“What’s that smell?”

“What’s that smell” said Mike this past weekend as we were standing out in the back yard.

“That’s the fertilizer I put on the garden beds”, I replied.  “It won’t stink for too long.”

He still wasn’t impressed. Hahaha

I decided to use Espoma this year instead of traditional fertilizer (or MiracleGro).  The name conjures up images of a lovely seaside village in Spain but it’s really a well-respected organic fertilizer that’s widely available. It is very popular among gardeners of all kinds but it is new to me.  You can buy it at many garden centers (Dan West carries it, as so several other nurseries in the Memphis area- even Walmart carries some of their products).

I purchased some of the Garden-tone, Tomato-tone, and Holly-tone (I have some holly shrubs, camellias, and gardenias that love acidic soil).  I could probably get away with using Garden-tone on all of my vegetable beds, but I wanted to try Tomato-tone to see if it gives them an extra boost.  Garden-tone is a 3-4-4 fertilizer while Tomato-tone is a 3-4-6 fertilizer.  Tomatoes require more potassium than some other garden plants.  Tomato-tone also contains additional calcium that should help prevent blossom-end rot.

I did prepare all of the beds using Garden-tone, however, and I applied it at a rate of 3.5 pounds per 50 square foot of garden area.  In my situation, it worked out to about 5 cups per raised bed (3 cups of the fertilizer is approximately a pound).  I spread it around evenly and worked it into the upper soil.  I just wanted to give any seeds and transplants a jump start.  I’ll add an additional feeding a week after planting and then I will follow a monthly feeding cycle.

I would prefer to get by with only compost rather than commercial fertilizer (one less thing to buy for the garden), but until I can make enough compost on my own I am looking for some commercial solutions.

 

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