Hello, best way to fertilize veggies??

Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
Hi there, I am new to the forum and tried searching this topic but couldn't find anything...

I have a medium-size garden (two beds of 70 sq. ft. each for ~150 sq. ft. total) in central California (Sunset zone 9A I believe.) I am growing tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, cantaloupe, and a couple herbs, oh and sweet potatoes!

My question is: for all the expert gardeners out there, is there a preferred method / medium for fertilizing these types of crops? I have been gardening for a long time so I understand N/P/K, as well as calcium/magnesium/sulfur, and the trace nutrients, but I am hoping to see if there is a tried-and-true dummy proof method that you all prefer.

Here is how I have fertilized so far:
Program 1: About once a month, remove the mulch from the bases of the plants, dig a ring around the root ball maybe 4-6 inches deep, and put solid nutrients in the soil around the roots. For this I have been using a crab/marine meal (around 7/3/4) mixed with neem (1/1/1) and also kelp meal. I had good results with this, and my roommate still fertilizes this way and has great results. The downsides are it takes a long, long, long time to do that with every plant, and the nutrient mix is not right for flowering/fruiting in my opinion. Seems great for vegetative growth and lasts a long time between fertilizations.

Program 2: I bought some Foxfarm liquid nutrients and have been just watering them into the soil at the recommended rates. This method is much easier and faster, but it is also more expensive and wasteful, and does not last as long. For heavy feeding, they say to fertilize every other watering o_O. Holy smokes that is going to use a ton of nutrients given I have 7 tomatoes, 6 peppers, and a whole mess of other stuff.

My plants are doing well but could be doing better. Some of them are yellow which I suspect is due to the heavy clay in the soil. Any thoughts / opinions are greatly appreciated thanks!
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
11,484
Reaction score
5,590
Location
La Porte Texas
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
What I do whether it be seeds or transplants is to mix a goodly amount of the pelleted organic fertilizer into the soil rather deeply. Then I plant. I put 2 or 3 handfuls of the fertilizer around the bottom of the plant once a month. Every 2 weeks I pour about a gallon of diluted liquid fertilizer (Hasta Grow) underneath the plant. If the plant shows that it needs something like Iron or Nitrogen I add that as a supplement. This is just what I do. I am sure there are other means just a good.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
Thank you Chuck,

Does anyone else have master-level fertilization routines that they could share? I am thinking I will go back to side-dressing each of my plants and hoping for the best. Or possibly getting into brewing compost tea.
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
4,126
Reaction score
3,168
Location
Kent
Country
United Kingdom
Thank you Chuck,

Does anyone else have master-level fertilization routines that they could share? I am thinking I will go back to side-dressing each of my plants and hoping for the best. Or possibly getting into brewing compost tea.
Horse poo smells nicer :giggle:
 
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
40
Reaction score
41
Country
Ireland
Nettle tea. Smells vile.... oh I nearly forgot the old ideas. Urine diluted 1-10. They call this one "PISS". as in Personally Initiated Soil ? " I forget the last word.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
11,484
Reaction score
5,590
Location
La Porte Texas
Hardiness Zone
8b
Country
United States
Thank you Chuck,

Does anyone else have master-level fertilization routines that they could share? I am thinking I will go back to side-dressing each of my plants and hoping for the best. Or possibly getting into brewing compost tea.
Yes, I forgot to mention compost tea. I don't consider CT as a fertilizer though, more of a soil amendment, microbe building process.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Country
United States
Okay final post on this thread -

Last Saturday I fertilized all my veggies (tomatoes, corn, squash, peppers, beans) by using a vegetable fertilizer (E.B. Stone, something like 4-6-4 if I remember right). I went fairly heavy on all my plants since they have been growing and producing fairly consistently but were showing a bit of yellowing on some of the leaves.

I guess I went too heavy, because when I checked them the next afternoon, the pepper plants had yellow stripes on some of the leaves, and also little spots in the middle of the leaves which were brown and crispy looking, almost like sun damage except not on the margins of the leaf but instead in the center.

I ended up digging out the soil which I had fertilized, soaking the roots 2-3 times each, and then re-applying fresh soil (E.B. Stone 420 mix, which I couldn't find a nutritional profile for, but it has bat guano and some maybe light-ish nutrients in it). After reapplying fresh soil and watering it in, I topped with fresh mulch and had to go out of town for 3 days.

So I get home today after worrying about my babies for the better part of this week, and they look great! That is to say, they still have a bit of burn from the overfertilization, but it has not gotten any worse, and my tomatoes, corn, and peppers still look to be producing without issues. From now on I will only ever fertilize at 50% to 75% max strength, and I may pre-mix the fertilizer in with soil in a bucket before applying it to the roots, so that the ferts don't clump up against the roots and overfertilize them.

Anyway I think I will stick to top/side dressing for now, and am pretty happy with the results I am getting. Thanks again for everyone's help.

HAPPY HARVESTING
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Similar Threads

Hello! 7
Hello from Wisconsin 4
Hello from Wisconsin 6
Hello 7
Noobie saying hello 5
Hello from London 6
Hello everyone.. 4
Hello from San Francisco, CA. I love house plants. And I need them. 7

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
26,744
Messages
257,999
Members
13,321
Latest member
will352

Latest Threads

Top