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Saturday, February 8, 2014

When to First Fertilize Your Tomato Seedlings: Use 1/2 Strength Liquid Fertilizer!

When to First Fertilize Your Tomato Seedlings:
 Use 1/2 Strength Liquid Fertilizer!

Ask 1000 gardeners and you will get 1000 answers with a twist, bend or tweak. Yet, they will all have a general common theme. That is very true with starting seeds, especially tomatoes and even more so with how and when to fertilize them. This is my twist, bend and tweak on the topic. I have grown them for well over 10 years and have been successful. My way is not the only way. It is just one way. And I often vary fertilizers depending on my budget, sales and available resources.

The first thing is to use 1/2 strength liquid fertilizer. You do not need full strength. Some people even use a quarter strength. Your plants do not get rain and they are in small starting mix cells. You don't want to over do it and concentrate fertilizer in the starting mix and damage the plants. More fertilizer is not a better thing. Less at each watering, every other watering or every 10 days is much better.

The video shows you the general size range when I start my first 1/2 strength liquid fertilizing. Factors that come into play, and that is why I give you a range, are fertilizer in the starting mixes and how your plants look.

You want to have all N-P-K (no 0's) represented or nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. You can use organic or inorganic fertilizer to your choice but remember the plants can't tell the difference. I like using inorganic products indoors, for honestly, they have a better ratio of NPK (if you look around) and other nutrients and they don't smell.

I don't look for an exact ratio though I think a 3-6-3 is would be optimal for transplants. It is not easy to find ratios so go with what is available in your area and just make sure it is 1/2 strength. I would go with a higher P or phosphorous number, if you can find it, as root development is really important.

Good Luck in Your Garden

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