When you’re using the best fertilizers for vegetable container gardening, the stories you hear about how difficult planting in containers can seem like a myth!
There are some disadvantages to gardening in containers. Most pots aren’t designed for this, which means that your soil can either dry out too fast or not drain well at all. Both can lead to stunted growth and botched harvests.
With suitable fertilizers, you can prevent dryness and overwater, keeping your soil well nourished and your veggies thriving!
The Benefits Of Using The Right Fertilizer
Whether you’re using chemical, organic, liquid, or granular fertilizers for your container garden, you’ll reap some or all of these benefits!
- Well-fed soil
- Aerated soil
- Improved water drainage
- Fewer pesticides
- Healthier crops3
- A bigger harvest
Choosing the right fertilizer can take your potted garden to the next level! You must carefully select one based on your plants, how much maintenance it requires, and your budget. Luckily, you can make most fertilizers yourself, so if you’re ready to invest in this skill, it’ll pay off in the long run.
Organic vs. Chemical Fertilizers
Chemical and organic fertilizers both get the job done, but each has some benefits trumping the other.
Organic fertilizers are natural, pour beneficial microbes into your soil, and make your ground easier to work with. Chemical fertilizers are typically cheaper, supply more nutrients with less, and are predictable.
Whichever you choose, ensure that it’s produced for potted vegetables!
The 5 Best Fertilizers For Vegetable Container Gardening
You can buy compost tea for your vegetable container garden or make your own! Compost tea is made by extracting the beneficial microorganisms created in a compost heap by brewing it. It’s a perfect all-natural fertilizer for veggies!
Compost Tea is an excellent liquid fertilizer for container gardens. You can add it to your soil while mixing it, spray it on growing crops, and inject it into your ground when needed.
The benefits of compost tea include:
- Increased Nutrients
- Reduced Plant Diseases
- Improved Soil Structure
It’s been proven that compost tea retains all the beneficial microbes found in standard compost when produced correctly, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give this miracle liquid a try!
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Eggshells make an excellent organic fertilizer for vegetable container gardens! It’s free, packed with nutrients, and easy to use!
The calcium carbonate in eggshells strengthens plant cell walls, while the magnesium helps plants photosynthesize. These points alone make it highly beneficial to use in your potted garden. Eggshells also contain potassium and phosphorus.
You can add eggshells to your pots by incorporating crushed shells into your soil, grinding the shells to a powder, and layering broken shells on top of the ground.
Fish emulsion is another excellent liquid fertilizer for leafy greens in pots. Whether you use it in the transplanting or growing phase, the fish emulsion will give your veggies a boost!
Byproducts of the fish meal industry and fish oil are used to make this organic fertilizer. Fish emulsion improves the fertility of your soil and provides your growing vegetables with the nutrients they need to thrive. Some of these are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Organic granular fertilizers work great for container gardens because it slowly releases nutrients into the soil. It typically comes in pellets that you can sprinkle on top of your soil before watering it. You should use a granular fertilizer made explicitly for potted plants.
Granular fertilizers have similar nutrients to a compost heap. It’s cheaper than liquid fertilizers, and you can start using it when you transplant your seedlings.
Worms And Worm Casting
Worms and their poo is one of the most low-maintenance fertilizers you can add to your vegetable container garden! You can buy worm casting as needed or create an earthworm farm to harvest your own.
Studies have shown that Earthworms in your pots will help your veggies grow faster, aerate the soil, improve water infiltration, and keep pests away. You can simply insert a banana peel in your soil or put a lettuce leaf on top of it for the worms to eat. Any kitchen scraps will work too!
After the worms digested it, they poo an organic nutrient-rich fertilizer packed with minerals and nitrates that your plant will love into the soil.
Chances are your garden already has a few Earthworms, so with some digging, you can start fertilizing your pots or get an Earthworm farm going for free!
Whatever your reason for gardening in containers, you should start from within the pot to ensure that your vegetables succeed. Healthy soil needs the right nutrients, and fertilizer helps achieve the balance necessary for optimal growth.
With the right fertilizer, the chances are slim that your vegetable container garden won’t deliver a plentiful harvest. Earthworms are an excellent low-maintenance organic fertilizer, but many of the other options mentioned are intriguing. You can even combine a few of these and experiment with their benefits. Whichever you choose, it should best fit your veggies and setup!
How do you fertilize vegetables in containers?
Fertilizing vegetables in containers is easy, and there are two effective ways you can do so: layering fertilizer and using a liquid.
Do I need to fertilize a vegetable container garden?
Yes. Gardening in containers isn't much different from using gardening beds. Your vegetables still need fertile soil for optimal growth.
How often should I fertilize my potted vegetables?
You only need to top up your container fertilizer every two to four weeks if you use potting soil that comes with a slow-release fertilizer.
How much fertilizer do I need for a container garden?
If you're mixing fertilizer with your potting soil, you can use a thin layer of it as one of the bottom layers in your pot. Liquid fertilizer is typically more expensive, but you only need about 1 tablespoon per gallon of soil to keep your ground well nourished. Remember to top your fertilizers up as your vegetables grow!