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Choosing the right fertilizer for different plants at each stage in their life.
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Satish
New Delhi
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November 18, 2010 - 6:42 pm
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I am wondering if all of us hobby gardeners face the same dilemma when required to decide the formulation & composition of the fertilizer to be used for any particular stage in a plant's life. Worst still how do amateurs like me recogonise each stage. The dealers selling fertilizers are not very knowledgeable either. Recently, I asked a dealer about what fertilizer to use on my Okra plants that seemed to be growing very tall. He advised me to use Mono-Potassium Phosphate which has no nitrogen at all. For the same situation another dealer advised me not to use any fertilizer at all and yet another advised me to use a formulation with low nitrogen, high phosphorus and again low potassium! Similarly, it is difficult to know when the plant is  about to start flowering or fruiting. Micronutrients pose a similar problem. We need to know which special micronutrients to use for particular plants. Like I had been advised to provide calcium to tomato plants by mixing some crushed egg shells in the soil. Fortunately, due to the inconvenience involved I chose to use calcium nitrate, which choice was recently confirmed by GG. I know we can never become experts of this subject---and don't even need to be so---but it would be nice to acquire a little more knowledge on the subject in the interest of our plants! It might also protect us from being conned by unscrupolous dealers. For example, recently when I was looking for magnesium sulphate, a big dealer advised me to use something called 'calmag' to provide calcium as well as magnesium to tomato plants and sold me a kilo for hundred rupees. I later realised that this so called 'calmag' was just gypsum with a little magnesium added thereto and would have cost this dealer at the most twenty rupees a kilo! Can we not learn from each other's experience and the encyclopaedia called GG? I am sure we can and request all to participate.

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aanandhi
Chennai
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November 19, 2010 - 8:33 am
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Very Well said Satish! This site is very helpful for amateur gardener like myself to be focused on what is exactly needed for the system that I am trying to achieve. Rather getting distracted with lot of unwanted things that lie around us.

Great site! Thanks a lot to GG for hosting such a site. 

And thanks to all the members who are contributing to the wealth of information.

Aanandhi

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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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November 19, 2010 - 11:17 am
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Hello Satish.

 

Thanks for bringing this very interesting and useful topic.I am preparing a detailed response for this question. 

 

I will give a short answer now.

 

Germination - Transplant stage:

Use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. They are called starter fertilize usually found in ratios 1:2:1. Unfortunately not lot of shops stock these slow moving fertilizers. Hence 19-19-19 is good enough. Phosphorus encourages root initiation which is very essential in seedling stage. Ex 14-30-14. MKP MOno potassium phosphate is 0-52-34. One can use it in half strength and also add a N supplement.

 

Flowering-Harvest:

This depends on the crop. For most of the fruiting crops, a fertilizer that is high in potassium is preferred. Also a good dose of calcium is also needed. Ratios like 6-12-36, 5-15-30 or even 13-5-26 l can be used.  Again more on the detailed follow up later. The idea is to reduce the N content and ensure K is higher than N. K/N ratio plays a very important role.

For leafy veggies: continue to use a nitrogen high fertilizer:  20-10-10 etc can be used. Alternatively you can add ammonium sulphate to 19-19-19 and increase its N content. I will mention about the calculation part as well later.

This is in short. By this weekend, I will try to put up  a detailed explanation.

Hope this helps.

GG

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Urban Gardener
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November 19, 2010 - 11:28 am
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Hi Satish,

 

Well I guess you have hit the right note. Everyone goes through these initial gardening blues.  Thanks to GG for the quick fix.

To start with,thought of sharing the fertilization basics below that could be helpful to a few like ones:


Essential Nutrients for Plants

Three elements, carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O), are supplied by air (in the form of carbon dioxide) and water. When the chlorophyll (green pigments) of plants are exposed to light, these three elements are combined in photosynthesis to make carbohydrates, with a subsequent release of oxygen. The water is provided to the plant by root absorption from the soil.  Carbon dixide (CO2) enters the plant through small openings in leaves called stomata.The rate at which photosynthesis occurs is directly influenced by the water and nutritional status of the plant. Maximum rates are determined ultimately by the genetics of the plant.


