How much fertilizer to ue

Got me a tub of 5-5-5 pure organic fertilizer. Bone meal, blood meal, gypsum, potash, cottonseed meal and grape pomace. For my plants by height it says to use 1/4 cup per foot. Seems like a lot but it is pure organic. So I just work a 1/4 cup measure into the soil in each pot? How often do I do this?
The product is Nurseryman's Bumper Crop Booster. It was recommended by a little old Japanese guy so I figure it has to be right.
Paul
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On 6/26/2009 10:34 PM, Paul M. Cook wrote:

5-5-5 is quite weak. Blood meal by itself has more nitrogen while bone meal by itself has more phosphorus. Cottonseed meal is merely repeating the nitrogen. Gypsum adds calcium, which is alread in bone meal. I'm not sure what the pomace adds other than perhaps compost.
You will have to dig this into the soil of each pot so that the soil bacteria can work on the organic nutrients and convert them into something that will disolve and that plant roots can absorb.
In general, the bone meal will be wasted because it needs to be at the tips of plant roots. The phosphorus will not disolve. Instead, bone meal should have been blended into the potting mix before any plants were put into it.
I'm not sure that potash is really needed with a potting mix that contains good compost. The compost should provide all the potasium a plant will ever need.
Gypsum is another thing that should not be necessary. It is generally used on heavy clay, with which it reacts chemically to make porous and granular.
If I want a blended fertilizer, I use a house-brand lawn food. No, it's not organic.
For potted plants, I blend blood meal, bone meal, a pinch of iron sulfate, a pinch of zinc sulfate, and a pinch of Epsom salts with peat moss, coarse sand, and a little compost to make a potting mix. The nutrients are there before the plant is in the pot. I find that I need to repot the plants before the nutrients are exhausted.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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I would let the plant go 2 weeks without a feeding before applying Bumper Crop Booster. Then add Bumper Crop Booster as a mulch.
Another web site I came up with is http://www.ext.vt.edu/departments/envirohort/articles/vegetables/peppers . html When should you fertilize your peppers? Take your choice -- either before planting or throughout the growing season. Little or no difference in yield was seen in a study that compared the effects of slow-release fertilizer applied before planting to soluble nitrogen fertilizer applied several times throughout the season.
Note, several means three or more times.
The nice thing about organic fertilizers is that besides feeding the plant they feed soil organisms. The community of soil organisms in turn feed your plant because when they die, or poop, they feed your plants. Chemical fertilizers will feed your plants but kill the soil organisms, so the plant goes through feast and famine. Even with time release, you are still killing the microbes that feed you plant at a steady rate. The chemical fertilizers are water soluble and are leached out quickly when you water, organics aren't.
When you get a chance, check out "Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web" Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis (Amazon.com product link shortened) /ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid06815176&sr=1-1 from the library. If you get the first edition, there is a big screw up in the description of pH, otherwise it is just like the second edition. It will explain, very clearly, with charts and diagrams, why supporting microbial life is so important to your plants.
Last thought, you may want to invest in mycorrhizal fungi for your pots. They complement the feeding of your plants making more nutrients available to them (up to ten times more in the case of phosphates). They aren't needed in garden soil, but in potting mix, it can be very beneficial, according to Jeff Lowenfels. Google him and check him out or write to him at snipped-for-privacy@gardener.com.
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- Billy

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wrote:

Just because it is "organic" does not mean it can not burn. Follow manufacturer's directions carefully, especially for potted plants. Never used grape pomance, so I need to read up on it. In general I fertilize monthly, alternating between organic and inorganic fertilizers. Also, look at the overall health of the plant--if distressed hold back on fertilizers until you know the cause.
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"Paul M. Cook" wrote:

I seriously doubt the quantity suggested is for potted plants... seems way too heavy an applicatin... how do they know the *volume* of soil contained by the pot... and I've never seen fertilizer directions given for plant height whether potted or in the ground. Potted plant fertilizers are typically of the type that are dissolved in water, with directions for strength of solution and how often to apply. There are also time release fertilzer pellets that are suggested for potted plants, but I'd not use those except for plants directly in the ground.. I would never use dry fertilizer for potted plants. What's the brand of this fertilizer, does the label have contact information, a web site? Since it suggests using dry measure perhaps it means mix 1/4 cup per cubic foot of potting soil. I hope you didn't already water your plants (you'll likely damage or kill them), I suggest you scoop out that fertilizer you already scratched in and top off with fresh potting soil. Then find out the exact directions from the manufacturer... in fact from the info you've provided I'd throw that product away and buy a name brand fertilizer appropriate for your plants.
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If you are talking about O.D.ing the plant with blood meal, wood ash, or some kind of salt, I would agree, but O.D.ing a plant is sooo much easier with chemferts and they still kill the flora and fauna of the substrate, including the mycorrhiza you may have added to your post to aid your plants. One of the nice things about "organic fertilizers" is that they are nearly fool proof, unless you are adding fresh manure. It really takes gross negligence to muck them up. If you have evidence to the contrary, I would love to see it. Wikipedia does have an article on fertilizers and mentions organic fertilizers as being capable of burning roots, but they all lack citations. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fertilizer#Inorganic_fertilizers_.28mineral_ fertilizer.29

I have, and I still have grapes coming up after 6 years have passed. I PRESUME that pumace in potting soil/mulch would have be sterilized by heat before packaging.

Chemferts are water soluble. They are quickly flushed from the ground or from your pots. Chemferts are also absorbed quickly by plants, and the nitrogen sources, (NH4, NO3) that aren't immediately needed, are stored in their leaves. Quick growth means soft tissue, and high nitrogen attracts insects. Organic fertilizers are slow release, allowing slow continuous feeding of the plant without advertising themselves as targets.

Agreed, and conversely, if your plant seems healthy, don't try to fix it.
The reason for the large quantities of "Bumper Crop" that were suggested is apparently because it will be used as a mulch.
Bumper Crop When using Bumper Crop as mulch a 1" to 3" thick layer of Bumper Crop should be spread on the surface. http://www.cambrianursery.com/bumper_crop.htm
I presume that your previous potting soil had a phosphate source, as does the "Bumper Crop". The mycorrhiza that I previously suggested, available at most nurseries, is particularly efficient in transporting phosphate to your plants roots.
Typical NPK numbers for manures are Manure Chicken Diary cow Horse Steer Rabbit Sheep N 1.1 .257 .70 .70 2.4 .70 P .80 .15 .30 .30 1.4 .30 K .50 .25 .60 .40 .60 .90
Alfalfa Fish Emulsion N 3 5 P 1 1 K 2 1
Also see http://www.geocities.com/nonamuss/organic_npk.html for any adjustments you may want to make.
Organic fertilizers in general will have low N-P-K numbers. It is slow release and the soil organisms will make their contribution as well. Bigger isn't always better. With NPK, it just makes it easier to burn your plants.
For my pepper patch (roughly 100 sq. ft.), I applied 18 lbs of chicken manure, 2 cups of rock phosphate, 1 cup bone meal, 1 cup wood ash, and mulched with alfalfa.
In some ways, you are fortunate to be growing n pots, because you already have your soil analyzed, and you don't need to worry about adding Epsom salts and such.
In the future, for growing in pots, I would rejuvenate my old soil (unless you had some trouble with it, like wilt) with NPK sources, add some organic material (5% - 10%), and feed with fish emulsion. With experience, you will find what works best for you.
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- Billy

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