Biting into a juicy piece of melon tastes like summer vacation and a picnic. As the squashes and gourds ripen on the vine, it heralds the arrival of cooler fall days and harvest time.
Pumpkin and melon may be completely different plants, but they have one thing in common. Everyone needs a good dose of nutrients throughout the season. Which is vital to the production of flowers and ultimately delicious melons and squashes. Since no two gardens are the same, I've put together a comprehensive list of the 8 best fertilizers for pumpkins, zucchini, and watermelons. Each brings something unique, but they are all very effective when it comes to producing a big and tasty treat.
table of contents
- Selection of fertilizers for pumpkins, zucchini and watermelons
- 1. Plant Magic 6-5-5 All Purpose Organic Fertilizer
- 2. Miracle-Gro 7-6-9 Bio Performance Pellets
- 3. Miracle-Gro Organics Allzweck 11-3-8
- 4. Lilly Miller All Purpose Food 10-10-10
- 5. JR Peters Jacks Classic Tomato Dinner 12/15/30
- 8. Joyful Dirt 9-1-5 All Purpose Organic Plant Food and Fertilizer
- Fertilize pumpkins and zucchini
- Fertilize watermelons
- final thoughts
Selection of fertilizers for pumpkins, zucchini and watermelons
The interesting thing I discovered on the journey to growing large, nutritious squashes and melons is that they require higher doses of various macronutrients during the growing season.
For example, early squashes and squashes need more nitrogen to form strong roots, leaves, vines, and flowers. Once buds appear, these plants require more phosphorus to produce copious buds. Then, when those buds develop into squash and other types of zucchini, they need more potassium to produce large, healthy fruits.
Watermelons are similar in that they also require a nitrogen-rich feed to begin with. Once flowering occurs, they require equal amounts of phosphorus and potassium for juicy, perfectly formed fruit. This is definitely something to consider when choosing the best feed for your plants.
N-P-K fertilizer ratio
Now that we know what specific nutrients are needed at each stage, where will we find them? The best fertilizer for squash, zucchini, and melons will have higher levels of these different macronutrients, which will be reflected in their NPK.
PRO TIP: Each fertilizer's NPK value is listed as three numbers on the label. These numbers are the N-P-K ratio of this fertilizer, giving its proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. For example: 8-24-16 NPK contains 24% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus and 16% potassium.
Pumpkin to fertilizer ratio
For starters, a 10-5-5 NPK will greatly aid rooting and growth. When buds begin to form, switching to a 5-10-10 NPK and supplementing with some bone meal or rock phosphate will encourage plenty of buds. Finally, once the squashes appear, remove the extra phosphorus and allow the potassium to build the size and shape of the squashes.
Pumpkin to fertilizer ratio
Since pumpkins are a type of squash, the above recommendations can be applied to pumpkins as well. However, many squash varieties do not grow that large. So, a balance of phosphorus and potassium as soon as buds appear would work well. As you will find in some of the options in the list below.
Watermelon Fertilizer Ratio
As previously mentioned, melons have similar needs to smaller squash varieties. They initially prefer more nitrogen. So you would really appreciate a 10-5-5 NPK at this point. Once melons bloom, they also do well with a balance of phosphorus and potassium. However, if you enjoy adding compost to your soil, you can get away with an equivalent compostbalanced NPKlike 10-10-10 for fruits and vegetables.
Granulate vs. liquid fertilizer
Liquids can save water and time, especially if you choose one that's versatile enough to water down the rest of your fruit and veg. Nutrients are immediately transported through the soil to the root system, allowing for immediate uptake. This method is especially beneficial for those living in northern regions with shorter growing seasons. Liquid foods also tend to balance soil pH. However, care must be taken as overfeeding can lead to root burn.
Pellets are a slow-release option. Highly concentrated, they ensure consistent nutrition over several months. In areas with significant rainfall, irrigation is not required to activate them, and they are less likely to seep onto nearby surfaces or into groundwater.
Organic vs. synthetic
Choosing an organic or synthetic fertilizer is simply a matter of preference and what you expect from the end results. A basic understanding of the difference can help you choose a solid fertilizer for your plants.
