When And How To Fertilize Your Vegetable Garden For The Best Results?

Plants, including vegetables, like people, can benefit from nutritional supplements to help them thrive, but unlike us, plants don’t have to struggle to take their supplements every day. In this article, let’s talk about when to apply fertilizer to garden.

Photo Credit Fertilizing your garden is a complex process, and making a mistake can have dire consequences.

A fertilizer is a potent tool that, when applied correctly, can promote plant growth and health. Therefore, if you want a great harvest at the end of the growing season, it is essential to know when and how to apply fertilizer to your vegetable garden

Don’t we all want abundant harvests from our vegetable gardens?

Whether we are growing veggies to can and store for the winter, selling at a farmers market, feeding our own families, or giving as gifts to friends and neighbors, we usually aim for abundance. And that is where fertilizers come in. Fertilizers can help to promote fruit, foliage, and blooms, increase production, and even improve the disease and pest resistance of the plants.

Your vegetables can be fertilized in a variety of different methods. And many gardeners mix and match their fertilizers and gardening strategies to get the best results. Fertilizer applications on a regular basis keep veggies strong and prolific. However, it would help if you fertilized based on a soil test and the needs of the plant, as the nutritional requirements of different plant families and species are different.

So, if you have a vegetable garden, read on! The health and vitality of your vegetables are essential to you, and we’ll go over all you need to know to keep them in the best form.

Is Fertilizing Vegetables Necessary?

Is Fertilizing Vegetables Necessary?

Photo Credit All edible plants are nutrient-suckers, but some have voracious appetites compared to others.

Consider fertilizers to be dietary supplements for plants. When plants lack a particular nutrient, fertilizer is used to provide them with what they need. The use of fertilizer is crucial to the health and productivity of vegetable crops, especially in commercial settings. 

In addition, when vegetables grow, they draw essential nutrients from the soil, and some of them have such voracious appetites that they will rapidly deplete the soil’s supply of those nutrients (and then produce a poor crop). 

The use of fertilizers helps to restore these depleted nutrients in the soil, which is essential for maintaining optimal conditions for robust plant and vegetable growth. Therefore, the first thing a first-time gardener should do is have their soil tested, so they know what kind and how much fertilizer to use to bring it up to a “basic fertility” level. 

Every single specimen, from the smallest bud to the fully mature vegetables, has fundamental nutritional needs that must be fulfilled to maintain a productive and healthy plant. 

This is where fertilizers can help. How? 

Fertilizers contain a range of nutrients, both macro, and micro, that are necessary for the health and growth of plants. What are these? Continue reading to find out!

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are found in extremely low concentrations throughout the plant’s tissue. Even though plants only consume a very tiny amount of these nutrients, they are nonetheless critically important to the plants’ and the microbes’ general health. 

Elements such as chloride, iron, copper, boron, and molybdenum are examples of micronutrients. However, the distinction between micronutrients and macronutrients does not imply that one type of nutrient is more vital; rather, it simply indicates that varying concentrations of each are necessary for plants to maintain healthy growth.

Macronutrients

Vegetation takes in a lot of primary macronutrients but not as many secondary ones. Each of these nutrients is essential to the plant’s growth because it performs a unique function without which the plant cannot survive. They are generally critical crop nutrients because they directly impact plant growth and are necessary for forming various plant parts. 

The essential macronutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, and you may be familiar with the acronym N-P-K on the fertilizer packaging. 

These nutrients serve different purposes, but they’re all essential for plant growth. Deficiencies in any one of them can have a wide range of negative impacts on the plant, depending on which nutrient is lacking and to what extent.

Related: Q Is For Quinoa: Quality Veggies That Start With ‘Q’

Fertilizer Fundamentals

Plants take in their nutrients as fertilizer while we humans are busy chewing on vitamins and hoping that the taste of artificial cherry will disappear soon. However, when it comes to fertilizing your vegetables, there are a few things that you should be aware of!

Fertilization Planning

Fertilization Planning - when to apply fertilizer to garden

Photo Credit Fertilization strategies vary depending on the type of food plant being grown.

If you have a vegetable garden, you should start by testing the soil. Plants, particularly vegetables, give off visual clues such as low bloom or crop production rates, loss of flowers or fruit before maturation, leaf yellowing, or stunted growth. 

All of these things act as visual cues indicating a nutrient abnormality within the soil or the plant itself. To get the most out of your growing season, plan out your fertilizer applications ahead of time by prepping the soil. The results of a soil test can also shed light on the messages your plants are sending through the signs mentioned above. 

