Plants are just like us in that they need a few key elements to survive, but for a plant to truly thrive, fertilizer is a must.
Fertilizer is like food for plants but it goes beyond just their daily nutritional needs, providing a boost to their health and growth, meaning better results all round.
When it comes to a vegetable garden, fertilizer is a no-brainer, and the easiest way to improve your yields and give you the freshest, tastiest vegetables.
However, with so many types of fertilizers out there, and each made for different purposes, how do you know what’s what?
So, what are the best vegetable garden fertilizer options on the market?
A good fertilizer should have enough phosphorous and nitrogen in them, but there’s a lot more than makes up a quality product.
These fertilizers can be all-natural or with the help of chemicals and designed for specific vegetables or as an all-rounder nutrient boost, helping to feed microbes into the soil.
If a beaming vegetable garden is part of your dream and you want to ensure top quality produce, choosing the best all-around vegetable fertilizer is the way to go.
We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites to show you what they’re all about, and the good and bad that each of them have to offer your garden.
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Best Vegetable Fertilizer – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Our Recommendations for the Best Vegetable Fertilizer
Fertilizer is food for plants and if you’re growing vegetables with dreams of them juicy and packed full of flavors, it’s a must-have source of nutrients.
With that in mind, we’ve picked the best fertilizers for vegetable gardens in all categories, so you can be sure you’re feeding your budding vegetables the finest.
Winner: Miracle Gro Shake n Feed
- Sizes: 4.5lbs
- Type: Pellets
- Organic: No
If you’re growing a vegetable garden with simplicity in mind, Miracle Gro Shake n Feed is the only choice.
This is the best vegetable plant fertilizer because it contains all of the vital micronutrients to grow healthy and tasty vegetables, but is also a great all-rounder for the garden.
You’ll get a 4.5lbs bottle of pellets that can be distributed on top of the soil, and then soak down into it as they get wet.
- This is a good allrounder that can be used for just about any vegetable. Miracle Gro has created it to be applied to both container and ground plants, making it the best fertilizer for vegetable container gardening and more.
- Unlike other harsher fertilizers, you won’t burn any of your plants using Shake n Feed, especially if you follow directions. This means healthier crops with less chance of damage, and a much more vibrant growth cycle for all parts of your garden that get to use it.
- Although Miracle Gro creates fertilizer for fruits and vegetables, avid gardeners and customers swear by this one for results. The natural vegetable fertilizer features worm castings, feather meal, and bone meal, giving you the organic goodness you need to see results.
- This isn’t a product that should be used sparingly, as you’ll want to load a lot of it on to get the best results. However, it’s a cheap option and the pellets tend to go far compared to liquid fertilizer, but you’ll need to stock up on a few bottles if you have a decent sized vegetable garden.
- Pellet fertilizers like this can be hard to gauge and some gardeners prefer a more direct method. Although it doesn’t appear to do any harm here, it’s understandable if you’d rather not apply this type of fertilizer to an open garden bed or vegetable patch.
Miracle Gro is a brand that needs no introduction for serious gardeners, and their Shake n Feed is a best seller.
If you want a low maintenance way to fertilizer your vegetable garden and something that works for raised beds, containers, and direct ground plants, it’s the only way to go.
You can get the 4.5lbs bottle of Miracle Gro Shake n Feed fertilizer for around $11 on Amazon or get better value for money with the 8lb bottle and pay roughly $18.
To save even more and get free shipping though, you will have to spend more than $25, but it’s easy to do if you’re stocking up with this fertilizer.
Runner Up: Osmocote Smart Release Fertilizer
- Sizes: 2lbs
- Type: Pellets
- Organic: No
If you prefer to use a vegetable specific fertilizer in your garden bed, the Osmocote Smart Release: Flower and Vegetable edition is one of the best.
This is a pellet style fertilizer that can be used for both vegetables and flowers, and a 2lbs bottle covers roughly 80 square feet of garden.
This is the best fertilizer for raised garden beds that house more than just veggies and focuses on both top growth and strong root development, and it’s a slow-release formula that works over a few months.
- Having a product that works well for flowers and vegetables is a nice twist, and it’s clear to see from other customers that it had results. People noted more flavorful vegetables and that their flowers were brighter and bloomed larger, so you get a two for one product here.
- The application of this fertilizer is easy and works especially well for new gardeners. You only have to sprinkle some of the plant food on top of the soil and then water as recommended. There’s no need to dig in the soil or work a complicated spray, so it wins points for ease of use.
- Osmocote Smart Release seems to work well at improving the strength of roots and if you’ve got new plants you’re worried about, it’s a great choice. Working from the bottom down, this will strengthen any weak ones and allow for better growth below, so it’s a customer favorite here.
