On this week’s show, Greg and Travis discuss techniques and strategies for using fertilizer in your vegetable garden. They talk about the different terminologies used to quantify amounts of fertilizer, including parts per million (ppm) and pounds per square feet. While much of this terminology can be confusing, thinking about fertilizer in terms of pounds per square feet is the simplest way to calculate fertilizer needs. There are many different forms of conventional and organic fertilizers that can be used in a vegetable garden. As far as conventional fertilizers go, their favorite is the 20-20-20 formulation which has 20% nitrogen, 20% phosphorous and 20% potassium. This is a water soluble fertilizer that works great being injected through a drip irrigation system, as it provides a quick boost to the plants that is noticeable in just a few days.
Organic fertilizers include products like Chilean Nitrate, Fish Emulsion, Blood Meal, Bone Meal and Compost. As far as organic fertilizers go, Chilean Nitrate is probably the fastest-acting and works great for side dressing corn before hilling. For the other organic fertilizers mentioned, the action is much slower because the nitrogen has to be converted into forms that are available to the plant. Compost is a very effective soil amendment to use before planting, adding organic matter and nutrients to the garden soil. Although compost is available in many forms, chicken-manure based compost is the most nutrient rich. Just be sure to add it several weeks before planting, so that you don’t burn the young plants.
In the Show & Tell segment, they talk about the last succession planting of beets that are almost ready for harvest. They also discuss the Top Bunch Collards that are being harvested, and why this variety is probably the best collard variety to grow.
In the Q & A segment, they talk about organic and natural pesticide solutions for controlling bean beetles in a vegetable garden. As with any organic pesticide program, spraying early and frequently are very important. In the second question, they talk about proper crop rotation techniques to maximize the potential of your garden.