If you want high yields and tasty produce you must provide your vegetable garden with quality fertilizing.
There are different types of fertilizers available online and you can choose the proper one with the help of a soil test. This test can tell you exactly what the soil needs, so you can be certain you’re getting the right product.
Most commonly, fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as additional nutrients that work together on maintaining your garden’s health.
To make this process less stressful for you, we prepared a list of our suggestions on the best fertilizer for vegetable gardens.
Once you review our detailed info, you’ll be able to pick the best option for your gardening needs.
If you want the best of the best, the organic fertilizer by Down to Earth is the product for you. It has a well-balanced 4-4-4 NPK and is completely organic and enhanced with additional microorganisms and fungi to stimulate a healthy growing environment for your veggies.
Both experienced and newbie gardeners love using this product.
Our most affordable top pick is the Miracle-Gro water-soluble fertilizer. It’s made of all-natural ingredients and works well with tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, basil as well as other veggies and herbs.
Your produce will be tastier and your harvest bigger than ever plus, this product comes at a very affordable price and it can fit your limited gardening budget.
Why are Good Fertilizers Important?
As they grow the garden vegetables go through different processes and one of these is the uptake of soil nutrients.
In order to keep this process going, you must add fertilizers to maintain the ability of the soil and feed the plants.
This is why soil fertilizers are essential in growing a healthy garden and as mentioned earlier soil tests can help you understand what the soil needs.
Moreover, we talked about the NPK numbers in our previous articles and it’s of great importance to have their meaning in mind during fertilization.
For instance, a 5-10-5 fertilizer has 5 % Nitrogen, 10% phosphate and 5 % potash and is a full or complete fertilizer because it contains all three ingredients.
On the other hand, there are some which have a ratio of 4-12-0 – and this fertilizer contains great amounts of phosphate, but no potash.
What Types of Fertilizers are There?
The type of fertilizer you use can hugely influence the development of your garden. And you can either choose to use organic or chemical fertilizer.
Organic fertilizers are usually made of green and animal manure, fish emulsion, blood meal, granite dust, cottonseed meal and rock phosphate.
There are a few benefits that organic fertilizers provide and that are great for improving the overall garden condition.
- They provide the soil with organic matter that improves the structure, fights bacterial and fungal diseases, adds micronutrients and feeds the soil microbes.
- Organic fertilizers are usually slow-release formulas that provide constant feeding through a longer period.
- They’re eco-friendly, easy to use and you can find affordable options available.
Chemical fertilizers are made from inorganic materials and are usually fast-releasing and can’t be absorbed immediately by the vegetables. If you decide to use this type of fertilizer, take into consideration the points below.
- They don’t contain any organic matter and won’t improve soil structure.
- They’re created with a fast-release formula and don’t provide long-term results for your garden.
- They’re not eco-friendly, but less expensive and can easily be found in stores.
How to Use the Fertilizer in Vegetable Garden?
Experienced gardeners know that soil testing is very important and they do it every 2 years or so. Testing can provide essential information on how to maintain your garden and which products to choose – this is especially helpful if you’re an amateur gardener and you don’t have experience tricks up your sleeve.
As you know, soil can be tested in a laboratory or you can do it on your own – it’s up to you.
Have in mind not to use too much fertilizer because this can harm your vegetables and burn them and if the fertilizer contains more nitrogen try not to use large amounts.
What are the Application Methods?
There are 4 ways of applying fertilizer. Read more details about them below:
- Broadcasting method refers to applying the fertilizer equally throughout the garden soil after which you mix it up to 4 inches of depth before making rows. If you use this method, there’s a low risk of plant damage plus it provides an even nutrient distribution. We recommend this method for amateur and home gardeners.
- The second, localized or band method requires the fertilizer application to be done in a side strip before the planting. This is a great way of applying a moderate amount of fertilizer and when doing so, make sure the plant’s roots don’t come in contact with the fertilizer strip to avoid plant burn.
- Starter solutions are used with transplanting plants such as tomato, pepper, cabbage and eggplants. You need to mix 2 tbsp. of fertilizer with 1-gallon of water and mix it well. Add one cup to the transplanting hole and then add the plant once it’s soaked in by the soil.
- The 4th method is known as side-dressing and is usually added to growing, established plants. It can help if you have sandy soil or too much rainfall has washed away the nutrients. You need to sprinkle the fertilizer along the sides and then add water.
When to Fertilize a Vegetable Garden?
First, we want to point out that to improve soil that’s deficient in nutrients you have to add fertilizer before you start the planting. This way, the fertilizer can get deeper into the soil.
In all other cases, you can add fertilizer during the spring before planting your veggies and for perennials as soon as they start growing.
