Fertilizing Seedlings - Knowledgebase Question

Yonkers, NY
Avatar for mromagno
Question by mromagno
February 28, 1999
This is the second year I've started flowers & vegetables from seed. Last year I ended up going to my local nursery & buying flowers. The tomato plants did well, but the peppers never got very tall. I need to know at what point I should start fertilizing the seedlings and with what. I've read the fertilizer should be diluted but what type of fertilizer should I use? The vegetables I'm growing are tomatoes, bell peppers & broccoli. Flowers include: sea breeze salvia, verbena, viola, petunias and impatiens. Do I need to use a different fertilizer for the vegetables than the flowers?

Answer from NGA
February 28, 1999
To answer your direct question, a general purpose, balanced (eg 20-20-20) water soluble fertilizer such as MiracleGro used at a weak strength should be adequate for your seedlings. As you are beginning to discover, seed starting is always a bit of an experiment, in part because there is always some variation in the results from year to year. The key to producing good transplants is not only providing fertilizer, but also providing appropriate growing conditionsincluding very bright light, and then finally acclimating the plants to the outdoors and carefully planting them in the garden. You might find these two articles helpful
Seedstarting Made Easy at http://www.gardeners.com/garde... and
Seedling Savvy at as you work with your transplants this spring.

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