may be a bit late? Is it so?

Can the Pros shed some light on this query of mine? I have spent around 2 hours in search for an answer before finally resorting to posting over here :-)

Would highly appreciate the usual help.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Fertilizing - When?

I'm still relatively new at this as well but I guess it depends on what you are fertilizing with to be honest.

The label will usually give you general usage guidelines. You can kind of go from there and figure out what works best for you/your plants. They will usually tell you if something's off.

It'd also depend on what you were growing. Is it flowering? There are so many variables... Like I said, I'm still learning and figuring all this out as well :-)

RE: Fertilizing - When?

Another newbie here.
I will grow mostly peppers in 5.1.1. mix next season, in small pots (Under 3 gal.).

One thing I know that you have to learn to read your plants. Too much foliage, can mean too much fertilized. Yellow pale green foliage may indicate too little fertilizer and/or too much water.

With regular potting mix (MG or similar) you can do it once a month or so because the medium can hold the fertilized for a good long time. But with Gritty mix types it is not the same. That is why I want to figure it out how to do it.

RE: Fertilizing - When?

saood, living organisms exhibit a sigmoid curve of growth.
During the steepest part of this curve, the plant (in this case) must not suffer any condition that will limit its growth (in size) or its development (in complexity).
A perennial flowering plant can serve as a good example.
After it has flowered, it will commence a new cycle.
It will put out new roots and shoots. These will grow in length and girth. In nature this will coincide with favorable weather conditions like rainfall, sunshine hours and suchlike. It is during this period that we will want to make quite sure that the nutrient status of the plant is maintained at the optimum level or else it might not be able to attain its full potential. You can stretch your mind a bit if you consider Liebig's Law.
Then there is the question of the final product.
Forgive the commercial agriculture biased examples; but if you are growing carrots, then all the parameters will be different than those for a crop like spinach or lettuce.
The very variables are what make the quest that more exciting.

RE: Fertilizing - When?

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 9, 13 at 23:14

fertilize when the plant is actively growing.

Most of the time people refer to fertilizing as feeding as though it were an animal and when you feed it the animal grows. This is not really accurate. The nutrients must exist in the medium in an available form so that the plant can uptake them. When the plant is growing slowly, the reservoir of nutrients is depleated slowly. So if your medium can hold a large reservoir of nutrients, you don't have to fertilize often. When plants are growing fast, you have to fertilize more frequently. If your medium can't hold a largre reservoir of nutrients then you will have to fertilize more frequently. That is why you get different strategies like hydroponics where a nutrient solution with 300ppm N is used on a continuous basis, or commercial container culture where 1-4# N provided by controlled release fertilizer is added per cubic yard of medium and then the containers are irrigated with a 25ppm N solution, or the hobbyist that uses an organic premade mix with who knows what already mixed in and they irrigate with plain water most of the time and with a 350ppm N solution once a month. there are a lot of different ways to ensure that plants have access to the nutrients they need.

RE: Fertilizing - When?

It is unusual to find posting from Saudi! I was there for two years and was not able to grow anything at all, especially during summertime. I live in Florida now and trying to grow Bougainville, but cannot get them to flower. At this moment, I am visiting Khobar and amazed to find the bougainvillea flowering here! Please post pictures of your tomatoes. Would love to see the progress..:)

RE: Fertilizing - When?

Great to know that you are here. The tomatoes are going great. Out of around 10 plants, two have quite a lot of tomatoes on them and one has started to show some. A few others have started to flower. This has happened in about 3 months time.

The problem is I haven't been able to get anything apart from Tomatoes. I got a small pepper plant from the local garden shop and got that to fruit. From seeds, the peppers and cilantro have been a disaster. No luck beyond the germination stage. Also had a some success with cucumber. Out of 9 seedlings, one of them has been able to go beyond the germination stage and has given quite a lot of leaves. I believe I will be seeing its first flower in a couple of days.

I will be trying my luck at carrots and radishes this week and also again with some more peppers. Hoping to get some success.

Thanks for you response. It sure was when I had forgotten about it :)

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