Nutrient Recommendations for Vegetable Crops Grown in Michigan: The Structure

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This bulletin presents the framework for the nutrient recommendations for vegetable crops given in the new MSU nutrient recommendation program. A subsequent bulletin will provide more management information to complement basic details of the recommendations for individual crops.

Plant growth is dependent on nutrients (essential elements) taken up from the soil by their roots. Soils in Michigan tend to be naturally low in available nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), three primary nutrients required by crops. Additions of these elements are necessary when the available levels are inadequate to grow good quality yields. Over time available levels of P and K have increased as the result of additions so the amounts required have changed. Analysis of the soil (soil testing) provides an indication of the relative nutrient availability. Through studies conducted in greenhouses and in fields throughout Michigan the amounts of P and K needed relative to the soil test levels have been established for many vegetable crops. Recommendations for other vegetable crops are based on their similarity to crops with established fertility responses.

Darryl D. Warncke
Jon Dahl
Michigan State University