Row by Row Episode 3: Fertilizer in Your Vegetable Garden

Fertilizing in the Vegetable Garden

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 are 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.

Show and Tell Segment

In the show and tell segment, the guys talk about the last succession planting of beets that are almost ready for harvest. They also discuss the F1 hybrid variety of Top Bunch Collards that are being harvested, and why this variety is probably the best collard variety to grow. They also have a red beet variety still growing in the garden. Travis has been overhead watering these beets because he planted them with no drip tape. He has been struggling with keeping them watered, but thankfully the rainfall we have got lately has really helped them out. However, with the extensive rainfall the last couple of days the guys have been struggling with downy and powdery mildew on squash and watermelons. They have been spraying a lot of Bi Carb Fungicide to help control these mildews in the vegetable garden. The tool of the week is our TubTrug Bundle that are long lasting harvesting buckets. Available in many different sizes that are flexible, durable, and UV resistant.

Viewer Questions Segment

In the question and answer segment, the guys 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 is very important. To kill bean beetles or any type of pest, you will get the best results when you spray in the early stage or “nymph” stage, once they get to the adult stage they can be impossible to kill. In of the organic pesticides like Neem Oil, Horticultural Oil, or Pyrethrin is great to disrupt the lifecycle of the insect. In the second question, they talk about proper crop rotation techniques to maximize the potential of your garden. The guys explain that the best method for rotation is by breaking your garden up into small subplots. Not only will this help with crop rotation, but it will provide a more manageable garden. Not planting crops in the same place year after year and rotating crops around in the garden will help reduce disease and insect pressures.

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