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Most Frequently Asked Questions

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Just scroll down and click on any of the white bars to open up that section and learn more about gardening and FoxFarm products.

 

General Questions

What does NPK mean? What other nutrients are in your fertilizers?
NPK is a rating system that describes the amount of nitrogen (N), available phosphorus (P₂O₅), and soluble potassium (K₂O) in a fertilizer. The NPK nutrient values are expressed as a percentage of the total weight of the product in the package. As an example, our Happy Frog® Tomato & Vegetable fertilizer has an NPK of 7-4-5.

Nitrogen (N), represented by the first number, is responsible for leafy, green growth and is most important in a plant’s early growth stages. Some plants, like tomatoes, are heavy nitrogen feeders and will quickly deplete the soil of nitrogen if more is not added.

Phosphorus (P), represented by the second number, supports root development, fruiting and flowering. It helps plants transfer energy from one part of the plant to another.

Potassium (K), represented by the third number, helps build strong cellular walls, enabling plants to better fight off disease. It also helps plants withstand extreme weather conditions and plays a role in the synthesis of proteins and starches.

The NPK of organic fertilizers tend to be lower, but that does not make them any less powerful. There’s more to a good fertilizer than the NPK. The organic, biologically active nutrients we use in our organic products have a “functional value” that can’t be measured in a test tube.

Our fertilizers may also include micronutrients such as calcium and magnesium, trace minerals, and beneficial microbes that meet specific plant needs.

What is pH and what is the ideal pH for my vegetables and flowers?
pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a soil, growing media or nutrient solution. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, a pH above 7 is alkaline, and a pH below 7 is considered acidic. Some plants thrive in an acid or alkaline environment, but many common garden plants prefer a near neutral pH. If a plant is in an environment that is too acid or too alkaline for its particular needs, it will be unable to access the nutrients in the soil, growing media or nutrient solution, regardless of the amount of fertilizer you use.

You can buy a simple home test kit to measure the pH of your soil, growing media or nutrient solution, and then you can adjust the pH accordingly. Acid soils can be neutralized with calcium or agricultural lime, and alkaline soils can be corrected with sulfur or with regular applications of mulch or aged manure. It is important to make these adjustments gradually to avoid shocking plants, and in general we encourage you to choose plants that naturally do well with your soil type. The nutrient solution in your hydroponic system can be adjusted with a pH up or down solution.

Our fertilizers and soils are pH-adjusted to meet the needs of your plants. For instance, our Happy Frog® Fertilizer for acid loving plants like rhododendrons and azaleas is pH-adjusted for flowering shrubs that prefer an acidic environment. In general, hydroponic systems work well at a pH of 5.8 – 6.0, and soils and growing media will support a wide variety of plants with a pH of 6.6 – 6.8.

Why do you include earthworm castings, bat guano, and humic acid in so many of your products?
When we get enthusiastic about a particular ingredient, we can get a little carried away. That’s why you’ll find three of our favorite ingredients – earthworm castings, bat guano, and humic acid – in so many of our products.

Earthworm castings are teeming with beneficial microbes that help plants thrive. Scientists have tried to reproduce the nutrients found in worm castings in a laboratory, but they’ve been unable to create a formula that feeds plants as well as that rich, coffee colored worm poop does.

Bat guano has been known since ancient times to be a highly beneficial fertilizer that has a powerful affect on all kinds of plants, making it the perfect ingredient for our fertilizers and soils.

Humic acid is a natural by-product of organic decomposition. It contains trace amounts of nutrients and it helps hold other nutrients in the soil where plants can use them. It can hold water in the soil, and generally improve soil structure for better seed germination and plant growth.

What’s the deal with mycorrhizae? How do you tell an endo from and ecto? What’s a bacillus?
If you look at the ingredient listing on our products, you’ll see that we often put a powerful squadron of beneficial microorganisms in the mix. What’s all the fuss about microorganisms? Read on:
Mycorrhizae is a word that describes a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and the roots of a plant. Mycorrhizal fungi attach to plant roots and deliver water and nutrients to them. Tiny strands, called hyphae, can stretch long distances in the soil in search of the nutrients a plant needs. Mycorrhizae promotes root development, nutrient uptake and water absorption.

