Organic fertilizer


I have 9 plants right now. I may add three, still undecided on that.
Pink Popcorn
Cara’s Choice

Currently I’m happy with all nine. No plans to cull any out. None are perfect, but something about each one I like. so keeping them.


I second the Holly-Tone and the chicken fertilizer. I always use Holly-Tone for blueberries and it’s actually very friendly on the roots of plants, it makes plants grow like weeds, I use it for just about everything, things grow very fast with chicken fertilizer, yet be careful that stuff burns roots easily if you are not careful, put it on very lightly if you use it, if you use it leave it a day or two in the hot full sun first. In case it might have Salmonella in it. Animal droppings is were it comes from. Of course it’s best to use organic.

PS: I myself wait until I know if there is any chance of freezing before I put any sort of nitrogen in the ground. Make sure you get a soil testing kit that checks each element of fertilizer individually, home depot caries one.


Thanks. I have chickens and have them working on compost piles so I think I’m going to spread the compost around the apples and blueberries. I think I might mix some fresher manure in as well for the apples.

I used Hollytone before but we moved out of the house before I saw any results.


I picked up a bag of HollyTone at Rural King the other day. Is now a good time to fert the bloobs, and is HT good for rasps and gooseberries? I’m not giving the blackberries anything, they grew like weeds last year.


It can be used as an all around fertilizer, you can use it on anything. It’s close to time. it takes about 2 weeks to work, so if you think they will start growing in 2 weeks, yeah a good time. I do mine April 1st, but I’m farther north.


I got several bags of Hollytone on clearance at Walmart last fall, so we will see how it works. Previously I always used ammonium sulfate and iron sulfate on my blueberries, plus lots of wood mulch. Their growth has been slow, so if the Hollytone is better, it should be obvious by the end of a year. I add sulfur each spring and more if they start looking peaked, and mix a lot of peat in the planting holes. Our water is about 7.0, so I try to avoid watering if I can. I have started a new bed in full sun out at our rural land to see if they do better there than in our sand at home with trees around.


Thanks. I just read the label, it says not to use if the ground is frozen, which it isn’t, but it’s going to be below freezing next week.

One of the rasps is showing some green leaves, but nothing on the bloobs and gooseberries yet. Might give them some later next week.

Do you give them about a cup a plant?


Yes or more a handful. I don’t measure out. I feed them monthly with organics. Blueberries respond to feeding, they like to eat. You can burn them, so you have to be careful not to overdo it. What I do is feed a liquid soluble fertilizer, like Miracle Grow for acid loving plants, or J R Peters Jacks Classic No.1.5 17-6-6 Acid Special Fertilizer. With the Holly-Tone. So they get fed instantly and it runs out in time for the organic to kick in.
I grow a few blueberries in huge pots, 25 gallon grow bags. The soil is peat and pine bark and so requires no adjusting. The pH is perfect. I like to use the miracle grow soluble as it is urea based, which is not very acidic, compared to jacks which uses Ammonium sulfate. I use that on the in raised bed plants. As the bed’s pH creeps up with time. AS is very acidic, so I don’t like to use it in pots. If I do i water with tap for a week! Kill that extra acid.Otherwise I collect and use rainwater for the blueberries.
I check pH of everything at ;least once a year. Plants should be nice and green.


Holly-Tone is not a slow release fertilizer, or a fast release fertilizer it’s in between those two. Chicken Compost is instant release so it makes a difference much faster.

You are welcome.


Dumb question maybe, but what is fast release nitrogen for in early spring: to feed the fruits or to grow the tree more?

My trees just started fruiting last year, so I’m considering fast release. But their vigor has been how I like, so I’m a bit confused.


Usually it gives both vegetation, and flowers/fruit a faster/stronger start. Yet some plants will put most of the nitrogen in to the vegetation preventing fruit growth if the plant gets nitrogen at the wrong time of the year.


Yeah I’m a big fan of slow feeding. I heard trees don’t really benefit, but I have had no problems. My trees always fruit well. I have enough fertilizer this year, but was looking at this stuff at Leonard’s. Leonard’s has free shipping promotions from time to time and that is when I buy. Fertilizer is becoming high tech! I grow trees and woody fruiting shrubs. Like honeyberries, currants, elderberries, gooseberries, etc.

I want to try these others too. I have a bag of this.

And maybe try this stuff in the fall.


alfalfa pellets are good slow release fert and sell for 13/50lb bag where i am. i also like hollytone and watch for it on clearance. find bags for $10/20lb in fall at Walmart. manure it’s often free from ranchers and works great.


I’m a big fan of using alfalfa pellets in my garden. I soak them in water and dig a few shovel’s into each garden bed in the spring before planting. I also like to lightly top dress with them before a heavy rain once or twice in the summer months. The plants love it!


Do you use it for fruit trees?

I’ve been using alfafa for my roses for years.


I top dress my brambles and currants. I haven’t needed to feed my trees yet, they are pretty vigorous without any soil amending.


Water sprouts are like independent juvenile trees and grow more vigorously with ample N, which can keep sun from the mature wood capable of producing fruit.

Early, quick release N tends to favor serving the spur leaves which are the first to grow in apple trees, but for all tree fruit, early N helps produce larger and higher quality fruit- vegetative growth created by later N creates excessive shade for leaves serving fruit. It may also lead to larger cells in the fruit, both of which makes fruit more watery.

Early in fruit development, size is increased by more rapid cell division which doesn’t reduce its sugar. Later fruit size increase comes from the expansion of the existing cells, and too much of a good thing leads to bland fruit.

Too much organic matter in the soil may increase the release of organic N when it favors vegetative growth because its release increases as the soil warms if it is moist. This is a problem in the humid regions that usually get ample rain throughout the growing season. However, it’s difficult to know whether it is increased availability of water or available N that reduces the quality of the fruit, it may be both.

If you can control the amount of water you can overcome the liability of excessively rich soil. In the northeast, the highest quality fruit tends to be produced in light soil without too much OM. It’s difficult to stop the water that comes from the sky, but lighter soils store less of it. .


The more water the more nitrogen gets in to the plant, so I think both.


When I’ve looked for research on the subject I have found at least one study that indicated higher N fertilization didn’t contribute to lower brix in apples. Unfortunately, I don’t think the study discussed irrigation. I haven’t gone searching for info on this subject for a few years.

Not that one, or even several studies are necessarily definitive in horticulture anyway.

One study in this realm that is extremely interesting is that after a short period of time, shaded leaves permanently lose their ability to photosynthesize.

Apparently there is a short window to the benefit of summer pruning- in fact, by summer it may be too late to benefit fruit or annual production. I now wipe off unwanted growth while thinning fruit in May.


That is very good to know, I recall reading that pruning a pear tree, when it starts to leaf out is a way to guarantee cropping, at a younger age, when the tree prefers growing vegetation. We have a grafted pear tree entering it’s fifth season in ground. It has not produced any pears successfully yet. Just two aborted pears it’s second year in ground, nothing since then. Around Mid April, when the leaves come out, I am pruning it.