How to Fertilize a Vegetable Garden

A vegetable garden can supply an abundance of healthy food, but to get the most yield from your plants, you must fertilize it. It is an easy task, and your efforts will be rewarded with a bountiful harvest. Here's how to fertilize.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller
  • Soil-test kit
  • Fertilizer

Instructions

    • 1

      Till in any crop that is left in the garden in the fall. The leftover plant matter adds nutrients to the soil.

    • 2

      Obtain a soil-test kit from a garden store or your local agricultural extension office. Follow the directions and send in the sample to be tested. Results are returned to you.

    • 3

      Plan your garden for the next spring. It is important to have an idea of what you will be growing, because different crops need different amounts of fertilizer. For example, peas, beans and watermelons need less fertilizer than is called for on the test results, and tomatoes, corn and carrots need more.

    • 4

      Spread fertilizer evenly over the entire area of the vegetable garden. If you use a chemical fertilizer, choose a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer. This will provide nutrients to your crops throughout the growing season.

    • 5

      Apply chemical fertilizers in the fall or spring, and apply manure to the garden only in the fall. Manure carries many pathogens such as E. coli that can be transmitted to the vegetable surface by splashing rain or watering. Applying it in the fall gives it time to break down in the soil.

    • 6

      Till the garden again after you apply fertilizer. This works the nutrients into the root area of the soil where the vegetable plants can use it.

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