Our microbial package includes endomycorrhizae, which form on the insides of plant roots, and ectomycorrhizae, which attach to the outside of plant roots. Under the microscope, mycorrhizal fungi colonies form nodes that look like little rice crispies attached to the roots.

You can also find beneficial bacteria in our microbial package. Bacillus refers to one of many genera of bacteria that are helpful in growing environments. Beneficial bacteria break down fertilizers in the soil into a form plants can use.

Can I mix dry and wet fertilizers together?
You can use our dry mix and liquid fertilizers in combination with each other. However, we suggest that you mix dry fertilizers into the soil according to package directions, water well, and wait a few days before applying a liquid fertilizer.

Can I mix FoxFarm fertilizers with products from other companies?
Using FoxFarm fertilizers with products made by other companies could result in burning or nutrient lockout. For best results we recommend that you Keep the Family Together™. Our products are designed to work together and complement one another, and our research and development team has created feeding schedules for a variety of growing environments. These feeding schedules will give you clear instructions about how and when to use FoxFarm fertilizers together for outstanding results.

Is it possible to burn plants with FoxFarm fertilizers?
Not all fertilizers are created equal. Many FoxFarm products contain a combination of natural and synthetic fertilizing ingredients, while others are all natural or completely synthetic. The best way to avoid burning your plants it is to use each fertilizer as directed. If you plan to use a variety of FoxFarm fertilizers together, please reference our feeding schedules for detailed instructions.

A helpful hint when feeding: always make sure that you water first so that the soil is moist, then fertilize.

Does FoxFarm offer any organic products?
Yes! Our Big Bloom®, Kelp Me Kelp You®, and Wholly Mackerel® products have all been registered as Organic Input Materials with the California Department of Agriculture in accordance with the guidelines of the National Organic Program.

Why use synthetic ingredients?
A synthesized or mineral fertilizer can offer just the right support when your plants need it the most. Think of the last time you took vitamin C for a cold. A synthetic fertilizer can offer the same targeted benefit, and it’s fast-acting, too. Tiger Bloom®, Grow Big®, American Pride®, and Marine Cuisine® are examples of FoxFarm products that include synthetic ingredients.

Some fertilizers are naturally-occurring minerals that have been treated to make them easier for plants to use. Others may be manufactured in a laboratory. Examples include ammonium sulfate, potassium chloride, and iron sucrate. Each of these are specific nutrients is designed to address a plant’s individual needs.

When it comes to synthetic fertilizers, quality matters. FoxFarm chooses only the finest ingredients for its family of fertilizers that deliver optimal nutrition for each stage of a plant’s growth. We will never use cheap fillers or low-grade industrial chemicals in our products.

Do my plants know the difference between natural and synthetic fertilizers?
Some people say that plants cannot tell the difference between natural and synthetic fertilizers, but the soil can. Remember, soil is alive. It’s teeming with microbes, decaying leaves, and tiny insects—all the very life that make plants grow. Natural and organic fertilizers add food to that rich mix. On the other hand, a synthetic mineral fertilizer can give your garden a boost in the same way that a concentrated multivitamin can give you the extra nutrition you need. What matters most is that everything you feed your garden must be carefully balanced to deliver the nutrition plants need while avoiding the buildup of salts and other toxins.

What’s the big deal about salt?
Think about the last time you walked through a forest. It was probably cool and damp, no matter what the weather was like when you left the house. That’s because trees and other plants are giant water pumps. Water moves in through the roots, travels through the stems and leaves, and gets released into the air through a remarkable process known as transpiration. A single maple tree can transpire up to 58 gallons of water per hour. Even an ordinary tomato plant transpires 30 gallons during a growing season.

Water is critical to a plant’s well-being. Too much salt in the soil is known to inhibit what we call a plant’s “osmotic potential”—its ability to take up water. Just as salty food can make a person thirsty, salty soil can dehydrate a plant. Cheap, poor-quality synthetic fertilizers can create salt build-up in the soil that will cause your garden more harm than good.

