I won't go on a long dissertation extolling the benefits of using organic fertilizers and pesticides over the likes of Miracle-Grow and Bug-B-Ded, it's just better, for all of us. The local stores have plenty of organic fertilizers to choose from such as Whitney Farms, Dr. Earth and FoxFarm's Peace of Mind. On a side note, 5 out of 6 ganja growers prefer FoxFarm, or so I've been told by the 18 yr-old Frank Zappa clone at one of the local nurseries.
What do those three numbers on the bag or box mean? You've seen 'em : 29-3-3, 16-16-16, 5-1-1, and so on. Fret not for I will explain. They stand for the percentage by weight that the product contains of the 3 macronutrients in order: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Plants need nitrogen for green leafy growth, phosphorus for strong root growth, flowering and fruit, and potassium to promote vigor and disease resistance.
Ever notice that your lawn fertilizer usually has a high nitrogen weight such as 27 or 30? That's for green grass. If you like to plant bulbs, you know that the bulb food contains some bone meal which is very high in phosphorus, the middle number. Here is a great way to remember what the numbers mean the next time you find yourself brain-frozen in the fertilizer aisle and forgot what Vic told you:
Up, down, and all around. The first number to help the plant grow up, the second to help the plant grow down, and the third, well you get the point. We'll talk about the best fertilizer of them all (Compost) in another posting. I'm done spreading the manure for today.