Importance of Fertilizing
To ensure that crops are getting accurate supplements of nutrients that are required for plant growth, fertilizing plays a key role. Most fertilizers contain three major macronutrients: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Without these nutrients, the plant cannot obtain its needs and the plant growth will contain a nutrient deficiency which will stop plant growth overall. The best way to fertilize is with systems such as drip irrigation, EZ-Flo Fertilizer Injector, or the Brass Siphon Mixer. Based on the certain type of crop, applying the accurate amount and frequency of fertilizer is important to ensure that the plants are getting all the nutrients they need and are not overly fertilized in the vegetable garden. Be careful to not add too much fertilizer in the garden because it can cause negative effects such as root burn, pest/disease pressures, decrease plant health, and some environmental issues. However, the use of fertilizers helps supply benefits that every plant needs to grow in the vegetable garden.
Fertilizing Vegetable Seedlings
On this week’s episode, Travis demonstrates the best way to fertilize vegetable seedlings in the greenhouse. Once the vegetable seeds germinate and start to emerge from the soil then we should start to add some fertilizer. When the plants get there first set of true leaves which is actually the second set of true leaves that’s when adding fertilizer really starts to begin. The best way to fertilize is by using our favorite simple little tool known as the Brass Siphon Mixer. This fertilizer tool is used to accurately proportion any fertilizer, pesticide, or fungicide into a small watering system where you plan to do mostly hand watering to the plant transplants. To install the brass siphon mixer you hook it up to your faucet and then hook the water hose up beneath it. This brass siphon mixer has a built-in backflow preventer which will not allow any fertilizer to travel back into the water supply system. This black tube that is attached is simply placed into a bucket with your dissolved fertilizer and it is going to pull that up and inject it into the water hose and your attached nozzle for watering the plants. Any type of water-soluble fertilizer will work with this tool but for vegetable seedlings, we recommend using 20-20-20. This 20-20-20 contains a balanced ratio of (20%) potassium, (20%) phosphorous, and (20%) nitrogen which are all major macronutrients that plants need for all stages of growth. Travis likes to take anywhere from one to two cups of the 20-20-20 and dissolve it into a five-gallon bucket. He suggests for dissolving it works better in warm water, but in cold water with a little more stirring, it does fine too. Then just add the black tube that is attached to the brass siphon mixer into the dissolved fertilizer solution. This will begin to pull up the fertilizer and inject it into our water supply at 16:1. The 16:1 ratio means for every 16 gallons of water we put out we are putting out one gallon of that fertilizer solution. When discussing the frequency of injecting this fertilizer Travis recommends fertilizing the vegetable transplants or seedlings at least twice a week in the greenhouse. If you are not fertilizing the transplants and you are just planning on watering the plants then we will move that tube to just a clean bucket of water. Applying an accurate amount of fertilizer to these vegetable seedlings or transplants is important to ensure the healthiness of the plant growth and roots for the transition period from the greenhouse to the vegetable garden area.