Home Lawn & Garden Best Fertilizers for Vegetables [Buying Guide] in 2020

Best Fertilizers for Vegetables [Buying Guide] in 2020

by Kellen Greene
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Miracle GRO 3002610 4.5 Lb Shake 'n Feed Tomato, Fruits & Vegetables 9-4-12
Osmocote 277160 Flower and Vegetable Smart-Release Plant Food, 14-14-14, 1-Pound Bottle
Urban Farm Fertilizers All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer, 1 gallon
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Miracle-Gro Shake 'n Feed
Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food
Urban Farm All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer
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Miracle GRO 3002610 4.5 Lb Shake 'n Feed Tomato, Fruits & Vegetables 9-4-12
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Miracle-Gro Shake 'n Feed
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Osmocote 277160 Flower and Vegetable Smart-Release Plant Food, 14-14-14, 1-Pound Bottle
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Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food
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Urban Farm Fertilizers All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer, 1 gallon
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Urban Farm All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer
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When we started growing fruits and vegetables in the family allotment, we weren’t entirely sure what we were doing.  One bed would bring incredible harvests whilst another would die completely.  What were we doing wrong?  We didn’t test the soil and that meant we weren’t using the right fertilizers.  Once we learned where we went wrong and what we needed to do, we had enough produce that we didn’t need to buy vegetables for almost a year!

Fertilizer is the key to a successful harvest and if you’re getting started with growing your own produce this year, you may be a little stuck on how to go about it.   That is why Surf’n’Buy have developed this useful guide to help you find all of the information you need to give your plants everything they need to grow big and strong, as well as presenting the three best fertilizers currently available to help you find the one that is going to provide your plant with ample nutrients.

So, keep reading, we are confident that this guide will give you a jump start into your produce plant journey so that you have the most fruit and vegetable harvest possible this year.

Top 3 Fertilizers for Vegetables

1. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed

FEATURES

Specially formulated with a wide variety of micronutrients, your plants receive all of the nutrients they need to grow strong and produce more high quality vegetables. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed is one of the few fertilizers on the market which has calcium included in its ingredients to provide better support for your plants so they can grow higher quality fruits and vegetables.  This helps to prevent disorders such as blossom end rot, bitter pit and fruit cracking.

This fertilizer is capable of feeding for up to three months depending on the population of the bed, so you don’t have to keep fertilizing your plants as often when you use Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed.  Suitable for both in ground and container plants, you can use this fertilizer anywhere it is needed to provide food for your produce plants.

The dry application is no mess and no fuss, simply sprinkle the fertilizer around the base of the plants then water to release the  nutrients into the soil then sit back and let the water do the work. The NPK ratio of 9-4-12 is ideal for many produce bearing plants so there is no need to buy several different specialists fertilizers.  Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed will offer the right kinds of nutrients for almost any fruit or vegetable plant.

PROS

  • The inclusion of calcium means you don’t have to purchase additional feeds for your vegetable garden, this fertilizer has all you need to help protect your fruits and vegetables from many issues caused by calcium deficiency.
  • The wide range of micronutrients makes all nutrients available to your plants as and when they need them.
  • With up to three months’ worth of feed in one application, this fertilizer cuts down the amount of applications throughout the year, saving you time and money.
  • The granule application is clean and easy, simply sprinkle then water to release nutrients to your plants.
  • Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed is suitable for a wide range of plants so that you can use it on almost any fruit or vegetable bearing plant without worrying about getting the right formula.

CONS

  • There are no directions to guide you on how much fertilizer should be used in a particular area.
  • As with all granule fertilizers, there is a risk of uneven application and even root burn if placed too close to the root system.
  • Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed is not suitable to be used as an immediate boost, which may be needed mid-season to feed hungry and demanding plants.
  • This plant is a synthetic fertilizer which may be dangerous for use around young children and pets and also carries a higher risk of root or stem burn if a plant is over fertilized or the product falls into the leaves.
  • This product will not improve the quality of the soil.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

If you need an easy to use, long lasting fertilizer which will offer your produce bearing plants all the food they need for up to three months, the Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed is the perfect fertilizer for you.  This fertilizer is specially formulated with a range of micronutrients and includes calcium so that your plants are better protected from many diseases associated with calcium deficiency.  This saves you time and money as there is no need for multiple applications in the year and no need to purchase extra calcium products to protect your plants.  Suitable for a wide range of plants, you can use this all over your garden to give your harvest a much needed boost this year.  The main drawback is the synthetic nature of the fertilizer, so be careful with small children and pets and make sure not to apply too much fertilizer at one time.

2. Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food

FEATURES

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food is specially formulated to balance fast top growth with strong root development to provide you with large, tall plants with excellent root structure to keep them supported and fed.  This fertilizer is ideal for many different kinds of plants, including annuals, perennials and garden vegetables which means there is no need to purchase many different kinds of fertilizers for your plants.

