How To Fertilize A Vegetable Garden 6 Tips To Grow A Thriving Vegetable Garden

How to Fertilize a Vegetable Garden: 6 Tips to Grow a Thriving Vegetable Garden

If you are looking for a nice hobby that will make you feel satisfied with your work at the end of the day, then you might want to consider gardening. And if you want to take this hobby of yours to a higher level, think about planting not just decorative plants but vegetables, too! 

Aside from the satisfaction that it will give you after a hard day’s work, this will also save you a lot of money because if done correctly, you won’t have to run to the grocery store to buy your favorite and much-needed vegetables. You just have to head out into your hard and harvest them! 

Be warned, though. Even though it is a fulfilling activity, it is also not very easy. Vegetable gardening is not just about sowing seeds, watering them until they sprout, and making sure that they get enough sunlight. If you want your hard work to bear fruit--literally--you have to know how to make your plants thrive. 

6 Tips to Grow a Thriving Vegetable Garden

1. Understand What the Numbers Mean 

When it is your first time to buy some fertilizer for your vegetable garden, you might be surprised that fertilizers are named with a combination of three numbers. You might be offered a 5-10-5 fertilizer or another one that is 10-5-8 and you might be left speechless because you have no idea what the vendor is talking about. 

Well, fear not, because they are not just random numbers that the manufacturers picked out to name their fertilizers and in actuality, they’re pretty easy to understand. 

The numbers represent the percentage of elements present in the fertilizer. The first number indicates the percentage of nitrogen (N). The second number indicates the percentage of phosphorus (P). The last number indicates the percentage of potassium (K). In other words, the numbers represent the fertilizer’s N-P-K ratio. 

These are the three major nutrients that plants need, and if all three are present in fertilizer, then it’s called a complete fertilizer. Otherwise, it’s an incomplete fertilizer. But aside from these two classifications, there are other types of fertilizers out there. 

If you want to know what type of fertilizer you must get for your vegetable garden, you have to know exactly what nutrient is lacking. You can do this by doing a soil test. 

2. Do a Soil Test

Soil testing involves getting a sample from the plot of land wherein you plan to have your vegetable garden and subjecting that sample to chemical analysis to determine the soil’s nutrient status. This also helps determine the pH of the soil, to ensure that the pH is ideal for growing your vegetables. 

There are DIY soil test kits that you can get from garden stores, and while these are cheap, they may also provide inaccurate results, so it will be better if you send your sample to county extension offices that conduct soil tests for free. 

3. Choose Between Organic and Chemical Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are all-natural fertilizers that come from living organisms and examples include bone meal, blood meal, granite dust, fish emulsion, and animal manure. 

Many gardeners swear by the efficacy of organic fertilizers and this can be attributed to the fact that such fertilizers steadily provide organic substances needed by plants. They are also very affordable! The only downside to this is that they may take longer to take effect and storage and transport may pose a challenge. 

Chemical fertilizers, on the other hand, are synthetic and may come in liquid, powder, pellet, or granular form. Most chemical fertilizers are concentrated and act faster than organic fertilizers, however, they don’t improve soil structure and they may even be bad for good microorganisms present in the soil. In the long run, this may be bad not just for the plants that are currently in your garden, but the ones you are planning to sow in the future as well. 

4. Consider Using Worm Castings as Fertilizer

Earthworms are decomposers, which means that they break down organic matter into simple forms. As a result, they produce what is called worm castings. This is also known as vermicast. It’s their stool. 

What makes worm castings an effective fertilizer is that it contains important organic nutrients that plants need and that no kind of fast-acting chemical fertilizer can ever provide. The best part is they are very versatile (they can be used on just about any plant) and they can also be applied directly without causing burns.

5. Follow the Application Instruction and Put Just the Right Amount

Sometimes, fertilizing plants become damaging if you buy the wrong fertilizer, if you do it too often or if you put too much, or if you apply it the wrong way. To avoid damaging your plants--and to make sure you get your money’s worth--do some research or ask knowledgeable people to find out the most suitable fertilizer for your vegetable garden. Then, once you have purchased one, follow the instructions indicated on the packaging so you don’t do your plant more harm than good. 

6. Don’t Just Fertilize

There is more to vegetable gardening than fertilizing your plants to make sure that they thrive. Of course, you also have to water them properly and regularly. If you are going to leave the house for a long time or if you want to water your plants more systematically and evenly, then you might want to consider investing in a good irrigation system. This will particularly be helpful if you have a massive vegetable garden. 

In addition to this, make sure that your plants regularly get a good dose of sunlight.

Lastly, visit your garden regularly to make sure that there aren’t any weeds or pests that are stealing nutrients and space or causing damage. 

Conclusion

Having a vegetable garden is a lot of work, but once the time comes when you can finally harvest what you planted, you will probably feel so fulfilled and proud of your work that you will want to do it all over again. And why shouldn’t you? 

With your very own vegetable garden, you can greatly reduce the amount you have to pay for whenever you go out and do your groceries. Also, you can be certain that the vegetables you harvest and will consume are safe and free from chemicals that might be harmful to you and your family. 

If you plant vegetables on a large scale to earn some money and you do everything that is needed to make your crops thrive, then you will be able to harvest and earn so much more! 

Vegetable gardening, if done right, is indeed one of the most beneficial pastimes out there. 


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