What are some general recommendations for fertilizing in a limited space for growing vegetables?


I haven’t found any recommendations on this website for fertilizing specific varieties of vegetables. I do get recommendations with a soil report but I grow my vegetables in a limited space and rotate them as best as I can from year-to-year. Are there some general recommendations you can provide, as well as timing? 


Jonathan Foster, Home Horticulture Outreach Professional

Kudos to you for practicing crop rotation, even in a limited space, as it can effectively prevent and/or mitigate many pests and pathogens that tend to accumulate when growing the same plants in the same place year after year.

We don’t typically make blanket recommendations for annual fertilizer in the vegetable garden (other than an inch or so of high quality compost* each year, which slowly improves/maintains soil nutrition and texture over time), because individual soils vary in their starting points for various nutrients–the soil report is really the best guide for what needs to be added. Adding amendments without identified needs can range from simply wasted time and money all the way to creation of toxic abundances.

That said, I can understand how that might be tricky to manage when planting different plants in different spots each year. So, with those caveats above in mind, the Univ of MD Extension does have a nice guide to nutritional requirements of various common garden vegetables here. Another excellent resource is the New England Vegetable Management Guide. If you use these in conjunction with the results from your soil report, you should be able to work up a fertilizer regime.

Happy gardening.

* Because of the influx of the invasive Asian jumping worm into Maine gardens, I will include a strong recommendation to exercise extreme caution if you are bringing compost onto your property from another site. Talk to your supplier first and use precautions before spreading it into your beds.