The organic ones are usually of plant or animal origin and use manure and composted materials. Inorganics are mass-produced from minerals and synthetic chemicals. Organic foods generally contain fewer nutrients, but can nourish squashes and melons for longer. This option can also improve the surrounding soil. Using inorganic feeds can result in larger fruits and vegetables and higher yields. But they can also contaminate nearby water sources.
The 8 best fertilizers for pumpkins, zucchini and watermelons
After careful research, personal experience, and delving into the experiences and feedback of peers and other home growers on many of the best gardening forums and retail sites, I present my picks for the 8 best fertilizers for pumpkins, zucchini, and watermelons. .
First up for early season new plantings is this concentrated organic nitrogen fertilizer from Plant Magic. This all-natural soluble powder has an NPK of 6-5-5 and also contains over 55 trace minerals.
It also contains all the microorganisms your soil might need to function, as well as natural compost. A pretty impressive boast, but one I had to prove myself. Let me tell you, I'm definitely glad I tried it because my pumpkin and melon seedlings came off like bullets.
My young plants not only looked healthy and colorful, but were strong enough to support the weight of the fruit as it grew. And my harvest was also impressive. All of this without being toxic and safe for my family and all our baby animals. This is definitely a product I will return to every year. It's a big achievement for me. Click here to buy Plant Magic Organic All-Purpose Fertilizer here.
How to use:This can be applied (as directed on the label) directly to soil as a slow release additive or diluted with water for immediate absorption. I put it straight into the topsoil because I'm sure my compost is already rich in nutrients, but feel free to mix it with water during normal watering if you want a good hit right away.
Customer rating:Experienced gardeners and first-time home growers report how satisfied they are with getting the same organic results with this product as with the addition of hand-made compost. And the app's versatility makes it easy to use, whichever method you prefer. Give this choice 4.5/stars and our choice for BEST BUY.
- Same results as with hand made compost
- Improves soil while being safe and non-toxic.
- May have an organic odor when applied
This second organic option from Miracle-Gro is one of my top picks based on ease of use and value for money. Approved for use on fruits and vegetables, it has an NPK of 7-6-9 and promises a bumper harvest and results in just 7 days compared to no-fed plants.
Known for its reliability, Miracle-Gro's new organic formula gave me the kind of plant performance I could expect from using an inorganic fertilizer. Luckily, this grainy formula comes with the knowledge that I'm feeding my edible plants something natural and also backed by the Organic Materials Review Institute. Definitely a "must try".Check prices for Miracle-Gro Performance Bio Pellets here.
How to use:The flip-top dispenser makes applying the granules easy and hassle-free. Simply shake and pout around the base of your established plants. You'll need to measure your plot beforehand to make sure you're not over-fertilizing. Water normally and repeat every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
Customer rating:Home growers report stocking their freezers with the bounty of plants produced using this product. Tasty and juicy fruit and vegetables give Performance Organics 4.6/5 stars.
- Vigorous growth and plant vitality with consistent use
- Higher performance with balanced NPK
- Its use as a water-soluble fertilizer is not recommended.
If you prefer a quick-release liquid option, Miracle-Gro offers a water-soluble formula with their Performance Organics range. This fertilizer for pumpkins and many other fruit plants suchMostor peppers, with an NPK value of 11-3-8, it contains more nitrogen than the previous granular formula, but contains all the essential micronutrients to produce the same high-yielding results. The formula just goes to work and delivers results in less time.
I have used a hose attachment to route the fertilizer through my plants but awatering canit's just as effective. The end result is the same as the granule option. Strong, healthy, vibrant plants and plants that look well nourished from first planting to harvest.Click here to view Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Water Soluble.
How to use:I added two level scoops and set the gauge on my hose fitting for a gallon of water. This is gentle enough to be applied once a week during the growing season.
Customer rating:I've found on many forums that growers who are longtime users of Miracle-Gros' flagship plant food were initially reluctant to switch to an organic option. Until they saw the same reliable results they were hoping for. Informing that they will adhere to organic now and in the future. Earned 4.6/5 stars for this quick release option.
- Quick release for immediate nutrient absorption.
- Helps improve nutrient-poor soils.
- May have a slight organic odor.
