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Fertilizing Seedlings

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by Winston on April 13, 2006 09:08 PM
I have started a variety of plants from seed, many/most of which have germinated and are growing... When should I fertilize them? What is the best product keeping in mind that I am committed to a completely organic garden?

Thank you in advance for everyone's help!

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Compost... Beautiful Compost
by 'Sparagus on April 13, 2006 10:57 PM
Im glad you posted this because I have the same question. Im really nervous about it because the babies seem so vulnerable at this young age! What I have read is to fertilize at about 2 weeks....someone please correct me if Im wrong. Im also staying organic.

Fish emulsion? That's what one book I have says.

Karen [flower]
by peppereater on April 13, 2006 11:22 PM
Fish emulsion is a good organic fertilizer. Some folks also swear by kelp extract or other seaweed extracts. Compost tea is wonderful if you have access to it. As to timing, the advice varies, but generally wait until the second set of true leaves appears or until you repot or transplant.
You can get much of your fertilizer for garden plants through soil amendments like bone meal, blood meal, compost, rotted manure, cottonseed meal, etc.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by Winston on April 13, 2006 11:26 PM
Thanks Dave. I/we greatly appreciate your guidance on this topic. Can you explain what you mean by "second set of true leaves"?

Sorry for the silly question, I just want to make sure that I don't mess this up any more than I am likely to.

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Compost... Beautiful Compost
by peppereater on April 13, 2006 11:41 PM
Hey Winston.
The first set of leaves on most things are called cotyledons. They tend to be round or elongated ovals. They never develop the shape of true leaves...they're just little solar collectors get get the plant going. The next set, and all later sets, are the true leaves.
Most plants fall into 2 categories...monocots and dicots (monocotyledons, etc.) Trees, tomatoes,...these types aer dicots, 2 cotyledons. Grasses, corn...monocots, one cotyledon. Not that you need to know that, but that's the scoop.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by Winston on April 14, 2006 01:40 AM
Thanks again.... This is a constant learning expedition for me and the more I can learn, the better! I guess I will just have to sit here and wait for the second set of true leaves to form....oh hum [sleepy]

on the fertilizers... is there a brand or specific product that you have used or that you have heard is particularly effective?

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Compost... Beautiful Compost
by Longy on April 14, 2006 03:01 AM
I agree with the fish emulsion Winston. Half strength until the plants are a about a month old should do it. Worm juice from a worm farm diluted is also excellent for seedlings. Seaweed or kelp extract is excellent for promoting strong root growth, so is great fot younguns and also as an aid to transplanting.

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The secret is the soil.
by 'Sparagus on April 14, 2006 08:03 PM
My turtles keep bugging me to start a worm farm, that's a good reason to look into it! [grin]

[flower] k
by peppereater on April 14, 2006 10:11 PM
I really like a product I get at Lowe's. It's made by a company called Epsoma, but I forget the product name. It comes in small bags, about 8 pounds, I think. It's all organic. I also use their brand of greensand...a good source of potassium and very beneficial.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by 'Sparagus on April 19, 2006 04:57 AM
How often do you use the diluted fish emulsion? My babies are 2 weeks old and I just tried it for the first time today....
by BigBoy on April 19, 2006 10:18 AM
Nothing stinks worse than fish emulsion fertilizer, IMHO. Smell stays on your hands toooooooooooooo long. [Frown] Because of that, I dilute tomato plant food way down and then keep it off the leaves. You don't want to use much fert. until the tomato starts forming fruits or you get gigantic plants which are slow to develop fruit. Methinks they think they're going to live forever and aren't worried about the next generation. [Wink]
by Winston on April 26, 2006 08:45 AM
I looked and found some Epsoma products, but nothing that looked like the right stuff. In the end, I bought some fish emulsion...hey big boy... you are right!... that stuff stinks and is hard to get rid of! I will stink it out for a while and see how it does i guess.

How often should I be using the fertilizer?

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Compost... Beautiful Compost
by peppereater on April 26, 2006 10:01 AM
No more than every 2 weeks, and again when you plant. Depending on what you put into the soil, you nay not need to fertilize any more after that.
I just bought some more of the Epsoma...the product is called Plant-tone. It is a granular product with all necessary nutrients and trace minerals. I work some into the soil when I plant, and top dress around the plant. I do the same with gypsum and bone meal for my tomatoes. Don't use water soluble nitrogen fertilizer on tomatoes, except at planting time, until they have set fruit, or they'll get huge and never fruit.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by Winston on April 27, 2006 03:05 AM
Thank you Dave! I will take a look next time I am in Lowes.

Thanks again for the fertilizing tips.

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Compost... Beautiful Compost
by johnCT on April 27, 2006 03:31 AM
Agway is a good source for all of the Espoma products.

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John - Zone 6

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