- According to Osmocote, this can be applied every four months, but customers who’ve used it in the past recommend application once every three months instead. This ensures a consistent supply of the product and strong root development, so factor in for a little more use than advertised.
- This is one of the most expensive vegetable fertilizers out there, and although not considered a premium product, it costs almost half as much as other top contenders. If you know and love the Osmocote brand and want something for flowers and vegetables together, you’ll be happy to pay for the privilege, otherwise more frugal gardeners will want to shop around.
Although known as one of the costlier options, there’s a lot to love about the simplicity and strength that Osmocote Smart Release offers.
As a vegetable and flower targeted fertilizer you know you’re getting everything they need without the fillers, and you can feel pretty happy setting and forgetting.
To get your hands on this plant food, head to Amazon for the best price online, for around $9 for a 2lb bottle.
Unfortunately, there’s no bigger sizes or ways to save money, and you’ll need to spend $25 to qualify for free shipping, but with a brand and product as famous as this, it’s a smart investment.
Alternative: Miracle Gro LiquaFeed
- Sizes: 32 fl oz
- Type: Spray
- Organic: No
Miracle Gro has created another of our favorite fertilizers with their LiquaFeed made for tomatoes, fruits, and vegetables.
This pack contains two 16 fl oz bottles which will cover 800 square feet of garden in total, and the application is as simple as watering your garden.
This chemical-based spray contains ingredients that help with root growth and also yield more flavorful vegetables, so it’s an easy way to boost your veggie patch.
- This formula is made specifically for fruits and vegetables which means every single ingredient was designed to help them grow. Compared to a multi-purpose product it does an impressive job with things like tomatoes and bell peppers, so if you have those in your garden it’s worth a look.
- Although it might seem like a small package for a high price, you’ll get a lot of use out of this liquid fertilizer. Just one bottle in the two-pack has enough to feed 400 square feet of garden so when you compare that to other pellets we’ve reviewed, it’s fantastic value for money.
- Customers who had used this for a few months noticed that their vegetables had started to get larger as well, so it’s not just good for flavor. If your crops have suffered in the past and been smaller than you’d like, this spray could be the saving grace.
- Just purchasing this liquid isn’t enough to get the job done, so expect to pay some more for the correct spray bottle to apply it. Miracle Gro recommends their own feeder but you can use a standard garden sprayer if you have it, but it still adds some pennies to the final cost.
- Application is required more regularly with this spray, so although it’s known as one of the best liquid fertilizer for vegetable gardens, it’s also the most time consuming. Every two weeks is ideal with this, so be prepared to tend your garden more than other products require.
Miracle Gro has created an easy spray fertilizer that’s perfect for vegetable gardens, and it’s easy enough for beginner green thumbs to use.
Although it’s not the best natural fertilizer for vegetable gardens, it’s still one of the most effective and easy to use.
If you prefer to use a vegetable specific fertilizer and don’t mind more regular feedings, head to Amazon to get this plant food for around $15 for a two-pack.
If you buy two of these double packs, you’ll get it shipped for free as well, and if other gardener’s results are anything to go by, you’d be crazy not to.
Alternative: Jobes Organics Fertilizer Spikes
- Sizes: 8.8oz
- Type: Spikes
- Organic: Yes
For the natural gardener who prefers only organic products in their garden, you’ll be thrilled to find Jobes Organics Fertilizer Spikes.
Each 8.8oz container has 50 spikes inside that can be planted directly beside your vegetables a slow release fertilizer.
These spikes are certified organic and feature Jobe’sBiozome, which is a microorganism archaea that helps boost growth and create healthier, happier vegetables.
- Having the spike-shaped fertilizer sticks was helpful as it made it easier to stick them into the ground and leave them. Although it’s a little more work than just sprinkling or spraying the fertilizer, you can be sure they’re going exactly where it’s needed and delivering the goods directly.
- There’s a certain peace of mind that comes with using organic fertilizers like this and especially when it’s going on the food you will eat in the future. Knowing there are no nasty chemicals was a great bonus for most customers and made the extra cost worthwhile.
- The biozome inside each spike isn’t just good for root health and plant life but also resists disease and keeps pests away. As a slow release stick, it goes deep into the soil and lasts months before a new one has to go in. Jobe’s Organic Fertilizer Spikes is a great all in one product that does the job of many products in your average veggie patch.
- Some people mentioned issues with their pets being around the spikes as they looked too similar to treats. If you do have pets, you should probably keep these in raised veggie patches only, or keep a watchful eye out if your dog or cat happens to go near them.
- The price of these organic pellets is high, which isn’t surprising given the ingredients. This is only required by those who prefer organic gardening and understand the higher costs of this type of approach, otherwise, there are cheaper alternatives that work just as well.
