Fertilizing

This is not to be confused with the fertilizing you did as part of your initial soil preparation. Every crop is slightly different and requires extra fertilizer, depending on the length of time it spends in the ground before harvest. Vegetables that are ready for harvest within six weeks really don't need anything beyond initial soil preparation. Beyond that, it usually pays to apply fertilizer about the sixth week.

Be sure to pick a strength and formula that are suitable to your crop. For example, on the NPK ratio (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) pick something that is high in N for lettuce, high in P for fruit crops, and high in K for root crops.

The crops that stay in the ground more than six weeks should be fertilized at least once a month after your initial soil preparation. An even better method would be to apply a half-strength solution of fertilizer every other week. This doles out the food in a strength that's a little easier for the plants to take up. Any vegetable that has a blossom should get an extra application of high P fertilizer at the blossoming time. If you're using a granular fertilizer, many books will tell you to scratch it into the surface. However, this can sometimes disturb the roots of the plants. The method I like to use is to mix the granular fertilizer with an equal amount of compost, which helps to spread it out. Then just sprinkle the mixture around the base of the plants. The compost also acts as a buffering agent, storing up the nutrients and releasing them a little more slowly.

Weeding

This is a very short subject in a square foot gardening book, because a square foot garden has very short weeds. If you weed while you water (at least once a week), you'll never have any weeds in your garden that are more than one week old... mere babes in arms. Just think, no weeds to compete with your plants for sun, moisture, nutrients, and space. This is probably one of the most appreciated features of a square foot garden. At first people are skeptical. They can't imagine it. But then I get so many letters saying how easy it is to keep the garden perfectly weeded that I know the readers have been convinced.

Don't let the weeds grow in your walking aisles. Lay down boards or use an action hoe weekly, grow grass and mow weekly. or cox-rr the surface with a protective mulch.

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