Fifteen of the essential nutrients are supplied by the soil. Of these, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) are referred to as Primary or Macronutrients. This is because (1) they are required by the plant in bulk relative to other nutrients. They are the nutrients most likely to be found limiting plant growth and development in soil.

 


                                              Essential plant nutrients

 


Nutrients Supplied by Air and Water (Non-Mineral ) : Carbon, Hydrogen and  Oxygen.
 


Nutrients Supplied by the Soil :

A) Primary or Macronutrients : Nitrogen – N ,  Phosphorus – P and Potassium – K.

B) Secondary Nutrients : Calcium – Ca, Magnesium – Mg and Sulfur – S

C) Micronutrients : Zinc – Zn, Chlorine -Cl , Boron-B, Molybdenum -Mo, Copper-Cu, Iron-Fe, Manganese-Mn,Cobalt-Co and Nickel-Ni

 
Note: Calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S) are termed secondary nutrients because they are less likely to be growth-limiting factors in soil systems. Calcium and magnesium are added in liming materials when soil pH is adjusted and sulfur is added continually by rainfall and release from the soil organic matter.


Zinc (Zn), chlorine (Cl), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), cobalt (Co) and nickel (Ni) are termed micronutrients because firstly they are found in only very small amounts  relative to other plant nutrients in the average plant and secondly they are least likely to be limiting plant growth and development in many soil types.


There is a much finer line between "enough" and "too much" for the micronutrients than for other plant nutrients. Use of micronutrient fertilizer materials should only be undertaken with very clear objectives  in mind and with a knowledge of previously successful rates of application. Indiscriminate use of micronutrients is more likely to result in undesirable effects than similar use of other nutrients.


Average concentrations of 13 soil-derived (mineral) nutrients in plants that are sufficient for adequate growth

Element              -        mg/Kg            


Molybdenum        -        0.1  

Copper                 -        6

 


Zinc                       -       20

 


Manganese            -       50

 


Iron                       -       100

 


Boron                    -       20

 


Chlorine                 -       100

 


Sulfur                     -        -                0.1%

 


Phosphorus            -        -                0.2% 

 


Magnesium             -        -                0.2%

 


Calcium                  -        -                0.5%

 


Potassium              -        -                1.0%

Nitrogen                -        -                1.5%


 


Functions of the Essential Nutrients in Plants

 


Provided below is a brief description of the various functions of essential plant nutrients within the plant:

 


Nutrient Element                                                                          Functions in Plants             

Nitrogen                                         - Promotes rapid growth, chlorophyll formation and protein synthesis.

 

Phosphorus                                         - Stimulates early root growth.Hastens maturity. Stimulates blooming 

                                                               and aids seed formation.

 

Potassium                                            – Increases resistance to drought and disease. Increases stalk and straw

                                                             strength. Increases quality of grain and seed.

 

Calcium                                               - Improves root formation, stiffness of straw and vigor. Increases

                                                             resistance to seedling diseases.

 

Magnesium                                          - Aids chlorophyll formation and phosphorus metabolism. Helps

                                                             regulate uptake of other nutrients.

 

Sulfur                                                  - Amino acids, vitamins. Imparts dark green color. Stimulates seed

                                                             production.

 

Boron                                                 - Aids carbohydrate transport and cell division.

 

Copper                                               - Enzymes, light reactions.

 

Iron                                                    – Chlorophyll formation.

 

Manganese                                          - Oxidation-reduction reactions. Hastens germination and maturation.

 

Zinc                                                    - Auxins, enzymes.

 

Molybdenum                                       - Aids nitrogen fixation and nitrate assimilation.

 

Cobalt                                                - Essential for nitrogen fixation.

 

Nickel                                                - Grain filling, seed viability.

