Hoophouse newbie fertility question

kelise_mJune 20, 2013

I'm loving my new hoophouse, but I have lots and lots to learn. My normal soil amending is very simple: lots of rotted manure in late fall, lime in late winter, and my secret transplant formula (a handful of alfalfa pellets and bonemeal) But the warm season stuff in the hoophouse is going to be in the ground longer, theoretically produce more, and is definitely planted a lot closer together than I have planted outside. Do you fertilize during the growing season in your hoophouse? What forms of fertilizer do you use?

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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

If you compost the beds at planting time it's usually adequate for the full growing season even with long term plants like peppers and tomatoes. Fertility lasts longer inside than outside as there's no rain to wash it away.

That said, some plants with smaller root systems do like an additional feeding (peppers like it for a good second fruit set). I use fish emulsion and kelp mixed into a 4 gallon backpack sprayer or watering can, giving each plant a shot of the solution at their base. A little foliar feeding is good too (avoid hitting fruits because of the smell).

If you have a lot of plants to feed via dripline, you can splurge on a Mazzei injector. I get by without one in my 30x100.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:38PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

The farmer next to me at market adores Spray and Grow. He says it is cheap too.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 9:17PM
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We do what you do minus the secrete formula, we use a transplant slurry instead. But we fertalize through drip at a 10-10-10 rate once a week, that will change next week to a 8-20-30 I believe next week and go to every other week for a month. Then just water once a week.

Almost made my head hurt typing that.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 11:23PM
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I think it would be worth setting up a drip fertilizer system if I had a hoophouse for each species, but with just the one hoophouse, and everything crowded in there together, I can't see it working. So my options are A: Nothing (always my favorite) or B: hitting individual plants with a shot of liquid fertilizer. What about a granulated fertilizer? In your experience would it do any good to scratch it in around the drip tape line? I'm thinking about an organic chicken byproduct fertilizer that's manufactured close to here and is cheap and easy for me to get...

PS. Thanks Rio, for risking your head to help me out! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: chicken fertilizer

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Mark(Oregon, Zone 8)

I'm not sure if the granular will work in the short term. Depending on your soil type, the dripline often doesn't soak the surface enough to wash the nutrients downwards to where most plants can access it. Maybe if you set up a sprinkler in there?

Celery, being a surface feeder, may be the one plant that would get it but I don't think you're growing celery in your hoophouse in the summer in Western Oregon.

I still recommend the fish and kelp in a backpack sprayer (no nozzle for more flow). I just did this to my peppers the day you posted and they already seem to have perked up.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2013 at 7:05PM
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