How to Use Potash & Potassium in My Garden

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Using potash and potassium in your garden always requires you to remember a few important and helpful tips. Use potash and potassium in your garden with help from a longtime gardener and blogger in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Berry Gardening, Fertilizers & Vegetables
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Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Amy from, and I'm going to talk a little bit about how to use potash and potassium in my garden. Potash is actually kind of the old name for potassium, because one good source for potassium is the ashes from the fireplace, wood ashes. And that is one source, but in conventional fertilizers that are like 10/10/10 or 5/10/15 those are the three macro nutrients that are used that need to be added, re-added back to the soil pretty routinely and in gardening. And the first number would be for nitrogen, the second number is for phosphorus and that third number is the potassium content of that fertilizer. And so it's a major nutrient. If you've ever heard anybody say that those numbers stand for up, down, all around then you can kind of get a picture of how important potassium is for your plant growth. The up is the nitrogen number. Because nitrogen really pushes the top growth of your plant, the green leafy part. In fact if you use too much nitrogen you can get a huge wonderful lush tomato plant and no tomatoes at all because it's all green. The phosphorus is down. It's for root growth. And so especially root crops benefit from a little extra phosphorus. And the potassium is the one that's just all around. If the plants don't have it they just won't thrive. So it's important to make sure that the potassium content of your garden is right. One way to do that is of course to have your soil tested at your, through your local extension office. But then when they tell you that you actually need potassium, then there are different ways to get it. You can use that standard formulations like 5/10/15 fertilizers from the regular big box stores, garden stores, centers, nurseries. They're available everywhere. But if you wanted to make your own there are a lot of different sources for potassium that you can use in your garden. One that I use is kelp meal. This is a bag I have been using for a very long time. It was a fifty pound bag and it's not anywhere near fifty pounds now. But kelp meal is a good source of potassium. But there are others. This one is released pretty quickly into the soil for the plants to use. But there are mineral sources too that are more slow released. One of those is would be green sand, another is azomite. And those are things that are mined and they're ground up and you mix them right in. So those are good sources for potassium for your garden. And so if you're concerned about the potassium content of your garden, you want to make sure that everything is right and your plants have everything they need, you should go ahead and get a soil test. Because one of the other things it will tell you if you get a soil test is the PH of your soil. And one of the reasons kelp meal is good is because it doesn't really alter the PH of your soil. If you choose to use wood ashes which almost everyone can get for free, so it's like a tempting choice. You need to kind of be aware that the wood ashes can change the PH of your garden. They will raise it. So if your neutral is 7, but a lot garden plants like for the PH to be a little lower than that, between 6 and 6 and a half. So that if your garden soil is already in the good range, 6 and 6 and a half and you're decide to use wood ashes it could raise the PH up out of the range, you know much higher like to 7.2 or 8 even. So if you do need potassium, think about all the different sources that are available but also make sure that you add what exactly you need. So go ahead and have your soil tested because that's a really important step. So this was Amy talking about potassium and potash in your garden.


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