Gardening Articles: Landscaping :: Lawns, Ground Cover, & Wildflowers

Soil Prep for Vine Crops (page 2 of 2)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Hearty Appetites and Fertilizer

Vine crops aren't exactly gourmets--their favorite food is compost or stable manure. But any balanced commercial fertilizer will also provide the nutrients needed for good production.

On planting day provide them with a hefty dose of food to start them growing quickly. It doesn't pay to broadcast fertilizer widely, because the plants will be spaced at fairly good intervals and they only use what's directly around their roots.

Place composted manure or fertilizer directly in the furrow or hole underneath the seeds (or seedlings, if you use transplants). If you're using composted manure, a heaping shovelful for every five feet of row or per hill, is fine. For a balanced commercial fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or 10-10-10, use about a cup per hill or for every five feet of row. Cover the fertilizer with two to three inches of soil to keep the seeds from being burned by the nitrogen.

The numbers on the labels of balanced commercial fertilizer refer to the percentages by weight of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) contained in that particular mixture. The letters are always listed in the same order, N-P-K, for 5-10-10 or any other combination. Vegetables need all three major nutrients. Nitrogen promotes leaf and vine production, phosphorus builds strong roots and potassium conditions the entire plant.

Photography by the National Gardening Association.

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