Foliar Feeding Schedule for Organic Gardeners

Posted by on Oct 15, 2015 in Grow Better Greens Podcast | Comments Off on Foliar Feeding Schedule for Organic Gardeners

In this week’s episode, we’re exploring the amazing benefits of foliar feeding and sharing a schedule that works for organic gardeners. We’ll talk about when, why, how and what to spray on your veggie plants and some reasons that you might consider skipping this practice here and there. We’ll also cover the best times of day to foliar feed, the best weather, and how to handle rainy spells.

You can listen in here, or download for later here:

Foliar Feeding for Organic Gardeners

What is Foliar Feeding & Why Should I do it?
What Can I Foliar Feed My Plants and How Do I Apply the Feed?
When Should I Foliar Feed My Plants?
What’s a Good Foliar Feeding Schedule?
Why Do You Grow Food?

What is Foliar Feeding & Why Should I do it?

Foliar feeding is a method of giving extra nutrition to your plants through their leaves. The stomata in plant leaves, which are very much like the pores in human skin, can absorb liquid nutrients readily.

The best way to think about this, is to imagine yourself taking an extra daily vitamin pill or drinking a highly-nutritious shake on top of eating a healthful and balanced diet:

Foliar feeding is just that type of over-the-top nutritional care, but for plants instead of people!

Foliar feeding plants is thought to be a catalyst – the special sauce that propels your plants towards high Brix. Though it’s not a substitute for good soil nutrition, it is a great enhancer that can bring all of those famed results that high Brix offers:

  • more nutrients per calorie
  • intensified flavor
  • longer storage capacity after harvest
  • improved overall pest and disease resistance in plants

You can learn more about high Brix food and how to grow it by signing up for our free video series below.

What Can I Foliar Feed My Plants and How Do I Apply the Feed?

The two most popular foliar feed liquids to use on your plants are Compost Tea and Sea Mineral blends. Compost Tea is made in a DIY brewer or purchased as tea bags to steep in water at home.

Sea Minerals have long been lauded as a complete (and natural) trace mineral solution for plants, which also includes growth stimulants and chelating agents that help to remove dangerous heavy metals.

How cool is that?

To apply the feed, you want to mist it on leaves, paying extra attention to the back or underside of each leaf. You can also pour your diluted tea or sea minerals around the root systems of your plants; when used this way, it’s called a nutrient drench.

For small gardens, a hand-held spray bottle will generally do the trick, though they’re quick to break and can be tough for people with arthritis. Frankly, they can make anyone’s hand pretty sore!

A better solution is a pressurized sprayer. Pressurized sprayers work by pumping the solution into a tube so that an even spray is applied effortlessly, in a fine mist that is best for plant stomata. You can check out a one-gallon pressurized sprayer here.

Here’s a list of great foliar feeding nutrients to get you started:

  • Compost tea
  • MaxiCrop
  • Fox Farm Big Bloom
  • Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer
  • When Should I Foliar Feed My Plants?

    Stage of Life:

    You can begin misting your plants as soon as you see true leaves form (as opposed to ‘seed leaves’,) until, well, forever.

    Many gardeners only spray their plants until full maturity. This means that they stop bothering after fruits have formed and are beginning to ripen.

    Another crucial time to spray extra nutrients on your veggies is whenever they endure stress – wind, weather, temperature swings, critter attacks, clumsy gardeners tripping on vines or bruising stems.

    Spraying nutrients is a great bit of extra insurance after anything that may send a plant into shock!

    Time of Day

    The best strategy is the ‘whenever you think of it’ strategy!

    I prefer to foliar feed in the early morning or early evening when plant stomata are most open, but if I miss my preferred window, I still make sure to follow through.

    Some gardeners won’t spray liquid on plant leaves during hot, sunny periods, as they believe that every droplet will act as a magnifying glass which when paired with the sun can burn holes through the leaves.

    I’ve never had this problem and don’t think that it’s really much of an issue.

    Think about how often tropical locations get a heavy afternoon rain just before the hot sun reemerges!

    What’s a Good Foliar Feeding Schedule?

    I feed weekly, alternating different feeds in my sprayer. Usually, this means that I simply spray compost tea one week and feed sea minerals the next.

    However, results can be seen from one singular foliar feeding session. So if that’s all you’re able to do, go for it!

    Some gardeners spray their plants biweekly (every other week), while others pinpoint 4 separate occasions:

    • appearance of true leaves
    • bud formation
    • flower set
    • fruit set

    Again, it’s important to foliar feed at any sign of stress.

    Thanks for reading my blog : ) I appreciate your time and wish you much success in growing healthy food!