The 14-14-14 NPK ratio makes this fertilizer suitable for a wide variety of plants because it offers high levels of all nutrients your plants needs, making it available if and when your plant needs them. One pound feeds a 40 square foot area, providing all plants with plenty of food and giving this fertilizer excellent value.  Available in water resistant containers, you don’t even need to worry about weather conditions rendering the fertilizer unusable.

PROS

  • Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food’s specialist formula helps your plants support itself with strong roots whilst helping the top growth develop quickly for tall, strong plants.
  • Suitable for a wide range of plants, this fertilizer will save you money as there is no need to purchase a range of different specialist formulas.  This one will do all the jobs for you.
  • The high yield from one pound of product allows you to spread this fertilizer around many plants, making it great value for money.
  • Available in water tight containers, you don’t need to worry about storage as this fertilizer will be protected from all weather conditions.
  • The balanced NPK ratio is perfect for almost any produce bearing plant as it will make all nutrients available to allow your plant to take the ones it needs.
  • Free from the unpleasant smells of organic fertilizers, you can use this fertilizer on indoor plants without having to worry about smell.

CONS

  • The balanced N-P-K formula is not suitable for plants with specific needs and can only be used on plants that are hardier and won’t be damaged by a high nitrogen content.
  • Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food does not contain calcium and this will need to be purchased for your plants at an extra cost.
  • Due to the high nitrogen content, this fertilizer may burn roots and stems if placed too close.
  • The synthetic formula of Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food is not suitable for use around small children and pets.
  • This fertilizer will need to be applied frequently as it is a fast releasing formula and will not maintain nutrient levels as long as other fertilizer products.
  • As this is not an organic fertilizer it may harm the quality of your soil due to the synthetic ingredients, so it is recommended to use an organic fertilizer to keep a healthy soil environment.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

When your plants need a quick pick me up, you need the right fast releasing formula to give them every nutrient they might need.  That fertilizer is Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food.  This fertilizer has a high but balanced NPK ratio to provide your plants with a high nutrient content which is immediately available so your plant can take in what it needs when it needs it.  Suitable for almost any plant, you can use this fertilizer all around your garden no matter what produce you are growing, no need for several specialist fertilizers if you’re using Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food.  With a high yield from only one pound of product, you can use this fertilizer for all plants and still have some left over, making it excellent value.  Stored in water tight containers, you don’t even need to worry about storage as this fertilizer will be protected all year round, making it always ready for use.

3. Urban Farm All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer

FEATURES

The Urban Farm All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer is a hand crafted, specially formulated to create a high-performance fertilizer for all vegetables.  The very specific 4.5-2.5-6.0 NPK ratio is perfect for all vegetables and provides the right nutrients your plants need at the right time. Super concentrated at 256:1, you can make 256 gallons of full strength fertilizer with one tablespoon per gallon.  That is incredible value so that you really get the most out of your money.

The liquid formula is suitable for drip, hand watering, foliar and hydroponic applications, allowing you to use this fertilizer in any application type and on any manner of farms, allotments or gardens.

Made from natural and organic components, this is the only organic fertilizer in this guide and provides you plants with a natural source of nutrients which is best for harvestables.  The high nitrogen content is ideal for tomatoes and other plants to make sure that this year’s harvest is the most successful yet. This fertilizer is also high in calcium to protect your plants from blossom end rot and many other calcium related diseases.  This also saves you money as you don’t need to buy additional protection products for your plants.

PROS

  • The specifically formulated NPK ratio is one of the only fertilizers with this blend to make it perfect for almost any vegetable.
  • The super concentrated formula means you will get 256 gallons from one bottle of Urban Farm All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer, allowing for plenty of applications and is a huge money saver.
  • The varying methods of application mean you can use this fertilizer almost anywhere and that this fertilizer is suitable for both home and professional use.
  • The organic make up of this fertilizer makes it ideal for harvestables as there are no synthetic materials, only natural nutrient sources.
  • The high calcium content is just what your plants need to keep them protected from a range of different diseases and means there is no need to spend extra money on more products.
  • With a high nitrogen content, this fertilizer is ideal for tomatoes and other soft fruits and vegetables to grow a plentiful and juicy harvest this year.

CONS

  • This fertilizer is more suited to keeping soil healthy and to create a conducive growing environment for your plants than a quick boost of nutrients to make plants grow faster.
  • The fertilizer does not drain well and may burn the roots or stems of plants if left on for too long, so be wary how much is applied at one time.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

If you want a top quality fertilizer for your vegetable which is crafted from natural organic ingredients Urban Farm All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer is the best option out there.  Formed from worm casts, kelp and many other organic materials, this provides your plants with a natural source of nutrients to keep them healthy and happy. 

