How to Fertilize Soil – easy and simple

How to Fertilize Soil – gardens and grass

Fertilizing soil is pretty easy. The hardest part is figuring out what fertilizer you need and that depends on the plants you are growing and the soil type. So do some research before you go shopping for fertilizers.

…or do it the “no brainer” way…

Compost and Worm Castings

Most plants do really well with just compost or worm castings. These 2 fertilizers provide more nutrients than any other fertilizers like say…10-10-5 fertilizer. If you go with compost or worm castings, you can spread it around your plants in any amount you like. Compost and worm castings will never harm your plants no matter how much you apply. You can use it like mulch and leave it on top of the soil or mix it in with the soil.

You can buy compost or you can make it yourself like I do. The simplest compost is grass clippings from your lawn. I layer the grass clippings 1 inch thick over my garden bed. It will decompose slowly and feed my vegetable plants. Grass mulch helps the soil retain moisture which will prevent the soil from getting dry and rock hard. You’ll use less water in your garden too. Mulch will help prevent weeds from growing in your yard without using herbicides.

It also looks nice. A Win Win situation.

Grass Mulch

Grass Clipping Mulch

Another method of fertilizing a garden or any area is to bury plant material in the soil. I gather kitchen produce like cucumber ends, carrot peelings, old lettuce, tomatoes, etc and bury it in my backyard or in the garden. It will decompose slowly and condition the soil. It will also attract beneficial microbes, insects and worms. Just dig a hole and throw some veggies in it and cover it up. Done.

I have a small Oak tree in my front yard. For years it always had sparse foliage. It was never full of leaves. It kind of looked like the Charley Brown Christmas tree. I watered it regularly buy no change. One year I applied some steer manure compost to the root line. After about 6 months it took on a new life. It grew about 1 foot and is full of bright green leaves. It never looked better. What a difference!

Soil Conditions

Some plants like strawberries prefer acidic soils. If your strawberry garden does not have acidic soil then you might have to add some Ammonium Phosphate 16-20-0 and a soil sulfur. The ideal pH is around 6.0 – 6.1.

A general all-purpose fertilizer would be something like 5-5-5. It’s a well balanced fertilizer. It comes in organic and non-organic flavors. It’s always best to select Organic.

How to Apply Fertilizer

You can apply fertilizer to your soil and leave it on top or turn the soil. Either way will work since water will pull the fertilizer down through the soil. I recommend using gloves when applying fertilizers.