Preparing Garden Soil

Garden Fertilizer Types

Granular fertilizers used for side-dressing should be used in spring and again mid-summer.

Different types of soil fertilizers serve different purposes in your garden. Here are a few fertilizer types to explore:


Granular fertilizers release nutrients more quickly than organic fertilizers. Sprinkling a handful of 5-10-5 around each plant (known as side-dressing) in spring and again mid-summer will give annuals a feeding boost that will keep them in top growing and flowering condition through the summer. Use slow-release fertilizers once in the spring.

Liquid fertilizers provide nutrients immediately. Be careful not to overdo it.

Liquid Fertilizer Solution

Liquid fertilizer is an immediate source of nutrients. The concentrated form is diluted by mixing with water according to the manufacturer's directions. Use a mild solution on new transplants to help them quickly recover from the shock. Liquid fertilizer can be applied in place of granular side-dressings.

Fish Emulsion Fertilizer

Use fish emulsion fertilizer to encourage a burst of growth from new plantings, potted flowers and vegetables, or anything that is growing a little too sluggishly for your taste. High-nitrogen fish emulsion dissolves in water and is easily absorbed and put to immediate use by the plant. For best results, follow the package directions.

When gardening in containers instead of in the ground, you're more easily able to adjust the soil to suit your plants. Keep reading to learn about preparing soil for container gardens.

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