Figure 3. Fertilizer analysis numbers refer to the percentage by weight of N, P2O5 and K2O (nitrogen, phosphate, and potash).
Manure is a complete fertilizer and may be used to supplement chemical fertilizer. Manure varies considerably in nutrient value, depending on the type of animal, length of storage, amount of bedding material and the moisture contained. Since most manure has less than 2 percent phosphate and less than 1 percent nitrogen and potash, several times more manure than chemical fertilizer must be applied if only manure is used. More detail on using manure as a fertilizer may be found in Extension PB 1391, "Organic Gardening and Pest Control."
Apply fertilizer to garden soils in the spring before planting. Manure is generally broadcast. Chemical fertilizers may be broadcast, applied in the rows or banded near or under the rows. If fertilizer is broadcast or applied in the rows, it should be worked into the soil before planting. Bands are most effective when placed about 2 inches to the side and 2 inches below the seed. Vegetable plants may be damaged by over-fertilization or fertilizer placed too near them. Soil test reports give amounts of fertilizer to broadcast in pounds per 1000 square feet and per acre. (Three rows 36 inches apart and 100 feet long equal 900 square feet). To convert the soil test recommendations to amounts per 100 foot of row, use Table 4.
Greens and vegetables with a long growing or production season benefit from additional nitrogen during the growing season. This is called "sidedressing." Sidedress by applying ammonium nitrate along the row, keeping 4 to 6 inches away from the base of the plants. Water or work the ammonium nitrate into the soil. Specific amounts of ammonium nitrate to use and growth stages where sidedressing is most effective are given in Table 5.
Figure 4. Apply nitrgen sidedressings in bands along rows or circles around plants. Keep the fertilizer 4 to 6 inches from the plants.
A complete fertilizer may also be used to sidedress vegetables, but the amount required will vary with the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate is about 34 percent nitrogen. Adjust the amount of other fertilizers used as sidedressing so the amount of nitrogen is the same as if ammonium nitrate were used.
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