Friday, September 4, 2009

Needed: a book called "Fertilizers for Dummies"

Fertilizing my garden is very confusing. I wish I could go to the library and buy the latest copy of "Organic Fertilizers for Dummies," but I don't think it has been written, yet.

When we received the copy of our soil samples from the extension office with their recommendations, it was really over my head. I thought if you were trying to use organic fertilizers, like manure, it would be enough, but manure doesn't necessarily provide all the nutrients in the right quantities your plants need. I am intrigued by the science of plant care and even though we had a pretty good garden this year, it could have been much better. The plants would be healthier and more resistant to pests and disease if we could get the science right.

Our recommendations were for 16-4-8 fertilizer, (the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in the fertilizer) but when I checked on the bags at the store, we couldn't find any organic fertilizer with those numbers and even though I like to use manure, I quickly found out that the numbers on the manure bags just didn't add up.

My solution was to get three bags of organic fertilizer to mix together to roughly get the correct nutrients needed to amend the soil. One was an organic lawn fertilizer 11-2-2, a bulb fertilizer 4-3-4, and a chicken manure fertilizer, 2-3-2. It just didn't quite add up, but it is better than just using manure alone.

I hope this makes sense and I will let you know if this works. I am looking for a place that will mix fertilizer for me, but I don't know if I can get it in small quantities. Meanwhile, if you find that book I need, just let me know. I am sure I will still be scratching my head trying to figure out just how much fertilizer to mix together before my poor plants starve to death!

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