NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

September 4, 2013

Tim's Tips: Plant problems? You may need to fertilize more

Where did the summer go? It doesn’t seem like that long ago we were talking about planting the flowers and the vegetable plants.

Many of you should be getting your lion’s share of tomatoes and peppers from those plants that you put in during late May. But judging from conversations that I have had with customers, some of you are still waiting for those first tomatoes or peppers.

Often, the problems stem from the plants not getting enough fertilizer. As your plants reach their mature size, they will use a lot more fertilizer. Many fertilizer containers tell you to fertilize your plants once a month. At this time of the year, your plants should be fertilized every two weeks. If you are growing your vegetable plants in containers, the frequent watering that you have done has washed much of that fertilizer out of the containers.

In some cases, containerized plants may need to be fertilized every seven to 10 days at this time of the year. Tomatoes will stay green if they do not get enough fertilizer. In particular, tomatoes need a lot of potassium to get those green tomatoes to turn red. At this time of the year, your vegetable plants need a regular application of fertilizer right up until those plants are killed by the frost.

If you have pulled up some of your vegetable plants, don’t let that space go to waste. There are many different kinds of vegetables that you can plant again in the fall. Beets, carrots, broccoli, peas, lettuce and spinach, to name a few, will all grow very well in the cooler days of fall. It is not unusual for you to be able to pick fresh vegetables for your Thanksgiving dinner!

Don’t let that space go to waste. Buy some seed packets, and plant up those empty spaces in your vegetable garden.

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