DEAR NEW FARM:
This will be my second year raising transplants, mainly vegetables,
from seed. I have a small greenhouse and last year I did not fertilize
my plants enough, although I thought I was. Please let me know what
fertilizer brand name I should be using and how often. I am raising
tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cabbage and lettuces.
While most of us here at The New Farm are fairly experienced backyard
gardeners (organic, of course), there are two staff members here
at The Rodale Institute who are responsible for starting all of
the research and educational farm’s garden vegetable and ornamental
seed in the greenhouse and in cold frames each year. These lush,
vigorous seedlings compare to none (and are coveted by us backyard
gardeners, who are always hoping they’ll have a few extra
cells to throw our way as the frost-free date creeps near).
So here’s what Garden Director Eileen Weinsteiger and Horticulturalist
April Johnson had to say about fertilizing seedlings organically:
We use, and I recommend using, a kelp-and-fish
product. Freshly harvested kelp should be processed at low temperatures.
The enzymes that occur naturally are isolated from the kelp and
help break it down into a rich brew. All of the active compounds
are viable and ready to stimulate the growth and productivity
of most crops. We use Kelpak, a product available from Agro-Organics,
in Jim Thorpe PA. Their phone number is 717-325-9250. Peaceful
Valley Farm Supply www.groworganic.com carries approximately 100
types of organic fertilizer products, with information pertaining
to nutrients, minerals, pH, nutrient release rate, etc. Their
contact number is 888-784-1722; they are located in Grass Valley
I would recommend fish emulsion. There
are a lot of brands; make sure you use it as directed. Also, I
fertilize every two weeks. If I use compost, which is the main
material in our seed starting mix, I do not fertilize as much—the
plants get their nutrition from the compost.
us with comments, suggestions and questions.