Question about fertilizers

Discussion in 'General Gardening Talk' started by NerdOfTheJungle, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. NerdOfTheJungle

    NerdOfTheJungle Plants love nerds

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    Hello,

    I'd like some input on the following:

    Lately, I've been curious to know if combining different types of fertilizer is considered wise or even beneficial for vegetable gardens. Such as brand X + brand Y, or brand X + Brand Y + compost / worm tea etc.

    I've searched online to find the pros vs cons of combining fertilizers as well as if combining has any actual added benefit other than possibly introducing more micro nutes, but I haven't been successful in finding anything with specific answers.

    For example, does combining a 5-5-5 fert with a 2-5-2 fert = 7-10-7 NPK (some online articles say yes, others say no) or is it capped out at the highest level already combined with (with the example, adding 5-5-5 to 2-5-2 would still result in 5-5-5 due to 5 being the highest ratio of NPK per weight) and what benefit, if any, would combining different fertilizers of liquid / water soluble would there be?
     
    NerdOfTheJungle, Jul 11, 2018
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  2. NerdOfTheJungle

    Chuck

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    I don't know the answer on the actual numbers but I do know that by combining DIFFERENT TYPES of organic fertilizers is beneficial. For instance combining a manure based and an alfalfa based fertilizer is beneficial, not only to the plant itself but also for the soil although either is excellent by itself. I wouldn't say combining the two is twice as good as either one separately though.
     
    Chuck, Jul 11, 2018
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  3. NerdOfTheJungle

    DirtMechanic

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    10 lbs of each combined, would reduce your given N and K of the 5-5-5 while the P would remain the same.
     
    DirtMechanic, Jul 11, 2018
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  4. NerdOfTheJungle

    TomatoTango

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    Organic fertilizers aren’t as accurate to measure as synthetics. Adding them up doesn’t work that way, especially with organics. Combining different types of fertilizers can be hugely beneficial, depending on the plant type, soil conditions, and plant stage. There is more online research demonstrating this then I care to read.

    Plant stages dictate what you want to feed them as well as watching for a response. In basic terms plants usually want N during veg and P/K during bloom with micros covered throughout. Using multiple sources for the same thing can be beneficial as well since they’ll have different breakdown periods. I feed the soil as well as the plants.

    I liquid fertilize some of my plants every other watering and ph adjust to specific needs. I sometimes combine 5 or more different products at reduced strength (1/4-1/2). It’s almost never a good idea to use full strength anything unless the plant is clearly deficient. I fed my tomatoes last week and gave them about 20 different things, no joke.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
    TomatoTango, Jul 11, 2018
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  5. NerdOfTheJungle

    Leeski

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    Woo very interesting I just feed everything comfrey tea or seaweed and nettle tea will have to have a read up on this sounds complex but very interesting !
     
    Leeski, Jul 11, 2018
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  6. NerdOfTheJungle

    TomatoTango

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    Most of the research shows 2-3 products combined and in particular combinations of organic/inorganic. For example manure and synthetics leading to reduced soil degradation or kelp/humic acid as a foliar spray improving size or yield.

    Some products these days use 5-10 different sources already. Dr. Earth, Foxfarms, Neptune’s Harvest, and many others have a wide assortment of combined products that are super effective. There are even exotic hybrid fertilizers now combining everything you can imagine. Experiment, there is so much we don’t know.
     
    TomatoTango, Jul 11, 2018
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  7. NerdOfTheJungle

    Chuck

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    It is common knowledge that synthetic fertilizers degrade the soil over time. Reduced or non-existent organic matter and soil microbes for existence. In your second sentence perhaps the combination of organic/inorganic fertilizers was to try to fix the problem of using synthetics alone?
    Most humic acid is man made although the end product is the same chemically as natural humic acid. This is the reason why HastaGro cannot be labeled as organic.
    I only grow 75-125 tomato plants per season and that number is a mixture of different varieties. This isn't a large enough number to assert that a foliar spray of humic acid/liquid seaweed/kelp improves size or yield so I can't verify nor can I deny. But I can verify that liquid seaweed/ humic acid does indeed toughen up the exterior of a tomato plant to make the issue of spider mites just about a non issue.
     
