Nutrients in the Garden 17: Side Dressing with Commercial Fertilizer


I am really good at growing weeds! As you can see from this patch where I sowed carrots and herbs, there are more weeds than carrots and herbs.

Maybe you can relate, please tell me you have weeds, too! I spent the better of two days getting the garden under control. The seedlings are there, tiny, but they are there. Hopefully with weeds gone, the herbs and carrots will shoot up.


We had our first harvest of radishes and lettuce. They made a mighty fine salad which complimented our grilled steak very nicely.  My taste buds have been waiting for summer dining; fresh veggies and grilled meat!


With the weeds under control (for today) I had time to fertilize. The sweet corn is about twelve inches tall, a good indicator that it’s time to fertilize. Sweet corn needs more nitrogen than a lot of other garden vegetables. I fertilize with commercial fertilizers because it’s easy to find at the garden center, it’s cheap, and applied at the right rate, it’s safe. Used correctly, fertilizer will increase my yields by 30-50%! With all of the sweat and work I put into the garden, I want to maximize my efforts and fertilizer is my number one helper, besides my three junior gardeners.


To fertilize the sweet corn, I used a method called side dressing. I made a trench with the hoe alongside the sweet corn, about six to eight inches from the plant (not any closer). Then I followed the recommended rate on the fertilizer bag and sprinkled the granular fertilizer in the trench and then used the hoe to cover the fertilizer up with soil. Lastly, I watered. The water activates the fertilizer and makes it available to the sweet corn’s roots making it a stronger, healthier, more productive plant.  It is important to note not to over apply or get the fertilizer too close to the root zone. The fertilizer can damage, burn or kill the plant if too much is applied. Also if you get any fertilizer on the foliage, be sure to knock it off or wash it off, as it too can cause damage to the plant.


It’s been a busy week in the garden! Have you been weeding, fertilizing and eating too? This lazy garden cat has the right idea!!! It’s time for me to find some shade and rest a bit too.

Happy to be gardening with you.

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