Feeding your plants
When you go to a nursery to purchase fertilizers you will notice 3 numbers on these products. 10-10-10 or 6-8-6 etc. These numbers represent the percentage of the major nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium included in the product. The numbers are always in the same order and represent the same nutrients.
The first number represents Nitrogen. It helps the growth of leaves and shoots. Natural nitrogen sources include grass clippings, fish meal, blood meal, cottonseed meal, manure and other organic fertilizers.
The second number represents Phosphorus. It helps produce strong roots and promotes flowers and fruit. Natural sources of phosphorus include bone meal, rock phosphate and fish meal.
The third number is Potassium. It is essential for plant growth, fruit size, winter survival and quality. Natural sources of potassium include kelp meal, greensand and compost.
Compost and other forms of organic matter will help increase levels of all three nutrients plus other essential nutrients required by plants. The synthetic fertilizers only have the nutrients marked on the bag and generally don't have the micronutrients required by plants. A complete organic fertilizer can be made using the recipe below. Organic fertilizers can also be purchased. If you are growing a vegetable garden and you want to be certain look that you are buying organic look for the OMRI sign which is the Organic Materials Register Institute. OMRI reviews the products to ensure it meets the organic standards.
4 parts seed meal (alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal or fish meal)
1 part dolomite lime
1/2 part kelp meal
1 part rock phosphate or 1/2 part bonemeal