 

Chlorine                                             - Water use.

 

Oxygen                                             - Component of most plant compounds.

 

Hydrogen                                         - Component of most plant compounds.

 

Carbon                                            – Component of most plant compounds.

 

 

Hope you guys find it of some use.

 

Happy Growing !

UG

 

   


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

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Satish
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November 19, 2010 - 12:15 pm
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geekgardener said:

Hello Satish.

 

Thanks for bringing this very interesting and useful topic.I am preparing a detailed response for this question. 

 

I will give a short answer now.

 

Germination - Transplant stage:

Use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. They are called starter fertilize usually found in ratios 1:2:1. Unfortunately not lot of shops stock these slow moving fertilizers. Hence 19-19-19 is good enough. Phosphorus encourages root initiation which is very essential in seedling stage. Ex 14-30-14. MKP MOno potassium phosphate is 0-52-34. One can use it in half strength and also add a N supplement.

 

Flowering-Harvest:

This depends on the crop. For most of the fruiting crops, a fertilizer that is high in potassium is preferred. Also a good dose of calcium is also needed. Ratios like 6-12-36, 5-15-30 or even 13-5-26 l can be used.  Again more on the detailed follow up later. The idea is to reduce the N content and ensure K is higher than N. K/N ratio plays a very important role.

For leafy veggies: continue to use a nitrogen high fertilizer:  20-10-10 etc can be used. Alternatively you can add ammonium sulphate to 19-19-19 and increase its N content. I will mention about the calculation part as well later.

This is in short. By this weekend, I will try to put up  a detailed explanation.

Hope this helps.

GG


Hi GG:

To say the least I was very pleasantly surprised by your quick reaction. When exactly should one reduce the nitrogen quantity in fertilizers? Before shifting to high potassium content, is there a stage where you are required to use high phosphorus fertilizers? The information regarding leafy vegetables will come in very handy for my patches of spinach, mustard and fenugreek. But what do we use for root vegetables like radish and carrots? Since we wish the (modified) root to grow more in these cases, would it be logical to use a high phosphorus fertilizer like superphosphate which will alco supply some calcium? I am waiting impatiently for your detailed 'response' but would appreciate another 'short' response to these questions. Thanks & regards

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Satish
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November 19, 2010 - 12:31 pm
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Urban Gardener said:

Hi Satish,

 

Well I guess you have hit the right note. Everyone goes through these initial gardening blues.  Thanks to GG for the quick fix.

To start with,thought of sharing the fertilization basics below that could be helpful to a few like ones:

Essential Nutrients for Plants

Three elements, carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O), are supplied by air (in the form of carbon dioxide) and water. When the chlorophyll (green pigments) of plants are exposed to light, these three elements are combined in photosynthesis to make carbohydrates, with a subsequent release of oxygen. The water is provided to the plant by root absorption from the soil.  Carbon dixide (CO2) enters the plant through small openings in leaves called stomata.The rate at which photosynthesis occurs is directly influenced by the water and nutritional status of the plant. Maximum rates are determined ultimately by the genetics of the plant.

Fifteen of the essential nutrients are supplied by the soil. Of these, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) are referred to as Primary or Macronutrients. This is because (1) they are required by the plant in bulk relative to other nutrients. They are the nutrients most likely to be found limiting plant growth and development in soil.

 

 

 

                                              Essential plant nutrients

 

 

 

Nutrients Supplied by Air and Water (Non-Mineral ) : Carbon, Hydrogen and  Oxygen.

 

Nutrients Supplied by the Soil :

A) Primary or Macronutrients : Nitrogen – N ,  Phosphorus – P and Potassium – K.

B) Secondary Nutrients : Calcium – Ca, Magnesium – Mg and Sulfur – S

C) Micronutrients : Zinc – Zn, Chlorine -Cl , Boron-B, Molybdenum -Mo, Copper-Cu, Iron-Fe, Manganese-Mn,Cobalt-Co and Nickel-Ni

 

Note: Calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S) are termed secondary nutrients because they are less likely to be growth-limiting factors in soil systems. Calcium and magnesium are added in liming materials when soil pH is adjusted and sulfur is added continually by rainfall and release from the soil organic matter.

