How to fertilize


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Hi there, I’m new to gardening and I’m lost on how to fertilize my veggie plants. The three fertilizers I’m looking at are one that is high in nitrogen, one is high in phosphate and the third is Worm Casting for a general purposes. Will this work for my basic garden needs?
 
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Hi there, I’m new to gardening and I’m lost on how to fertilize my veggie plants. The three fertilizers I’m looking at are one that is high in nitrogen, one is high in phosphate and the third is Worm Casting for a general purposes. Will this work for my basic garden needs?
When you have two different high number fertilizers it is very difficult to find and maintain the correct balance. I would not do this, especially with synthetic fertilizers. Use a good organic fertilizer such as Medina Grow N Green. Worm castings are not a fertilizer as the NPK of it is 1-0-0. It is a great soil amendment though.
 

Meadowlark

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In the absence of a soil test, and without the benefit of knowing what your garden soil is or what plants you wish to grow, your best bet is to use a balanced fertilizer e.g., 13-13-13. Anything else is just guessing and possibly making things worse.

The worm castings are great soil amendments.
 
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Ok, I see. I know my pepper plants are in need of nitrogen. I’m doing all container gardening. I don’t have the option for in ground or raised bed at the moment. I also have tomatoes, lettuce, kale, cabbage, chard and okra. I know the tomatoes and peppers have different fertilization needs so I thought I would need two different kinds
 

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13-13-13 is your best bet in the absence of soil test info. For the tomatoes and peppers, in addition to 13-13-13 sprinkle a handful of epsom salts around the base of the plants.

For all the others, 13-13-13 will do the job.

The okra is probably nearing the end of its production cycle depending on where you are in Texas. Cold front due next week. Probably a waste to fertilize it.
 
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The Lowes center available to me has a 13-13-13 but it’s almost 45 bucks. I don’t think I need something that large, I’ll have to check my local garden center this weekend. I’m down in San Antonio. Right now it’s almost 100 during the day and low 70 at night. I see next week it’s going to dip to low 90 during the day and mid 60 at night. The okra was a more of an experiment since it was still so hot, I don’t really expect any of the plants to get to the producing phase, it’s been a big learning curve
 
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The Lowes center available to me has a 13-13-13 but it’s almost 45 bucks. I don’t think I need something that large, I’ll have to check my local garden center this weekend. I’m down in San Antonio. Right now it’s almost 100 during the day and low 70 at night. I see next week it’s going to dip to low 90 during the day and mid 60 at night. The okra was a more of an experiment since it was still so hot, I don’t really expect any of the plants to get to the producing phase, it’s been a big learning curve
I wish you would forget about synthetic fertilizers such as 13-13-13-. You are paying for chemicals that WILL wash away during watering or rain. There is a scientific term called Cation Exchange Capacity. To make a long story short synthetic fertilizers are all made with negatively charged molecules. As you know from magnets two negatives repel each other. Soil, whether in a container or in the actual ground, the soil is always a ground or negatively charged. This means that the negative synthetic fertilizer molecules are repelled by the negative soil molecules. This is why synthetic fertilizers have such high numbers....they have to have a large amount of NPK because it is easily leached away. Organic fertilizer molecules are positively charged, it clings to the soil and is much much harder to leach away during rain or watering. And these days with the major makers of the worlds synthetic fertilizers at war the cost is also getting a tad expensive. If you are in the San Antonio area drive out to Bandera to the Boyles Hardware and pick up a 40 lb bag of Medina for 18$ plus tax. At least that was what it cost 5 months ago or go to Hondo where they actually make the fertilizer, 28 miles from Bandera. It is made from poultry manure and other natural ingredients. Organic fertilizers are fool proof. It is next to impossible to damage plants with it, unlike synthetic where if you make a mistake and apply too much it will burn your plants. Add double or even triple the recommended amount of organic fertilizers all that happens is you have very happy plants. And if fertilizing your lawn there is no date you have to fertilize the grass. I have been gardening a long time and I had to use synthetic fertilizers up until about 30 years ago because there weren't any organic manufactured fertilizers. I was an early convert to organics and will use nothing else.
 
