The Q&A Archives: Feeding Vegetables

Question: I have several packages of Miracle-Gro for lawns. Can it be used on my vegetables or shall I use something else?

Answer: The three essential nutrients in fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorus (as available phosphate), and potassium (as soluble potash). Each plays a role in building healthy plants. Nitrogen encourages growth of leaves and stems while phosphorus and potassium increase vegetable production and root growth. Most fertilizers also have ?trace elements,? small amounts of other nutrients that are needed to grow healthy, beautiful plants.

Fertilizers are labeled according to the percentages of each of the key components they contain. The label indicates the relative amounts of the three essential nutrients with an analysis formula (for example: 15-30-15, 18-18-21, or some other combination).

The formulation for Miracle-Gro Lawn Food is 36-6-6, a bit high in nitrogen for general use in a vegetable garden. The extreme amount of nitrogen will produce lush, green growth, at the expense of flowers and fruit. Lawns thrive on high nitrogen, but veggies prefer a more balanced diet, such as a 5-10-10.

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