What kinds of fertilizers are best
- The minerals plants use are the same whether from compost, manure, or fertilizer from a bag.
- Plants need a proper balance of all nutrients. Remove guesswork from your feeding by using just what is needed.
- Twelve of the thirteen minerals occur naturally in the soil and are mined and then packaged and sold commercially.
- The mining process removes impurities and heavy metals, and concentrates the minerals so that we always know what we are buying.
- Mixing minerals according to the needs of vegetable plants, and then applying small amounts to the soil, assures that none is wasted.
- Wherever mineral nutrients are available their use is recommended – always in moderation – according to plant needs.
- Calcium, from lime or gypsum, is as important for plants as it is for humans, but it’s often neglected in the family garden.
- Before planting, mix 1 ounce of “pre-plant” per foot into your soil-bed, consisting of 80 parts lime, 4 parts magnesium (Epsom Salt), and one part boron (20 Mule Team Borax). Use gypsum instead of lime if you receive less than 20″ of annual rainfall.
- Small amounts of the other minerals are also applied before planting, and weekly after plants emerge. A simple temporary “growing mix” includes 6 # of 16-16-16 (NPK), 1# Epsom Salt, and 1 teaspoon 20 Mule Team Borax. Each application is ½ ounce per foot. Pre-mixed micro-nutrients can be added to make a balanced fertilizer mix (link 8).
- If packaged minerals are not available, compost and manure can be used (Link 9). Avoid un-sterilized material (Link 10), as it may introduce weed seeds, bugs, and disease into your garden. Apply ½” before planting, and ¼” bi-weekly after plants emerge, mixed into the soil surface.
Soil Tests Needed For The Family Garden?
“Soil tests are important for commercial growers, but it is neither practical nor necessary for the small family garden.”
“Natural mineral nutrients in a balanced formula, applied in small amounts over the growing season, are the best solution for the family garden.”
BYU Soil Lab