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
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.
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
If I want a blended fertilizer, I use a house-brand lawn food. No, it's
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.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
When using Bumper Crop as mulch a 1" to 3" thick layer of Bumper Crop
should be spread on the surface.
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
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.
There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading. The few who
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