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I wish you would forget about synthetic fertilizers such as 13-13-13-. You are paying for chemicals that WILL wash away during watering or rain. There is a scientific term called Cation Exchange Capacity. To make a long story short synthetic fertilizers are all made with negatively charged molecules. As you know from magnets two negatives repel each other. Soil, whether in a container or in the actual ground, the soil is always a ground or negatively charged. This means that the negative synthetic fertilizer molecules are repelled by the negative soil molecules. This is why synthetic fertilizers have such high numbers....they have to have a large amount of NPK because it is easily leached away. Organic fertilizer molecules are positively charged, it clings to the soil and is much much harder to leach away during rain or watering. And these days with the major makers of the worlds synthetic fertilizers at war the cost is also getting a tad expensive. If you are in the San Antonio area drive out to Bandera to the Boyles Hardware and pick up a 40 lb bag of Medina for 18$ plus tax. At least that was what it cost 5 months ago or go to Hondo where they actually make the fertilizer, 28 miles from Bandera. It is made from poultry manure and other natural ingredients. Organic fertilizers are fool proof. It is next to impossible to damage plants with it, unlike synthetic where if you make a mistake and apply too much it will burn your plants. Add double or even triple the recommended amount of organic fertilizers all that happens is you have very happy plants. And if fertilizing your lawn there is no date you have to fertilize the grass. I have been gardening a long time and I had to use synthetic fertilizers up until about 30 years ago because there weren't any organic manufactured fertilizers. I was an early convert to organics and will use nothing else.
Bandera is over an hour away, one way. That’s not a trip I can make easily. I’ll stop by my local garden center for compost. I know without a doubt my pepper plants need nitrogen now, I have some all purpose vegetable fertilizer I’ll use in the mean time. We have a mild winter so if the pepper plants can make it, I’d prefer to overwinter them for next year
 
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Listen to Chuck, don't go synthetic if at all possible. I don't go for the bagged commercial stuff myself, I hate spending money. My best tip is do you have anyone keeping horses near you? They shit a huge amount and people are usually very glad to find someone who will shovel it up and take it away. The only concern is whether they have been fed weed treated hay.
Poultry manure is excellent if you can find someone keeping chickens, it can be a bit strong, but add it to your compost heap.
I have seen people here who collect coffee grounds from coffee shops, any sort of organic waste like that is useful.
If you are concerned about poisons make a long term compost heap, the nutrients won't disappear, but things like caffeine and weed treatments will degrade given enough time.
When I make compost with stuff like weeds and hedge clippings I run it all through the mower first, it really speeds things up, not a lot of nutrient in that, but adding a bit of manure will help all round, and in quite a short time you can have an excellent mulch.
When I take plants out I run over the area with a rake, a lot of the mulch will have disappeared into the soil, but there is plenty of bits of twig and tougher stuff, I sling those back into the compost. When you add stuff like that you are also adding lots of the micro organisms that break things down, a sprinkle of soil occasionally is good too.
The only organic material route I wouldn't go nowadays is adding cardboard and paper to compost or mulch generally, so much of it is made with recycled stuff and has plastic added to hold it together now. I do use cardboard boxes flattened to kill off weeds in places that are completely unkempt, but they will come up in time, I won't dig them in with the dead weeds.
If you burn stuff, or have a wood stove, the ash is a good source for potash.
 
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Bandera is over an hour away, one way. That’s not a trip I can make easily. I’ll stop by my local garden center for compost. I know without a doubt my pepper plants need nitrogen now, I have some all purpose vegetable fertilizer I’ll use in the mean time. We have a mild winter so if the pepper plants can make it, I’d prefer to overwinter them for next year
Most all nurserys in the SA area carry Medina as it is locally produced. And for a quick fix of nitrogen just use blood meal. It is faster acting than granular fertilizers and very good stuff. If you are close enough stop by a nursery called Shades of Green. This is a totally organic nursery and has everything you can imagine.
 
