Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Mon, 20 Oct 2003 08:49:09 PDT
Dear All,

The topic of the week this week is fertilizers. In my Gordon Summerfield 
summary I included his prescription for fertilizing and am repeating it 
here as a starting point:
"He advised avoiding super phosphates which he says many of the bulbs hate 
and feels bone meal has no value at all. Also he doesn't think foliar 
feeding is helpful. Here is his formula for feeding:
Magnesium sulfate--If leaves are yellow or the tips brown need this
Ammonium sulfate--Provides nitrogen. He says contrary to opinion bulbs need 
Potassium sulfate--Helps the new leaves, if they are purplish they need this
Kelp--This helps with formation of the bulb for the next season. He adds 1 
Tablespoon to a gallon of water in the middle of the growing season.
Both he and Henry Pauw add small amounts of these and dissolve them in 
water instead of mixing them in the soil."

So what do the rest of you do? Does anyone still use bone meal? How about 
the mixes you buy at the stores that are advertised for bulbs? Has anyone 
done a test with planting using two kinds of fertilizer? Do others feel 
that bulbs hate phosphorus and if so which ones? Who uses miracle grow and 
how often? How about manure? We had some osmocote horror stories from Uli's 
Hippeastrum a number of years ago and from Diana Chapman too if I remember 
correctly, but are some of you having success with this? How about 
nutricote which is supposed to release fertilizer slowly and not be 
temperature dependent like osmocote? Who uses liquid feed only and how often?

Will Ashburner once said (if I remember right) that he "suspected" it 
didn't matter what fertilizer you used as long as you got your mix right.

I imagine most of what we know is anecdotal, but please share your 
experiences and remind us where you live and what you grow. I'd expect 
there might not be one formula that works for everything.

Also tell us about minerals that you have added successfully. Anyone use 
Spray n Grow?

As always I have the questions and hope some of you will have the answers.

Mary Sue
PBS List Administrator, Wiki Worker, TOW Coordinator (Whew!)

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