June 25 - Charlotte wants to know...

"I found your recipe for organic fertilizer online, and am very excited about it. Can you tell me how often you use it on vegetables through the season. I have used your suggestions for amounts when planting, but wondered if you applied it again through the season."

Unlike water-soluble chemical fertilizers, dry organic fertiizers have staying power in the soil. Their nutrients are released as the fertilizer's components are broken down by soil fungi and bacteria, which means they continue to provide nutrition to your plants over the course of many weeks. Because of this, with organic fertilizers you generally do not have to make multiple applications in the manner that's common with chemical fertilizers - at least if you're gardening on the cool soils we have in the Maritime Pacific Northwest.

So, generally speaking, I only apply organic fertilizer at the same time I initially sow the seed or move the transplants into the garden. One exception to this is with overwintered plants - they're usually lightly fertilized at planting time; then they'll get a side dressing of blood meal in mid-February, followed by an application of complete organic fertilizer in mid-to-late March.

Of course if any particular veggie exhibits a problem that appears to be nutrient-related, I will meet those needs by providing more fertilizer / calcium / whatever. Additionally, early spring plantings often are given a dose of blood meal in addition to the fertilizer, since blood meal does a better job of providing nitrogen to plants in cool spring soils.

All contents © Travis Saling
This page was last updated November 18, 2013