Garden Spotlight: Fertilizing

Somehow, I was able, with my right hand, to take this picture of myself, with my left hand, accurately watering this hill of watermelon plants.  Okay, I wasn’t entirely successful; it took a half-dozen tries to get all of the components working in unison.

There are four things which are musts for a successful garden:

  1. Keep it weeded.
  2. Water it when rain doesn’t provide enough moisture.
  3. Control any pests.
  4. 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:


4 thoughts on “Garden Spotlight: Fertilizing

  1. Looking at #1 – “Keep it weeded,” I immediately thought of sin. Years ago, while weeding the yard, I thought, “Weeds are just like sin. You just can’t get rid of them.” Then, seeing your title, “Fertilizing,” well, had to think of taking in God’s Word and sacraments, feeding my soul. I could continue…watering is baptism…

    So, hope you don’t mind that my comments always go to faith, even on an article about gardening!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not only do I not mind, Kathy, you are a woman after my own heart!

      I, too, find these things to inform my faith. Indeed, spiritual formation naturally does so, as the Word lives in us.

      How often I have compared our daily eating of food to our consuming the Word of God by worshiping, reading the Bible on our own, and the like, and how we don’t starve our bodies of food, and so we are wise not to starve our faith of the Bread of Life.

      A bit differently, but something that has been on my mind, is prayer. I pray not to change God – who does not change, who knows His plans for whatever is the thing I am praying, who already knows the future since He knows all things – but to change me. “Thy will be done on earth/in me as it is in heaven.” For example, my prayers for those in need – I always pray when I hear the siren of an ambulance, or see a broken down car on a road’s shoulder – are regularly informing my faith so that, when I am in a position to directly assist another, I possess the compassionate heart to do so.

      So, have at it, my sister in Christ! I love it!


  2. Hi Gina,

    Thanks for your response. One of my sons doesn’t like that I take some things and make them into an article about faith. He’ll say something like, “You can’t take that [family ritual!] and make it into a faith thing. That’s just not right!” He’s somewhat kidding, but I think I can get annoying…yet it is because God’s Word lives in me, as you said.

    I like what you said about prayer. I too pray that it be His will, not mine, and that He changes me – doesn’t always feel good though. And I’m always praying that I can have true mercy for others, as I’ve been shown mercy.


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