How to Side-Dress Your Garden Plants

Garden plants and some types of soil regularly need side-dressing of fertilizer during the growing season. Fertilizers are used for vegetable crops at the top and on the sides of the plant. This practice is especially important in gardens with sandy soils because growth increases when plants need a lot of nutrients.

What is Side Dressing?

What is Side Dressing?

It is dressing for plants by placing fertilizer on the side of the plant. Gardeners often place fertilizer in rows of plants at a distance of 4 inches from the stems, and the remaining rows will be placed on the opposite side of the plant.

The best way to side-dress plants is to find their nutritional needs. Some crops, such as corn, need abundant nutrition for frequent fertilization during the growing season. On the other side, plants, like sweet potatoes, can do great throughout the year without adding addictives.

Fertilizer Side-dressing Information

Fertilizer Side-dressing Information

Side dressing fertilizer provides additional nutrients to the plants so that they reach their full potential.

In side-dressing, the fertilizer is applied through a slit or shallow strip on the side of the crops, in rows or circles around the individual plants.

During side-dressing, make a hole to a depth of 2 to 3 inches or make rows or circles around the sides of the crop, around individual plants. Sprinkle the fertilizer on the furrow and apply it to the soil.

Side dressing includes granular fertilizers, mature manure and compost, bone meal and rock phosphate, as well as liquid fertilizers and fish or seawater emulsions or tea from compost and manure.

Side dressing is usually applied when plants need additional nutrients for growth, flowers, or fruit growing and in the second half of the growing season. Horticultural crops grow rapidly from the middle of the season and quickly deplete the nutrients introduced before planting or transplanting.

The side dressing also produces potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus, and trace elements that are released from the root zone during irrigation.

How Much to Side Dress plants

How Much to Side Dress plants

A handful of good fertilizer is enough to compost most plants. This is equivalent to one tablespoon of fertilizer 5-10-10. Adding liquid fertilizer to the watering can be an easy way to protect your plants. A cup of compost tea is a good complement.

It is important to use commercial fertilizer according to the instructions on bags or bottles. Super-heated vegetables are generally less efficient.

Fertilizer should not be placed near the plant stem as it can burn the roots. The side of the fertilizer applied outside the drip line will encourage the roots to get out of it.

When to Side Dress Plants

The mid-season side dressing is usually sufficient to maintain and stimulate the growth of the plant. Large quantities of edible plants – mainly late summers fruit crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants – will benefit from more than one seasoning supplement.

Fertilizers should not be placed right next to the stem of a plant; they might burn the roots. Fertilizers’ side dressed outside the drip line will encourage roots to extend beyond the drip line.

What to Use for Side Dressing Crops and Plants

What to Use for Side Dressing Crops and Plants

To find out which side dressing to use, check the nutritional deficiencies of the plant. For most, nitrogen is the fertilizer they need. Pour 1 cup per 100 feet or 100 square feet of the garden with ammonium nitrate or urea as a side dressing. The compost can also be used as a side dressing.

Adjust the distance to large plants, such as tomatoes, by spreading fertilizer rings around each plant. Pour fertilizer on both sides of the plant; pour it into the soil to start the action of nitrogen and clean the dust that reaches the leaves.

Wrapping Up

Excess fertilizer can be very harmful. Excess fertilizer forms in the soil and damages the roots of the plant. Therefore, make sure that the growing conditions allow the use of fertilizer on the plants. For example, do not use fertilizer if you cannot water your garden when it is dry, without adequate soil moisture, because the roots are not absorbed by nutrients. And if the cold weather can slow down your plants and you need less fertilizer, check the fertilizer until it warms up or discharges the temperature.

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