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When is the proper time to transition fertilizer from the new plant stage?

Jim Asked

When is the proper time to transition fertilizer from the new plant stage, to the beginning summer months to promote fruit growth.
I use miracle grow when planting, then have been using a different strength miracle grow into summer and fall. I also throw some triple-19 down too.
I cover the dirt with landscape mulch to retain moisture and hinder weed growth.
I live in Corbin, Ky., just above the Ky-Tn state line.

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Jim: Adequate nutrients are an essential element of a healthy a garden. Needs differ depending on what you’re growing and the season. Any vegetable garden will benefit from fertile soil. A pH range between 5.8-6.5 is ideal. It is always best to know the current nutrient levels of your soil before adding anything. Your County Cooperative Extension Service can help you with this. The Knox County offices are located at
215 Treuhaft Boulevard, Suite 7 in Barbourville. The phone is (606) 546-3447. The Whitley county offices are located at 4275 US-25W in Williamsburg. Their phone is  (606) 549-1430. Let the horticulture/agriculture agent(s) know what you will be growing.  The results will indicate the nutrient concentrations and give fertilizer/lime recommendations. The following link will give you specifics in terms of a fertilization schedule for vegetables grown in Kentucky:

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/anr/PDF/Growing%20Fruit%20at%20Home%20in%20Kentucky.PDF

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/agcomm/pubs/id/id128/id128.pdf

University of Kentucky ID-128 Home Vegetable Cooperative …

www2.ca.uky.edu

Home Vegetable Gardening in Kentucky ID-128 Cooperative Extension Service | Agriculture and Natural Resources | Family and Consumer Sciences | 4-H Youth Development …

It sounds like you have a good schedule already so depending on your soil test results you may want to adjust accordingly. Keep in mind that liquid fertilizers are available immediately to the plant where as, granular products, are released as needed. Be sure to follow  application rates according to product recommendations. Too much fertilizer can be worse than not enough. Mulch is always helpful in terms of retaining moisture and keeping the weeds at bay. I hope this is helpful.

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