The Best Fertilizers for Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruit

Choosing a fertilizer for your vegetables can be a bit confusing if you’re new to gardening, and you may have a lot of questions. What do all those numbers on the front of the bag mean? Will a flower fertilizer work in a vegetable garden?

You’ll soon learn that no two fertilizers are quite alike. This makes sense, as plants are a pretty diverse group with different needs. While some fertilizer formulas can effectively feed all your plants, sometimes having specialized formulas for certain vegetables will give you the best results.


person planting tomato plant summerwinds california

How Should I Fertilize My Vegetable Garden?

There are a few questions you should ask yourself before choosing a fertilizer. Do you want to keep your garden completely organic, or are you open to using synthetic formulas? Are your different vegetables in separate areas or containers, or are they all mixed together in one big garden bed? Would you prefer to use a vegan formula?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about the best fertilizer for your vegetable garden. Where can you get the best fertilizers for vegetables? Well, at SummerWinds, of course! Take a look at some of the available formulas below. They're all highly recommended by the SummerWinds team!

e.b. stone fertilizers summerwinds california

For Leafy Greens

Vegetables like kale, lettuce, and spinach need lots of nitrogen to help them develop their leafy greens. Phosphorus and potassium aren’t as important because these plants aren’t grown for their fruits or edible roots. Nitrogen is the first number listed in a fertilizer’s NPK ratio—the 3 numbers on the front of the packaging. An organic, high nitrogen, organic fertilizer like E.B. Stone Organics Blood Meal is perfect for helping your lettuce greens grow tons of leaves. Don’t use it on your other vegetables, though. You’ll end up with leafy tomato plants and hardly any fruit.

e.b. stone fertilizer for tomatoes vegetable food summerwinds california

For Root Vegetables

Carrots, potatoes, beets, radishes, and other root vegetables need to be able to soak up lots of nutrients from the soil. E.B. Stone Organics All Purpose Plant Food is the best fertilizer for carrots and other tasty root veggies. It’s fortified with beneficial microorganisms and mycorrhizae, which spread rapidly through the soil. These microorganisms and fungi will help turn your plants into nutrient powerhouses that are better equipped to utilize the natural resources around them.

For Tomatoes

Tomatoes are very heavy feeders, and they need plenty of water and fertilizer to keep them producing such high volumes of fruit. To make it simpler for you, we highly recommend E.B. Stone Tomato & Vegetable Fertilizer. It’s the best natural fertilizer for tomatoes! This organic fertilizer can be applied directly into the soil for a steady, continuous release of nutrients.

e.b. stone fertilizer fish emulsion with kelp summerwinds california

For Broccoli, Cauliflower, Corn, and Squash

Large plants with big flowers need a fertilizer that’s packed with the right blend of nutrients. E.B. Stone Organics Fish Emulsion 4-1-1 is an ideal formula for these heavy feeders! Many gardeners insist it’s the best fertilizer for pumpkins. So, if you’re hoping to grow the biggest squashes imaginable, or corn stalks that grow taller than you are, use this organic formula to promote vigorous growth, impressive flowering, and the biggest, juiciest fruits.

For Gardens with Flowers and Vegetables Together

Many flower fertilizers aren’t safe to use on vegetables, so it’s important to find a formula that can be used for both purposes. After all, you’re going to be eating your vegetables, so you want to make sure any products you use are safe! Osmocote Flower & Vegetable Smart Release Plant Food is a fantastic formula that slowly releases nutrients into the soil over time, so you don’t need to apply it as often. This balanced, granulated formula helps develop lush blooms, strong roots, and vibrant green leaves. It is a synthetic blend, so if you want to keep your garden organic, opt for the formula below!

e.b. stone sure start fertilizer products for citrus fruit and berries summerwinds california

For More Delicious Fruit

Fruit and berries are nature’s candy, but it’s much better to have too much fruit than too many sugary treats! We recommend E.B. Stone Organics Citrus & Fruit Tree Food for any of your fruiting plants, from citrus trees to berry shrubs, and even fruiting vines like grapes! The organic formula is formulated to promote healthy foliage and sweeter, more bountiful crops.

hand dispensing granular fertilizer in soil transplanted shrub summerwinds california

For Healthier Transplants

If you’re growing your fruit, herbs, or vegetables from starter plants this year, the quality of your crop depends on the success of the transplanting process. E.B. Stone Organics Sure Start is an all-natural formula that gently supports strong root establishment for even the most tender transplants. The blend also contains humic acids, beneficial microbes, and tons of nutrient-rich ingredients that continue to support strong, healthy growth throughout the season.

Before you start your vegetable garden this spring, it’s a great idea to do a soil test to see if your garden soil needs any help. Over time, nutrients and healthy bacteria will naturally deplete from the soil, and the pH levels may shift, so we need to amend it with the correct formulas. If not, your soil may become a very inhospitable environment for your plants!

If you need a hand in learning how to use a soil kit or determine which soil amendments to buy, give us a call at SummerWinds! Our team can get you set up with all the proper formulas to help your soil become as healthy and nutrient-dense as possible. Great soil makes for amazing plants, so it’s well worth the effort!


About SummerWinds Nursery: SummerWinds Garden Centers is a leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the west. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.