My vegetable garden is lacking in nutrients and I want to be able to
get the soil improved before I start planting in April. Would it be
okay to really load up the soil with commerical fertilizer and seaweed
now in Feb or is it better to just feed the garden on a regular basis
while the plants are growing?
The latter is probably better, but fertilizer is only part of the
equation. What is the
texture and organic content? What will you grow? If you grow carrots
or beans, probably you
won't need much fertilizer, if any, just a sprinkle of wood ash. In
fact, if you fertilize them,
the beans yield will be reduced, and the carrots will be hairy and
branched. And the fertilizer
needs of, say, squash and cabbage are quite different. In any case,
the organic content of
the soil should be 10% or better.
If seaweeds are the locally available organic matter, put it on right
now, then fertilize
slowly during the season according to the specific vegetable needs.
Thanks, that's good to know. I had no idea that over fertilizing
reduces bean yield!!
I always put the leaves from the fall into the garden so there is lots
of organic matter and plenty of worms. I did the entire garden with
wood ash 2 years ago so it's probably time to clean out the ash pit
again . . .
not being an professional, merely a keen amateur, my tuppence worth is if
you want to use synthetic fertilisers do so at the time of growing as and
when needed. If you are using organic fertilisers and soil amendments such
as animal manure, coffee grounds, sea weed etc do so some weeks/months
before planting as it takes a time for the organic manures to break down and
be effective. The latter will also add organic matter to your garden doing 2
jobs in one. Synthetic fertilisers go fairly directly to the plant whereas
organic fertilisers get broken down in the soil first and then extracted by
A word about wood ash, don't apply it to early if using it as a fertiliser
(it has good % potassium and some phosphorous) as it leaches easily. Apply
it when plants need P & K. If you use it to change the soils ph I guess you
can use it before planting but allow some decent rain to wash it it.
Personally I have used animal poop several months before planting and water
based feeds if when needed during the growing season.
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