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

What To Do In The Garden In January

What To Do In The Garden In January

Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is dull and overcast, David Coton suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 29th of December, 2017.

Halls Greenhouses Re-launch With New Branding And Products

Halls Greenhouses Re-launch With New Branding And Products

The Halls range of highly popular greenhouses has featured on GardenSite for many years, and for the 2019 season the UK's leading greenhouse manufacturer will have a new corporate image and a revolutionary new product – the Qube.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 10th of December, 2018.

Review of Halls Qube Greenhouses

Review of Halls Qube Greenhouses

Robert Hall reviews the new Halls Qube Greenhouse, stating that; this is a major evolutionary step in greenhouse design. Read his full review of the new range here.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Thursday, 29th of November, 2018.

GardenSite Supports Successful Boldmere Community Festival

GardenSite Supports Successful Boldmere Community Festival

GardenSite were once again pleased to support the Boldmere Community Festival which took place on 18 November, with the Christmas Lights switched on by Alan Gardner, well known for his appearances as TV's Autistic Gardener.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 23rd of November, 2018.