Summary: Using a liquid fertilizer concentrate has many advantages in transplanting, starting, booster and foliage sprays.
During the growing season plant fertilizer concentrates, when dissolved or diluted in water, can be used to great advantage in any of several ways.
Using Concentrate As a Transplant Fertilizer
I’ve used liquid fertilizer as a transplanting solution around newly set plants. The usual dilution is a tablespoon of the concentrated salts dissolved in a gallon of water.
A cupful of this diluted solution is poured around each newly set tomato, pepper, celery or annual or perennial flowering plant. Larger plants will take several gallons of nutrient solution.
Treated plants survive transplanting shock better and go on to make vigorous growth more quickly.
Using Liquid Fertilizer Concentrate On Starter Plants
As a starter solution it is applied to seeds as the are sown. This is two or three times stronger than the transplanting solution, or two or three tablespoons per gallon of water.
Use a cupful for each foot of row before the soil is filled over the seeds. When pouring the liquid, be careful not to wash light seeds out of the furrow.
Use Concentrate As A Plant Or Bloom Booster Fertilizer
Use as a booster solution of fertilizer over the soil around already established, or partly grown plants to boost their growth or hasten their maturity and increase yields.
This is the same strength as the starter solution. The number of applications varies with the crop.
Long-season vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants and certain flowers and shrubs require two to three applications, two, five and eight weeks after the plants are set out.
There are also specially formulated concentrates to use a bloom boosters on plants.
Use Concentrate As A Foliar Fertilizer
When concentrates are used as foliage sprays they are used in more diluted strengths than the others, the exact amount varying with the brand used.
The usual dilution is a level tablespoonful in a gallon of water, or a pound in 44 gallons of water.
The number of applications varies with the crop, long-season ones requiring more. About one spraying every three weeks is usually recommended.
Foliage nutrient sprays should be applied either with a pressure sprayer or with one of the specially designed fertilizer spray applicators available.
The latter have a siphoning device and are attached to the garden hose.
For best results, the nutrient sprays should be applied either in early morning or in the evening and the leaves, particularly their lower surfaces, thoroughly drenched with the spray.
Gardeners are cautioned that not all fertilizers which are quickly soluble in water are necessarily safe to spray on leaves.
All those recommended as foliage sprays, however, can safely he used around the roots.
The manufacturer will state clearly on the label whether their product can be used in foliage sprays.
Most of the concentrates safe to use as foliage sprays can be combined with the newer pesticides enabling the gardener to feed and control pests in one operation.
Here, too, the manufacturer of the fertilizer can advise gardeners as to which pesticides are compatible with their product.