Fertilizing Your Vegetable Garden
As vegetable garden grow, they undergo an intensive process that strips nutrients from the soil. Adding fertilizer keeps soil in optimum shape to feed your vegetable garden. When you fertilize a vegetable garden, organic fertilizers are always the preferred method, especially when you plan on eating from it. One of the easiest and most widely used forms of organic fertilizers for the vegetable garden is compost, which promotes greater soil and plant health. Just about any type of plant material can be composted for vegetable garden fertilizer. These materials can include leaves, lawn clippings, straw, and garden or kitchen scraps. Crushed eggshells and coffee grinds are particular favorites of mine for use in compost. You also might consider fertilizing the vegetable garden with nitrogen-producing plants, such as alfalfa or crimson clover. This technique can help increase fertility by sowing the plants into your garden soil during fall. Before any blooms appear, simply chop up and work into the soil. Since nitrogen is required by most all crops for healthy development and production, this technique is another natural alternative. Wood ashes are also good for the soil, provided they are not from any wood that has been previously treated with chemicals.
Manure is another natural fertilizer that can be used in the vegetable garden. Horse or chicken manures are the most commonly used but other types are also available. Chicken manure has a higher content of nitrogen than horse manure and is highly preferred; horse manure is more likely to be used as it is more readily available, however. People who own horses are generally more than willing to allow others to treat themselves to loads of manure for free in order to get rid of it. When applying manure, allow it to rot and dry out first as unrotted manure can cause burning of the roots in plants.