There are four things which are musts for a successful garden:
- Keep it weeded.
- Water it when rain doesn’t provide enough moisture.
- Control any pests.
- Fertilize your plants.
There are a number of ways to fertilize. My dad taught me with the granular type, 10-10-10 formula, which you put on the ground next to the plants, and then cover it just a bit. I did it that way for several years. It worked fine. I don’t recall what prompted my changing to water soluble fertilizer, but when I did I never went back.
There are far quicker ways to fertilize, when using water soluble, than to mix watering can after watering can, but I have been doing it this way all these years because of the slow process.
You read that right. I like the slow process.
For me, fertilizing my garden is as much about the time spent among the plants as it is feeding them. On a lovely summer day, to stand over each tomato or pepper plant, or the rows of corn and green beans, is pure joy. It is a time to soak up the beauty, to ponder when this or that will be ready to harvest, to appreciate everything the garden does for me.
My garden takes an hour or so to fertilize.
I use this stuff—
—one two-gallon watering can at a time.
For vegetables, two scoops go into two gallons. For flowers, only one scoop. I hang the can on our outdoor spigot, and the force of the water thoroughly mixes the blue grains.
The box recommends fertilizing every one to two weeks. I always intend to do it every week, but rarely do. Making sure to apply this at least inside the two week window, I have large, productive plants.
The bigger question is how much to apply. It is easy to apply too little. You can think that you’ve watered the plants nicely, but if you scratch the dirt around them you will find that only the surface is wet.
I douse them nicely—for example, around single plants I pour until a puddle forms—before moving on. After I empty the can, I return with the refilled one and hit the plants again. Everything gets two applications.
Keep up with your fertilizing, along with weeding and watering and controlling pests, and you will enjoy a successful garden. Here’s how mine looked on June 30, 2017: