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A Helping Hand

May 23rd, 2017

When you live in a cold climate and transplant spring vegetables into the garden, it’s beneficial to give them a weekly feed with a diluted kelp solution. Plants started indoors or purchased, are trying to produce new roots after being transplanted. This requires nutrition, which is in short supply because of the cold soil. When the soil is cold, plants have a much more difficult time getting nutrients from the soil.

Foliar feeding is the best way to give you plants what they need. While I often advocate a liquid fish/seaweed mixture, I find that sometimes this can attract racoons and skunks to the garden. Liquid kelp doesn’t have the same effect and it provides just the right amount of food when mixed half strength and used weekly. One thing to note is that liquid fertilizers can burn the leaves of plants if used in the morning on a sunny warm day. It’s best to water in the late afternoon when using a liquid feed. Your plants will thank you and you will have lush lettuce and other vegetables much more quickly than without the added fertilizer.

My favorite brand of liquid seaweed (or fish/seaweed mix) is Neptune’s Harvest. I’ve tried a wide variety of brands and find this one to work best for me. In fact, I like it so much I buy it by the five gallon bucket. I always give any transplants a watering straight away with a foliar feed and find that it helps them settle in much quicker. Tomatoes, peppers, and other fruiting plants get a feeding at the first fruit set as well. In my exeprience, this increases yeild and helps reduce drop-off of immature fruit. The variety of minerals and nutrients in kelp makes it a fantastic addition to the garden (in liquid or powdered form, more on that in the weeks to come).

What’s your favorite type of fertilizer to use in the edible garden?

4 Comments to “A Helping Hand”
  1. Ms. Tweetley on May 23, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I’m confused. The bucket says “fish”, not “kelp”.

    Reply to Ms. Tweetley's comment

    • Susy on May 24, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      I have used both, thought the fish does attract skunks and raccoons so I don’t use it often. I used to use it regularly, then moved to mostly kelp.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. Nebraska Dave on May 24, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Susy, my feeding is in the soil. I dig in compost and half decomposed mulch from leaves and grass clippings that haven’t been bathed in chemicals. It’s one of the reasons I have an extra vacant lot just for growing grass clippings that haven’t been sprayed with anything. So far it seems to work. The tomatoes grew out the top of my homemade tomato cages that are over six feet tall. I might sprinkle a little lime around the plants this year to boost the calcium in the soil. I had plant indications that calcium was lacking.

    Things are shaping up for a good year, how about you?

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  3. Tunesia on June 3, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    I’m a Neptune’s Harvest girl myself. I’ve been looking online at possibly making my own fish fertilizer though. I’ve already talked to the owners of my favorite fish market and after some odd stares, he gladly agreed to give me whatever I’d like free of charge. Now to decide on exactly how to go about it…It sounds simple enough and would save an awful lot throughout the garden season to make my own.

    Reply to Tunesia's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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