The Q&A Archives: Fertilize before tilling

Question: I am about to till my vegetable garden to prepare it for planting. Should I fertilize first then till or fertilize after tilling? What is best type of fertilizer to use?

Answer: Fertilizers may be applied by broadcasting granular fertilizer over the entire garden according to directions on the fertilizer bag and tilling it into the top 6 inches of soil. However, this can be wasteful if fertilizer is spread in areas where there are no plants. Another method, called banding, is more efficient although it takes a bit more work. Narrow bands of fertilizer are placed in furrows 2 to 3 inches from the seeds in the row and slightly deeper than the seeds to provide a buffer zone. Or, you can simply side dress your plants with fertilizer after they have begun to grow well. Use a general purpose 10-10-10 for your veggie garden. Best wishes with your garden!

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