Top Picks for Your Vegetable Garden
This is a broad topic that we will seek to narrow down in having some idea of which fertilizers are best for your vegetable garden. There are many components that are involved in growing a vegetable garden and gardens of any sort.
While it’s true that fertilizers or plant nutrients play a major role in plant life these fertilizers should be understood because the miss use of fertilizers can and has done more damage than good which we want to avoid because what we don’t want is to have invested time and money into a garden project only to see it go to waste.
What we want to also make clear is fertilizers will not help garden plants if other practices are avoided. For example, if we install plants in an area that has insufficient or poor lighting not meeting the required lighting condition of garden plants will begin to deteriorate. Applying fertilizers under this condition will not work.
The soil is another factor to consider if the garden soil is of poor quality, for example, soil that drains poorly will have a major effect on the health of your garden, adding fertilizers will only compound the problem. What we are saying is get to know all that’s required for your plant to thrive when this is done along with introducing a fertilizer program once done correctly will only cause things to get better.
Garden soil ph test first step in the right direction
Good garden soil is at the root of having success with any plant type, soils contain small amounts of nutrients but in order to meet the demands, we must give a helping hand in making up the amounts of nutrients plants (Veggie) needs.
Before adding fertilizers and in fact, before installing your veggies have a soil ph test done first to determine the condition of your soil. A soil ph test will show what your garden soil is lacking and what nutrients are needed to grow a healthy garden.
Organic and Inorganic
There are basically two types of fertilizers, there are organic and inorganic. Organic fertilizers include cow, chicken or horse manure, grass clippings, cottonseed, vegetable or fruit scraps, leaves, and other plant parts, bone meal, etc… in short anything that was alive and is dead is considered to be organic matter.
Inorganic are fertilizers that are manmade which are also called synthetics. These fertilizers even though considered to have a higher nutrient content should be handled with care by reading and following the direction on the label because misuse of these fertilizers can have a negative impact even in some cases leading to plant death.
Besides oxygen, hydrogen, and carbon which plants draw or absorb from both the water and the air, there are additional Marco and Mirco nutrients that plants need to grow healthy. There are some 14 of these elements that are so important to plant life.
Manmade or Synthetic Fertilizers
On a fertilizer bag, you will notice the words NPK which stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are major or primary elements that are a must to grow healthy vegetables.
All plant life derives its energy from nitrogen to grow healthy along with producing fruits and vegetables. Nitrogen enables plants to manufacture their food by a process called photosynthesis. This major element also helps plants to maintain their green color trapping the sun’s light using it as energy.
The presents of phosphorus help plants to convert other nutrients into building blocks for better function and growth. Phosphorus encourages flower bloom and root stimulation, helping in the formation of all oils, starches, and so on. Phosphorus also helps plants to stand up to stress, improves the quality of grains, vegetables, and fruits needed for seed formation, helps mature roots, and contributes to cell division.
The job of potassium encourages the building of proteins, transporting and breaking down starches, increase the quality of seed production, potassium increase disease resistance, and encourages fruit formation.
Understanding how this Works
On a fertilizer bag, the order is always the same NPK, If the label says 10-10-10 that means that fertilizer contains 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10 % potassium. No matter the numbers the order of NPK remains the same. A complete fertilizer will contain all three of these (NPK) elements.
Taking a Look at Both Sides
The advantage of synthetic fertilizers
- Synthetics are fast-acting
- Plants can be feed through their leaves with water-soluble fertilizers
- Slow-release fertilizers that come in granules or pellet forms will be available continually to garden plants because of their slow breakdown.
- Is more affordable
The disadvantage of synthetic fertilizers
- If applying water-soluble fertilizers to heavy will cause plant burn
- Is not eco-friendly
- Require more frequent application
- Water-soluble has the ability to leach very quickly
- May increase in labor cost
- When applied to heavy can affect soil ph
- And overuse of nitrogen during the summer months will cause the grass to grow rapidly increasing chinch bug activity
- Can cause a buildup of toxin
- Does not improve soil structure
The advantage of organics
- With organics, there is no need to worry about plant burn
- Organics won’t pollute groundwater
- Soil microbes which are so important to plant life are feed with organics
- Helps in building soil structure to retain moisture but will allow excess moisture to drain through
- No toxic buildup
- Is pet friendly
- Will add nutrients to the soil
- Supports soil microbes and earthworms by creating an environment they can survive in
The disadvantage of organics
- Organics takes time to breakdown
- Can be expensive
- You have to apply organics in large amounts because they are slow-acting
- Can burn plants if applied when fresh, must be dry before applying
- Slow to see results
The final word on best fertilizers for vegetable garden
Now that we have discussed the good the bad and the ugly of these fertilizers you’re in a better position to determine which fertilizers are better for you. While I must agree with the number of brands out there that can be confusing you now know how these fertilizers work which is best for you.
All plant life depends on nutrients to thrive no matter the size or the species, so in order to reap a good harvest give your plants what they need and they will give you what you are looking for and that is reaping the fruit or should I say vegetables of your labor. Fertilizers have their benefits once we understand and know how to apply them.
About the author
Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.