One of the most important determinants of raising juicy, delicious vegetables in your home vegetable garden is the quality and frequency of fertilization. Learning how, when, how often and with what you should fertilize will depend in part upon the specific needs of the types of vegetables you decide to plant. However, there are some basic guidelines that can also be helpful when planning out your annual fertilization schedule. Below, learn more about the different types of fertilizer that are most frequently used in a home vegetable garden and the best times to fertilize your garden.
The best way to fertilize a home vegetable garden is to concentrate fertilization during times of growth. Typically, with the exception of cool weather or winter crops, the best time to offer fertilization is beginning in the early spring, and continuing throughout the summer growth months into fall for longer growing seasons or plants with long incubation periods. In general, fertilizers that contain higher amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium will promote growth in vegetables.
There are two main types of vegetable garden fertilizer, organic and non-organic or commercial fertilizers. Organic fertilizer includes cow and chicken manure, horse manure, mulching, fish emulsion, blood and bone, seaweed, soya bean meal, coffee grounds and crushed egg shells, nitrogen-producing plants such as alfalfa, straw, and kitchen leavings. Non-organic or commercial fertilizers are generally pre-prepared in pellet, slow release, liquid, or granular formats and should be used as an addition to rather than a replacement for organic fertilizers. Care should also be taken when applying non-organic fertilizer not to burn the leaves or branches of plants. The best approach is to begin with a diluted formula wherever possible and water thoroughly after application to disburse fertilizer throughout the root system of the vegetables.