Fertilizer to use

I grow tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers but I am at a loss as to the type of fertilizer to use and how much. Every one sold in the gardening centers has a different ratio and they all claim to be the best.
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On Thu, 30 Apr 2009 20:27:13 -0400, "Andy Petro"

Let me add to your confusion by saying that I think alfalfa pellets soaked and dug in and alfalfa meal/compost tea are best. Glad to help ;-)
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<http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/envirohort/factsheets2/fertilizer/jan8 9pr6.html>
Last paragraph critical.
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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A soil test (about $15 give or take from your county extension) is the best way to know "What to use" and "How much". Otherwise one can only guess and hope for the best. Tomatoes like a pH 6.4 give or take 0.4.
One could go with shovels of compost around the plant two or three times for the season. Compost also varies from place to place.
Too much nitrogen may give you all nice looking vines and no fruits. So follow the instructions on the bags. N-P-K = Up-Down-and All Around.
Enjoy Life ... Dan
--
Garden in Zone 5 South East Michigan.

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Andy Petro said:

I would recommend first that you get a soil test. That will tell you which plant nutrients your soil has plenty of, and which might be in critically short supply. And I would encourage the use of organic fertilizers and compost, especially if your soil is poorly textured and low in humus.
For instance, my soil has a lot of phosphorus and is critically short of potassium. It's very sandy, and potassium is a nutrient that is prone to leaching, while phophorous is not. My main requirement each season is to supply nitrogen, potassium, and additional organic material. (I made a heavy application of greensand a number of years ago; it is a *very* slow release source of potassium and micronutrients.)
My typical fertilization scheme is to sift alfalfa pellets and compost into the top of the soil (a week or so before planting), and to use kelp spray occasionally during the growing season. Alfalfa supplies nitrogen and some potassium, and the kelp spray potassium and micronutrients.
This suffices for everything I plant, with a couple of exceptions: --Tomatoes, eggplants and peppers get a handful of Tomato Tone when I plant. --Corn will get a side dressing of blood meal or some other source of nitrogen before it begins to tassle.
You can build up your soil bank of phosphorus (if that's a problem nutrient for you) with rock phoshate or bone meal.
Calcium is another important nutrient. The soil testing service should give recommendations for calcium ammendment based on soil pH and other micronutrients. They might recommend gypsum or calcitic limestone, depending on your soil pH. (Dolomitic limestone might be recommended if your soil is also low in magnesium.)
You've already got one good link from another responder.
Here's another link (it is a commercial site, but the info appears to be good, and well organized):
http://www.extremelygreen.com/fertilizerguide.cfm
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

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Good advice. I might recommend just plain ol' fish emulsion. Apparently these plants need some nitrogen, even after they flower, although that is when the potassium and phosphate needs go up.
Pat, why don't you augment your soil with clay (approx.. 20%) and add some charcoal?
I'm very pleased with my reclamation efforts on rock and clay soil but I've added sand, organic material, manure, and try to grow cover crops after the garden is played out.
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- Billy
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Billy said:

<snip a lot>

Everything that goes to the garden has to be hand trucked/barrowed to the way back. I have a long, long, very narrow lot. How the would I be able to get clay in a clean, spreadable form and move it back there?
In my old place, with a clay-based soil, I was able to have someone with a large dump truck back right up to the garden an dump 7 yards of mushroom compost on it. (This was 30 years ago or more and it was cheap; basically had for the price of hauling! *sigh* Much more competition for the good stuff now.)
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Pat in Plymouth MI

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In article

I know you've been doing gardening longer than I have, so I won't preach about the benefits of 10 - 20% clay in garden soil.
No day laborers where you live? It would be expensive to have wheelbarrowed and dug in, but it would be a onetime expenditure and your garden would hold nutrients longer. I'm on S.S. now, but only a couple years back I would schlep in a small truck (Datsun) load of pummace, or sand, or manure. Shovel it over my fence from the road into a pile, and then distribute it around the hillside with a wheelbarrow (wheezing all the while). I would take my time and do it as I could.
Since I started with clay, now I only need to grow cover crops (rye and clover), and mulch with alfalfa to keep the worms and the soil happy.
Now I need to address another of my faux pas (I'm sure you know the English translation for this;O)
Ol' alligator mouth Billy said:

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Tomatoes and peppers need a good jolt of nitrogen and phosphate when they begin to flower. Melons are the same but they can also benefit from side dressing when they start to "run".
UC Davis recommends 3 -4 tons of chicken manure per acre before planting and side dressed with the same at flowering.
http://www.sfc.ucdavis.edu/Research/chili.html Fertilization: Chicken manure (three to four tons per acre) is custom applied a week or more prior to listing. -------- 100 sq.ft. = 0.0022956841 acre. 8,000#/acre = 18.37#/ 100 sq.ft. Side dress with 18.37#/ 100 sq.ft.
Chicken Manure N - P - K: 1.1 - .8 - .5 100 lbs of chicken manure gives 1.1 lb of nitrogen
For side dressing, I'm planning on encircling my plants with chicken manure and then mulching over the side dressing.
http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/HG_2004-07.pdf Recommends side dressing before flowering on cucumbers. Anybody else?
Buddha, I wish it would stop raining :o(
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In article

Rain wet and moist So interfering with some life Still many run about and profligate
They also sing to celibrate Some need not much to party
Hope the wipers work
Bill
--
Garden in shade zone 5 S Jersey USA

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