Zinc (Zn), chlorine (Cl), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), cobalt (Co) and nickel (Ni) are termed micronutrients because firstly they are found in only very small amounts  relative to other plant nutrients in the average plant and secondly they are least likely to be limiting plant growth and development in many soil types.

 

There is a much finer line between "enough" and "too much" for the micronutrients than for other plant nutrients. Use of micronutrient fertilizer materials should only be undertaken with very clear objectives  in mind and with a knowledge of previously successful rates of application. Indiscriminate use of micronutrients is more likely to result in undesirable effects than similar use of other nutrients.

 

Average concentrations of 13 soil-derived (mineral) nutrients in plants that are sufficient for adequate growth

Element              -        mg/Kg            

 

Molybdenum        -        0.1  


 

Copper                 -        6

 

 

 

Zinc                       -       20

 

 

 

Manganese            -       50

 

 

 

Iron                       -       100

 

 

 

Boron                    -       20

 

 

 

Chlorine                 -       100

 

 

 

Sulfur                     -        -                0.1%

 

 

 

Phosphorus            -        -                0.2% 

 

 

 

Magnesium             -        -                0.2%

 

 

Calcium                  -        -                0.5%

 


 

Potassium              -        -                1.0%

Nitrogen                -        -                1.5%

 

Functions of the Essential Nutrients in Plants

 

 

 

Provided below is a brief description of the various functions of essential plant nutrients within the plant:

 

Nutrient Element                                                                          Functions in Plants             

 Nitrogen                                         - Promotes rapid growth, chlorophyll formation and protein synthesis.

 

Phosphorus                                         - Stimulates early root growth.Hastens maturity. Stimulates blooming 

                                                               and aids seed formation.

 

Potassium                                            – Increases resistance to drought and disease. Increases stalk and straw

                                                             strength. Increases quality of grain and seed.

 

Calcium                                               - Improves root formation, stiffness of straw and vigor. Increases

                                                             resistance to seedling diseases.

 

Magnesium                                          - Aids chlorophyll formation and phosphorus metabolism. Helps

                                                             regulate uptake of other nutrients.

 

Sulfur                                                  - Amino acids, vitamins. Imparts dark green color. Stimulates seed

                                                             production.

 

Boron                                                 - Aids carbohydrate transport and cell division.

 

Copper                                               - Enzymes, light reactions.

 

Iron                                                    – Chlorophyll formation.

 

Manganese                                          - Oxidation-reduction reactions. Hastens germination and maturation.

 

Zinc                                                    - Auxins, enzymes.

 

Molybdenum                                       - Aids nitrogen fixation and nitrate assimilation.

 

Cobalt                                                - Essential for nitrogen fixation.

 

Nickel                                                - Grain filling, seed viability.

 

Chlorine                                             - Water use.

 

Oxygen                                             - Component of most plant compounds.

 

Hydrogen                                         - Component of most plant compounds.

 

Carbon                                            – Component of most plant compounds.

 

 

Hope you guys find it of some use.

 

Happy Growing !

UG

 

   Hi UG:

Appreciate your immense effort in collecting and posting all this great information. Actually, for us hobby gardeners it will be very useful to have specific information regarding the needs of particular plants. Like the fertilizers to be used at various stages of tomato plants or carrots or brinjal or leafy vegetables or even papaya or lime for that matter. I hope you get my point. Let me give you an example to illustrate my point: I recently learnt that the use of potash (K2O) for Okra leads to the pods having unusually large seeds and it is therefore advisable to use potassium sulphate for providing potssium to this plant. Again, I have recently sowed carrot and radish and since I would prefer more growth of the (modified) root rather than the plant itself, need to be advised on the right fertilizer. Thanks & regards.Confused

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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November 19, 2010 - 12:49 pm
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Hello Satish,

One can reduce the nitrogen when you spot the flowers. It is an indication of start of generative/reproductive phase of the plant. From the hydroponic formulas, the phosphorus need for the plant is almost the same through its life. High phosphorus fertilizer can be used for initial stages to initiate good roots though. Most of the plants need fertilizer in this ratio 3:1:2. For generative/repro phase, you reduce the nitrogen and increase K.

