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

What To Do In The Garden In October

What To Do In The Garden In October

In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 2nd of October, 2017.

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

What To Do In The Garden in June

What To Do In The Garden in June

At this time of the year you'll find a fabulous selection of summer bedding at our Garden Centre in Birmingham. David Coton will be planting the bedding in containers this month to achieve a wonderful display of colour and here are some other jobs to do in the garden in June.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Wednesday, 17th of May, 2017.

How To Create A Herb Garden

How To Create A Herb Garden

Interest in growing herbs has increased sharply over the last few years, many are used in cooking and others have valuable medicinal qualities. Nathan James Dodd gives you advice on what herbs to choose and how to grow them.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Wednesday, 11th of May, 2016.

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 April

What To Do In The Garden In April

With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 29th of March, 2018.

How Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

How Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Thursday, 22nd of March, 2018.

Trimetals Launch Two New Guardian Sheds

Trimetals Launch Two New Guardian Sheds

As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Monday, 12th of March, 2018.

GardenSite Visit Zest 4 Leisure Direct New Distribution Centre

GardenSite Visit Zest 4 Leisure Direct New Distribution Centre

Zest 4 Leisure manufactures a large variety of timber garden furniture, fencing and leisure products, David Coton visited their brand new nine acre site near Chester last week to find out more about current development and future plans.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 9th of March, 2018.