NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

March 13, 2013

Tim's Tips: Fertilize plants as they grow indoors

When the weather forecast on one television station calls for 1 to 3 inches of snow and another station has the total at 4 to 8 inches and yet another monitor sees 6 to 10 inches, you know it will be a doozy of a snowstorm. Enough is enough with winter. Bring on spring!

It is time to start your vegetable and flower plants indoors. As I have said in prior columns, you need about 8 to 10 weeks from when you plant seeds until it is time to set the plants into the garden. If you use Memorial Day as the time to plant, we are now right on cue for starting the seeds.

People tend to forget how important it is to fertilize the plants as they grow in your house. Once the seeds begin to sprout, they will put out a tiny set of leaves. Soon the plants will put out another set of leaves and soon after, another. At this point, you should begin to fertilize your plants.

You should use a very diluted amount of fertilizer. Plant roots are very sensitive to over-fertilization at this point. If you add too much fertilizer to the soil, you can easily burn the roots. You should use the smallest concentration of fertilizer listed on the package. At this point, it is always best to use a fertilizer that you dilute with water. In most cases, fertilizer powders that you mix with water will be diluted at the rate of one-quarter teaspoon in a gallon of water. Initially, you would use this rate each time you need to water your seedlings. As time goes on, you should be able to increase the amount of fertilizer powder to one-half teaspoon in a gallon of water.

If you choose to use an organic fertilizer, be sure to keep the dilution rate low. Even though the fertilizer is organic, you can still burn the roots if you use too much. If you have your plants near a sunny window and you use a diluted fertilizer, you should have nice stocky plants to put out into your garden.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Special Features