However, you should always begin by eliminating other potential causes, such as infestations and diseases, because some of the symptoms of these conditions can be confused with those of nutrient deficiencies. Despite this, some gardeners choose to follow a feeding regimen that spans over the entire year to maintain the health of the soil. 

This could include applying plant food once every four to six weeks or following the instructions on the package without any prior planning.

When To Apply

when to apply fertilizer to garden

Photo Credit The best time to fertilize your plants is during their active growth phase.

If the results of your testing were not as satisfactory as you had hoped, you should take the time to make adjustments before you plant any seeds or transplant any seedlings. 

Here your vegetable garden may benefit from the addition of fertilizer, which will help your plants to flourish. For best results, you should begin fertilizing the plants at the beginning of the growing season, as soon as the ground is workable.  

Even if you have already sown your seeds or planted your seedlings, you can still apply granular fertilizer around the plants. However, you should not use liquid fertilizer because it can burn the young roots of your plants. Fertilizers can also be of assistance to plants that are growing slowly or have begun to turn yellow. 

If, however, your plants are healthy and vibrant, you may want to hold off on adding more fertilizer for a little while. You should also consider the site’s substrate, as sand or heavy clay may affect the types and timing of fertilizer you use.

Vegetables In Clay Soil

When compared to vegetables grown in sandy soils, those grown in clay soils have a lower fertilizer requirement. After planting, the majority of the time, only one application every four to six weeks is sufficient. Just use the color of the foliage and the vigor of the plant as guides. However, crops grown in organic soils may require very little additional fertilizer.

Vegetables In Sandy Soil

It is essential to provide consistent feeding for vegetables growing in sandy soil that is both porous and well-drained. Therefore, through the course of the growing season, a well-balanced fertilizer is typically applied once every three to four weeks. 

However, don’t stop the applications when the fruit appears; instead, continue to apply fertilizer as needed to ensure that production will continue.

Here are the active growing seasons for some common vegetables which will definitely help you determine the best time to fertilize your vegetable garden:

  • It is common practice to fertilize ornamental trees, shrubs, and perennials as soon as their dormancy breaks at the beginning of each plant’s growing season.
  • When it comes to perennial plants, the timing is determined by the plant’s growth cycle. For example, fertilizing the strawberries that bear fruit in June after harvest is the most beneficial. On the other hand, blueberries benefit from having fertilizer applied early in the season, around the time when buds begin to form.
  • When the tomato plant begins to produce flowers, it is time to switch to a low-nitrogen fertilizer. This will help the plant have more flowers and fruit rather than foliage. On the other hand, tomatoes will require additional fertilizer about halfway through the growing season because the plants will have taken up and used up any existing nutrients.
  • Many gardeners who grow long-season crops like corn apply a starter dose of fertilizer at the time of seeding, followed by a second, larger dose in early summer, before the period of rapid foliar growth. It’s because these plants experience their most rapid growth in the middle of summer.
  • The period of rapid growth begins early in the spring for lettuce, arugula, kale, and other leafy greens, and these plants need to be fertilized accordingly.

Related: R Is For Radish: Radiant Veggies That Start With ‘R’

Which Fertilizer Should You Use?

There are many ways to provide nourishment for your garden. Many are completely natural, and some are derived from food sources you eat as part of your diet. 

Some of them are not even purchased in neat packages from the store. However, let’s start by talking about the ones that come in neat packaging:

Processed Fertilizers

Processed Fertilizers

Photo Credit Nutrients in processed fertilizers are typically designed to dissolve quickly.

Most processed fertilizers, but not all, are quick-release and come in water-soluble form. This allows the fertilizer to quickly deliver nutrients to the plant, which can be beneficial in certain circumstances.

Phosphate rock, sodium chloride, and potassium chloride salts are some examples of the natural components that are used in their production. However, these salts have been refined to increase their concentration in processed fertilizers. They are commonly sold in liquid and granule form and are referred to as synthetic fertilizers.

How To Use A Liquid Fertilizer?

If you are going to use liquid sprays, the best time to apply them is on dry days, either early in the morning or early in the evening, when the leaves have had time to take in the chemical that you are spraying on them.

Avoid spraying on particularly hot days because this can cause the vegetation to burn. If, on the other hand, you are using liquid concentrate, you must ensure that the fertilizer is diluted correctly in accordance with the instructions.