Your veggies need the most care during growth. Different veggies and plants have different growing cycles and you have to adjust the fertilizer application based on this.
- Lettuce and greens require fertilizer early in the springtime.
- Corn and squash grow midsummer.
- Potatoes & tomatoes need extra Nitrogen during mid-season.
- Long-season crops require fertilizer at the seeding time and then more in the early summer months.
- Perennial plants such as blueberries need early application and strawberries should be fertilized as soon as the harvest is done.
- Ornamental shrubs, trees can be fertilized at the start of the growing season.
Fertilizer for Vegetable Garden Reviews
1. Down to Earth Organic Fertilizer
- 4-4-4 NPK
- Ideal for different veggies
- Great seed starter
- Organic fertilizer
- Consistent quality
Made of completely organic and natural ingredients, this fertilizer can do wonders for your garden. It works together with the soil’s organic matter, fungi and microorganisms to create a stimulating growth environment for your plants and help them thrive.
Moreover, the manufacturer pays great attention to use the best nutrients in proper proportions while avoiding any synthetics and filters of low quality such as poultry waste.
The balanced 4-4-4 formula can help you grow from scratch your summer tomatoes, fragrant herbs as well as any spring greens.
It’s loved both by experienced and newbie gardeners and can be used during the whole growing season.
2. Osmocote Smart-Release Fertilizer
- Stronger roots
- Ideal for veggies & perennials
- Improves flavor & bloom
- Lasts up to 4 months
- Easy to use
Osmocote is well-known for its quality products and this 14-14-14 NPK ratio veggie fertilizer can do wonders for your vegetable garden.
The product’s made with nutrient granules that are coated in a semi-porous resin. During the process of fertilization, the resin allows water to freely enter and dissolve the granule while releasing the nutrients it holds inside.
Additionally, the release of the nutrients depends on the outside temperature – thus, warm weather helps in releasing more nutrients.
Further, the fertilizer is easy to use and you only need to use 1 scoop of fertilizer for an area of 4 sq. ft. and then mix it in the top 3 inches of soil. As soon as this is done, make sure you water the veggies regularly and apply the fertilizer 3 times per year for the best results.
You’ll be happy to see your garden bloom in no time and your veggie salads will taste better than ever.
3. Organic Fertilizer by Jobe’s Organic
- Fast release
- Suitable for veggies & tomatoes
- OMRI listed
- Enhanced with Jobe’sBiozome
- Easy application bag
Your vegetable garden will be grateful to receive Jobe’s Organic fertilizer as food. This product can improve the overall quality of the soil in your backyard and it also works on improving root development and plant growth.
Additionally, it can help protect your plants from external factors, during their development phase, such as drought.
It contains healthy bacteria, archaea and mycorrhizae fungi that bring back the soil to its natural state – and this is the best environment for growing healthy vegetables.
Moreover, the product is OMRI certified and can be used for growing organic vegetables and it helps prevent nutrient depletion while increasing nutrient uptake. In the long run, this protects the plants from diseases, drought and various insects.
The manufacturer offers a 90-day money-back guarantee or product replacement if you’re not satisfied with the product.
4. Shake & Feed Vegetable Plant Food by Miracle-Gro
- All-natural ingredients
- Special micronutrient formula
- Up to 3 months feeding
- Helps prevent vegetable disorders
- Suitable for containers and in-ground
The Miracle-Gro fertilizer is suitable for use in containers and ground depending on what kind of garden you have.
Furthermore, the secret to getting good results is to apply the fertilizers equally throughout the soil. There’s no need to mix this fertilizer with water and it’s best not to apply to wet foliage or only around the plant’s stem.
As with other fertilizers, make sure you follow the instruction manual and add the needed dose –otherwise, you risk causing plant burn or other damage.
Once you’ve sprinkled the fertilizer granules, you need to mix them carefully in the soil and add water to kick off the feeding.
For best results, you can reapply the fertilizer 4 times a year.
5. J R Peters All Purpose Fertilizer
- All-purpose fertilizer
- Fast results & leaf growth
- Great for vegetable gardens
- Quality ingredients
- Well-balanced formula
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see your plants immediately improved with just one dose of Jack’s fertilizer.
This product works great for both outdoor and indoor plants, vegetables, and trees. The special formula can feed through the plant’s leaves and roots and the balanced NPK ratio works on improving plant growth and fast leaf development.
According to happy gardeners that have used the product for years – it’s one of the best on the market and it can make your garden greener and healthier than ever.
Last but not least, the well-balanced formula won’t damage and burn your precious veggies.