This Lilly Miller 10-10-10 NPK provides the right amount of phosphorus and potassium for large, nutritious fruit production. This is a great product to use if you're concerned about the size of your squash, zucchini, or melons when they emerge after flowering.
It's an organic fertilizer and versatile enough to use on the flowers in your garden, as well as all other edibles. This is a granular option best used in the second stage of fruit development, giving the option as a slow release food or by mixing with water and adding to your shower for instant effects.
How to use:Work into soil or dilute the recommended amount with water. Then apply every 4-6 weeks after flowering.Click here for Lilly Miller prices on Amazon.com
Customer rating:Gardeners report great success with this product after years of trying to grow in poor soil. A higher yield of juicier, healthier fruit and versatility of use earn Lilly Miller's Plant Food an impressive 4.7/5 stars.
- Can be used as a slow or fast release app
- Increased yield of healthy plants grown on poor soils
- May not contain enough nitrogen for the early stages of plant development
Another water-soluble, high-potassium option comes from Jack's. I'm a supporter of their classic NPK 12-15-30 fertilizer and have been using it on my vine crops, specifically tomatoes and squashes, for the past 3 years.
This special blend of micronutrients works instantly as it is absorbed by the roots and leaves to promote lush, plump, green foliage as plants develop. All of this means goodbye to leggy or lanky growth and hello to a healthy, bounty-yielding harvest.
How to use:This one comes with a scoop and you just need to mix 1 tablespoon with a gallon of water. Then apply to the entire plant. It can easily be combined with regular watering as it needs to be repeated every 7-10 days to ensure you get a steady flow of nutrients.
MeetJack's classic tomatoon Amazon.com
Customer rating:Jack's Classic has become an absolute must for gardeners in areas with a short growing season. Fast-release application means faster uptake and more vigorous growth, just in time for early harvest. 4.8 / 5 stars.
- Water soluble for immediate nutrient absorption.
- Focused on potassium for the formation of large and healthy fruit
- Overuse can cause leaf and root burns.
This granular option from Osmocote is specially formulated to release beneficial nutrients for up to 4 months at a time. This14-14-14 fertilizerIt allows me to feed not only my vegetable garden but also all my flowering plants with slow release and can be used from the first planting to harvest.
Due to the gentle formula, it is even suitable for use in nutrient-rich, well-composted soil. Good news if you want more free time to enjoy other warm-weather activities, knowing your garden is ready to go.
TestOsmocote Smart Releaselast price here
How to use:Work 3 scoops per 4 square feet into the top 1-3 inches of soil, watering regularly. Repeat every 4 months.
Customer rating:Everyone from gardeners and biologists to home gardeners struggling to successfully overwinter their perennials report that they won't use anything other than Osmocote. Ease of use for both crops and garden flowers makes this product very good value for money. 4.7/5 stars.
- Balanced NPK for crops on nutrient-rich soils
- Slow release of nutrients for up to 4 months
- Small pellets may remain after the feed has dissolved in the soil.
Another safe food for well-composted plants is this balanced, non-toxic option from Dr. Earth. In my experience, NPK 4-4-4 is second to none for smooth feeding without the risk of overfeeding. And it continues to provide nutrients for up to two months.
Meetdr AS Earthcurrent price on amazon.com
How to use:In vegetable beds, work at 1 ⅓ cups per 10 square feet of soil. In containers, incorporate 2 tablespoons per 1 gallon of soil. Repeat every two months.
Customer rating:Gardeners like to report that this product is mild enough to add to compost teas for an extra boost. This results in higher than expected crop yields and profuse blooms in flowering annuals and perennials. 4.7/5 stars.
- Gentle enough to be used with natural fertilizers.
- Safe for humans and pets.
- May not be suitable for plants growing in nutrient-poor soils.
Are you a gardener living in a region with a short growing season? Then my last choice might be the right one for you. Due to our long winters, I have to start certain crops indoors while there is still snow on the ground outside.
Using it as a slow release fertilizer in spring allows me to move already vigorous plants and crops outside when the weather warms up. Give them plenty of time to develop into a healthy, high-volume plant. Findhappy dirthere online
How to use:Or work 1/8 teaspoon evenly over soil. Or mix 1 scoop in 1 gallon of water. Then water normally. Repeat once a month.
