beginner question: fertilizer

flowerbedJuly 26, 2010

what's the best all-around organic fertilizer if you're growing vegetables and tomatoes? i don't know what the soil is deficient in yet, as this is my first garden. it's sort of trial and error at this point.

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Aside from compost and other forms of organic matter the only way to know what kind of "fertilizer" any soil might need is with a good, reliable soil test. You should also know the answers to these questions.
How much humus is in the soil?
How well does the soil drain?
How well does the soil retain moisture?
What is the tilth?
What does that soil smell like?
What kind of life is in that soil?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 6:37AM
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Your local agricultural extention office should have information about where you can get a soil test. They are not expensive. They should also have a gardening calendar which lets you know the best times of the year to plant various veggies in your region.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 7:15AM
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I suggest doing a search for "Steve Soloman" or "COF" either here or the web.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 7:18AM
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thanks, everyone, for the help!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 10:04AM
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Compost.....lots of it. It's the best all around safe additive that really kicks your garden into high gear. No such thing as too much compost! :)

plus tomatoes thrive in it. :)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 10:00PM
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Hi Flowerbed: What a cute name! I am a passionate organic grower, and we use primarily compost and worm castings, which I highly recommend. Do a google search on vermiculture if you are interested in the details. See if you can by worm castings locally--I buy mine from a local organic vineyard that fertilizes exclusively with worm castings produced and harvested on-site. I have had excellent results with them. Sounds gross, but it's not at all. I also use Fox Farms products, which are totally organic, to get things off to a good start or to give my garden a boost when it seems a little slow. Best of luck with your garden, and you're welcome to come visit mine--the link is noted below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cowlick Cottage Farm

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 8:10PM
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Tomatoes need a good source of magnesium. Epsom salt is a good source if your soil is deficient in that. Calcium is also important too.

Of course all vegetables (like flowers) need a good source of phosphorous. I use a good organic fertilizer (high in phosphorous) and supplement epsom salt with it and get pretty good results.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 10:04PM
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Dan Staley

Different vegetables have different needs. I have three types of fert to assist in meeting those needs. But I agree that the default is compost and that you don't know what to apply until you know what you do and do not have.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 1:52AM
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