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Fertilising seedlings? Yes/No? Any recommended products?

Hi all, I will soon be growing some seeds: veggies (eg tomatoes/chillies) and ornamentals (eg sweet pea/verbena/delphinium).

What is the general consensus on feeding seedlings?  I have mainly heard that you don't feed seedlings till you pot them on (if at all), do you agree? Or would you not feed them at all till planting out?

Also, does this rule apply differently to veggies and ornamentals?  I read somewhere that you should feed the potted on veggie plants every two weeks?  What's your opinion?

Also, do you have a recommended brand of general feed/fertiliser that you use for seedlings (if that is your method)?



  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,664
    If you buy compost that says that it is suitable for growing seedlings, it will have the right mix of nutrients needed. John Innes No 1 is one mix.

    The problem with feeding tiny plants is that they grow “soft” and are more open to infection than plants that are grown “hard”.

    I don’t feed my tomato plants with anything until I see the first flower buds. Before that, they take what they need from the compost.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,324
    You can use seaweed extract from the seedling stage onward which will supply micro-nutrients and minerals that will help with health and development, but as pf says above most commercial composts have around 6 weeks of fertiliser incorporated into them.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • micearguersmicearguers CambridgePosts: 603
    As I understand it seedling compost is not very rich in order to promote root growth. With feeding at the seedling stage you'll risk an underdeveloped root system.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 5,425
    Yes too much feed at this early stage is more likely to kill them off. Better to prick them on into the next stage & let them develop naturally. 
    AB Still learning

  • Righty ho, seems like feeding is generally a no-no then.  Thanks for the seaweed extract tip though!

    Thanks all!

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