For root crops, reduce the nitrogen. Increasing N for root crops will result in lush foliage and very little root. Less N, Moderate P, Higher K is good for root crops. A dose of Superphosphate will help.

Did I answer your question?
GG

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Satish
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November 19, 2010 - 4:47 pm
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geekgardener said:

Hello Satish,

One can reduce the nitrogen when you spot the flowers. It is an indication of start of generative/reproductive phase of the plant. From the hydroponic formulas, the phosphorus need for the plant is almost the same through its life. High phosphorus fertilizer can be used for initial stages to initiate good roots though. Most of the plants need fertilizer in this ratio 3:1:2. For generative/repro phase, you reduce the nitrogen and increase K.

For root crops, reduce the nitrogen. Increasing N for root crops will result in lush foliage and very little root. Less N, Moderate P, Higher K is good for root crops. A dose of Superphosphate will help.

Did I answer your question?

GG


Hi GG:

Your answers are always precise. The problem lies in my ignorance! Isit OK for root vegetables if I use superphosphate as a basal dose and then after germination fertilize with for example 1 tsp 19:19:19 + 1 tsp MKP + 2 tsp potassium sulphate in 4 liters of water? Or could you please suggest an amendment? Regards

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Satish
New Delhi
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November 20, 2010 - 3:05 pm
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geekgardener said:

Hello Satish,

One can reduce the nitrogen when you spot the flowers. It is an indication of start of generative/reproductive phase of the plant. From the hydroponic formulas, the phosphorus need for the plant is almost the same through its life. High phosphorus fertilizer can be used for initial stages to initiate good roots though. Most of the plants need fertilizer in this ratio 3:1:2. For generative/repro phase, you reduce the nitrogen and increase K.

For root crops, reduce the nitrogen. Increasing N for root crops will result in lush foliage and very little root. Less N, Moderate P, Higher K is good for root crops. A dose of Superphosphate will help.

Did I answer your question?

GG


Hi GG:

Just discovered the following information on Verdhaman Fertilizers site. As you can see according to them 19:19:19 has all the micro nutrients too along with the macro nutrients. Would we still need to add the micros seperately?

 

Below is an example of NPK Grade 19:19:19 (Water soluble complex fertilizer) whose nutrient contents are as follows:

 

Nitrogen (N)

19%

Phosphate (P2O5)

19%

Potash (K2O)

19%

Magnesium (MgO)

1%

Sulphur (S)

3%

Iron (EDTA)

0.1%

Manganese (EDTA)

0.05%

Copper (EDTA)

0.01%

Zinc (EDTA)

0.05%

Boron

0.02%

Molybdenum

0.001%

Regards.Confused
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Satish
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November 25, 2010 - 6:44 pm
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geekgardener said:

Hello Satish,

One can reduce the nitrogen when you spot the flowers. It is an indication of start of generative/reproductive phase of the plant. From the hydroponic formulas, the phosphorus need for the plant is almost the same through its life. High phosphorus fertilizer can be used for initial stages to initiate good roots though. Most of the plants need fertilizer in this ratio 3:1:2. For generative/repro phase, you reduce the nitrogen and increase K.

For root crops, reduce the nitrogen. Increasing N for root crops will result in lush foliage and very little root. Less N, Moderate P, Higher K is good for root crops. A dose of Superphosphate will help.

Did I answer your question?