I’m worried about using lawn chemicals where my children and pets play. Is it possible to maintain a natural lawn?
Absolutely! In fact, it’s easier and more affordable than a chemical lawn program, not to mention better for the environment and for your family. Just follow these easy tips:
• Use Happy Frog® Premium Lawn according to package directions. For large lawns and repeat applications, it’s available in a convenient 18-pound bag.
• Set the blade on your lawn mower a little higher. This helps the grass develop a deeper, robust root system, and it conserves water.
• Leave grass clippings on the lawn to decompose. They’re a great source of nitrogen, the nutrient that supports abundant green growth.
• Aerate the soil in fall to break up thatch. Garden centers sell special tools or spiked sandals for aeration.
Rake Happy Frog® Soil Conditioner into your lawn once in spring and once in fall, and water well. This will add beneficial organic matter to the soil and keep your lawn looking healthy.

Can I mix your liquid and soluble fertilizers with other manufacturer’s products?
Using FoxFarm fertilizers with products made by other companies could result in burning or nutrient lockout. For best results we recommend that you Keep the Family TogetherTM. Our products are designed to work together and complement one another, so our research and development team has created feeding schedules for a variety of growing environments. These feeding schedules will give you clear instructions about how and when to use FoxFarm fertilizers together for outstanding results.

Should I follow the directions on the bottle or the feeding schedule?
The directions on the bottle are designed for stand-alone use. If you’re new to our products and want to experiment, the directions on the bottle are fine. We have also developed FoxFarm feeding schedules with more precise details for maximum yields. Try one of our feeding schedules for an entire grow cycle and you’ll see extraordinary results.

What do I do if my grow cycle is longer than your feeding schedule?
Continue to use the feeding directions for Week 12 until harvest.

Can I use your feeding schedules for my outdoor plants?
Our feeding schedules are designed for use in a controlled indoor environment to achieve optimal results. Because outdoor environments are highly variable and uncontrollable, it is inappropriate to use our feeding schedule as is. Many factors, including weather, sunlight, water, drainage, and the quality of your soil will impact growth and the success of the feeding schedule plan. You should always adjust fertilization according to plant response.

Can I purchase FoxFarm products directly from you?
Unfortunately we do not sell direct at this time. If you are an end-use customer, please refer to our Dealer Locator to find a store near you that carries FoxFarm products. If you are interested in selling FoxFarm products in your store, please call us at (800) 4FOXFARM, and we will refer you to a distributor of FoxFarm products.

Hydroponics

Will Big Bloom® clog the pump in my hydroponic system?
Big Bloom® will not clog pumps. Just be sure you shake it well before using, and remember that it needs to be filtered for aeroponic systems.

Using Big Bloom® and Tiger Bloom® forms a white, salty build up on my rock and rockwool. Should I flush my system?
This residue can be caused by minerals in your community water supply, pH adjustment agents, micronutrient fallout, or organic sources of phosphorous. This material may not burn your plants, but it can stress them and tie up nutrients. We recommend that you change your reservoir every two weeks and flush the system with clean water.

Why do I have to adjust my pH so often with Grow Big® and Tiger Bloom®?
Both our Grow Big® and our Tiger Bloom® formulas include a concentrated micronutrient package that is low in pH. The advantage to this is that a low pH enables micronutrients to remain stable without any nutrient fallout. FoxFarm fertilizers are extra-strength, and plants can absorb them easily, but this can cause pH swings. Regular pH adjustments are recommended especially in early growth stages. As the plant ages, you’ll notice that the pH will eventually stabilize.

Will I get a chemical taste from the minerals in Grow Big® and Tiger Bloom®?
Absolutely not. Both formulas are made with high-quality fertilizers and micronutrients. You’ll never have to sacrifice flavor when you use FoxFarm products.

Why do you have Grow Big® in your feeding schedule when my plants are in the flowering cycle?
Grow Big® actually helps makes bigger fruit and flowers with sturdier plant structure, so it’s not just for early growth stages. It will strengthen the plant’s cellular walls, making it less susceptible to disease. By delivering some additional nitrogen through early and midterm flower development, you’ll see that Grow Big® helps maintain hardy foliage without lanky stretching. When combined with Big Bloom® and Tiger Bloom®, Grow Big® will invigorate the root system and increase nutrient uptake.

