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I'm curious as to what some of you gardeners are doing to maintain your summer gardens once established, with additions you might do with fertilizers, compost, and such.

My garden was started off with a 'challenge' because of heavy rains, wind and such, but it has seemed to settle more with the weather. I use a lot of mulch, which helps weed suppression and I believe aids overall soil moisture and composition.

I've been using a variety of additions for some nutrient boosts including fish emulsion for nitrogen, coffee grounds in the tomatoes and peppers, compost tea weakly if it needs watering. I am looking to sidedress my squashes with some finished compost as they are well into flowering now and setting fruit.
Corn is getting the heavy feedings of ground fertilizer that is already established, and I add liquid compost tea as the 'waterings' whenever it needs watering.

I also had a tank full of water from scalding chickens when butchering them, so I added some boost of phosporous fertilizer with it to water my brassicas mostly with that. :shrug:

what are you using, and how often in your garden for fertilizing by sidedressing, foliar feeding, or liquid concoctions?
 

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Country Girl
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My garden is in such a fertile place right now - old pen area of pigs and goats etc. with many years layers of hay and straw - that I don't even worry about it this year. I AM side dressing with grass compost and the shavings from my granddaughter's bunny cage to suppress weeds and add a little bunny poop pep up :)
 

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Fish emulsion.

Also some 10-10-10 on the peppers when I was desperate and that's all we had.

The asparagus got some bunny litter before they sprouted.

This fall when things die back I'll clean out the chicken house and leave that on the beds all winter.
 

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Country Girl
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I'll put my chicken coop litter on it also this fall and usually am able to rake leaves for my sister-in-law and then get the leaves to take home :) I wish I had a shredder for my cornstalks....
 

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I'm new to gardening and didn't know you had to fertilize in addition to putting it in the soil when it is first rototilled adn set up in the spring. Perhaps that is why my tomatoes are so tiny yet the plants themselves are huge?

Pat
 

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I'd like to move in a more organic direction,but at the moment,I don't have much in the way of an on-site source of nitrogen.
I use cheap triple thirteen for most everything,and apply just a little (it's granular) every few weeks.Just a bit before blooming,I usually put down something a bit higher in phosphorous.
 

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As soon as the ground can be worked up in the spring of the year, I dump tractor buckets of cow dung, it's composted up with a bunch of rotted hay. I have 4 or 5 huge piles of cow crap/hay that has been piled up and sitting in the edge of my pasture field for over 4 years. I refer to them as my "black gold piles". I then spread the cow dung out in a very very thick layer on the garden. I let this lay on the garden for a week or two, it all depends on the weather and then I till in. My garden is pretty hot so I typically do not add fertilizers to plant. Sometimes, I will sidedress sweet corn very lightly when it is knee-high with "Super Kicker"-it's an all nitrogen fert. (I believe 37-0-0). This year I did not put any Super Kicker on corn. I was too afraid to apply this because our weather was extremely hot and dry for this time of year. The corn has done well, so I probably will eliminate that in the future. I just will see how it grows and then judge it.

When all the plants have been harvested, I then till in lime. I spread the lime with a heavy hand in the fall of the year. I then put a cover crop-most generally winter wheat. In the spring, I will till it under.

I don't do any type of soil testing. I know a person should do soil testing but I don't. I just lay the cow dung heavy, keep the crops rotated, they get full sun, and water when it's dry. I'm not real systematic about things. Maybe I should be but probably will never be. :) Take care.
 

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Nitrogen is the "quick kick" so often needed about halfway through a plant's growth. Unless your soil is at extremely low pH, a good cheap source is 21-0--0 ammonium sulfate. It's quite soluble and great for corn, beans, and onions. I've used it on all 3 of those in the past with excellent results with corn scheduled for this week. With those plants, one doesn't have to worry about excess foliage growth. Most other vegetables would be better off with any balanced 1-1-1 ratio but again about halfway through the growth period. Beyond that time, most of the main feeder roots will have gone deep and the nutrients won't readily get down to where they're working.

Martin
 

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I really only sidedress corn and my strawberry patch mid season now. I use a good organic fertilizer - my preference is the GardensAlive! blends - keep a big bag of the general purpose, and a slightly smaller bag of the tomatoes, root crops, and acid lovers (for my blueberries), and the strawberry mix. The remaining beds are amended as I rotate out a crop and/or as I prep a bed for planting. I add abundant amounts of finished compost in the spring and again in the fall. For long term crops and heavy feeders - I will actually mulch with compost as well - such as leeks. I use straw mulch on many crops that decomposes and adds to the "mix". I fertilize the bed with the appropriate fertilizer blend based on what is to be planted there - right before I plant. In addition, in the fall I amend open beds with rock minerals - phosphate, lime, and greensand - but I only do that about every other year.

It seems to be the right mix.
 

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patnewmex said:
I'm new to gardening and didn't know you had to fertilize in addition to putting it in the soil when it is first rototilled adn set up in the spring. Perhaps that is why my tomatoes are so tiny yet the plants themselves are huge?

Pat
Did you fertilize heavily during the spring prep work? Lot's of foliage and little fruit sounds like too much nitrogen to me. What did you do for the spring fertilizer?
 

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As I plant the garden, I lay down a layer of newspaper--about 3 sheets thick, but overlapped. Then I spread a layer of bagged leaves saved from last fall. Then over that goes all the straw, sheep, chicken, duck, and goose poop from the barn. I keep the poopy stuff several inches from plants, and have never had the uncomposted stuff burn any. On top of the newspaper, but under the straw, are snakes of porous tubing for watering. This takes a long time, true, but then I don't have to weed, side-dress, turn compost, haul hoses, etc. By fall most of the layers have disappeared, and I can empty the barn again. If I can, I try to get a cover crop of oats or something else that will die over the winter.
 

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Jennifer
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My new garden has very heavy clay soil, so I made raised beds and filled them with composted horse manure and stable bedding. They are actually growing directly in that, soooo I haven't done much fertilizing since. I do compost anything I can get my hands on (mostly all of my neighbors clippings, some bunny droppings from another neighbor, chopped leaves, newspaper, etc), and this fall will put down a heavy layer of whatever is in the compost bin, finnished or not. When I get compostable things that I know break down slowly (chipped wood!) I use them in pathways or in my perennial flower beds sometimes.


I have heard about buying minerals or organic sources of nutrients and brodcaasting them (soy meal for example) and I am interested but never tried it.

Also, can those that do a winter cover crop provide some more info? I am zone 5b, so what is something I could try? Where do you buy that, and how do you plant it? Can I get just a small quantity?
 
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