A little goes a long way with Urban Farm All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer, with the high 256:1 concentration ratio, one tablespoon per gallon of water is all that’s needed.  The soluble liquid fertilizer also opens this product up for use in many different methods of application so that you can use it in both a professional hydroponic system as well as at home in a watering can. The main issue with this fertilizer is that it may burn plants if used too much or in too high a concentration so be careful to use sparingly so that your plants get what they need but not too much of it.  With proper use, the specialist NPK ratio and high calcium content will provide your plants with exactly what they need to grow large and strong.

What is the Best NPK Ratio for Vegetables?

The NPK ratio is an important thing to get right when growing vegetables because it will make the difference between a successful harvest and having nothing to show for the growing season.

The NPK ratio stands for the amount of nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) is in your fertilizer, all nutrients your plants need to grow.  Plant will need nitrogen to make new tissues and leaves, phosphorus to stimulate root growth and potassium to protect the overall health of the plant.

The most well known ‘fact’ about plants is that they will need a specific NPK ratio depending on their species, however this is not always true.  Remember that you are adding the fertilizer to the soil, not to the plant.  This means that to get the right blend for your plants, the first step is to always, always have your soil tested for strengths and deficiencies.  Only when you know the content of your soil will you know which nutrient you need more of.

Generally, in healthy soil, a balanced NPK ratio is perfect for all vegetable plants as it will only take in as much as it needs.  If you want a particularly successful grow, a 10-10-10 NPK may be better than a 5-5-5 NPK.  However, if a test shows your soil is deficient in one of these nutrients, it is recommended to tailor the NPK ratio to supplement those deficiencies in order to balance out the soil and make a better environment for your plants.


Is Superphosphate Good for Your Vegetables?

Superphosphate has a very high phosphorus content which is ideal for encouraging strong root development in your plants as well as helping it move sugars and proteins around the plant so that produce ripens properly.  In that sense, it can be beneficial to use superphosphate in your garden.  However, keep in mind that if your soil is already rich in phosphate that superphosphate may not be needed.  Having too much of one nutrient does not necessarily mean that the plant will use it all, it may end up being wasted or, even worse, causing the plant some damage.


When Should You Fertilize Your Vegetable Garden?

Growing a healthy garden with impressive harvests isn’t just about skill and care, it’s also about timing.  Creating the right fertilizing schedule for your garden can mean the difference between more produce than you know what to do with and growing almost nothing at all.  Fertilizing adds extra nutrients to the soil but if you fertilize at the wrong time, those nutrients may go unused or your plants may not get the nutrients they need at a certain time.  That is why we at Surf’n’Buy have created this guide to help you fertilize at the right times so that your plants always have the nutrients they need when they need them.

Winter

A productive garden takes preparation and this should begin in the winter time. After a harvest, when all the crops are removed and the soil is still soft, you should add a neutral 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer to neutralize the soil then cover the soil with a thick mulch or cardboard.  This will allow the fertilizer to slowly release into the soil whilst the topping will provide decomposing material to feed worms which will keep the soil aerated.

Spring

If you are growing cool weather crops such as green, leafy vegetables such as cabbage or kale, very little fertilization is required.  If the soil has been prepared in winter, you may not need to do anything.  However, if winter fertilization did not occur, you can add a quick liquid 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer to get the soil ready for planting.

Summer

If you are growing summer vegetables, be aware that these kinds of vegetables need a lot of feeding and a lot of nitrogen.  To ensure your plants get all they need, start by working a slow release fertilizer into the soil before planting then add a quick releasing fertilizer every three to four weeks during the growth period.  If the weather in your region gets particularly hot and dry, make sure to allow for plenty of watering and consider adding some Epsom salts to the water to provide minerals and magnesium to the plants as magnesium is not always included in commercial fertilizers.

Fall

When the summer crops are removed and you are preparing for fall growths, work some more slow release fertilizer into the top of the soil.  As with spring plants, fall vegetables do not need as much fertilization.  However, if you notice that growth is slowing, slow release fertilizer can be added once a month.  However, you should not fertilize after the first frost as the stress of a boosted growth in cold weather can cause plants to die.


Conclusion

So, there you have it, everything you need to know about the best vegetable fertilizers and how you should use them to get the best results.  If you are looking for a professional use fertilizer, Urban Farm All Purpose Vegetable Fertilizer is suitable for a range of different applications and gives you an incredibly high yield.  It also has the added bonus of being crafted from organic ingredients.

Howeber, if you’re looking for something a little easier, check out Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed and Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food.   Both fertilizers are granular applications so you can simply sprinkle on and let your watering do the work, perfect for beginners or those with busy schedules. No matter what you’re looking for, Surf’n’Buy hope this guide has helped you find the right product for your vegetables and all the information you need for your most successful harvest yet.

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