Do I need to leach my hydro system when I use FoxFarm fertilizers?
Yes. A regular leaching schedule will reduce the risk of mineral salt build-up. As a result your fertilizers will be made more available, allowing your plants to reach their full potential. In general, organic nutrients contain little or no mineral salts and don’t require frequent leaching. However, we recommend leaching the system every two weeks to ensure clean operating conditions.

How often should I change my reservoir when I use FoxFarm fertilizers?
We recommend changing your reservoir every two weeks regardless of your feeding schedule. This will help reduce disease-causing pathogens and keep your system clean.

Do I need to use chlorine free water when I use your products?
No. Chlorinated community water does not adversely affect FoxFarm fertilizers. However, if you expose chlorinated water to the air for several hours, the chlorine will start to volatize and dissipate. If you’re concerned about the chlorine content in your water and you’re unable to obtain distilled water, this is a good alternative.

Soils & Soil Conditioners

Why do I occasionally see fungi in my soil?
This is a natural process that can occur in our bark-based growing mediums. Within a few days of planting you may begin to notice a brownish-yellow fungus that appears on the surface of your mix. You may also notice a small amount of green fungus that forms around the ventilation holes of your soil bags.

These fungi are naturally occurring microbes that can be found on certain types of wood product. Bark is aged and composted for long periods of time before final screening and use in our mixes. The natural aging process of the bark occurs during composting and is facilitated by the microbes naturally found in our environment. Once the bark is blended into our soil mixes and bagged, all it takes is the right level of moisture combined with a few warm, sunny days, and these soil microbes will grow and produce mycelium, which look like small white strands. This is the vegetative stage of the fungus which is followed by the fruiting stage, presenting itself as the brownish-yellow or green colored fungus people typically observe.

These fungi will not harm your plants in any way. The presence of beneficial microorganisms is a sign that a growing environment is fertile and teeming with life. This is why we never steam sterilize our soil- we wouldn’t want to ruin a good thing.

Are your soils sterilized?
No, we don’t sterilize our soils because that would kill the beneficial microbes that help make nutrients available to plants. Your soil should be alive, not sterile!

When do I need to add fertilizer to your soils?
Most of our soils are nutrient-rich blends that won’t require any fertilizer at first. However, you may find it easier to blend dry-mix fertilizers like Happy Frog®, American Pride® or Marine Cuisine® into the soil when you prepare your garden or containers for planting. If you’re using liquid fertilizers, start feeding in the second week according to package directions. Always adjust fertilizer rate according to plant responses.

What is the difference between a potting soil and a planting mix/soil conditioner?
Potting soils are formulated using specific ingredients that meet the needs of container gardeners. The perlite in FoxFarm potting soils creates air spaces in the soil that facilitate drainage, while peat moss retains moisture in a container environment, enabling you to water less often. Planting mixes and soil conditioners are designed for raised beds and in-ground plantings. These products break up compacted soils and work well as a mulch top-dressing. All FoxFarm soils are pH adjusted to 6.3 to 6.8 and are nutrient rich.

Can I use potting soil products for my in-ground plantings?
Potting soil is designed to be the most beneficial to plants when used exclusively in containers. The perlite in FoxFarm potting soils creates air spaces in the soil that facilitate drainage, while peat moss retains moisture in a container environment, enabling you to water less often. It would be best to use a planting mix or soil conditioner for in-ground plantings. While potting soils will not harm your in-ground planting environment, most people tend to prefer the look and benefits of a soil conditioner. Soil conditioners break up compacted soils and work well as a mulch top-dressing.

Can I mix native soil with potting soil for my containers?
Using native soil in container plantings may introduce disease-causing pathogens or pests into your container garden. However, if you do add native soil to containers, mix two parts FoxFarm potting soil to one part native soil.

Can I use planting mixes and/or soil conditioners in containers?
You could, but we do not recommend it. Potting soils are formulated using specific ingredients that meet the needs of container gardeners. The perlite in FoxFarm potting soils creates air spaces in the soil that facilitate drainage, while peat moss retains moisture in a container environment, enabling you to water less often.