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About overwintering pepper plants. It can easily be done in the correct conditions but your plant will have fewer peppers next year and the plant will be more difficult to keep healthy. It is difficult giving them enough light here in the winter and even with artificial lighting they still decline
 
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Thank you both, I stayed up late trying to understand soil needs and amendments better and I have idea of what I have to do now. I’ll make a trip this weekend to pick up the blood meal and some compost. I’m realizing now that the soil has very little nutrients in it for the plants. Your probably right about saving the pepper plants over winter, they are still so tiny and unwell it’s not worth it. If I can just get my jalapeño plant to finish producing the one pepper it has I will be happy haha!
 
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We all do it sometime, I have had parsnips like bits of string, to name but one failure caused by being in a rush and failing to prep the soil properly. The other one is putting things in the wrong place, not enough sun, too much wind, won't drain. I have had a crop that was more than we could eat off an eight foot row of peas one year, and hardly a plateful the next year in a different place. Luckily I kept a couple of plants in the same area and they did alright. You live and learn, and hopefully it gets better and better :)
 
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Thank you both, I stayed up late trying to understand soil needs and amendments better and I have idea of what I have to do now. I’ll make a trip this weekend to pick up the blood meal and some compost. I’m realizing now that the soil has very little nutrients in it for the plants. Your probably right about saving the pepper plants over winter, they are still so tiny and unwell it’s not worth it. If I can just get my jalapeño plant to finish producing the one pepper it has I will be happy haha!
Blood meal should cost around 12$ and you only use about 2 tablespoons per plant and normally 4 times per season is plenty in poor soils but if you also fertilize with something like the Medina you would only use it if the plant let you know if it needed more nitrogen. Bloodmeal has an N value of 12. Zero P & K
 
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13-13-13 is your best bet in the absence of soil test info. For the tomatoes and peppers, in addition to 13-13-13 sprinkle a handful of epsom salts around the base of the plants.

For all the others, 13-13-13 will do the job.

The okra is probably nearing the end of its production cycle depending on where you are in Texas. Cold front due next week. Probably a waste to fertilize it.
What are the benefits of Epsom salts? Being curious, I'm still learning
 
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13-13-13 is your best bet in the absence of soil test info. For the tomatoes and peppers, in addition to 13-13-13 sprinkle a handful of epsom salts around the base of the plants.

For all the others, 13-13-13 will do the job.

The okra is probably nearing the end of its production cycle depending on where you are in Texas. Cold front due next week. Probably a waste to fertilize it.
Because of poorer light levels, we HAVE to grow our indeterminate tomatoes single-stem (double at most), & this makes a 13-13-13 fertiliser too high in nitrogen for us in the UK; we'd get loads of leaf growth & fewer tomatoes.
For that reason, we'd use a much lower N & P rating, say 2-2-6, so that we give the tomatoes just enough nitrogen to keep on growing, similarly phosphate, but plenty of potash for flowering & fruiting.
 

Meadowlark

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Because of poorer light levels, we HAVE to grow our indeterminate tomatoes single-stem (double at most), & this makes a 13-13-13 fertiliser too high in nitrogen for us in the UK;

That's interesting but the Op is from the great State of Texas where the stars at night are big and bright and the Sunshines an average of 2631 hours annually in the Op's location.
 
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That's interesting but the Op is from the great State of Texas where the stars at night are big and bright and the Sunshines an average of 2631 hours annually in the Op's location.
You also get the sun much higher in the sky than we do in the UK, especially when we get to Scotland, which is where I am.
Port William, where I live is 54'45" N to give you some idea how far North we are:
The point is that, once again, what is undoubtedly excellent advice for those of you in Texas, is perhaps not as valid in the UK, a number of whose members have posted on this topic; it is not merely for the purpose of contradiction.
It may also be the case that some members, for whom the advice is excellent, are interested in how we have to use different methods according to our circumstances.
 

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