Heirloom Expert: Vegetable Fertilizer

What type of fertilizer is the best option for growing vegetables?


| Summer 2014



Prepared soil

Photo by iStock/Marina Lohrbach

What kind of fertilizer should I use on a vegetable garden?

If you grow your plants in compost, you don’t have to use anything more; it has everything the plants need. You can make your own, buy it by the bag or truckload. Maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a municipality which gives it away. In my township they turn our fall leaves into leaf mold. On the day they dump it my informants call right away and within minutes I’m shoveling the black gold into the bed of my truck.

It’s my opinion that you should stay away from any chemical fertilizers. Read the ingredients and ask questions. If you can pronounce the names of the things that make up the fertilizer, you’re on the right track.

As an organic gardener, I don’t want to do anything detrimental to the web of life under the soil which helps me garden. Adding chemicals will change and/or kill some things below ground. There are lots of great organic fertilizers out there. They are available in liquid and granular versions. Choose a good balanced one for your garden.

– Doug Oster, contributing editor


Doug is the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Backyard Gardener and co-host of The Organic Gardeners radio program on KDKA.





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