GG


Hi GG:

The information regarding 19:19:19 also containing micronutrients that I found on Vardhaman Fertilizers site and posted here seems to have escaped your attention. I am really confused as to whether we still need to add certain micros. Please help. In the meantime, some of my tomato plants seem to be developing iron clorosis---as symptomised by the leaves turning yellow between the veins which remain green. Can I apply Ferrous Sulphate to rectify this condition? The leaves on two tomato plants are turning purplish. Does this too signifies some micro deficiency?

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Pattu
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November 25, 2010 - 7:27 pm
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That was very helpful. thanks.

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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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November 25, 2010 - 8:26 pm
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Satish said:


Hi GG:
 

The information regarding 19:19:19 also containing micronutrients that I found on Vardhaman Fertilizers site and posted here seems to have escaped your attention. I am really confused as to whether we still need to add certain micros. Please help. In the meantime, some of my tomato plants seem to be developing iron clorosis---as symptomised by the leaves turning yellow between the veins which remain green. Can I apply Ferrous Sulphate to rectify this condition? The leaves on two tomato plants are turning purplish. Does this too signifies some micro deficiency?


Hello Satish,

 

Looking at the formula you have pasted, you need not add micro nutrients but it does miss Calcium a macro nutrients. You have to supply calcium separatetly.

You can supply ferrous sulphate to rectify this. 

Leaves turning purplish is a sign of Phosphorus deficiency. Add mono potassium phosphate to fix this deficiency.

Hope this helps. Sorry some how i missed this post.

 

GG

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Satish
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November 26, 2010 - 8:03 pm
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geekgardener said:

Satish said:


Hi GG:

 

The information regarding 19:19:19 also containing micronutrients that I found on Vardhaman Fertilizers site and posted here seems to have escaped your attention. I am really confused as to whether we still need to add certain micros. Please help. In the meantime, some of my tomato plants seem to be developing iron clorosis---as symptomised by the leaves turning yellow between the veins which remain green. Can I apply Ferrous Sulphate to rectify this condition? The leaves on two tomato plants are turning purplish. Does this too signifies some micro deficiency?


Hello Satish,
 

Looking at the formula you have pasted, you need not add micro nutrients but it does miss Calcium a macro nutrients. You have to supply calcium separatetly.

You can supply ferrous sulphate to rectify this. 

Leaves turning purplish is a sign of Phosphorus deficiency. Add mono potassium phosphate to fix this deficiency.

Hope this helps. Sorry some how i missed this post.

 

GG


Hi GG:

Thank you so very much particularly for detecting the absence of Calcium in 19:19:19! However, the point I was actually trying to get at was as to whether all formulations of complex fertilizers, irrespective of the ratio of primary nutrients and also the manufacturer, have the micronutrients contained in them? The impression I have been given till now is that such formulations contain only the three primary nutrients in the percentages specified and the rest is just 'fillers'. Even during this discussion here a member has said something to that effect. In fact even the dealers selling these formulations also say the same. I really think this needs to be explained for it will make life in the garden much simpler. And yes, you were not late in reacting. Actually I was getting impatient! Thanks & regards.

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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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November 27, 2010 - 5:04 pm
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Satish,

 

Most of the fertilizer formulations sold in the market dont have micronutrients in them. If they have added micronutrients, they will mention it in the package contents. Sometimes they mention it as TE. Say if the packet says 19-19-19+TE. Then it means there is micro nutrients.

 

Not all the fertilizers need fillers. Sometimes based on the analysis required, there may not be a need for filler.  Another thing is, I think the fertilizer manufacturers do not MENTION it in the packet to avoid some special tax since adding Zinc, Manganese and other such elements falls under a special clause. I was told this by one of the seller. Take this with a pinch of salt.

 

In short, micronutrients are needed in very small quantity and their quantity is so little that they don't fill the rest of the percentage in NPK. Also, unless the packet mentions, it is safe to assume that the fertilizer doesn't contain any Micronutrient.

 

Micronutrient need is same for almost all the vegetables and for all phases. So it is good to have a concentrate made and mix it with NPK.

