Fertilizing Seedlings and a Simple Explanation of N-P-K

trudi_dJanuary 1, 2013


"When should I fertilize my seedlings?"

I begin to fertilize my seedlings a few days after I transplant them. I intially give them a very weak solution of fertilizer.....that's no more than 25% percent strength solution.

"Why is the fertilizer applied at a weaker rate?" Plant seedlings are baby plants. We don't feed our own newborn babies steak and potatoes, they get milk which is easier for them to digest. A weak fertilizer solution is easy for the seedlings to utilize, it won't burn their delicate roots.

"How do I make the solution 25% strength?"

That's easy to do. Prepare your favorite liquid plant food at full strength.

If it makes a gallon of liquid food pour off a quart (or four measuring cups) of it into a separate and empty gallon container....this is a great way to recycle a cleaned and washed out plastic gallon-sized milk jug. Add another three quarts of water to it and that will make a gallon of 25% strength liquid plant food.

Here's the forumula:

1 quart of full strength liquid plant food

3 quarts of water

Mix the plant food and water in a clean container.

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If you prepare a quart of full strength plant food this is the formula:

1 cup of full strength liquid plant food

3 cups of water

Mix the plant food and water in a clean container.

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"How do I apply the fertilizer?"

Give your seedlings a drink with the hose or sprinkler, let them get a good soaking. Don't water your seedlings with a gush of water straight from the end of the hose, you might splash them out of the ground, use an attachment that will give an easy flow of water...like a sprinkler or a shower nozzle. After giving them a drink of plain water give each seedling about a tablespoon of the 25% solution. It's okay if you give them more than that because you've splashed with the jug, it's still just a 25% strength solution.

"When can I increase the percentage of food I give the seedlings?

About every two weeks give them a higher percentage of food...go to a 33% strength the next feeding, 50% strength after that, and then 75% strength, and then they can get full strength from then on. Here are the other formulas.

For 33% strength plant food:

1 part full strength plant food

2 parts water

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For 50% strength plant food:

1 part full strength plant food

1 part water

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For 75% strength plant food:

3 parts full strength plant food

1 part water

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"What is N-P-K?"

N-P-K is the set of three numbers that you see on containers of plant food.

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"What do they mean?"

Those numbers reflect the percentage of the particular nutrient weight per pound of plant food.

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"What do they stand for...

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