Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Gardening Question

What do all those numbers mean in the gardening section?

I got a call from my gardening daughter. If she has fertilizer for Roddies, and one for flowers and one for grass which can she use on her veggie garden?

So here is the answer-fertilizers come with three numbers

1st number Nitrogen

2nd number Phosphate

3rd number Potash

When you look on a box, or bottle of food for your plants you will see three numbers sometimes they will be 0's. They go in the order you see above. The idea is to know what your plant needs and get the percent correct.

My violet food says 7-7-7 (7% of that bottle is Nitrogen, 7% is phosphate


Bloom boost says 10-50-10

Rose food says 18-24-16 (My rose food, which they love, is high in Nitrogen)

Cheryl’s Azalea, Roddie food 4-4-2

Cheryl’s Rose, flower bloom food 4-6-2

Are you beginning to see a pattern. Different combinations of the Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potash is different for each plant. BUT in reality plants need a variety of minerals and organic matter so the three numbers is only a beginning. Especially If you are going to be planning on doing sustainable gardening. You need to be able to start producing on your land what you will need to care for your plants. Before we go further I must say this is a simple view at a complex subject and I personally prefer using an organic approach which I can cover in a another blog. Right now we are seeing if my daughter can feed her veggies with the mixtures she has.

To begin with she is putting in her beans. They are well on their way now and need transplanting. Vegetables are heavy feeders. That means you will need to feed them more than once in this process. Cheryl will need to keep her veggie garden fed with an equal group Of N,P,K If the first number is larger than the rest I would avoid it for vegetable as it will cause overgrowth of the green and there will be little bloom.

So the Rose and Flower food looks ok

4- low on the N that’s not bad less is better for legumes


2-low on K would be better to be up at 6 also. We discounted the grass food as it had a weed killer we felt concern over.

One again this is a simple look. If we look at each plant Cheryl will plant they will have different requirements. Actually if I were gardening I’d say that Legume crop could be tilled in for a good burst of N. Guess she’d rather eat them!

Other factors are soil you start with, where you live, how you water, etc. Do you want to talk about gardening? It is my favorite subject!

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