Too Much Of A Good Thing

By Amy Grant | May 4, 2021
Image by Zbynek Pospisil
by Amy Grant
May 4, 2021

Whether you are new to gardening or a seasoned pro, we all have gardening issues. Sometimes they are the result of Mother Nature, while other times they are due to our lack of knowledge. One popular example of the latter is fertilizing. 

Fertilizer Benefits

Fertilizer is great. It feeds your plants so they grow big and strong, which helps them to fend off pests and diseases and allows them to produce better. There are many ways to fertilize: time release, liquids, compost and manure. Depending upon what method you use to feed your plants, there IS too much of a good thing. 

This problem came to light for me early in my gardening. I noticed that the leaves on some of my recently fertilized plants were getting burned. Yep, I had overfed them. 

The general rule of thumb is to fertilize in the spring before planting most annual veggies and flowers and perennials. You want to fertilize when the ground is no longer frozen but prior to any tender new growth. 

But don’t think you’re done feeding the plants yet. Just like a child, your plants need to be fed to encourage them to grow. Some plants are heavier feeders than others, but pretty much all of them need an extra boost just prior to producing. Every plant is different however so it is a good idea to do your research on when and how much to feed.

Too Much Fertilizer

So back to too much of a good thing. When you use organic methods of fertilization, the chance of overdoing it are slim to none. Chemical or synthetic fertilizers are easy to overuse or abuse especially when they are liquid formulations. 

If you want to err on the side of caution, use an organic granular slow release fertilizer. That way the fertilizer is released over time rather all at once which can cause issues. 

I start my feeding six months prior to planting the veggie garden. I simply spread manure over my beds and then let them age until the ground is workable in the spring. Then I, or rather my significant other, digs the manure into the soil. Voila! I’m ready for planting. 

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