Bill106(4)February 25, 2013

What is the best rule of thumb to fertilize seedlings? Mine are 1 1/2 " to 3" tall. All have true leaves or more. I was considering a 1/4 strength mixture of MG Bloom Booster. I used MG last year with good results. I simply forgot when I stated the process. I did check FAQ and Suggestion and did find what I needed. Also is there a benefit to eliminating the original two leaves once the plant has multiple sets of leaves? Thanks.

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Correction...I should have said I did not find the info I was looking for in FAQ check.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:29PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

1/4 strength dose is fine, although I question the "bloom booster" - seedlings are growing vegetatively, and could use a Nitrogen rich formula.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Very good question.
The original two leaves will usually drop by themselves sometime after the first two sets of true leaves grow. If they don't I have found that removing them is beneficial because the plant will then put its energy towards more of the other new growth.
I would not be using bloom booster at this point.
A safe amount of general purpose MG like a few granules or 2 drops liquid added to a cup of water is more than enough fertilizer at this time.
Get yourself an inexpensive total dissolved solids (TDS) meter or an EC meter and test your nutrient mix before feeding the little ones. 200-300 max parts per million (PPM) TDS is plenty. I fertilize like this every 3 weeks until they can tolerate a higher PPM. I use this method only using a soilless mix. If you are using soil with any kind of nutritional value then you need to use your own judgment.

1/4 strength is way too strong at this point the roots will burn and the seedling will wilt over and die from nutrient toxicity.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 8:59PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Eric, my seedlings haven't wilted or died from a 1/4 strength dose of Foliage Pro 9-3-6. Obviously not "way too strong," I'd guess.

But if in doubt, cut the dose further - 1/8 strength, and work up from there.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:36PM
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I'm using MG seed starting mix. I know that it has some plant nutrients in it. Perhaps I need to wait on additional fertilization. The TDS meter sounds interesting. I'll look for one and use caution. Thanks all.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 9:39PM
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MG seed staring mix contains no nutrients; just lime as a PH buffer to neutralize the mix.
greenman28, I don't use MG or Foliage Pro sorry I'm not familiar. I use hydroponic nutes; they are very strong. Could you give PPM in TDS or EC of 1/4 strength Foliage Pro as a reference so we could have a comparison? Thanks


    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:23PM
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In general,I find using a low dose of ferts every time I water is best as long as you water until the last dose doesn't collect in the soil.
Water until you get run off then toss the runoff outside in the garden,lawn or whatever.

I think a constant low dose of (organic)ferts is better than a stronger dose less often.
Plants in general take up mostly what they need at any given time.
I don't bother with the whole less nitrogen at fruiting thing.
IF plants really do take up what they need ,washing out excess nutes every time I water covers all bases.
I do agree that trace stuff makes a difference at times-Mag. , Calcium or whatever.
But that only pertains to specific stages of plant growth-blossom end rot or whatever.
Then there is the fact that Ca. and Mag. are used by the same recetors in plants.
Too much of either makes it so the other can't be obsorbed.
For instance Chinense like more Ca. than some other peppers just for general leaf growth.
In general a plant won't take up more of anything than they need.
I think a lot of the foliage spraying stuff is useless in general.
Most are organics that a plant can't use until it becomes plant usable.
I think the whole fermenting thing can be done better by supplying the stuff in the tea to the soil.
How is a vat of fermenting whatever better than the stuff in soil?
But as stated above certain nutes are in a fight for a balance at times-mag. and Ca. for instance.
I think ,for the most part,the runoff of the teas etc. puts more stuff in possibly poor soil and is the real cause of getting better plant growth etc.
Not the leaf uptake which in general is a very low percentage compared to roots.
I don't measure my nutes in general but I'd guess I use about .8-.10% of a dose when I water.
I think it depends on the soil the plant is in.
Lots of organic stuff might need more nitrogen at first since as it breaks down it sucks up nitrogen.
But once it gets what it needs it is a provider of nitrogen so ferts might not be needed as far as nitrogen goes.
I think a lot of people think since their potting mix or whatever contains certain things that their soil is cool-garden or pots.
The thing is that a lot of organic stuff has to break down to be plant usable.
A lot of people don't give their soil time to break down the stuff in it so plants can use it.
The only time I KNOW what my plants are actually getting is in my htydro plants using chemical?salts ferts.
Soil is a whole different story.
Depending what your soil has in it regulates what nutes are plant usable.
A lot of mycro this and that (funguses) are being sold to help your plants and soils break down organics to be plant usable.

I like organic nutes because they HAVE to break down to be plant usable for the most part.
They take time to be plant usable where a salt/chemical fert is usable instantly and can burn roots or whatever.
Takes a lot of organic stuff breaking down all at once to screw up a plant.
Overdose of organic stuff is a soil type thing.
Usually just messes up the nute ballance,doesn't kill plants like a chemical fert.

I tried the mycrohyzine(?) stuff years ago ans think that it didn't out perform a well mixed organic soil in my pots.
Year old potting mix(mix my own) seems to work as well as the new soil I added Mycrohyzine to.
I think a lot of the stuff these days people use are just shortcuts to making poor or not matured soil into better growing stuff.
Short cuts...

I see too many people rototilling a LOT of great stuff into their gardens or used as potting mixes,especially for their first garden.
They expect great things THAT season where in fact the stuff wasn't given enough time to break down.
They resprt to folior feeding as a cure all.
As I said,I think the run off enriches the soil in general to take up the slack while the stuff in the soil becomes plant usable.

Didn't mean to hijack this.
Nutes wether it's sprouts or in the ground are needed no matter what stage of growth.
Soil make up also makes a difference.
Some don't have nutes,others do.
Peat,Coir pellets have nothing while different seed starting mixes do...

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 12:19AM
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For miracle gro-Use the dose for inside plants, not outside plants. So 1 tsp per gal I think? And cut that down even more so 1/4 tsp per gal for peppers. They are very light feeders, trust me...

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 8:16PM
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Yeah miracle gro has a inside/outside dosage. If I'm not mistaken the outside is 1.5 tablespoons, and the inside is .5 teaspoon. (Or that's the dosage on the all purpose container I had open from last year.) I'm not sure if it's different for the tomato type.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 8:44PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Foliage Pro is 114 ppm N per teaspoon.


    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:27PM
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