Hope this helps. If i missed out on anything feel free to bring it up.

GG

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Satish
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December 30, 2010 - 4:51 pm
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geekgardener said:

Hello Satish.

 

Thanks for bringing this very interesting and useful topic.I am preparing a detailed response for this question. 

 

I will give a short answer now.

 

Germination - Transplant stage:

Use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. They are called starter fertilize usually found in ratios 1:2:1. Unfortunately not lot of shops stock these slow moving fertilizers. Hence 19-19-19 is good enough. Phosphorus encourages root initiation which is very essential in seedling stage. Ex 14-30-14. MKP MOno potassium phosphate is 0-52-34. One can use it in half strength and also add a N supplement.

 Hi GG:

Sorry to bring up the same subject again. But I am facing a curious situation. Some of my capsicum plants are fully grown and bearing flowers. In fact a few are even bearing fruit. But some are still very small i.e., they are still growing even though these were all sown and transplanted at the same time. Does this mean I need to change the fertlizer for each plant according to its growth stage? The situation is similar in tomato & brinjal. Need your kind guidance. Thanks & regards.

Satish

Flowering-Harvest:

This depends on the crop. For most of the fruiting crops, a fertilizer that is high in potassium is preferred. Also a good dose of calcium is also needed. Ratios like 6-12-36, 5-15-30 or even 13-5-26 l can be used.  Again more on the detailed follow up later. The idea is to reduce the N content and ensure K is higher than N. K/N ratio plays a very important role.

For leafy veggies: continue to use a nitrogen high fertilizer:  20-10-10 etc can be used. Alternatively you can add ammonium sulphate to 19-19-19 and increase its N content. I will mention about the calculation part as well later.

This is in short. By this weekend, I will try to put up  a detailed explanation.

Hope this helps.

GG


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Satish
New Delhi
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January 17, 2011 - 10:53 am
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Hi GG:

Sometimes you must surely be wondering how you happened to collect ignorant people like me for your wonderful blog! Yes this is meant to be an apology for the question I am going to ask you which to you might sound rather basic: What is the appropriate fertilizer for  plants in which we do not wish to encourage flowering? Specifically I am thinking of cauliflower & cabbage. Actually, cauliflower head is not considered so good if it has started flowering. I am not aware aware of the flowering habit of cabbage though. Is it OK to simply continue with 19:19:19? Regards

Satish

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geekgardener
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January 17, 2011 - 2:34 pm
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Hello Satish,

Sorry for not posting the "detailed" post on right fertilizer for the different stages". My schedule got really messed up. Anyways thats no excuse.

For cabbage and cauliflower, a good dose of nitrogen is essential. Cabbage esp is a heavy feeder of nitrogen. You can continue to use 19-19-19 and also supplement it with some urea ( if grown in soil). Or you can also go with formula such as 25-10-10.. something like that.

Cabbage does flower but that is only when left to "bolt". If not properly fertilized the head wont form and will go to flower. Same with Cauliflower too. It needs a good amount of nitrogen for its growth and another important thing is to not let these plants dryup or wilt. This causes stress and might induce bolting.

Thanks for the nice question and once again sorry for not being able to detail it in my previous post.
GG

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Satish
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January 17, 2011 - 11:28 pm
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Hi GG:

You don't need any excuses and above all you have no reason to apologise. I wish you knew how grateful everyone is for the great work you are doing thru this blog. In fact sometimes I even wonder how you manage to find so much time. And thanks a lot for the detailed information regarding the fertilizers for cauliflower etc. Maybe there is still time to help my red cabbage and brocoli plants. I wish I had asked for your help earlier though. May I seek your advice on citrus trees too. I have seven lime trees. One is quite old and is currently giving out new leaves while also flowering and even bearing a few fruits. The other six were planted in last August. One of these has stopped producing new leaves and is flowering. The rest are producing new leaves and branches quite profusely. How do I feed them. Please do help as soon as you find the time. Regards & best wishes from a very grateful friend.

Satish

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