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3 Easy Ways To Organically Fertilize Your Veggie Garden In The Summer

by on July 5, 2023
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When I first started organic gardening, I had this idea that “organic” meant no fertilizing. I now know that couldn’t be further from the truth! And there’s SO many incredible organic fertilizers on the market (including some of my fav sold right here in the From Soil to Soul shop) that can transform your garden and improve your harvest. So here’s 3 easy ways to organically fertilize your veggie garden in the summer. 

Zone 3 organic vegetable garden

This post covers:

Why You Need To Fertilize An Organic Garden

To put things simply, you NEED to fertilize an organic garden because the soil alone will not have enough nutrients to feed your plants throughout the entire season.

During hot seasons, the sun will deplete some of the nutrients from the soil. While during rainy seasons, the rain will wash away that nutrients. So either way, your plants need additional support to help produce fruit and maximize your harvest.

Here’s some of the other reasons why you should organically fertilize your veggie garden:

  • Helps build and improve your soil structure
  • Stimulates the microorganisms in your soil
  • Maintains your garden vigor & growth

All this to say, fertilizing your organic veggie garden doesn’t have to be complicated as I’ll explain more in this post! As long as you commit to feeding your plants a few times throughout the season, you’ll reap the benefits!

What’s The Best Type of Organic Fertilizer For Veggie Gardens

The best organic fertilizers

The best type of organic fertilizer for your vegetable garden depends on…

  1. Your plants’ needs
  2. Your soil structure
  3. The type of plants you’re growing
  4. What stage of the growing season you’re in

With that being said, I can make a few recommendations for what I’ve found are the best type of organic fertilizers for various growing needs.

The Best Liquid Organic Fertilizer — Kelp

Sea magic organic kelp fertililzer

My favourite (and what I believe is the BEST) kelp-based organic liquid fertilizer is Sea Magic. Available for purchase here in the From Soil to Soul shop with shipping across Canada & the U.S.

Sea Magic is an organic, plant-based liquid fertilizer made from dehydrated kelp from the Northern-Atlantic ocean. It comes to you as the concentrated formula that you simply add water to to “rehydrate.”

Kelp is the best liquid organic fertilizer because it’s sustainable for the environment while also quickly delivering a huge boost of nutrients to your plants. Kelp contains macro-nutrients of NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium), which stimulates healthy plant growth.

Researchers claim kelp is also extremely beneficial in preventing disease and making plants more resilient.

What types of plants should you fertilize with liquid kelp:

  • Seedlings from when you first start them indoors until they are ready to be transplanted
  • Annual & perennial vegetables
  • Annual & perennial flowers
  • Houseplants

The Best Granular Organic Fertilizer — An NPK Multi Purpose

Evolve Organic Multi Purpose Fertilizer

The best granular organic fertilizer I’ve found for my veggie garden is Evolve Organic Slow-Release Tomato & Vegetable Fertilizer. Available for purchase here in the From Soil to Soul shop with shipping across Canada & the U.S.

This is a Canadian-made product local to Manitoba, so it is extra close to my heart. But aside from that it actually works! Evolve is the best granular organic fertilizer because it is specially formulated with additional calcium to grow strong, dark green foliage.

This is a slow-release organic fertilizer, so it will continue to feed your plants for up to two months after you apply it. This means less fertilizing with the same benefits!

Being a granular fertilizer (coarse grains of fertilizer) it is easy to apply. Simply sprinkle a handful around the base of your plant and gently work it into the soil’s surface. Easy as that!

What types of plants should you fertilize with granular fertilizer:

  • Newly transplanted seedlings
  • Annual fruiting vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc..)
  • Crops planted in the Fall (garlic, perennials, root vegetables, etc..)
  • Annual & perennial flowers
  • Shrubs & fruiting trees

The Best Homegrown Organic Fertilizer — Compost

Fertilizing with compost

Anything homegrown is typically better, and the same goes for compost. Compost is an incredible fertilizer for the garden and the best part, it’s FREE!

Compost doesn’t only provide additional nutrients to your plants, but it helps improve your soil structure and overall soil health. Compost is slow releasing, meaning nutrients are gradually dispersed into your plants’ roots over several days and weeks.

Using compost in the garden leads to stronger root development, better water retention in the soil and overall healthier plants.

What types of plants should you fertilize with compost:

  • Annual & perennial vegetables
  • Annual & perennial flowers
  • Trees
  • Shrubs
  • Lawn & grass

When’s The Best Time To Fertilize Your Garden

When to fertilize seedlings

Start organically fertilizing your veggie garden after you transplant your seedlings in the early Spring.

Then, continue fertilizing up until the end of the gardening season for all annual vegetables, herbs and flowers.

The best time of day to fertilize your garden is either first thing in the morning or once the sun has gone down.

Avoid fertilizing in the heat of the day. Your plants will have a harder time absorbing nutrients. The sun can also potentially cause organic fertilizer to burn plants, though this is typically more common with synthetic fertilizers.

