According to Alabama Extension, fertigation has multiple advantages for vegetable producers that should make them implement this process for the upcoming seasons.
The process of applying water and fertilizer through the irrigation system allows growers to apply the optimum amount of nutrients that a crop requires. If growers apply fertilizers via side dressing, there is a risk of leaching because of excessive amounts. Smaller amounts are applied more frequently through fertigation.
There is also the ease of the application process. The irrigation system and injector do all the work required. The farmer only needs to measure the right amount of fertilizer and mix the solution together.
Through fertigation, growers will also use less product and still achieve the desired yields.
Drip tape is mostly used to irrigate vegetables in commercial production. This is usually installed beneath the plastic mulch or on the soil surface. Drip allows water to precisely reach the root zone of the crop. That same precision can be met with water-soluble fertilizers. Producers just need an injector to dispense the amount of concentrated fertilizer solution into the drip irrigation system.
Fertilizer schedules for individual crops –such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, summer squash, small melons, and watermelons– can be found in the Southeastern U.S. Vegetable Crop Handbook.