In addition, before applying liquid fertilizer to plants, it is critical to water them thoroughly with water to prevent the roots from being scorched in the event that the soil is dry. Most gardeners wait two to three weeks after seeding before feeding with liquid solutions.

How To Use A Granular Fertilizer?

In general, it is beneficial to apply granular fertilizers right before a good rain since it helps in breaking the fertilizer into the ground where roots can access it. This can also be done by watering the soil after applying the fertilizer.

For granular fertilizers, lighter supplemental treatments can be made during the growing season to the top inch of ground in crop rows and perennial beds as well as around the water pipes of trees or shrubs. 

However, spread granular fertilizers over a large area, either by hand or with a spreader, as the first application of the season’s “starter” fertilizer.

For first applications, granular fertilizers can be applied either manually or mechanically. Alternatively, if you already have the seeds planted, you can side-dress the fertilizer along the rows.

Organic Fertilizers

Even though most organic fertilizers are designed for a delayed release of nutrients, some do have a quick-release feature. Nevertheless, most organic fertilizers, which are often given in the granular form, are slow-release, adding organic material to the soil and reducing the frequency of fertilizer applications.

Organic fertilizers are usually composed of elements that are sourced from plants and work by gradually releasing nutrients into the ground as a result of the activity of microorganisms. Here are a few examples:

Manure

Manure is an excellent fertilizer source with a minimal downside if given enough time. If you have access to fresh manure, make sure to let it sit for some time before spreading it. When applied directly, manure, which is often produced by cattle, typically contains pee, or more particularly, urea and ammonia, which can cause severe vegetation burns. 

The nitrogen content of fresh manure is relatively high, much above what is required for its usage as fertilizer; as a result, it can cause burns to the vegetation it comes in contact with. Additionally, it is possible to include some types of bacteria together with other pathogens capable of causing severe illnesses. But don’t be concerned. 

You can always acquire manure that is sterile and free of contaminants from internet marketplaces like Amazon. Below is the link to one of my favorite products:

Organic chicken manure

Photo Credit Espoma Organic Chicken Manure 5 – 3 – 2. 25 lb. Bag

Fish Emulsion

In particular, leafy greens and brassicas get a kick out of eating this kind of fertilizer food. However, I find it far more convenient to make my own, especially considering how simple the process is.

Steaming is an easy method for preparing mussels and other shellfish. After the water has cooled, simply pour or spray it in the same manner as before. 

However, it is typically also obtainable in liquid form that can be sprayed or poured over after being diluted. The link to my go-to product is provided below for your convenience. Plants that do well with high levels of nitrogen will thrive when treated with fish emulsion.

Fish and seaweed fertilizer

Photo Credit PetraTools Liquid Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer, Fish Emulsion Fertilizer for Vegetables, Fruits & Plants.

Blood & Bone Meal

Both bone meal and blood meal are precisely what they sound like: ground-up bone and blood that has been dried up. The nitrogen content of blood meal is relatively high.

Earlier I explained that this macronutrient is very useful for developing leaves, so it is advisable to avoid using it on fruiting plants. If you don’t take preventative measures, you risk having a dense forest instead of a productive garden. 

On the other hand, bone meal has very low nitrogen and very high phosphorus content, making it a great choice for providing root nutrition. It is recommended to work bone meal into the soil before sowing or transplanting, and you should make sure to soak it in thoroughly.

You can apply it to veggies that grow bulbs and roots, or you can distribute it over the whole intended site several months in advance. Either way, it will work. The following is a list of links to some of my favorite products that contain blood and bone meal:

Photo Credit Down to Earth Blood Meal Fertilizer 12 – 0 – 0, 5 lb – Photo Credit FoxFarm Happy Frog Steamed Bone Meal Fertilizer

Greensand

Greensand, also known as glauconite, is a substance that is mined from the ocean floor and used as a soil conditioner or fertilizer. It has a bluish-green appearance, and its composition includes marine lime, phosphoric acid, potash, silica, iron oxide, magnesia, and approximately 30 more trace minerals.

Also, keep in mind that greensand doesn’t dissolve. As a result, the process of decomposition demands additional time. 

This means you’ll have to wait longer for it to take action, so you should put it into your substrate at least a year in advance if you want to be safe. 

However, it is an excellent amendment to use in soils rich in clay or sand since it helps enhance friability while retaining additional moisture.

Greensand - when to apply fertilizer to garden

Photo Credit Gardeners Supply Company Natural Greensand Fertilizer | Supplies Minerals to Loosen Clay Soil

Wood Ash

Ash from wood fires, such as those found in bonfires or wood burning stoves, can be a valuable addition to the compost pile or spread straight on fallow land and then tilled in. It may provide some of the potassium and other nutrients that a plant needs. 

