Complete Commercial Fertilizers

What are the principles of fertilization?

Stated briefly, fertilization is practiced to supply the necessary essential elements to secure a normal growth of the plant.

What is commercial fertilizer?

The term “commercial fertilizer” applies to any carrier of essential nutrient elements, that is sol (by itself or mixed with other such carriers) commercially.

How can an amateur tell what formulas such as 10-6-4 and 8-5-3 mean? Formulas such as 10-6-4, 8-5-3, etc., are used to express the percentages of the major ingredients in fertilizers; namely, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash. A 10-6-4 fertilizer denotes 10% nitrogen, 6% phosphorus, and 4% potash.

Do commercial fertilizers aid or destroy existing bacteria and humus in the soil?

Commercial fertilizers aid the beneficial bacteria of the soil. At the same time they may hasten the decomposition of humus.

Does commercial fertilizer burn the minerals out of the ground?

No; it adds essential minerals to the soil.

Will commercial fertilizer restore a worn-out soil?

Commercial fertilizers will furnish the necessary essential elements and can restore the soil in this respect. To restore humus and to improve the physical condition of the soil organic matter must be added.

What are some substitutes for fertilizer?

There are no substitutes for fertilizer. Compost is used for its organic value, but there is little fertilizer value in it, unless applied in very heavy quantities (at least 20 tons per acre).

Is there a fertilizer generally good as an all-plant fertilizer, for shrubs, perennials, vegetables, rhododendrons, trees, and grass lawns?

There is no one fertilizer that would be considered best for all these groups of plants. Most garden shops offer several types of fertilizers for special plants.

How can one tell just what kind of fertilizer is best to use?

Soil tests will give a partial answer; the habit of growth of the plant is also a determining factor. Ornamental plants normally showing vigorous top growth respond best to a low-nitrogen fertilizer, and vice versa. Fleshy-rooted plants respond best to a fertilizer low in nitrogen, high in phosphorus and potash.

Can one add certain chemicals to the soil of the garden vegetable patch, in order to get bigger and better crop yields?

A 2-10-10 or similar analysis, is listed for use on root crops. Use a general vegetable fertilizer for other vegetables. Side dressings of a nitrogen fertilizer may be advisable for the leafy vegetables.

How long does it take for organic or inorganic fertilizers to become available to plants?

Inorganic nitrogenous fertilizers are readily available. The insoluble organic nitrogenous fertilizers are slowly available. Phosphorus from superphosphate penetrates the soil slowly, but is readily available in the monocalcium form. Potash is readily available. Slowly available forms of nitrogen are ureaform and IBDU.

What is the best fertilizer for a new vegetable garden?

In general, a 4-12-4 or 5-10-5 fertilizer. For root or tuber crops a 2-10-10 is satisfactory. Exact analysis is not important, so long as the proportions are approximately the same.

What fertilizers should be added to the soil to make vegetables yield bountifully?

See previous question. For leafy vegetables, follow the spring application with a side dressing of ammonium sulfate when the tops are half grown.

What is the best fertilizer to use in midsummer?

For leafy crops, ammonium sulfate or nitrate of soda. For other common crops, use a product specifically labeled for use on vegetables.

Is it possible to mix one’s own fertilizer for a successful home garden?

To make your own fertilizer, several separate ingredients are needed. It is usually much more satisfactory to buy a ready-mixed fertilizer.

Are there garden fertilizers that are good, and more reasonable in price than the highly advertised brands? In general the regular 4-12-4, 5-10-5, and 7-7-7 farm fertilizers are the least expensive. They are good fertilizers.

Is a commercial fertilizer enough to use for the garden? Or should something be used in the fall and left through the winter?

A complete fertilizer should be sufficient in itself. Additional nitrogen may be required for some crops; if so, it should be applied in the spring or when its need is obvious. Green manures or compost are needed in addition.

I have on hand a 100-lb. bag of lawn fertilizer; also a 100-lb. bag of bone meal. Can these be used? In what proportions?

Rather than attempt to mix these fertilizers, use the lawn fertilizer for the lawn and most flower and vegetable crops. Use the bone meal for plants with fleshy and tuberous roots.

Is commercial 5-10-5 fertilizer comparable to fertilizers with special trade names?

Trade-name fertilizers are usually somewhat better than commercial grades of similar analysis, due to the use of better materials, better mixing, and sometimes the addition of trace elements. The standard formula fertilizers, however, are used with success by both amateur and commercial growers.

Can a garden fertilizer recommended for vegetables, and hydrated lime, nitrate of soda, etc., be kept several seasons?

Which should be used the season it is bought?

Practically all garden fertilizers can be kept for several years if they are kept dry. Some, such as ammonium sulfate, cake on standing and should be crushed before applying.

Are fertilizers in tablet form recommended?

They are satisfactory for use on house plants. Liquid house-plant foods are more readily available and usually cheaper.

I have a plot 20 x 20 ft., just covered with 6 ins. of sandy loam. What kind of fertilizer could I use to make good soil for raising flowers of various kinds?

Incorporate 12 to 16 lbs. of a good mixed garden fertilizer in the upper 3 to 5 ins. of the soil.

What formula, in a commercial-type fertilizer, gives best results for growth of annuals, perennials, and shrubs in a mixed border?

Exact formulae are not too important so long as the product is balanced. Read the bag.

What type of fertilizer should be used on plants in winter to have blooms and good color in foliage?

The liquid house-plant foods, made by mixing a dry complete fertilizer with water, used at half the rate recommended, will do well.

What commercial fertilizers are suitable for fruit trees?

Complete fertilizers; also ammonium sulfate, cyanamide, nitrate of soda, superphosphate, muriate of potash, and several others.