Growing Vegetables/fertilizer


Is there a fertilizer available that has no or a just a small amount of nitrogen yet does have phosphorus and potassium? I have chickens and have put their droppings in my compost bin and used it in the garden so I am sure that there is plenty of nitrogen in the soil already plus the fact that my bell pepper plants and my tomato plants get between 5 and 6 feet tall( the same plants that I have always planted and are usually only 3-4 feet tall) but do not produce hardly any fruit,this shows me that I need something else. From what I have been reading it sounds like the phosphorus and potassium could be the answer. Any help you can give me to solve this problem will be appreciated.


Phosphorus deficiency is dull green leaves with purplish tints, stunted growth. Potassium deficiency is loss in color particularly in the vein structure, brown spotted on the underside of leaves, short and stocky plants.  Check your plants to see if there are signs of this.

Also, depending on how much manure you add to your soil you may have an excess of nitrogen which can also harm plants so they do not produce well. Signs of excessive nitrogen are plants grows really fast but are spindly and plants do not produce any flowers.

Phosphorus promotes seed germination, fruit growth, flowering and healthy roots.  Sources I have used are bone meal, rock phosphate, animal manure (ie horse), fish emulsion.  I recommend adding 2.5 pounds per 100 square feet and then to maintain good phosphorus add 1 pound per 100 square feet every year after.

Potassium or also known as Potash promotes young leaves and buds, root growth and seed production and it improves the flavor of fruit and vegetables.  Sources are potash rock, wood ash, greensand. I recommend adding 5 lbs per 100 sq feet and then to maintain it add 2.5 lbs per 100 sq feet every year.

If you feel you may have too much nitrogen in your soil mix more brown matter such as straw, hay or wood chips into your compost that way your compost will be more balanced.

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any further questions.

Happy gardening
Catherine Abbott  

Growing Vegetables

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Catherine Abbott


I am confident I can answer any questions about planting, growing and harvesting vegetables and culinary herbs. I am very knowledgeable and experienced in garden site planning and design, propagating, soil preparation, transplanting, pest control, disease management, watering, fertilizing, and composting.


I have been growing vegetables organically since 1993 first in my small backyard, then moving to a 2 acre plot where I grew vegetables for sale at our local farmers market and through a CSA (community shared agriculture). I started a popular website in 2007 and have answered questions from all over the world through that site. I have 3 published Everything series books on gardening as well as several self published books for sale on my website.

I volunteer and assist teaching disabled adults how to grow their own vegetable gardens. I have set up raised bed gardens in the front yards of their group homes and the gardens help to feed the households. I am very involved in our local farming community and am the treasurer and a garden mentor for a local society called One Straw, which promotes organic and sustainable practices for growing local food. I am a board of director for a government committee that is involved in keeping our ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) safe.

I have 3 published Everything series books: The Everything Grow Your Own Vegetables Book published in 2010. The Everything Root Cellaring Book published in 2011. The Everything Small Space Gardening Book set to be published Jan 2012. I have 3 self published garden design books: Vegetable Garden Plans for your Raised Beds. Vegetable Garden Plans for Square Foot Gardening. Vegetable Garden Plans for Row Gardening. I have a self published book on soil building: Why is Soil so Important? Tips on Amending and Fertilizing I also publish a yearly journal promoting garden planning and planting by the moon cycles. The current one is called "My 2012 Vegetable Garden Journal" I write articles that are published at EzineArticles.

I teach gardening classes on propagating, pest and disease management, and soil fertility at our local community center. My education came from my mother, mentors, and growing my own gardens.

Past/Present Clients
I write a monthly newsletter for my gardening website and send it to a email list of over 1200 gardeners. I write articles for EzineArticles. I have had numerous local clients through gardening classes and mentoring.

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