feeding your plants with fertilisers
Plant feeding, particularly for big producers - those plants with flowers, fruit or large leaves, is an important job which cannot be ignored.
Feeding your plants will result in stronger, healthier specimens which will prove lower maintenance in the future, crucially making them more disease resistant. Understanding how fertilisers work and when to apply them will make choosing the correct product easy.
| Feeding plants is required due to the unnatural state in which we keep the plants in our gardens.|
In nature, important minerals such as Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K) amongst others are absorbed through the roots during the natural cycle of death and decay from rotting plant matter.
As gardeners we tend to keep the garden free of rotting plant matter in our beds, and so rob the plants of these vital chemicals.
Powder or liquid fertiliser from garden irrigation or sprinklers
Fertiliser can be added in a variety of ways. Powdered fertiliser is easy to apply although you must be cautious when adding to tender young plants as their foliage can be damaged by the concentrated chemicals, and do not apply in wet weather when the powder will stick to the wet leaves.
Liquid fertiliser avoids this possibility, and can even be applied using your irrigation or garden sprinkler system. However, the principles of applying in the early morning or late evening as per watering plants must not be forgotten.
| Organic matter such as well rotted manure, garden compost or mushroom compost can be applied in much larger quantities than fertiliser.|
When added to the soil this also improves drainage in clay soil, or improves moisture retention in a sandy soil.
The product label on any fertiliser will inform you of the levels of minerals included in the product, whether it is organic or manufactured.
nitrogen, phosphorus & potassium in garden fertilisers Nitrogen (N) helps to promote strong stems and healthy leaves, Phosphorus (P) helps roots to grow and buds to form and Potassium (K) helps plants resist disease, and improves flowering and fruit.
An example rose fertiliser 5-3-8 would contain 5 N, 3 P and 8 K. So for a general guide;
general fertiliser 7-7-7
root vegetable fertiliser 5-10-5
rose fertiliser 5-3-8
tomato fertiliser 4-4-6