Ready-to-use liquid fertilizers: Pretty Much a Scam

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20160313B.jpgWhen you’re shopping for fertilizer, beware of ready-to-use liquids, also called “pour and feeds”. They’re designed to be poured directly onto the soil of your plants. “No mixing required!” the label proudly claims… but have you thought about what that means?

If you’re not mixing it yourself, someone else has already done it for you. In fact, you have essentially just bought water! Okay, there is a tiny amount of fertilizer in the container (about one part fertilizer to 50 parts water in most cases), but that’s pretty much water, isn’t it? So if you have running water at home (and so many people do these days), you’ve just spent about 50 times too much. A concentrated fertilizer – be it granules, a powder or a concentrated liquid – at the same price or even several times more is actually much, much less expensive.

I may be a lazy gardener, but I’m lazy and cheap. It only takes a few seconds to drop a teaspoonful of concentrated fertilizer into a watering can… and where I come from, tap water is dirt cheap.

To get the right dilution, follow the instructions indicated on the label (be careful if you change brands: dosage can easily vary from one brand of fertilizer to another). Personally, I further dilute the concentrated fertilizer to 1/4 or even 1/8th of the recommended dose. My experience is that plants rarely need as much fertilizer as the suppliers claim… and the more I dilute while still getting excellent growth, the more I save!

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