The Best Time Of Day To Fertilize Your Garden

You have managed to finally work on that garden and compete with your neighbor. Your green thumb is no longer losing its color. Life is good, and now all you have to do is water, watch and wait for new growth. But you may be missing one crucial step in the process of having the best garden in town. "Oh, f-word?!" is right. It's time to get dirty with some fertilizer on your side. That was the f-word you said, right? Do what you want with your vocabulary, but heed these words; timing is everything with fertilizer.

The optimal time for fertilizing your garden is in the early morning, before 8 am, or later in the evening. The reason for this, along with many of the things pertaining to your garden, is the sun. This gives your plants the best opportunity to absorb the fertilizer as your soil's condition is relatively cool. This gives the fertilizer a chance to reach the roots and actually be absorbed more quickly as your plants are not stressed from the midday conditions. Otherwise, they simply won't be efficient with their nutrients, risking both their potential for growth and protection.

Nutrient availability and fertilizer

It always helps to understand what something is versus just listening to some advice and taking directions from the internet. So, what is fertilizer? Fertilizer basically ensures that plants are properly nourished so that they have everything that they need to grow, creating a balanced supplementation of nutrients. But that is not all; it also helps them develop a sturdy root system while protecting them against things like diseases and insects. 

Timing your fertilization appropriately ensures that the nutrients are available to the plants when they need them the most. Different nutrients have varying uptake rates by plants, and their demand changes throughout the growing season. For example, during the early stages of growth, plants require higher levels of nitrogen (N) to promote leaf development. Delaying nitrogen application may lead to stunted growth and reduced foliage. 

By understanding the nutrient requirements of different plant species at different stages, you can time your fertilization to meet their specific needs. So, don't hesitate to take a soil test every few months or to find out what nutrients it may be lacking. With a proper diagnosis of your soil, you can tend to it with the nutrients it requires when it requires them. 

Avoiding nutrient loss and choosing the right fertilizer

On the flip side of nutrient availability is, of course, nutrient loss. Nutrients can get lost in several ways, like being washed away, evaporating, or sinking too deep into the soil. By choosing the right time to fertilize, you can minimize these losses. Did you know that fertilizing just before a heavy rain might cause nutrients to get washed away, and applying it when it's too dry might make nutrients evaporate into the air? Sounds like a lot, but by keeping an eye on the weather and timing for your fertilizer application, you can reduce nutrient losses, and your plants can get more of what they need to grow as well.

Understanding what fertilizer is, when and where to apply it, and how to choose the right kind for your garden will make a significant difference in the success of your plants. By paying attention to these factors, you'll enhance your garden's health, productivity, and beauty, creating an outdoor space you can truly enjoy and be proud of. Remember, the next time you have to get up bright and early to take care of those green buddies, take pride in using the right 'f-word'... 'fertilizer.' Happy Gardening.