Customer rating:Avid gardeners who love houseplants and like to plant their garden seeds indoors in early spring trust this option from Joyful Dirt. When used as directed, flowering and non-flowering plants respond very well. 4.5/5 stars.
- Give winter dormant plants a good start to spring
- Versatile enough to use for houseplants too
- May not be suitable for plants growing in nitrogen rich soil.
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Fertilize pumpkins and zucchini
So, as we've seen, there are some great options to meet the specific needs of your squash and zucchini. Let's summarize what they need and when for a bountiful and delicious harvest.
How to fertilize pumpkins and zucchini
Young plants need a hefty dose of nitrogen to form sturdy root systems that will later produce the strong vines and stems needed to support tall squashes. Once blooming, a switch to phosphorus and then potassium results in big, nutritious squashes and zucchini.
When to fertilize pumpkins and zucchini
Fertilizer application is beneficial during the growing season, but the frequency and amount may vary depending on the type of squash you are growing. For example…
Winter and summer squash
Winter squash varieties tend to be more plentiful than the summer variety. How often you feed them depends on the type of fertilizer and the application method you choose.
In giant "show" pumpkins, fertilization begins when the seed is planted. Around early May. When germinating, the 2nd dose is applied. A 3rd dose is applied in early June and repeated every 14 days until harvest.
Just like with squash, watermelon plant food is most beneficial when used consistently throughout the growing season.
How to fertilize watermelons
A higher nitrogen NPK should be applied at planting time through flowering. Then switch to one with higher but equal amounts of phosphorus and potassium until harvest.
When to fertilize watermelons
Your watermelon feeding schedule should match the growth stages of your plants. These vary depending on the climate, growing conditions, and the type of foods you choose.
With a little careful planning, growing pumpkins, zucchini, and watermelons will not only brighten up your summer gardening efforts, but also your holiday picnic table. Add wonderful seasonal memories to your scrapbook.
With so many fertile options on this list of the best pumpkin fertilizers, you're sure to find the perfect feed to suit your climate, soil conditions, and activity level. It will bePlant Magic's natural foodwhich is loaded with macro- and micronutrients and trace elements through the ceiling? Or will it be one of Miracle-Gro's organic formulas?Miracle-Gro organic performance granulesÖMiracle-Gro Performance Organics water soluble. Both will give you healthy plants and bountiful harvests, but do you prefer slow-release pellets or a fast-acting liquid formula?
Whichever ones, I hope my carefully researched list has provided you with useful information and a gateway to success.
Fertilize pumpkins once they begin to flower:
With too little phosphorus in the soil, plants may produce fewer blooms. If you notice this across your entire garden, take note, then fertilize more than just your pumpkins. Chicken manure and bone meal are two great choices for getting more phosphorus to your plants.
Pumpkins and squash have very extensive root systems and respond to thorough soil preparation and the application of 3 to 4 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet. Fertilizer should be broadcast evenly and worked into the top two to three inches of soil prior to seeding.Which fertilizer is best for pumpkin? ›
Best Organic Fertilizer for Pumpkins
Bone meal, the ground-up animal bones produced in slaughterhouses, is rich in phosphorous and calcium, both of which are building blocks for effective fertilizers. Specifically, bone meal helps with root growth, which in turn will produce stronger pumpkin vines and fruits.
An all-purpose food like 10-10-10 is generally sufficient for zucchini plant needs. They contain plenty of nitrogen to facilitate healthy growth as well as necessary potassium and phosphorus to boost fruit production. You may use a water soluble or granule fertilizer.What do you fertilize watermelons with? ›
When fertilizing watermelon plants, use nitrogen based fertilizer at the onset. Once the plant begins flowering, however, switch to feeding the watermelon a phosphorus and potassium based fertilizer. Watermelons require ample potassium and phosphorus for optimal melon production.Should I water pumpkins everyday? ›
Pumpkins need 1 inch of water per week. Water deeply, in the morning and on very hot afternoons, especially during fruit set. Avoid watering foliage and fruit unless it's a sunny day. Dampness invites rot and disease.