This is Jason Lamb with your Gardening Minute.
Fertilizers can promote vigorous growth in plants and good production. However, fertilizing will not correct problems with pH, salinity, or sodium in soils.
Successful gardening begins with testing your soil in order to get the most out of your fertilizer. Soil testing can tell you what your soil needs before fertilizing in order to have a successful garden.
Fertilizers come in granular and liquid forms and should be applied according to your soil test recommendations. Store bought fertilizers must have packaging that clearly states the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Also known as N, P and K. An example of a fertilizer which reads “16-4-8”, means that for every hundred pounds of this fertilizer there would be 16 pounds of nitrogen, 4 pounds of Phosphorus and 8 pounds of Potassium. In New Mexico potassium is not normally an issue.
The timing of fertilizer applications will be important once a recommended fertilizer rate has been identified. Plants vary in their requirements, and soils can contain different amounts of nutrients based on their history. Fertilizers should be broken into three to four different applications to reduce the risk of burning your plants.
For more information about applying fertilizers please contact us at the Cooperative Extension Office at 461-0562. This has been your Gardening Minute with Jason Lamb your Quay County Ag. Extension Agent. Where are programs are open to everyone.