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How To Fertilize Your Vegetable Garden – Simple Secrets That Work!

Here is a look this week’s show notes, product links and reference links for How To Fertilize Your Vegetable Garden. You can also check out all of our past episodes here at : SIMPLE GARDEN LIFE EPISODES

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Show Outline / Show Notes –

Why fertilizing is so important

Limited resources in the soil – vegetables deplete them quickly, no matter how rich the soil is.

Some plants feed heavier than others – tomatoes, peppers, corn heavy feeders

Others like greens, onions, garlic – lighter feeders

Fertilizers replace lost nutrients, which ensure that soil nutrient levels are at an acceptable level for healthy growth.

Story of test garden – identical soil in rows – difference between the two in health and production.

How & When To Fertilize Your Garden:

Allow Your Plants & Seedlings To Establish First

Young plants can be burned easily from too much fertilizer, especially liquid fertilizers that can reach the roots quickly

Establishing in the soil allows them to be able to draw in the nutrients

Allow 7 to 10 days after transplanting to begin fertilizing. With seed crops such as corn and beans, allow the seeds to germinate and grow for a few weeks as well.  *You have already added nutrients to the soil when they were planted.

Selecting The Best FertilizerHow To Fertilize Your Garden

The key is picking fertilizers that provide a burst of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. These are the key nutrients most vegetable plants need most.

NPK listed on packages as 10-20-10 or something similar

There are many pre-made organic choices to choose from to address individual crops needs. Here is what you need to look for when purchasing fertilizers for specific crops.

Many plants do better with higher phosphorus or potassium levels rather than just nitrogen:

Tomatoes 5:6:8

Root Crops 2:8:4

Squash 5:10:10

Higher Nitrogen Ratio:

Berry Bushes 5:3:4

Corn 6:3:3

Fruit Trees 5:3:4

Brassicas 6:3:2

Liquid vs. Granular

Two Prong Approach works best:

We prefer using liquid fertilizer over granular. Liquid fertilizers such as compost tea, worm casting tea, or all-purpose liquid organic fertilizers provide a much faster boost to plants. And they all include the needed ingredients for fast growth

Liquid fertilizers also have the added benefit of being absorbed both through the roots and foliage. For our plants, we apply a quarter gallon of liquid fertilizer to each plant every two weeks for 8 to 10 week

Know When To Fertilize

Question Of The Week : From Beverly in Belmont, Texas asks “ When is the best time of the day to fertilize? Does it make a difference when I apply it?

Never fertilize vegetable plants during the heat of the day. Plants are at their highest level of stress during the mid-day sun.

Not only are they less likely to be able to soak up the nutrients, depending on the fertilizer and method used, the scorching sun can burn and injure plants

Know When To StopHow To Fertilize Your Vegetable Garden

It’s also important to know when to stop fertilizing your garden plants. Once a plant hits full production mode in mid-summer, it is time to cease fertilizing all-together.

At this point, the plant will only use the added strength to grow additional foliage – and not produce or fill out the blooms and young crops on its stems and vines.

In fact, fertilizing vegetable plants too late in the summer can actually decrease yields. For best results, fertilize every two weeks for the first 8 to 10 weeks, and then stop.


  1. Let the transplants and seedlings get established before adding fertilizer
  2. Pick the best fertilizer 
  3. Know when to fertilize
  4. Know when to stop fertilizing