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When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

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When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby global8936 » Jul 26, 2012 1:11 pm

I put fresh triple mix soil in my 2 raised beds this year. I wanted to know when I should fertilize the soil for next season or whether I need to fertilize at all. I tend to grow a few kinds of veggies in them, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and some herbs. I was also considering adding cow manure in the soil and tilling it after the end of the season so the soil is ready by the time winter is over. It is also pretty cheap. What do you experts suggest?
Thanks
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Re: When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby B_BQ » Jul 26, 2012 1:36 pm

I'm no expert, but can only tell you what I do with my raised beds. They're 6 years old now, and are 8' x 4' and about 20" high.

I have grown potatoes, beets, carrots, squash, tomatillos, peppers, lettuce, but mostly heritage tomatoes, in them.

After the first year there will be subsidence. Of course I compost all my kitchen waste, and at the end of the growing season I add it to the raised beds. I also add sheep manure, (weed free), some grass clippings and mulched leaves. I dig it all in. I then dig a few deep holes and as I have kitchen scraps available I put the scraps into the hole and cover them up. I do this until the ground starts to freeze. It's all composted by spring! Depending on how much it has subsided over the winter, I may add 2 or 3 bags of bagged triple mix in spring.

I think raised beds are great!

~BBQ
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Re: When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby Heidi S » Jul 28, 2012 1:42 am

I've had raised beds for 10 years, and this year I renovated the frames and raised them another layer of boards. This required me to add more soil material which included my own finished compost, bagged composted manure, and bagged soil (I work in a garden centre).

During the growing season, I also added a home made natural fertilizer (adapted from Steve Solomon's recipe) as well as some micro nutrients to correct some crop problems I had last year. Spread it on top before digging over, and also have side dressed the veggies along the way.

This fall, I will top the beds with my finished compost again and add some more bagged manure if the levels have dropped as the soil has settled (same as BBQ mentions). I have also used soil left over in pots of annuals that doesn't fit into my composters. This soiless mix works well to add texture and drainage to the other ingredients when dug in and let sit over the winter. The potting mix I use has peat, perlite, sand and compost in it, so it blends in well.

Next spring, I will test my soil to see what has leached out, and what is still good - get a kit with pH as well as the N,P,K tests to get a clear view of what is in your soil.

I based my fert mix on the Solomon recipe but made changes based on my testing. I had no phosphorus, but lots of nitrogen, so adjusted to accommodate that issue.

If that is all too complicated - just add a commercial fertilizer for veggies, preferably one that is slow release, and has micronutrients and organic if it matters to you, at the beginning of the season, and don't fret too much!

Good luck!
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Re: When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby global8936 » Jul 30, 2012 10:44 pm

thats all advanced fertilizing. how about if i just get some sheep manure and add it in the beds at the end of the season? I dont have a compost so i'll have to get all fertilizers from outside. I also didn't understand why you dug deep holes. could you explain that again BBQ?
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Re: When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby Dumbo » Jul 31, 2012 12:33 am

The height of your raised garden look like it's only about 2 inches of the ground from the look of the pic in the other topic, since the wood itself looks like it has a few inches of head-space after the soil line.

So it's safe to say your triple mix is likely spent already, or will be by fall.

Since the freeze-melt cycle will produce water, and the rain etc will push nutrients down or away, I wouldn't till it. Come June a lot of nutrients will be pushed further down. I would just rake about 2-inches of your soil over the manure. But I'll let the experts judge that.

This CG article seems pretty decent:
http://www.canadiangardening.com/how-to ... en/a/21325

I had my soil trucked in, instead of buying bags. It did indeed come with some of these slow soluble "rocks", like mentioned in the article above. Not sure what exactly though. Looks to be a soft calcium rock.

These rocks aren't expensive, nor are they intrusive on the garden. I don't even notice them. So come fall I'll likely pick some up. Which? No clue yet, I'll ask the garden centre guy, unless people here have some thoughts to send my way.

Here is some info in the soil nutrients to look over:
http://www.ncagr.gov/cyber/kidswrld/plant/nutrient.htm

A cheap test kit for pH, N, P and K can be bought from most garden stores. So in spring you can top up on what is lacking.
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Re: When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby global8936 » Aug 02, 2012 11:26 pm

so basically ur saying, in june get some manure, lay it down, and just cover it with 2 inches of soil? BTW my beds are 6 inches high.
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Re: When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby Dumbo » Aug 03, 2012 12:26 am

Maybe you misread me.

I would do it in FALL. Come June (or May), when you do your garden and add more triple mix (or whatever) then till it in.

Some sites & books say to dig manure in a couple of feet in fall. I find that a waste. But each to their own...
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Re: When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby B_BQ » Aug 03, 2012 7:20 am

Sorry I haven't replied sooner to your question. I'm not getting notifications.

In the Fall, when I'm getting the beds ready for winter, but long before the ground is frozen, I dig about 8" deep holes in the beds. As I collect the kitchen scraps, instead of putting them into the composter I put the scraps into the holes, then fill them up with soil. I do this until a) all the holes have been used, or b) the ground starts freezing. Over the winter those scraps decompose naturally into the soil. Instant compost.

You say your raised beds are only 6" deep, so I don't think this method would work for you. My raised beds are 20" deep.

~BBQ
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Re: When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby global8936 » Aug 08, 2012 10:21 pm

these are all great ideas but i think what would be best for my beds would be something that seeps deep into the soil even if i add it at a 6 inch depth. I think i like dumbo's idea the best of putting manure in the soil in fall and let it sit over the winter so its ready wen its time to start gardening
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Re: When and how to fertilize raised veggie beds?

Postby Dumbo » Aug 09, 2012 6:01 am

global8936 wrote: I think i like dumbo's idea the best of putting manure in the soil in fall and let it sit over the winter so its ready wen its time to start gardening

oh-oh. Fair warning. I'm a dummy and may not know what is best.

The quest for what is best is really up in the air, global8936. The factors that affect each and every little thing are mind boggling to the Nth degree. It all comes down to your soil chemistry and the clay chemistry under your soil.

For sure add manure (my pref would be fall, as stated above), for sure add more quality triple mix in spring. Since the soil of the average home gardener isn't super-conditioned and depletes rather fast, or won't hold much essential nutrients for an extended period of time, for sure add a general fertilizer again in summer.

When in doubt, consult the farmers almanac. They state, add manure in fall or spring for a veggie garden.
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