6. The Old Farmer’s Almanac Organic Vegetable Fertilizer
- OMRI listed
- Quick + slow-release formula
- High-quality ingredients
- Easy pour bag
- 8-4-8 formula
This OMRI-listed vegetable fertilizer can help upkeep a healthy ecosystem in your garden and consequently improve produce growth and root development.
It can be used indoor and outdoor in different areas regardless of the weather and soil conditions and it works great with herbs, fruit, shrubs and trees.
The manufacturer has been in the gardening business since 1972, so you can be certain to deal with a professional, top-quality product.
Moreover, you’ll receive the fertilizer in a practical resealable bag, so you can easily store it away when not in use.
The formula’s rich in nutrients consisting of 8 % Nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, 8 % potassium. This balanced ratio can provide plant growth, vivid colors and strong roots.
7. GS Plant Foods Liquid Kelp Concentrate
- Made from AcophyllumNodosu
- Increased root expansion
- Good for extreme weather conditions
- Highly concentrated
- OMRI listed
The GS Plant Foods fertilizer is a highly concentrated liquid made of kelp and is one of the top quality products made of seaweed.
It’s made from AscophyllumNodosum type of seaweed that originates in Norway and it’s very effective when it comes to providing long-lasting results.
This is a trusted product among experienced gardeners and can help increase mineral uptake, plant vigor and overall health.
Moreover, it’s a multi-purpose product that you can use on plants, fruits, seedlings and flowers to help with the germination process and grow a more bountiful yield.
Additionally, it can help reduce plant stress caused by difficult weather conditions and it’s OMRI listed for safe use.
8. Espoma 3-4-4 Plant Food
- All-natural blend
- Enhanced with living microbes
- Made in the USA
- No toxic ingredients
You’ll be surprised to see the Espoma plant food do wonders for your vegetable garden. This is an organic blend made with natural ingredients, enriched with various living microbes.
It can be used for organic gardening and can provide a continuous, safe and balanced feeding to your vegetables throughout the season.
Since it was initially created for professional gardening it contains the 15 basic nutrients to help grow a healthy and lush veggie garden.
Plus, it doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients so you can be confident to provide your produce with quality fertilizing.
Just sit back, relax and let the fertilizer do the job for you.
9. Water Soluble Fertilizer by Miracle-Gro
- Instant feeding
- Provides bigger harvest
- No plant burn guaranteed
- Suitable for different veggies
Your vegetable garden can thrive and grow produce instantly with the help of the Miracle-Gro fertilizer.
It’s a water-soluble product that works great with tomatoes, peppers, squash, herbs and carrots. Plus, it’s really easy to use – in a watering can add 1 ½ tbsp. in 1 ½ gallon of water and add the solution to the base of the plants every 2 weeks.
This amount can help you cover around 15 sq. ft. of soil and it’s really practical because you can use it for your outdoor garden while watering.
To get the best results always consult with the product’s instructions and have in mind that a blooming garden requires proper watering, enough sunlight and quality nutrition.
Once you get these three in place, you can get the best results in a short time.
10. Multi-Purpose Fertilizer by Dr. Earth
- Tastier veggies
- Good level of nutrients
- Non-GMO product
- 100 % organic
- Ecto& Endo Mycorrhizae
If you’re eager to grow tasty and nutritious veggies this is the right product for your vegetable garden. It contains the ideal level of essential plant nutrients to provide healthy growth and root development.
Moreover, it doesn’t contain any GMOs, sewage sludge or chicken manure – it’s made with natural and 100% organic ingredients.
Additionally, it contains probiotics, beneficial microbes as well as ecto and endo mycorrhizae and can help increase the produce quality and make them resistant to external weather conditions.
It’s listed for organic use by the Organic Material Review Institute, so you can be certain to get the best care for your plants and the best food on your table.
As we mentioned a few times in the article, fertilizing is one of the most important factors when maintaining a healthy vegetable garden.
There are many fertilizer options available, however, getting the maximum yield requires smart planning and testing the soil before applying fertilizer.
When it comes to fertilizers, we’ve presented various options for the best fertilizer for vegetable gardens so whichever you choose you’ll be making a good decision.
Our top pick is certainly Down to Earth’s organic fertilizer. With the balanced 4-4-4 NPK ratio, it works on providing your veggies with optimum nutrients for healthy growth.
However, if you’re looking for a less expensive option, the Miracle-Gro water-soluble fertilizer is here to help.
It’s completely organic and can help with various vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, peppers and various herbs.
You can see the benefits of this fertilizer in the improved taste of the veggies and larger harvest yield.
Finally, you have all the needed information to make a good decision. Take your time to review the available options and make a smart purchase.