When would I use Light Warrior® instead of a potting soil?
Light Warrior® is a soilless medium designed for starting seeds. It is very lightweight and holds water well, which makes it perfect for germination. Be sure to thoroughly dampen Light Warrior® before adding seeds to make sure the water is absorbed. Once seeds germinate, use a continuous feeding program for seedling stage through harvest. For best results, see our feeding schedules. Use a potting soil instead of Light Warrior® when you are potting up seedlings to a larger container or taking divisions or cuttings that will grow indoors in containers until they are ready to be transplanted into the garden.

What is the difference between Ocean Forest Potting Soil and Happy Frog Potting Soil?
Both Ocean Forest and Happy Frog Potting Soils are packed with earthworm castings, bat guano, peat moss and aged forest products, and provide an ideal environment for container gardens. There are a few distinct differences between these two products. Ocean Forest is a premium mix that contains ocean-going ingredients such as kelp, crab meal and shrimp meal. Happy Frog Potting Soil is an economical alternative that includes humic acid and beneficial microbes.

Can I use Grow Big Hydro in soil?
Yes. Grow Big Hydro is a water soluble nutrient designed for use in Hydroponic systems. It can also be used in soil applications, as well. When using Grow Big Hydro in soil, we suggest mixing at 1.5 times the recommended rate.

Happy Frog® Fertilizers

Can I burn plants with Happy Frog® fertilizers?
There’s very little risk of burning plants with our Happy Frog® fertilizers. That being said, we suggest that you follow package directions for best results. Using more fertilizer will not necessarily make a plant grow better! Many other factors, including weather, sunlight, water, drainage, and the quality of your soil will impact plant growth.

How often should I fertilize with Happy Frog®?
Most garden plants do best with a monthly feeding schedule that includes some time off during the dormant season. However, each plant is different, so be sure to follow package directions and plant response.

How many cups are in a Happy Frog® package so that I can figure out how many packages I need?
On average, there are 11 cups of fertilizer in each of the four-pound Happy Frog® packages. This measurement varies slightly from product to product, because each Happy Frog® variety has a slightly different volume. Some of our Happy Frog® products also come in convenient 18-pound bags for large gardens and landscapes. On average, there are 49 cups in these 18-pound packages.

Should I be concerned if I notice fungi or mold growing on top of my soil after I apply Happy Frog® fertilizers?
Not at all! This is a normal condition. If fact, the fungi and mold are expected to occur and necessary to deliver nutrients to your plants. However, you can reduce the appearance of surface fungi by mixing Happy Frog® into the top few inches of the soil surface and watering thoroughly.

My animal got into a package of Happy Frog®. What should I do?
Bad dog! Happy Frog® makes a great snack for your garden, but Fido should stay out of it. As a precaution, please call a licensed veterinarian. Please store all fertilizer products out of the reach of pets. Some of the ingredients in Happy Frog® fertilizers are animal based, so they smell amazing to your animal friends. When using fertilizers, thoroughly mix into the soil and water well to minimize pet interest.

Time Release Fertilizers

Do you offer any time-release fertilizers?
Yes. American Pride® and Marine Cuisine® are both time-release fertilizers that also contain natural ingredients. Competitor’s time-release products that are of a lower quality contribute to a build-up of salt in the soil, which makes it hard for plants to absorb nutrients and can actually cause a plant to starve. We use low-salt ingredients that help plants reach their full potential. American Pride® is great for roses, flowering trees and shrubs. Marine Cuisine® is ideal for evergreens, acid-loving plants and vegetables.

Why did my plants burn the last time I used American Pride® and/or Marine Cuisine®?
Remember that while American Pride® and Marine Cuisine® include some natural ingredients, they are not entirely natural. If you use too much, you can burn your plants. With these extra strength, time-release fertilizers, less is more. Don’t forget that a powerful, six-month plant food needs to be used as directed. These fertilizers are meant to be mixed into the soil. Be careful not to allow the product to come into contact with the plant leaves or stems. Pull excess fertilizer away from base of plant, and make sure that you water thoroughly.

