How many pounds of nitrogen fertilizer should be added to a 3″ chopped leaf mulch per 100 Sq Ft garden in the fall?
My garden is 1200 sq ft. In the fall I shred leaves to a depth of about 3" over the garden ares. Using a nitrogen (urea type) fertilizer, how many pounds of that nitrogen rich prill should I add per 100 sq ft. Should I add the fertilizer to the barren ground, till the ground, then add the shredded leaves? Or should I mix the fertilizer with the shredded leaves then till the mix into the soil? Thanks for the advice. T Kosto
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The short answer is: 1/4 lb per 100 sq ft of urea 46-0-0 (or 1/2 lb of Ammonium sulfate 21-0-0) will give you a little over 1 lb of actual Nitrogen per 1000 sq ft to aid in rapid breakdown of the organic matter. Spread the fertilizer along with the shredded leaves then till the mix into the soil. That's if you are intending to plant something right away and don't want the decomposition of the organic matter to use available N that the plants need.
If you are not going to plant until spring, then there is no real need to use the high N fertilizer now. Spread the leaf matter as a mulch, or till it into the soil. The slow breakdown of the organic matter will take place in a natural way, without the heavy Nitrogen fix.
The best method to build balanced soil fertility is to have the soil tested and a get a soil analysis for amendments, based on actual deficiencies found. Apply the recommended amendments along with the leaf matter.
The next best way is to incorporate the leaf matter now and before planting in spring apply a general purpose, complete fertilizer.