Be cautious while using wood ash, however, and compost your ashes wherever possible. If possible, the application should be made in the fall, well before the start of the season, so that the components can undergo natural decomposition over winter.

The ash should be spread out on the ground and then thoroughly tilled in. In addition, it is most effective as a fertilizer for vegetables like brassicas, nightshades, and root vegetables, like a soil pH that is somewhat acidic and has a high potassium content.

If you do not have ash at home, don’t worry! You can get it here:

Wood Ash

Photo Credit Greenfieldeco Hard Wood Ash for Root vegetables (Very Fine Superior Grade Sieved Powder, 4.7 kg)

Related: Red As A Beetroot: 13 Different Types Of Red Colored Veggies

Banana Peels

Bananas have the highest potassium content of any fruit or vegetable, with more than 40 percent by volume. Therefore, you need just bury them beneath the surface of the soil to use them as fertilizer.

If you don’t have room for a composter, this is an excellent alternative to enrich the soil. Moreover, since banana peels do not include too much nitrogen in their biochemistry, they are also an excellent choice as a fertilizer for tomatoes and peppers, which both have a low demand for nitrogen in the soil.

Eggshells

Eggshells do not give a plant all of the nutrients it requires, but they can be utilized as a supplement to your regular fertilizing routine. Both outdoor garden soil and indoor plant soil can benefit significantly from being fertilized with eggshells. They include potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, all essential minerals for the development of plants. 

Typically, they are washed, crushed, and then mixed with the soil to act as fertilizer. However, for plants to use the nutrients in eggshells, some time is required. Therefore, when you have worked them into the soil, you will need to allow them some time. The following is a link to an eggshell fertilizer that can be purchased from Amazon:

Eggshell fertilizer

Photo Credit Egg Shell Powder Soil Fertilizer for Plants – Egg Shell Fertilizer

Worm Castings

Home gardeners who are looking for a completely natural method of feeding their plants often turn to worm castings as their material of choice. And there’s a solid reason for that: they are highly effective. In addition, castings from earthworms are naturally rich in organic materials and desirable microbes, both of which are beneficial in various ways. 

Castings from worms can be used in vegetable gardens, and when added to garden beds, they provide the soil with nutrients of a very high grade.

If you have the tools to farm worms at home, you could save money by having your own source of worm castings rather than purchasing them. However, you should not be concerned about it if you do not have one. You can always purchase them over the internet. 

You’ll find a link to it below for your convenience:

Earthworm casting - when to apply fertilizer to garden

Photo Credit Espoma Organic Earthworm Castings – Use Indoors and Outdoors.

Compost

Compost - when to apply fertilizer to garden

Photo Credit It is more accurate to refer to compost as a “soil amendment” rather than a “fertilizer.”

A compost pile that has been thoughtfully constructed is a thing of beauty. To be fair, it’s a thing of putrefaction and the decay of organic matter that’s full of bacteria, yet despite all that, it’s magnificent. The term “compost” refers to decomposed organic material. 

It can be made up of discarded food, dead leaves, grass clippings, or any other type of plant matter that has died. As a result, compost possesses an impressively high nutritional density and confers numerous benefits to the plants it applies to. 

When we talk about “compost,” we are talking about a specific type of organic matter that has been broken down in a compost pile. A large number of gardeners generate their own compost by maintaining a mound like this in their backyards.

The primary distinction between compost and fertilizer is in each product’s intended use. The soil is nourished with compost, while fertilizers provide the plants with nutrients. Because of this, if you are attempting to cultivate plants with a high nutrient need, you must remember that compost is not a suitable replacement for fertilizer. 

Compost, fertilizer or both can benefit plant growth, and experienced gardeners have little trouble selecting the best for their gardens. Compost that has been allowed to decompose for an extended period of time often includes a wealth of nutrients. However, it can be challenging to determine the exact quantities of its various components.

Fertilizer Needs For Common Garden Vegetables

In this section, we are going to concentrate on the requirements for cultivating some of the vegetables that are most frequently found in home gardens. So, let’s have a look at what these types require in order to reach their maximum production potential.

Roots & Tubers

Roots & Tubers

Photo Credit A fertilizer with a healthy dose of phosphorus is ideal for encouraging the development of root vegetables.

Root vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips, as well as less common veggies like parsnips and rutabagas, are a favorite among homeowners because they are simple to cultivate and can be stored for the winter. 