    Chuck, Jul 11, 2018
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  8. NerdOfTheJungle

    TomatoTango

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    I’ve seen research saying synthetics combined with organics led to larger fruits or yield than organic/natural fertilizers alone. Who knows what they started with, the soil ph, the weather, or any other variables that may have been intentionally or accidentally ignored. I’m sure it does lead to some soil degradation or negative changes. I’m not even promoting anyone do this sort of thing, but I’ve grown large plants synthetically, organically, and using both methods.

    There are 1,000’s of papers online coming from all sorts of countries saying all kinds of different things are yield or growth boosters. I don’t really know what specifically leads to better results with some plants over the years since there are simply too many variables at times. I know that each year all my plants, in general, continue to get better.

    It really comes down to what each individual is comfortable or capable of doing in terms of time, money, and even attitudes/beliefs. I’m not suggesting that everyone treat their tomato plants like marijuana, as it can get fairly expensive, but I give mine all micros and macros biweekly in addition to heavily amending raised beds with organic/natural inputs. It’s probably overkill, and I probably am mentally unstable at times due to labor inputs, but it sure is fun.
     
    TomatoTango, Jul 11, 2018
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  9. NerdOfTheJungle

    Chuck

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    Its a fact that good soil leads to good crops and poor soil leads to failure. I, personally, do not see the benefits of using synthetics which invariably leads to poor soil. I suppose that if one had fair soil and used synthetics he would get a good crop but at some point in time the soil would be dead and the plants would rely totally on the synthetics, which would invariably lead to using more and more synthetics. It just makes sense to me to use only organics which not only feeds the soil but also feeds the plants. Prior to 1980 there weren't any organic fertilizers on the market or at least I'd never seen or heard of them. I was forced to use oil based fertilizers and without a lot of work incorporating organic matter into the soil I was forced to use more and more oil based fertilizers each year. It got to be rather expensive on a small farm with limited means. I had 13 acres under cultivation of tomatoes and when I first heard of organically made fertilizers I did a little study and figured that in 3 years I could wean my farm completely off of non-organics. It took twice that amount of time because I had no way of getting enough organic matter to incorporate into the soil and the result was as expected, poor crops. But when finally completely rid of synthetics the amount of produce I grew equaled or surpassed that of the synthetics. And to make it even better my insect problems basically went away and the quality of my tomatoes were improved. Since 1980 I have not used any oil based/synthetic fertilizers of any kind on anything. Now, in my garden of about 1/4 acre, I use about 80 lbs of manure based pelleted fertilizer per year, plus what products I use for compost tea. I also use different amendments if a plant or group of plants show a lacking of something. The only organic matter I can get are dead oak leaves and I incorporate a lot of them into the garden and compost pile.
     
    Chuck, Jul 11, 2018
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  10. NerdOfTheJungle

    TomatoTango

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    I wouldn’t argue with any of that. I use hardly any synthetics or what I consider fairly benign ones and I hardly have any problems. Some plants are easier than others. But I put lots of organic, homemade or nearby sourced inputs in like horse manure, compost I make, leaves, straw, broken down wood dust, worms, wood ash, and clay.

    This only makes up 1/2 of what I amend as I also use other natural or organic store bought inputs like bone meal, langbeinite, and kelp meal. I amend my soil or sidedress plants monthly with dry ingredients and biweekly with wet ones. They get an enormous combination each time I interact with them for efficiency and accuracy.
     
    TomatoTango, Jul 11, 2018
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  11. NerdOfTheJungle

    Chuck

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    I do basically the same thing except that it is so hot and dry here that I use compost tea every 7-10 days depending on if it rained. Then I irrigate with a drip system. On side dressing I use 1/4 cup of pelleted fertilizer every 2 weeks out to the drip line. My tomato growing season is 60 days at most. This year it got hot 40 days early. I had a LOT of tomatoes but the extreme continuous heat stopped fruit growth. It got so hot and dry that the deer actually ate every one of every plant in my garden. So much for tomato plants being toxic. But on a positive note not all of them are dead and are coming back, hopefully in time for a fall garden. It finally rained for the past 3 days and I can really see a dramatic change from compost tea and rainwater. After the deer ate everything I could see no reason for following what I had been doing concerning irrigation and fertilization. I'd like to see a synthetic garden come back after all mine went through.
     
    Chuck, Jul 11, 2018
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