The Q&A Archives: Fertilize Seedlings?

Question: I am very interested in starting my annuals by seedlings this year. Do I fertilize the seedlings at any time before transplanting them outdoors into the ground?

Any other information about seedlings would be appreciated!

Answer: The easiest way is to feed as you water. "I give transplants a constant, lean diet every time I water them. Use one-quarter the recommended amount of fertilizer per gallon of water," says Bruce Butterfield, Director of Gardening Market Research here at the National Gardening Association. Take care not to overfeed them, though, or they may grow too quickly. Nancy Bubel's book, "The New Seedstarter's Handbook", recommends using one tablespoon of fish emulsion per gallon of water, and if you're growing in a soilless medium (like vermiculite) dose them twice a week. If you're using a soil-based growing medium, a 10-14 day schedule is plenty.

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