These vegetables require an additional supply of phosphorus (the P in N-P-K), which can be obtained from bone meal, wood ashes, or rock phosphate. You can also fertilize with a 5-10-10 synthetic or processed fertilizer, which supports root and stem growth while providing a smaller amount of nitrogen than is required for root crops.

Legumes

Legumes

Photo Credit Legumes have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria and don’t need extra nitrogen.

Growing legumes in a garden not only provides food for the gardener’s family but also adds nutrients to the soil. Some examples of legumes include green beans, soybeans, lentils, and peas. Members of this family can fix nitrogen in the ground, making them stand out among the other crops on the list.

When combined with the right bacteria in the soil, legumes are able to convert nitrogen gas from the air into a form that plants can use. 

So, they do not require nitrogen and can even contribute nitrogen to the soil; nevertheless, they need an adequate supply of phosphate and calcium for the greatest results.

Leafy Crops

Leafy crops - when to apply fertilizer to garden

Photo Credit Fertilizers with a little higher nitrogen content are ideal for the growth of leafy vegetables.

Although lettuce, spinach, and other vegetables in which the leaves make up the majority of the plant are not heavy feeders, they demand rich soil containing a significant amount of organic material.

Also, since these plants aren’t being cultivated for their edible fruits or roots, thus the lack of need for phosphorus and potassium is understandable. 

Using natural fertilizers like kelp and seaweed, such as those found in seaweed and kelp, can assist in developing green crops to their fullest potential.

Fruiting Crops

Fruiting Crops

Photo Credit Fruiting crops do best when fertilized with an organic fertilizer that is heavy in phosphorus.

A fruiting crop is not actually a fruit but rather a vegetable that bears “fruit” that is consumed by people in place of the leaves or roots of the plant. Fruiting crops include vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. They require fertilizers with a high phosphorus content. For best results with fruiting crops, use blood meal, cottonseed meal, composted chicken manure, feather meal, and soybean meal. 

Phosphorus promotes healthy bud and fruit development, and calcium lessens the impact of common ailments, which are of utmost importance with fruiting crops. 

Fertilizer applications high in nitrogen should be avoided with this group since they contribute more to developing dense foliage than fruit production.

Cucurbits & Melons

Cucurbits & Melons - when to apply fertilizer to garden

Photo Credit High levels of phosphate and potassium, and low levels of nitrogen, are excellent for cucurbits.

Cucurbits are herbaceous vines that sprout tendrils and are adapted to warm temperatures; they cannot survive in frosty conditions. They contain things like cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, and many different kinds of melons, amongst a great many other things. 

Regarding fertilization, cucurbits need very little nitrogen but a lot of phosphorus and potassium to produce healthy fruit. Moreover, you should get your soil tested to look for calcium inadequacies, which is a major nutritional issue in cucurbits.

Corn

Corn

Photo Credit Both phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are required in large quantities for good corn growth and yields.

Corn is recognized as a really heavy feeder, and it may be grown in gardens with sufficient area for it. Nitrogen and potassium are the two most essential nutrients required for healthy corn growth, although calcium, sulfur, and manganese are also crucial. 

In addition, fertilizer should be added to the planting location in advance to boost the available nutrients and again after the plants reach a height of approximately four inches.

Brassicas

Brassicas -

Photo Credit In general, brassica plants require 3 pounds of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet of growing space.

Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and mustard are all Brassica (Brassicaceae) family members. With these, you will want to use a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of either 10-10-10 or 5-10-10 for practically all types of brassica. In addition, brassicas require 3 pounds of nitrogen for every 1,000 square feet of growing space. 

Furthermore, these vegetables need nitrogen-rich soil because they are made up entirely of leaves and stems rather than fruit. In general, the production of nutritious brassica crops requires a significant amount of potassium as well as nitrogen.

Alliums

when to apply fertilizer to garden

Photo Credit The fertilizer you use on your allium plants must have the correct ratios of each nutrient.

Alliums are a type of bulbous perennial plant that can survive for up to four years after being planted. There are hundreds of species in this family, some of which are farmed and used, such as onions, garlic, scallions, shallots, leeks, and chives. 

Alliums do not require excessive fertilizer. However, they will get off to a good start if you use bone meal or bulb fertilizer when you plant them in the fall and then use a light dose of all-purpose fertilizer when you plant them in the spring.

Always Perform A Soil Test

Always Perform A Soil Test

Photo Credit You can determine which nutrients are truly needed for your plants by having the soil tested.

