Everyone wants to grow a beautiful garden, but often struggle with pests or lack of proper knowledge. Growing a beautiful garden also requires one to use fertilizers from time to time. Here are some gardening fertilizer tips to grow a beautiful garden like a professional.
Gardening Fertilizer Tips
- Buying Fertilizers
The three numbers on fertilizer containers are the percent of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the fertilizer, respectively. All parts of a plant need nitrogen for growth—the roots, leaves, stems, flowers and fruits. Nitrogen gives plants their green color and is needed to form protein. A lack of nitrogen causes the lower leaves to turn yellow and the whole plant to turn pale green. On the other hand, too much nitrogen kills plants. Phosphorus is needed for cell division and to help form roots, flowers and fruit. Phosphorus deficiency causes stunted growth and poor flowering and fruiting. Plants need potassium for many of the chemical processes that allow them to live and grow. A potassium shortage shows up in various ways, but stunted growth and yellowish lower leaves are common symptoms in many plants. When you buy fertilizer, consider the cost per pound of the nutrient(s). Generally, higher analysis fertilizers and larger containers are less expensive.
- Using Fertilizer
Gardeners should have their soil tested about every 2 years. This is especially important for beginning gardeners who are unfamiliar with growing plants. A soil test clearly indicates the levels of nutrients in the soil and recommends the amounts of each nutrient to add. Soil can be tested in midwinter to prepare for spring planting. Use 2 pounds of fertilizer if the garden is sandy and 3 pounds if the soil is mostly clay. Do not use too much fertilizer. This can kill plants. Two cups of most fertilizers will weigh about 1 pound. If a fertilizer has more nitrogen, use less.
- Methods of Applying Fertilizer
Broadcast before planting
The proper amount of fertilizer is spread evenly over the garden and mixed with the soil to a depth of 3 to 4 inches before rows are made. This method is the least likely to cause plant damage and usually is best for home gardeners.
Band or row applications
The fertilizer is applied in a strip to the side of the row before planting. With this method you must be careful to prevent the roots from coming in contact with the fertilizer band, which can kill plants.
This is used only on transplants such as tomato, pepper, eggplant and cabbage.
Application to growing plants, or side dressing
This is especially helpful on sandy soils or when there has been a lot of rain that may have leached nutrients from the soil.
Fertilize fall gardens in the same way as spring gardens. If a fall garden follows a well fertilized spring garden, you’ll need only about half the spring fertilizer rate at planting. These are some essential gardening fertilizer tips to grow a beautiful and healthy garden.