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Plant Nutrients + Fertilizers

Proper use of fertilizers and nutrients is essential in the tough Colorado climate. Fertilizers are used to properly condition the soil for planting. Once plants are established, nutrients are added to bolster plants defense against diseases and pests and bolster growing. Our Grow Your Own gardeners are high altitude growing experts can help you assess your fertilizer needs. Our garden center has a full complement of both conventional and organic products.

Reading the Label

Plants require three basic nutrients to keep them alive and healthy. Nitrogen (N): promotes leaf growth and greenness in the leaves. Phosphate (P) + Potassium (K): promote flowering and fruiting.

To make sure you are giving your plants the proper nutrition they need make sure to pick the right product based on its nitrogen, potassium and phosphate levels. Every bag of fertilizer will have 3 numbers on the packaging indicating the levels of nutrients that looks like this: 5-10-12. The first number is Nitrogen. The second number is Phosphate. The third number is Potassium. Read more about how to read a fertlizer label: Reading & Understanding Fertilizer Labels (PDF)

Conventional Nutrients & Fertilizers

Chemical fertilizers and nutrients are the most effective and cost effective way to ensure that you have a successful garden. We have a variety of products available for an abundant harvest. Most contain combinations of phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium and our garden center associates can assist you finding the best combination for your particular location and garden type. Garden chemicals can be extremely effective when used correctly but can be dangerous if mishandled and we would be happy to counsel you on proper and safe usage.

Compost Teas

Use of compost teas vs. regular solid compost can be greatly beneficial in many growing situations. Making your own tea isn’t nearly as complicated (or gross!) as it might seem. Unlike solid compost, teas can be sprayed directly onto plants or allowed to seep into the soil. Our organic gardeners would be happy to give you some quick tips on making your own tea and show you how it would be beneficial for your vegetable garden, flower box or even the lawn!


Effective use of compost is an economical and environmentally friendly way of working in concert with fertilizers and nutrients to grow hardier vegetables, longer blooming flowers, and generally improve soil quality of all types. You may be sending beneficial items to the landfill instead of using them to improve soil and water retention. We can help you put together your own composting area and assist you in coming up with a schedule for use.

Organic Nutrients & Fertilizers

Our Garden Store has a variety of environmentally friendly, organic fertilizers and nutrients. Taking a more natural approach to achieving soil health and balance can have longer lasting effects than going the quicker, chemical route. The Grow Your Own experts can teach you how to use organic methods effectively and efficiently to reduce erosion, add soil nutrients and improve water retention capacity, which is so important in the arid Colorado climate.

Beneficial Bacterias

Hydroponic gardeners are well aware of the advantages of beneficial bacteria but they can be useful in traditional gardens as well. Just as beneficial bacteria is used in hydroponic gardens to correct atmospheric nitrogen, it can be used in soil to return nutrients to soil as well as aid in decomposing organic wastes.

Plant Hormones

Just like in people, plant hormones control growth processes. Proper use of hormones aids in healthy root development. They can also increase vegetable and bloom size.

Which soil nutrients does your garden need?

Overall, plants need 16 specific elements, or nutrients, for proper growth. When enough of each nutrient is present in soil, plants grow optimally. If even one element is in short supply, plants can't grow as well. Think of the weakest-link theory, which says that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Your soil is only as fertile as its most deficient nutrient.

  1. Nutrients for photosynthesis: The nutrients that plants need in the largest quantities are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which plants use for photosynthesis.
  2. Mineral nutrients: Plants generally get mineral nutrients from the soil or from applied fertilizers. Mineral nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (the familiar N-P-K on fertilizer bags), as well as numerous others. When gardeners talk about feeding plants, they're talking about providing them with extra mineral nutrients.

The mineral nutrients needed in the largest quantities are called macronutrients and consist of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. In addition, plants need smaller amounts of so-called micronutrients. The eight micronutrients considered essential for plant growth are iron, manganese, boron, copper, zinc, molybdenum, chlorine, and nickel, all of which occur in very small quantities in most soils. These micronutrients, and other substances found in low concentrations in soils, are sometimes called trace elements. Scientists studying plant nutrition may discover additional micronutrients among the many trace elements in soils.

Plants may take up trace elements that they don't need, but that we humans do. The trace elements iodine, fluorine, selenium, cobalt, arsenic, lithium, chromium, silicon, tin, and vanadium, for example, are considered to be essential for animals and humans but not for plants. Brazil nuts usually contain large amounts of selenium, which has no known nutritional value to plants but which is an important antioxidant for human health. The level of selenium in plants varies due to the selenium content in the soil. Because they are derived from natural sources, many organic fertilizers contain an abundance of trace elements, including important plant micronutrients. Synthetic fertilizers, on the other hand, often contain just nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, so they don't replenish or enhance the other nutrients and trace elements.

Researchers still have much to discover about soil and the interplay among minerals, organic matter, soil life, and plant health, so it makes sense to choose fertilizers and other soil additives that supply a broad range of nutrients. What's certain is that plant and human health depends on healthy soil.

They are several nutrients to choose from (some producers have both an organic and a conventional line):

Natural /organic: General Organics, Age Old Organics, Roots Organics, Nature's Nectar, Technaflora, Alaska, BioAg, Hydro Organics,

Conventional: Advanced Nutrients, Green Planet, General Hydroponics, Fox Farm, Dyna-Gro, Botanicare, Ionic, SNS, Cyco, Atami, Xtreme Gardening, Humboldt Nutrients, Humboldt County's Own, Dutch Master, Bill's Perfect Fertilizer, BioBizz, Technaflora, Cutting Edge, Progress Earth, American Hydroponics, Beneficial Biologies, CES, Espoma, GreenGro, Grotek, GrowMore, Guano Company, Hydrodynamics, Hygrozyme, NFG, Nutrilife, Super Nutrients, SuperTHRIVE, and Vermicrop

Special Request Form

We are delighted to take orders for special request items. Just let us know what you're looking for and we'll track it down and contact you with more information on price and availability.

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