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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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Do you fertilize? Toplef10Do you fertilize? 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Do you fertilize? I22gcj10Do you fertilize? 14dhcg10

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Do you fertilize?

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Do you fertilize? Empty Do you fertilize?

Post  Missed-Em 4/23/2021, 9:58 am

Looking  over my SFG this am and my radish and lettuce plants don't seem to be growing as well  as I like.  I know Mel doesn't view fertilizer as necessary but what's your view?  If you do, what do you use (other than more compost)?
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Post  mollyhespra 4/23/2021, 10:12 am

I did the first year. Test your nutrients. Even though I used all different critter composts, one of them (horse) still had wood chips that hadn't broken down completely and they ended up robbing my MM of N.  I got some organic fertilizer in powder form that got sprinkled on top of the mix and watered in. Can't remember what it was. Came in a large bag.
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Post  OhioGardener 4/23/2021, 10:21 am

I don't "fertilize" as such, but enrich the soil using the old adage, "Feed the soil, so that the soil can feed the plants."  I add things such coffee grounds and composted cow manure to enrich the soil, but it depends on the microbial activity in the soil to convert those amendments to plant-available nutrients.   If you want a quick boost to the soil while waiting for the microbial life to increase, consider using something like Espoma Plant-Tone (5-3-3), or Espoma Garden-Tone (3-4-4) (both are available at Lowe's, etc.).

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Post  markqz 4/23/2021, 3:30 pm

@Missed-Em wrote:Looking  over my SFG this am and my radish and lettuce plants don't seem to be growing as well  as I like.  I know Mel doesn't view fertilizer as necessary but what's your view?  If you do, what do you use (other than more compost)?
Are they actually turning yellow, or just growing slowly? I notice that you have some low temperatures and cloudy days at the moment. I find things seem to slow when the clouds and cool come in.
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Post  jimmy cee 4/23/2021, 11:40 pm

I think of it this way, maintain the biological community, they are what delivers nutrients to plant root systems. Chemical fertilizers and compost do not mix. bacteria, nematodes, and fungi will die in chemical laced gardens. your soil is a living breathing creature. nurture it and your plants will love you.
Using chemicals, the only nutrients plants get are what falls with moisture in the rhizosphere.
Now when the soil ( mix ) is alive, microbes work back and forth, up and down, in and out, supplying nutrients plants need.
Adding a small amount of blood and bone meal is good, along with a small amount of a few others. never chemical fertilizers...
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Post  Missed-Em 4/24/2021, 8:21 am

Thanks all.  The weather hasn't been the best - spring gave us a preview and then took a nap!
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Post  OhioGardener 4/24/2021, 8:40 am

@Missed-Em wrote:Thanks all.  The weather hasn't been the best - spring gave us a preview and then took a nap!

How long has the MM been in the beds? Has it had time to for the microbial life to start converting the compost into nutrient rich soil?

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Post  Missed-Em 4/24/2021, 7:54 pm

@OhioGardener wrote:
@Missed-Em wrote:Thanks all.  The weather hasn't been the best - spring gave us a preview and then took a nap!

How long has the MM been in the beds? Has it had time to for the microbial life to start converting the compost into nutrient rich soil?
The MM mix is new, probably a couple of months in the bed.
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Post  OhioGardener 4/24/2021, 8:07 pm

@Missed-Em wrote:
@OhioGardener wrote:
@Missed-Em wrote:Thanks all.  The weather hasn't been the best - spring gave us a preview and then took a nap!

How long has the MM been in the beds? Has it had time to for the microbial life to start converting the compost into nutrient rich soil?
The MM mix is new, probably a couple of months in the bed.

That would probably explain any nutrition deficiency your plants are experiencing in the gardens - the microbes have not had time to adequately convert the compost into plant-available nutrients. That would be a reason to add some organic fertilizers at this time. As suggested earlier, add some organic blood meal and bone meal to fire up the microbial activity and provide a quick boost to the plants. Loosely work it into the top 2" to 3" of the soil. It took about a year for my new beds to become fully active with the living soil food web, and that is probably about average.

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Post  Missed-Em 4/24/2021, 8:41 pm

OK, thanks for the info.
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