How To Feed Your Garden

At this time of the year, when the growing season is coming to an end, you may feel that the garden needs replenishing with nutrients.

Created by Martyn Loach on Tuesday, 19th of August, 2014.
Updated on Tuesday, 17th of February, 2015.


Most gardeners will hang on to the spring before applying fertilizers as you don't want them washed away with winter rain. However it is important to understand what nutrients are needed.

Essential Soil Nutrients

The three most important elements required in the greatest quantities are:

Nitrogen - for leaf and shoot growth. This can easily be leeched out of the soil but, if there is too much present, the plant will develop too quickly leading to soft growth.

Phosphorous - for root development. Less is required than Nitrogen but any deficiency leads to stunted growth with the leaves turning blue. 

Potassium - for flowers and fruit. Leaves will yellow around the edge if there's not enough in the soil, the plant will become stunted and both fruit and flowers will be disappointing. 

Other important elements that soils must contain are Magnesium, Calcium and Sulphur. 

Further trace elements are also required but in very small quantities, these include: Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Boron and Molybdenum. All can be found in manure, compost and other organic matter, so deficiencies should be rare. Raspberries are susceptible to lack of iron but treating the soil annually with a seaweed fertilizer should solve any problems.

Make sure that the elements are present in correct proportion as an over supply of one can have an adverse effect on others, magnesium for example will become inactive if there is an overload of potassium.

What Fertilizer Is Best?

If you garden organically, in theory all the goodness that plants require will be obtained from manure and compost. However other fertilizers may be required in certain circumstances.

For example, you may not have access to very much compost or manure, or the soil might be very short of one particular essential nutrient.

General:
Blood, Fish and Bone Meal (apply no more than two weeks in advance of planting or sowing); Liquid Extract of Seaweed (rich in trace elements that might be lacking in fish, blood & bone)

Nitrogen: 
Hoof and Horn (excellent for a boost of nitrogen in the spring); Dried Blood (fast acting, nitrogen rich); Fish Meal (good for nitrogen and phosphorous)

Phospherous and Potassium:
Bone Meal (slow release that encourages root growth); Superphosphate; Wood Ash (contains some potassium and phosphate)

Magnesium:
Seaweed (liquid and meal)

Sulphur:
Calcium Sulphate (Gypsum)

So nutrient rich fertilizers do play a part in organic gardening but they must be compatible with the requirements of plants and the soil. As the late Geoff Hamilton once said,' If you supply nature with the tools of her trade, she will do the rest'.

Related Articles

How To Choose, Plant And Maintain A Fruit Tree

How To Choose, Plant And Maintain A Fruit Tree

Late autumn and winter is the perfect time to plant fruit trees and, whatever sized garden you have, Martyn Loach thinks there's space for a tree if you choose carefully and manage correctly.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Tuesday, 4th of September, 2018.

GardenSite Donates Prize To Grow Your Own Picnic

GardenSite Donates Prize To Grow Your Own Picnic

As part of a project designed to sow ideas, grow inspiration and cultivate futures, 300 London schools are growing their own picnic this summer and their reward could be a £500 voucher from GardenSite.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 25th of May, 2018.

How Can I Make Compost?

How Can I Make Compost?

Composting is an entirely natural way of recycling your garden and kitchen waste, transforming it into a nutrient rich material that your plants will love. Martyn Loach shows how easy and cheap it is to replicate nature and create the ideal conditions in which your flowers and shrubs will thrive.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Friday, 4th of May, 2018.

What To Do In The Garden In May

What To Do In The Garden In May

Although the weather is feeling decidedly chilly for the time of the year, during May the threat of frost will pass and, with spring well under way, David Coton is in no doubt that this is going to be a busy month in the garden.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 30th of April, 2018.

comments powered by Disqus

Author

Martyn Loach

Editor in Chief

View Profile

RSS

View RSS Feed

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

GardenSite Introduce New Kingston Range

GardenSite Introduce New Kingston Range

GardenSite announce the introduction of the Kingston Range, a brand new collection of three multi-purpose lean-to and freestanding carports and a similarly styled contemporary gazebo.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 28th of February, 2019.

What To Do In The Garden In March

What To Do In The Garden In March

The 'Beast From the East' one year, followed by record breaking temperatures the next, no-one can say our weather is predictable but what is foreseeable is that our Garden Centre will be having a huge amount of new stock arriving for spring which officially starts on the 20th March,

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 27th of February, 2018.

Planned TV Gardening Programmes 2019

Planned TV Gardening Programmes 2019

There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, tips and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2019.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 13th of February, 2018.

Which Log Store Should I Buy and Why?

Which Log Store Should I Buy and Why?

Wood burners and open fires that require a good supply of dry, well seasoned wood, have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past few years. Log stores have therefore become increasingly essential and David Coton explains the differences between the many that are now available.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 12th of October, 2018.