Starter fertilizer is an invaluable tool for farmers and agricultural businesses. It helps them to effectively extend the growing season by making it possible to plant seeds in the early spring, even if the ground is still wet and cold.
In addition, it protects seeds and new plants with an abundance of vital nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus.
But starter fertilizer isn’t just for the professional or experienced gardener. It can help even amateur growers looking to plant indoor plants to do so with greater ease and reliability.
However, starter fertilizer must be appropriately used to yield optimal results regardless of your skill level.
In this article, we will discuss about everything you need to consider about starter fertilizer, including when and how often to use it.
When And How Often To Apply Starter Fertilizer?
As mentioned above, starter fertilizer should be applied at the start of spring or just before the time when conditions would ordinarily be ideal for sowing seed.
In the early spring, conditions still need to be right in most parts of the western hemisphere for sowing seed. Wintery conditions like cold and wet may still remain.
For outdoor growing, starter fertilizer should be used when the ground conditions start to turn and when the coming weeks are expected to turn spring-like.
But how can you be sure what the coming weeks will bring? The change from winter to spring is notoriously flexible.
We still use animal behavior to mark the switch of the season, and even that can be unreliable.
Consult The Farmer’s Almanac
It’s important to obtain a reliable forecast to get the most value out of your starter fertilizer by applying it at the optimal time.
For example, if the first week of spring seems right, that still does not mean that wintery conditions might not return. Therefore, it is wise to consult the Farmer’s Almanac.
Since 1818, the Farmer’s Almanac has provided the most accurate and reliable weather forecasting predictions, even compared to modern Doppler radar.
That’s because they use solar science, climatology, and meteorology as the basis for their predictions. That is at least two steps above your local news channel.
This is also why the Farmer’s Almanac is so expensive. So, if you’re a farmer, you should invest in a subscription.
If not, you can Google what the Almanac is saying for the coming months. The Farmers Almanac offers free weather news articles that can give you all the information you need in many cases.
How Often Should You Use Starter Fertilizer?
Under ordinary conditions, starter fertilizer is most useful at the very start of the planting season, maybe a week or two before you ordinarily sow seeds.
Under normal conditions, you would use it just once and switch to an ordinary fertilizer afterward. That’s why it is called starter fertilizer.
Still, some people want to know how often to use it, and the most straightforward answer to that question is once a year. So, the next question we usually get is about extended winters.
In fact, the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a long, deep, and cold winter in 2023. According to them, the spring of 2023 will come late, and the winter will be extra cold, especially in the middle American states extending North and South of Kansas.
What About Extended And Harsh Winters?
Unfortunately, there is only a little professional wisdom out there on this subject.
When research on starter fertilizer started in the late 1940s, the idea was primarily based on the importance of phosphorous on new, forming roots.
Starter fertilizer is not good; laying down starter fertilizer more than once can cause this problem.
Unfortunately, our advice on this subject is not vetted by expert opinion, but it is this:
Use your starter fertilizer only once. Then, use it again only if winter conditions persist, and re-use it both sparingly and with great caution.
More On Starter Fertilizers
- What Is Starter Fertilizer And How To Use It? – Starter fertilizers are nutrients applied close to the seed or plant at planting to help plants become established.