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Fertilizing question

Posted by chele519 5 (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 22, 11 at 5:56

In the FAQS in this forum, under the "I'm new to growing from seed" section, it says to fertilize 4-5 days after germination. In the "my seedlings are growing section", and in posts I've read in this forum, it says to wait until seedlings develop their true leaves. Which one is correct or should seedlings have their true leaves within 4-5 days? I have no idea how long that takes.

Right now the only thing I have growing is lettuce and I'm not sure whether I should fertilize or not. I planted the seeds 1 week ago today and used Jiffy mix, peat pellets, and some in MG. The jiffy mix and pellets have all germinated but I only have 1 in the MG. They started sprouting after 3 days but most were up yesterday. They went under lights on the 4th day. I planted peppers last week and hopefully they will start to germinate this weekend so I want to make sure I'm doing everything right.

Also, it says use 15-30-15 fertilizer but i haven't found any so far. Do I need to go to a nursery or garden center? I've seen 10-10-10 and another with 12 but don't remember exactly.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Fertilizing question

My peppers took 4 weeks to germinate.

I use fertilizer when I am putting the seed in the starter mix. I spray some Neptune's Fish Fertilizer which is 2-4-1. Then I wait until they have first set of true leaves before feeding them once a week. Again with the same fish fertilizer oh and I spray the underside of the leaves too.


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RE: Fertilizing question

I use a diluted solution of general purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer in a mister bottle and start after true leaves develope. I use this every time I water them. I put in 1 to 1 1/2 fertilizer for 52 oz of water (because thats the size of my mister bottle)


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RE: Fertilizing question

Well, this is strange. The cooperative extension in my state has an 800 # that is staffed with master gardeners and you can call with questions. I called with a question about their soil testing and asked the same fertilizer question. The person I spoke to said that they don't need any fertilizer until they go in the ground outside. After hanging up I went back to their website where they have links to other states' cooperative extension sites and the state next to us says after the 2nd set of true leaves appear, use 1/2 strength fertilizer. She also sounded surprised that I had started peppers already. She said i'd have to wait for the ground to warm up before they go out but I mentioned it says to start them 8-10 weeks before, I got the impression it was too soon to start them. I guess I will ask all my questions here instead.


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RE: Fertilizing question

ah yes............ those master gardeners are not always "Masters". I respect the social responsibility of the org. but as a teacher myself, I know that not everyone who passes a class is really qualified to dole out "expert" advice on a subject.

Many people stay away from fertilizer until they plant out.The seeds themselves have enough food to get things rolling. I think it probably should depend on how long you are keeping the plants inside under lights. If you are putting them out when they are quite small (2-3 sets of true leaves) then dont bother, but if they are big enough that you are potting them up into 4" or 6" containers then you might want to give them some food.

I suspect that many of us who are starting seeds are getting such a kick out of babying our seedlings along that we want to be more participatory, and giving them fert is giving them love. They can probably live fine without it but it makes us feel better. Try fertilizing half of them(1/4 dilution is suggested) and see if you can tell a difference in the end plants.


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RE: Fertilizing question

When to fertilize?? I don't!! LOL

Kill a few plants from fertilizer you will never be in a hurry to fertilize again!!

Here are some seedlings I planted out 2 days ago!! Grown outside via winter sowing!!

Photobucket


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RE: oh and by the way

15-30-15

Ok lets break that down, first number is for the foliage, second number is the blooms, third number is for the roots.

Well without foliage your not going to have blooms. So if you use a 15-30-15 your promoting growth of blooms but you may not have a good plant to hold your blooms. If you MUST fertilize go with a 15-10-15, or a general all purpose 10-10-10, only worry about the bloom part once your plant is well established.

Now remember I don't fertilize but if your going to do it anyway you might as well know what the numbers mean.


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RE: Fertilizing question

Right now I just have the lettuce that has germinated, that will be going in containers outside. Depending on what happens with the weather, they can probably go out the middle of April if I plan to bring the containers in at night. The peppers will be inside for at least 2 months, at the rate we're going, maybe a little more. We're still getting snow. So I'm assuming I will need to put the peppers in bigger containers eventually.

Thank you for explaining the numbers! If I understand, I will use different fertilizers at different stages in the plant's life? I will look at what I have in the shed to see if i can use it. Is there any problem using old fertilizer (from a few years ago)? I know that I have some of the Miracle Gro in the sprayer that attaches to a garden hose. I don't know if freezing would have reduced the effectiveness.


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RE: Fertilizing question

Oops...I didn't mean 1 to 1-1/2teaspoons...that was suppose to say 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per 52 oz. water-I don't know what I was thinking. :)


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RE: Fertilizing question

This is coming from someone that doesn't fertilize, but yes if I was to fertilize I would start out with the 10-10-10 then later on I would use the 15-30-15 if I wanted to enhance my blooms after the plant is fully grown.

Not sure about the effectiveness of older fertilizer, miracle grow I would think would have a long shelf life if not exposed to many different elements, like moisture and heat.


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RE: Fertilizing question

It's probably better just to buy some newer stuff and keep it in the basement instead of the shed. It hasn't been exposed to moisture but temperature extremes in a hot metal shed are significant. I did find a small bag of 10-10-10 and 12-10-5. The 12-10-5 is labeled for tomatoes and vegetables, the brand is Vigaro. The miracle gro is Liquafeed so that has been frozen and thawed.


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RE: Fertilizing question

"When to Fertilize I don't LOL"

I like that. I never fertilize seedlings either. If you are using the right mix of Pot soil it has enough nutrients for a little plant. I use Miracle Grow and I mix it with Sphagnum Moss. I add fertilizer when I take them outside. To fertilize little seedlings is just like giving one month old baby a meal of Fillet Minion.
I am not expert by any stretch of imagination (Although in the past 5 years we seldom buy any vegetable from the market may be when it snows. I have huge freezer and it has enough to last us for may be 10 months) That is said from my learning and reading the plants do not need food they make their own food they use water, Carbon monoxide and solar power from the sun to make their own food. The Fertilizer is nutrients like vitamins and minerals to human. The three numbers on the fertilizer denote Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Magnesium and a there also a hole host of trace minerals.


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RE: Fertilizing question

I don't fertilise either. If they are potted on they go into fresh mix anyway which has more nutrients. If they are going straight outside they have plenty of lovely earth to grow in. In fact I don't fertilise anything even when they are outside apart from a load of manure once a year for the veggies and a dose of compost everywhere whenever a batch is ready.


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RE: Fertilizing question

I have some lettuce seeds in a purchased seed starting mix w/o fertilizer. I'm wondering when to start fertilizing. Mandolls stated above that "The seeds themselves have enough food to get things rolling." My question is how long do the seeds' nutrients last? Thanks.


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RE: Fertilizing question

You don't give a clue where you live and garden. Starting lettuce in a packaged mix makes me think you are planning to grow to harvest in a container. If that is the case I would not fertilize until the shoots were about 2 inches high, and use a dissolved liquid about 9-3-6 which is about what the plant can use. Lettuce needs to grow fast with no check in the growth. You would get more response by starting your own post. Al


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