What is a good ratio of fertilizer to put on my vegetable garden?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Sandra: As a general rule, most vegetables are happy with a fertilizer that has relatively low numbers of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. This is of course if your soil has sufficient nutrients to begin with. Having your soil tested every few years is always a good idea. The results will tell you the pH and level of nutrients. Having this done by your cooperative Extension service will give you accurate results and recommendations for additional nutrients if needed specifically for a vegetable garden. If this is a space you have grown vegetables in the past, the nutrients are surely depleted by former crops and need to be added back into the soil. Remember to rotate your crops every few years. Choosing an organic fertilizer is important when it comes to edibles in the garden. Compost is a great source of nutrients for your veggies. Different vegetables like different amount of nutrients. For example, tomatoes do not like a lot of nitrogen but peppers do, and most root vegetables prefer a higher amount of potassium. Amending your soil with hen manure that has a ratio of 1-1-1 is a safe way to go. Avoid using any product that has high numbers of either nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium.
There are other soil conditions to take into account as well. The soil should be well drained meaning that there should not be standing water in that space after a day of rainfall. Components of soil can be very complex but for the most part making sure that it drains well and has sufficient nutrients are the most important aspects for happy vegetables. Healthy plants, soil and an abundant amount of sunlight is a sure fire recipe for a bountiful harvest.