In the Vegetable
Patch: Helping the Harvest with the Right Fertilizer at the Right Times
by Ruth Foster
summer is a good time to give a little fertilizer and some special care to
increase and prolong the harvest. Be be forewarned, each vegetable has
its own little preferences and peculiarities.
Some Vegetables are Nitrogen Lovers
Lettuce and other greens need a constant source of nitrogen to grow last and
be tender. These can be fertilized every few weeks with liquid
fertilizer. Or every month or so you can give a side dressing granular
fertilizer scratched very lights in to the soil about 4" from the
plant. Any standard fertilizer will do, whether chemical or
Cabbage is treated the same as lettuce, but watch for the small white
cabbage moths. To control their larvae, which eat holes in the leaves,
spray weekly with non-toxic Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis).
Beans are similar except they produce more when given a side dressing of
chemical fertilizer. Pick beans frequently, even every few days to
keep them coming. Once the seeds inside mature, it signals the plant
are treated like beans and are best picked when small before the seeds
inside mature, and before any yellow appears on the skin. Check
frequently for the striped cucumber beetle which carries will disease.
If found, spray weekly, immediately after harvesting, with a short residual
vegetable insecticide that kills beetles.
Need a More Balance Fertilizer
side of dressing of granular fertilizer is usually applied to the soil
surface at planting time and again when they begin to set fruit. Tomato
fertilizer should have ample potassium plus trace elements, particularly
calcium and magnesium. It may be granular or liquid but beware of too
much nitrogen which will produce tones of leaves and fewer blander tasting
As tomatoes ripen, fertilizer is withheld to produce better flavor.
Use a summer mulch (like bark) to keep the soil uniformly cool and
moist. Apply compost and organic fertilizer in the fall when preparing
the bed for the following spring.
best, most intense flavor if not fertilized at all.
Raspberries prune out the canes of the summer fruiting varieties when their
harvest is finished. Old canes are tan and peeling. Leave the
new green ones. Rake up the leaves to control diseases, then apply a
good all around fertilizer like 10-10-10 to the surface of the soil.