Nitrogen is a primary nutrient for plant growth, and is responsible for plants' green (vegetative) foliage. Nitrogen is necessary for the success of your garden. Make sure there is an adequate supply of Nitrogen in the soil before planting or transplanting into the field. Nitrogen is most important in the early stages, during the formation of leaves, and general growing period. It is less important during flower formation and fruit setting (when plants rely on Phosphorus).
Over-applying Nitrogen can “burn” plants (root damage that shows symptoms above ground), so stay within recommended application rates. Organic fertilizers are less likely to “burn” as compared to their synthetic counterparts. Excessive Nitrogen in your crops can actually lead to nitrate poisoning if you or your animals eat these greens. Some of your Nitrogen needs may be met by organic matter as it decomposes. Because this Nitrogen is difficult to test chemically it can only be taken into account as an estimate. In general, higher organic matter means higher potential Nitrogen release. In soils with over 5% organic matter (see your soil test results), consider reducing Nitrogen amendments by 1/4. Order a soil analysis to find out what your Nitrogen level is and what your Nitrogen needs are.
If your plants are stunted in their growth and their leaves are yellowing, there is a chance this is due to a Nitrogen deficiency. These symptoms could be from other stressors, so the most reliable measurement is a soil test.
Fast Acting Nitrogen
Add liquid forms of Nitrogen during the growing season if observable deficiencies occur. If you need to address a Nitrogen deficiency fast, Liquid Fish (F1335) can be diluted 4 tbs/gal and sprayed onto plant
leaves. This also dramatically helps the growth of young seedlings.
Which Nitrogen Source Should I Use
Check out our Fertilizer Solution Guide for a listing of fertilizers and match the one that fits your needs. If your crop needs additional Nitrogen see Bloodmeal, Cottonseed Meal, PVFS Liquid Fish and Liquid Grow, Fish Meal, Pelleted Fertilizers, Feather Meal, and others.