Liquid Fertilizers

Is Big Bloom® only for making flowers bloom?
Big Bloom® works magic in the flower garden, but that’s not all it’s good for. The organic ingredients found in Big Bloom® have a powerful effect on plants that cannot be recreated in a test tube. Big Bloom® contains earthworm castings and bat guano that have been solubilized so they are immediately available to plants during all stages of growth. The Norwegian kelp in Big Bloom® improves nutrient uptake and increases yields, and rock phosphate helps transfer energy from one part of the plant to another. The end result is vibrant blooms, extraordinary fragrance and fabulous flavor.

Why is the NPK so low on Big Bloom®?
Big Bloom® is not a mineral salt fertilizer. It’s entirely organic. The nutrients we use in our organic products have a functional value that can’t be measured in a test tube. These ingredients don’t often register high NPK numbers; however, they do have a profound affect on plant life.

How do I mix FoxFarm fertilizers together?
When you mix FoxFarm fertilizers together, do not combine them in their undiluted form. Begin with a gallon of fresh water. Add each fertilizer product to the gallon of water in the recommended dose. There is no need to use a gallon of water for each kind of fertilizer. Adding the fertilizers individually to the same gallon of water poses no risk.

Anytime you use FoxFarm fertilizers together you should reference the FoxFarm Feeding Schedule to avoid over fertilization and burning.

Will Big Bloom® clog the pump in my hydroponic system?
Big Bloom® will not clog pumps. Just be sure you shake it well before using, and remember that it needs to be filtered for aeroponic systems.

Why do I have to adjust my pH so often with Grow Big® and Tiger Bloom®?
Both our Grow Big® and our Tiger Bloom® formulas include a concentrated micronutrient package that is low in pH, which enables micronutrients to remain stable without any nutrient fallout. FoxFarm fertilizers are extra-strength, and plants can absorb them easily, but this can cause pH swings. Regular pH adjustments are recommended, especially in early growth stages. As the plant ages, you’ll notice that the pH will eventually stabilize.

Will I get a chemical taste from the minerals in Grow Big® and Tiger Bloom®?
Absolutely not. Both formulas are made with high-quality fertilizers and micronutrients. You’ll never have to sacrifice flavor when you use FoxFarm products.

Why do you have Grow Big® in your feeding schedule when my plants are in the flowering cycle?
Grow Big® actually helps makes bigger fruit and flowers with sturdier plant structure, so it’s not just for early growth stages. It will strengthen the plant’s cellular walls, making it less susceptible to disease. By delivering some additional nitrogen through early and midterm flower development, you’ll see that Grow Big® helps maintain hardy foliage without lanky stretching. When combined with Big Bloom® and Tiger Bloom®, Grow Big® will invigorate the root system and increase nutrient uptake.

Soluble Granular Fertilizers

How do I mix the soluble fertilizers together, like Cha Ching®, Open Sesame®, and Beastie Bloomz®?
These products are not intended to be used at the same time. They are developed for different stages of the flowering process. Please refer to our FoxFarm Feeding Schedules for more detailed instructions.

Pest Control

Is Don’t Bug Me® organic?
Don’t Bug Me® contains pyrethrum, which is derived from chrysanthemum flowers. It is environmentally friendly, but because Don’t Bug Me® contains a synergist called piperonyl butoxide it is not classified as an organic pesticide. Even the most gentle of products need to be used with care. Please follow package directions carefully when applying Don’t Bug Me®, and remember that encouraging beneficial insects and tolerating a little bug damage will make your garden healthier in the long run. Garden Tip: plants that produce clusters of small flowers, like alyssum, yarrow, and feverfew, will attract beneficial insects that attack pests.

Will Don’t Bug Me® kill spider mites and their eggs?
Don’t Bug Me® will kill spider mites when the spray contacts the insect. Egg capsules can be damaged by the Don’t Bug Me® spray; however, it will not destroy them. Spray immediately when you see an initial infestation. Repeat in four to five days, and maintain a weekly application in greenhouse environments.

Should I use a wetting agent with the Force of Nature® concentrates?
Use of a wetting agent such as BushDoctor Sledgehammer when applying some Force of Nature concentrates may increase efficacy. As always, refer to label instructions when using pesticide products.

 

Retail Locations

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