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How to Fertilize Your Garden on a Budget

Just about everybody and their neighbor knows that plants need good soil, sufficient water and sunlight to thrive. What’s not so obvious though is how one should fertilize his/her soil so that it’s optimal for growing plants and vegetables.
In this article, we’ll look at a few ways you can fertilize your soil to ensure that it’s nutrient-rich and ideal for your plants.

* Is the pH of your soil ideal?

Before even starting, you’ll need a soil pH meter. With this meter, you’ll be able to measure pH value, soil moisture and sunlight intensity. The pH value is especially important.

Ideally, the soil’s pH value should be in the 6.0 to 7.0 range. When you use the Atree soil meter, you’ll be able to gauge if your soil is acidic, neutral or alkaline.

If it’s too alkaline, adding potassium carbonate will help to raise the pH value. Alternatively, you could just get this soil acidifier and it has all the ingredients already pre-mixed to acidify your soil.

If the soil is too acidic, adding some sphagnum peat will help to lower the pH of the soil. If you can’t get that, you could use aluminum sulfate, agricultural limestone or acidifying nitrogen.

Do your research and learn how to get the pH just right and do use the soil meter to guide you. It’s best to prepare the soil at least 3 weeks in advance before any planting.

* Using Fertilizers

Using fertilizers is pretty straightforward. The best way to fertilize your soil will be to use compost. You could either make this yourself (if you know how to) or just buy a bag of natural compost and add a layer of it to your soil 3-4 weeks before planting.

Generally, fertilizers are either the granular type that you sprinkle around your soil or they are dissolved in water and sprayed over the garden/soil.

One example of a granular fertilizer is the Miracle-Gro Continuous Release Plant Food. You’ll sprinkle these granules over the soil and use a claw rake to gently mix them into the soil.

The Miracle-Gro plant food has enough nutrients to feed your soil for 3 months. Your plants will not have a calcium deficiency.

If you’re growing fruits and/or vegetables, one of the best fertilizers to use is the Miracle-Gro Tomato Fertilizer. While the name says ‘tomato fertilizer’ you can use it for most vegetables – carrots, cucumbers, squash, peppers, etc.

This is an example of a water-soluble fertilizer. You’ll need to mix the Miracle-Gro Tomato Fertilizer in water and use a garden sprayer to spread the fertilizer over your soil evenly.

If you wish to try a brand other than Miracle-Gro, a good alternative will be the SUPERthrive VI30148 Plant Vitamin Solution. It’s just as potent and is a water-soluble fertilizer.

* That’s about it!

Once you get the pH of the soil right, then it’s just a matter of using compost or any ONE of the fertilizers mentioned above. It’s important to remember that moderation is everything here.
Giving your plants/soil too much fertilizer is counterproductive and can actually kill the plants. Use the pH meter to constantly monitor the pH of your soil. This will give you an idea if you’re using too much fertilizer.

Allow a month before you see results from using the fertilizer. You’re not going to see your vegetables growing overnight. It takes time… but half the fun of gardening is in watching your plants and vegetables growing bigger daily.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu