Organic Fertilizer for vegetables and greens

Asked June 21, 2017, 6:49 PM EDT

Hello, This spring I bought a big bag of Espoma Tomato Tone which is 3-4-6 and I've been using it for all of my vegetables in my raised beds when I first transplanted or sowed outdoors (tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers etc). A lot of my tomato, eggplant, etc have flowers. Am I supposed to add more fertilizer? And if so, when (when the flowers come, or when the fruit starts)? Or is once a year in the spring good enough?

I also put it in the beds that have lettuce, garlic, green beans and brassicas. Should I get Espoma blood meal which is 12-0-0 in addition for more nitrogen or is the 3-4-6 good enough? Do the lettuce, brassicas, garlic, etc just need nitrogen or do they need P and K as well? Should I add a little bit of the blood meal with the tomato tone for next year for just the greens? Also, I have some leftover coffee grinds (a cup a week). Are those acidic? Can I throw those in as well? Thanks!

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Our recommendation is to fertilize at planting time and then again when the plants begin to set fruit. You can use the 3-4-6 for lettuce, brassicas, garlic, etc. too. All plants to need N, P, and K, the major macronutrients for healthy plant growth. It would be best to get your soil tested, to get a baseline read on the nutrients, organic matter, and pH (which can affect nutrient uptake). The results of the test will inform you if you need to add specific amendments. Take a look at our soil testing page for information on how and where to submit a soil sample:

If you add compost to your soil on a regular basis, it provides a good source of nitrogen and you can reduce supplemental fertilizing,

Coffee grounds are a little acidic but by adding about a cup per week to the garden, you won't be making much of a change to the overall soil pH. It is fine to use the coffee grounds. They provide an additional source of nitrogen.