Organic gardening is a growing trend and if you feel better knowing that your vegetables are only eating the finest natural ingredients, you’ll love Jobes Organic Fertilizer Spikes.
These spikes are easy to use, prevent waste and runoff, and won’t impart anything nasty on your food, so they tick all the boxes.
Amazon has these fertilizer spikes listed for the best price online and you can get a packet of 50 for around $8, which is almost half price thanks to a current promotion.
If you buy three or more you’ll receive free shipping, so purchasing the Jobes Organic Fertilizer Spikes in bulk is a smarter way to shop for natural vegetable garden fertilizers.
Alternative: Dr Earth Organic Fertilizer
- Sizes: 4lbs
- Type: Powder
- Organic: Yes
Dr Earth Organic Tomato, Vegetable, and Herb Fertilizer is a natural approach to gardening, featuring plant nutrients that will boost the health of your veggie patch.
This 4lb bag is a powder type fertilizer that will last several months with one application and it’s made with 100% natural and organic ingredients.
Within the bag, you’ll get probiotics and soil microbes, as well as ecto and endo mycorrhizae, so it goes above what other fertilizers do.
- This is a completely natural way to fertilize your garden and if you like to be sure your vegetables have only been fed the most natural and organic products, you’ll get it. There’s nothing nasty included in this and no sewage sludge or chicken manure that other fertilizers have, so it’s a completely safe alternative.
- For the ingredient list and its organic status, this is one of the cheapest choices on the market for a vegetable garden fertilizer. It does take a little work to get right but the ingredients are all premium and natural, so if you’re looking for a budget friendly and eco-friendly fertilizer, this is it.
- There’s more to Dr. Earth’s Organic Tomato, Vegetable, and Herb Fertilizer than just being a fertilizer. You can use it as a compost starter, create a plant tea, or mix it through the soil which gives you plenty of options for how to use it best.
- The application of this fertilizer is one of the hardest and most finicky of all on the market. As a powder type fertilizer, it has to be mixed through the soil and you need to be careful that it’s being distributed evenly. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an overload in some areas and have a vegetable garden that’s susceptible to mold growth.
- Some customers found the result of this to be slow and they didn’t see an instant improvement in their vegetable garden like other products offered. You’ll need to be patient with Dr. Earth so if you have a garden that’s in dire need of assistance, this isn’t the way to go.
If organic is the only way you want to garden, you’ll be thrilled to have found Dr. Earth and his Organic Tomato, Vegetable, and Herb Fertilizer.
This powder product works in more ways than one and gives a healthy alternative for those who prefer not to use any chemicals or unknown ingredients in their garden.
Amazon has bags of fertilizer listed online for around $13 for a 2lb bag and if you purchase two, you’ll get free shipping to your door.
You may have to wait a while to see results, so patience is needed, but if you only want to use an organic fertilizer, Dr. Earth’s is a fan favorite.
Vegetable Fertilizer FAQs
Choosing the best fertilizer for vegetable seedlings and fully-fledged vegetable patches will be your key to high yields and quality produce.
There’s a lot to learn about this one product though, so it pays to educate yourself on what vegetable fertilizer is all about. Check out the answers to some frequently asked questions to find out more about this nutrient-rich substance.
A vegetable garden thrives on organic matter, so consider adding things like household compost, poultry manure, kelp meal, bone meal, or blood meal to the soil.
These nutrients will reach through the soil and to the plants, where they give them a boost of nutrients and improve their structure so it can support the vegetable growth.
A home remedy for making tomatoes sweeter and tastier is to add some Epsom salt to the soil below.
You should put one tablespoon of Epsom salt for every foot of height, and place it at the base of the tomato plant. Do this once a fortnight for tomatoes but less frequently for other vegetables and plants.
Although nothing has been proven scientifically, many gardeners swear by adding baking soda to their tomato plants to sweeten them.
The addition of baking soda to the soil just below the plant is said to reduce acid levels, which results in sweeter and tastier tomatoes once they’re ripened.
A yellow leaf is not a good sign on any plant, unless that is the natural color of them, and it usually indicates that this part of the plant is shutting down.
If you spot yellow leaves on your tomato plant, simply trim them off, as this will ensure the dying leaves don’t drain sugar and nutrients from the rest of the plant.
Growing Perfect Vegetables the Easy Way
When you commit to growing your own vegetables, you have hopes that they’ll turn out well.
Whether that means a high yield or fresh and delicious tasting vegetables, the only way to achieve it is with a specialized fertilizer made for these types of plants.
With our top picks, you have a great selection of vegetable garden fertilizers to choose from, so you can stop suffering from poor quality plants and crops that never seem to come to fruition.
Think about the goals you have for your veggie garden and let our expert suggestions help you achieve them.