No one will be able to tell you what your soil truly needs without first putting it to an assessment in a laboratory that focuses on soil testing. Even if you have been fertilizing your garden for many years, you could discover that you do not always obtain the results you want or those that are satisfactory. The issue is that you are not adding the thing that your soil requires because you do not know what that thing is.

For instance, boron is a crucial element, but sandy soils can often make it difficult for plants to absorb enough of it, which can lead to various problems for vegetable crops. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are unaware of it, and unless you get your soil professionally analyzed, there is no way to determine whether or not it is deficient in boron.

If you want dependable and accurate results, you may consider sending a soil sample to your local extension office. A soil test will also tell you the pH of your soil, and if your soil does not have the correct pH, your veggies will never reach their maximum potential, regardless of what kind of fertilizer you use and how much of it you apply.

In a perfect world, the best time to take a sample of the soil would be either after harvest in the autumn or before fertilization in the spring. Also, do not take a soil sample too soon after applying lime, fertilizer, or manure or when the ground is overly wet.

Dos & Don’ts Of Fertilizing A Vegetable Garden

when to apply fertilizer to garden

Photo Credit You should only fertilize your veggies once in spring and once or twice in summer.

If they are used incorrectly, fertilizers can result in excess of a beneficial substance. Therefore, keep these guidelines in mind on how to fertilize your vegetable garden so that you can provide your plants with what they require at the precise time that it is needed.

DosDon’ts
Keep an eye on your plants all growing season.

Mix fertilizer in with the soil before planting if needed.

Fertilizer should be used as directed.

Use the right amount, or even a little bit less.
Don’t use lawn fertilizer as it has too much nitrogen.

Fertilizers should not be applied while experiencing drought, extreme heat, or any other form of stress.

Never use fertilizer without first having the soil tested.

Final Thoughts

Vegetables need a well-balanced supply of nutrients to flourish to their full potential. Therefore, when growing vegetables, it is always recommended to provide the plant with extra food so that you may get the most out of your produce. 

When planning when and how often to apply fertilizer to your vegetable garden, there are several elements to consider. All these factors were discussed in the article above. I hope you find this information useful and happy gardening.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best type of fertilizer for a vegetable garden?

The best vegetable fertilizers have a balanced composition and an NPK value of either 10-10-10 or 5-5-5. And even though most vegetables require a well-balanced fertilizer, some require additional potassium, whereas leafy greens often only need nitrogen.

What time of day is best to fertilize a vegetable garden?

It is best to refrain from fertilizing vegetable plants during the hottest part of the day. This can cause vegetation burns. Instead, fertilize plants early in the morning or late in the evening to minimize any potential problems and get the most out of the nutrients.

What fertilizer do vegetables need?

Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are the three types of fertilizer nutrients that are needed by vegetables in the greatest quantities. Many other nutrients, such as manganese, iron, copper, and zinc, are also required but in much lower concentrations.

How often should you fertilize a raised vegetable garden?

During the growth season, a balanced fertilizer is typically administered to a vegetable garden once every three to four weeks. Also, don’t cease the applications when the fruit appears; keep applying fertilizer as needed to ensure that production will continue.

What fertilizer is best for tomatoes?

The optimal fertilizer for tomato plants is one that provides not only the macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium but also essential micronutrients. 

Some farmers opt to use a fertilizer high in phosphorus, denoted by a greater middle number, and typically has a ratio that looks something like 3-4-6 or 4-7-10.

Sources for Further Reading

Fertilizing the Vegetable Garden – 7.611. (2022). Retrieved 22 November 2022, from https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/yard-garden/fertilizing-the-vegetable-garden-7-611/#:~:text=A%20common%20recommendation%20for%20vegetables,per%20100%20feet%20of%20row.

Fertilizing Vegetables | University of Maryland Extension. (2022). Retrieved 22 November 2022, from https://extension.umd.edu/resource/fertilizing-vegetables

Vegetable Gardening: Applying Fertilizer – Gardening Solutions – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (2022). Retrieved 22 November 2022, from https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/care/fertilizer/applying-fertilizer-to-vegetables.html

FS626: Fertilizing the Home Vegetable Garden (Rutgers NJAES). (2022). Retrieved 22 November 2022, from https://njaes.rutgers.edu/FS626/

Fertilizing Your Vegetable Garden | Extension | University of Nevada, Reno. (2022). Retrieved 22 November 2022, from https://extension.unr.edu/publication.aspx?PubID=3167

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