Additionally, avoid fertilizing right before a big rain fall is expected. Rain can easily wash away fertilizer.

But all this to say, something is better than nothing! So whenever you can fertilize your garden is the right time.

How Often Should You Fertilize Your Veggie Garden

When to organically fertilize your garden

I personally believe you should continuously fertilize your veggie garden every few weeks from planting until the end of August.  This is the ideal organic fertilizing schedule.

Pro Tip: Add a fertilizing reminder to your calendar for the first Monday of every month from May until August.

With that being said, life gets busy! Especially during the gardening season, so I totally understand this might not be attainable.

As I mentioned above, something is better than nothing. So even if you only fertilize your plants once throughout the growing season, it’s better than none at all.

3 Easy Ways To Organically Fertilize Your Veggie Garden In The Summer

3 easy ways to fertilize your garden organically

While there are many ways to organically fertilize your veggie garden, these are 3 of the easiest!

1. Top Dress Your Plants With Compost

You’ve already read above why compost is an incredible organic fertilizer for your plants. But it’s also very easy to apply! I suggest using the “top-dressing” method (explained further below).

2. Add A Liquid Fertilizer To Your Watering Can

This method is so easy because it allows you to cross off two gardening tasks at once — watering & fertilizing! Keep reading for the specifics on how much to apply.

3. Apply A Slow Release Organic Fertilizer 

Finally, using a slow release fertilizer in your veggie garden is one of the easiest fertilizing methods because you won’t have to fertilize as often since nutrients are gradually released over several days/weeks. Less work, more reward! More details further down in this post.

How To Top Dress Your Plants With Compost

How to top dress your plants with compost

Top dressing your plants with compost is easy to do and really effective. If using your own homegrown, backyard compost be sure it is well mixed and broken down. It should be dark in colour and lightweight.

Top dressing means to add a fresh layer of compost directly on top of the soil.

To top dress your plants with compost, simply add 1-2 inches of compost around the base of your plant. You want to the compost to slowly release into your plants roots so place it a few inches from the stem. Surround the entire plant with compost.

And that’s it! That’s how you top dress plants with compost. With the help of the rain or your watering, the compost will slowly release nutrients into your soil as well as add organic matter.

How To Apply An Organic Liquid Fertilizer

Fertilizing plants with compost

Applying an organic liquid fertilizer to your plants is easy and can be down while you’re watering your garden. Win-win!

Follow the directions on your liquid fertilizer to see how much it suggests you add to your watering can. If using my suggested liquid fertilizer, Sea Magic add 1-2 tbsp of the concentrate to 1L of water.

Sea Magic kelp based fertilizer

Chances are, you have a larger watering can for your outdoor garden like I do. If that’s the case, I typically add 1/2 cup of Sea Magic to my 10L watering can.

But because this is an organic product, you won’t harm your plants if you add more than specified. So don’t stress too much about the measurements!

Then, simply pour your water & fertilizer solution at the base of each plant, targeting the soil rather than the foliage. Be sure to water deeply.

How To Apply A Slow Release Granular Fertilizer

Applying an organic multi purpose fertilizer

Applying a slow release granular fertilizer to your veggie garden is super easy.

However, it can be a bit time consuming as you have to apply it by hand to each plant. The good news is that it’s slow releasing, meaning you won’t need to fertilize as often. So while it may take some time, it’s a task you’ll only have to do a few times throughout the gardening season.

To apply a slow release granular fertilizer — like the Evolve Organic that I love using and suggest — simply take a handful out of the bag and apply it around the base of your plant.

Pro-Tip: Generally the larger the plant, the more fertilizer it requires. So while seedlings may only need 1tsp, an established fruit tree may need an entire 900 gram container.

Evolve Organic Multi Purpose Fertilizer

Be careful not to apply it too close to the stem but rather several inches away. This is where your roots have developed under the soil. They’ll be able to absorb the nutrients more easily while also being encouraged to reach down further and grow stronger.

Can Different Types Of Organic Fertilizers Be Used Together?

The answer is YES! You can apply multiple different fertilizers to your plants and it will benefit them. In fact, for best results you should use a combination of these organic fertilizers in your vegetable garden.

First, apply compost to your veggie garden

This will work to build your soil’s health while also slowly releasing nutrients over several weeks/month.

Then mix in a granular multi-purpose fertilizer.

This will provide your plants additional NPK, which will help with root development as well as promote fruit growth.

Finally, water with a liquid kelp.

This will prevent disease and maintain healthy plant foliage throughout the entire season.

And there you have it!

You can know choose from these 3 easy ways to organically fertilize your veggie garden.

Remember, something is better than nothing. So even if you only have the chance to fertilize your plants once throughout the season, it will be beneficial for your garden.

You can follow @fromsoiltosoul on Instagram and Pinterest for more gardening content too.

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Latest Comments

  1. September 15, 2022

    Good information. Lucky me I found your blog by accident (stumbleupon).

    I’ve saved it for later!

    — Maple