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Should You Fertilize Your Quinoa Plants?

Quinoa requires a lot of nutrients to grow to its full potential

Quinoa requires a lot of nutrients to grow to its full potential

Quinoa is a hungry plant! It needs lots of nutrients to properly grow, and fertilizers can provide the extra nutrients that quinoa needs to grow quickly and fully.

The use of quinoa fertilizer depends on the current nutrient content of your soil. To be certain, the best thing is to have your soil tested. If your soil is correctly balanced or high in nitrogen, you should use a fertilizer that is slightly lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus, such as a 5-10-5 or a 5-10-10 mixed fertilizer. If your soil is lacking in nitrogen, use a balanced fertilizer like 8-8-8 or 10-10-10. If you can’t get a soil test, just go ahead and use the 10-10-10 quinoa plant fertilizer.

Too much nitrogen will give you lush, green quinoa plants, but very little fruit. Using straight-up phosphorus, and not a complete, mixed fertilizer, can solve this problem by minimizing the effects of too much nitrogen in the soil.

Fertilize your quinoa seeds when you first plant them by mixing the quinoa-plant fertilizer in with the soil, along with other soil amendments. If transplanting, put some fertilizer in the plant hole and cover with a layer of unfertilized soil to serve as a buffer between the fertilizer and plant roots, so the roots don’t burn. Side dress your quinoa plants with nitrogen fertilizer four to six weeks after planting, being careful not to place the fertilizer directly on the plant.

If you’re planting quinoa in containers, be careful not to over-fertilize. Quinoa grown in a container will not have the buffer of large volumes of soil and humus to protect the plants from toxic levels of fertilizer. Prior to adding additional fertilizer, determine the initial nutrient levels of the potting mix being used. For a total nitrogen (N) rate of 1/4 pound N per 100 square feet, a 12-inch diameter pot would require 2 teaspoons of blood meal (an organic source of nitrogen).

Do you fertilize your quinoa plants? What type of fertilizer do you use? How often do you fertilize? Please tell us exactly how and when you fertilize your quinoa plants.

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