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University of Minnesota Extension

Figuring out nutrients for your lawn and garden

Fruit and flower fertilizer bag with "4-9-3 fertilizer with active microbes" printed on the bag.

Spring is when our thoughts turn to green lawns, emerging flowers and sprouting veggies. So, it's a good time to sort out how to best feed all those plants to make sure we have lush yards and gardens this summer. Extension has a few new resources for anyone considering buying fertilizer or adding compost.

Get expert advice

Extension’s Nutrient Management Podcast usually focuses on Minnesota’s production agriculture crops like corn and soybean. But in this special episode, four experts discuss fertilizing lawns and gardens.

What should you know heading into spring?

  • Why is proper nutrient management for lawns and gardens important? 
  • What should home gardeners know about nutrient management? 
  • What should residents know about fertilizing lawns? 
  • Phosphorus fertilizer use is restricted in the Twin Cities metro area and on lawns in Minnesota. Why is that and has it been effective? 
  • What can gardeners and lawn caretakers do to protect water quality?

Support for the Nutrient Management Podcast is provided by Minnesota's fertilizer tonnage fee through the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC). Learn more at MNsoilfertility.com.

How to choose the right fertilizer 

soil test report

Fertilizing your garden properly means providing enough of the nutrients your plants need without supplying too much. But how do you know which fertilizer is the right one for your specific soil? This new article shows you the steps to finding the right one.  And here's a printable page to take along with you to the garden store.

What's in your compost?

We talk a lot about getting your soil tested to find out what nutrients you may need to add. But did you know you should also test your compost? Our new page, Interpreting your compost report, shows you where you can have your compost tested and how to figure out what to do when the report comes back.

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