Our state fertilizer laws protect us so that by reading the label we can tell the exact percentage of the three major elements that are in the bag. It really doesn’t make too much difference which one you get as long as it has from four to six per cent nitrogen, from eight to twelve per cent phosphorus, and four to eight or ten per cent potash.
This material can be put on at the recommended bag rate per one thousand square feet. Dont rush the season, but wait until things start to grow just a little bit this spring before putting it on. The use of lime in the garden is another controversial subject. Many living in the Midwest have soils that are naturally neutral or alkaline and need no lime, whereas the people who tell us that we should use it live where the soils are naturally acid and low in lime.
So before you decide that your lawn, your vegetable garden, or other plants need liming, check with your county representative, or the Agricultural Extension Service, to find out if you really need to.
Many of you will be surprised to find you dont need it. With the increasing interest in gardening and fertilizing lawns, there seem to be an ever-increasing number of unscrupulous concerns preying on the public. They offer organic lawn fertilizers or large numbers of tulip or gladiolus bulbs for apparently a very low price. When you see that the hundred tulip bulbs do not fill a cup, you realize how you have been taken for a sucker.
Or when you buy that collection of flowering trees and shrubs offered for a few dollars, the trash that you often receive is practically worthless.
As fast as the government and the Federal Trade Commission get one concern, another one starts up. You cant expect good plants for next to nothing, for it costs money to grow quality material. Before giving or sending money to some of these concerns that are apparently giving you so much, ask your friends and neighbors if they have bought from them, find out what sort of material they got, and whether any of it lived and grew.
Fortunately, garden magazines usually refuse this sort of advertising, but many newspapers, radio and TV stations still accept advertisements and don’t know what is being delivered.
In making up your seed and plant orders for this coming spring, dont order exactly the same things that you ordered last year. Try something different. If you are growing marigolds or zinnias, try one or two new varieties you havent grown before.
In vegetables, try some new varieties, or maybe even some vegetables themselves that you havent grown before, such as kohlrabi or some of that unusually good eating Bibb lettuce and oakleaf lettuce. If you think you dont like squash, try butternut and buttercup squash. They are delicious either baked or fried, and besides they will keep all winter long.