Fertilizer Basics


“Dear Horticulturist,

My garden is growing great, but I know I need to fertilize my plants. I know it needs to be done with the right product at the right time or you can kill or mess up your plants, but I just don’t know what the right time is for the various vegetables I have. Do you have a table or something that you could send me or post that would give me a better idea of what we should be doing?

Thanks,

Carrie”

_________________________________________________________________

Hi Carrie,

Thanks for the email. Yes, fertilizing is important — not only in the doing, but also in the ‘doing it right’. Here goes:

Beans

Pre-plant: If necessary, use 5-10-10, 3-4″ deep, at the rate of 1 1/2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 1 T. of 5-10-10 per plant every 3-4 weeks or generous scoop of rotted manure.
Beets
Pre-plant: Work aged manure or com post into top 8″, or 3-4 cups 5-10-10 into top 4- 6″ for every 20-foot row. Side-dress: If growing slowly, use 2 cups 10-10-10 per 20-foot row.
Broccoli
Pre-plant: 3-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 3 weeks af ter transplant with 1 T. high nitrogen fertilizer.
Brussels Sprouts
Pre-plant: 2-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: Once a month with 5-10-10, 1-2 T. per plant.
Cabbage
Pre-plant: 3-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. or 3-4 shovels of aged manure or com post. Side-dress: Month after transplant, 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row.
Chinese cabbage
Side-dress: 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row when plants are 4-6″, then every three weeks thereafter.
Carrots
Pre-plant: 1 lb. 5-10-10 per 50 sq. ft. Side-dress: W h en 6″ tall, use natural fertilizer such as dried manure or f i sh fertilizer. Thin layer hardwood ash, 4″ deep, for potash (for sweetness).
Celery
Fall of year: Generous amounts of com post and/or manure in top 3″. Side-dress: Every 2-3 weeks with manure tea or 1 tsp. 5-10-10 per plant.
Corn
Pre-plant: 3-4 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 2 lbs. high nitrogen fertilizer (urea or ammonium sulfate), per 100 sq. ft. when plants are 8-10″ tall. Use again when silks appear, adding superphosphate to N.
Cucumbers
Pre-plant: Use plenty of compost or well-rotted manure. Side-dress: 4 weeks after planting, just as vines begin to run, use 2 handfuls compost or 1 T. 5-10-10 per plant.
Eggplant
Pre-plant: Mix 1″ well rotted manure or 2-3 lbs. 5-10-5 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: When plants set several fruit, use 1 T. 5-10-5 or 10-6-4 per plant.
Lettuce
Pre-plant: 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 25 sq. ft. Side-dress: 3-4 weeks after planting, use 1 tsp. 10-10-10 per plant. May also use fish or seaweed fertilizer.
Melons
Pre-plant: Generous amounts of rotted manure or compost. Side-dress: Mulched – Use liquid fertilizer (fish, seaweed, manure tea) Unmulched – Use 1/2 cup 5-10-10 for every 4-5 plants. Again in 3 wks.
Okra
Pre-plant: 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row. Side-dress: 1/2 lb. 10-10-10 per 25-foot row or aged manure or rich compost. (Side- dress three times: 1. After thinning; 2. When first pods begin to develop; 3. At least once midway through the growing season.)
Onions
Fall: Mix rich compost or manure into soil. Pre-plant: 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 20 sq. ft. Side-dress: 1 lb. 10-10-10 per 20-25 foot row when plants are 4-6″ tall and when bulbs swell.
Parsnips
Pre-plant: Use a slow-release fertilizer. Side-dress: If a slow-release fertilizer has not been applied, use 1-2 cups 5-10-10 per 25-foot row or its equivalent after 1-2 months.
Peas
Pre-plant: 1-1 1/2 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: When 6″ tall, use 1/2 lb. of a 1:1 mixture of ammonium sulfate and dehydrated manure per 25 foot row.
Peppers
Pre-plant: 1 1/2 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: Monthly with 1 T. 5-10-10 per plant.
Potatoes
Pre-plant: In an 8″ trench or hole, mix 5- 10-10 at the rate of 1 lb. per 25-foot row with 2 inches of soil. Side-dress: When hilled for the 2nd time, use 1 lb. 5-10-10 per 25-foot row or compost, seaweed, or fish emulsion.
Pumpkins
Pre-plant: Mix rotted manure and a handful of 5-10-10 into top 6-8″ of soil. Side-dress: Use 5-10-10 on hill and side roots.
Radishes
No special fertilization necessary.
Rhubarb
Pre-plant: Mix well-rotted compost or manure into soil. Fertilize early spring each year with 2-3 shovels of well-rotted manure per plant or 1/2 cup of 5-10-10. Side-dress: At the same rate in early summer after the main harvest period.
Spinach
Mix compost, manure, and/or 10-10-10. No additional fertilizer necessary.
Squash
Pre-plant: Work plenty of good com post or aged manure into 1 of soil. Side-dress: 1 T. 5-10-10 per plant. Summer squash – When 6″ tall. Again when they bloom
Winter squash
When vines start to run. Again when small fruit form
Sweet potatoes
Pre-plant: 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. of row, plus fine com post. Side-dress: 3-4 weeks after transplanting with 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. (Use 5 lbs. if soil is sandy.)
Tomatoes

Pre-plant: 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. Side-dress: 3 lbs. 5-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. after fruit sets

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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