The correct use of fertilizer

It is important to ensure that sufficient nutrients are available to young plants. If composts are correctly formulated they should contain an adequate amount. However, seedlings, for example, are germinated in a compost containing only phosphate; as soon as they begin to show green leaves they will benefit from feeding with nitrogen and potash to encourage growth.

Although it is possible for the gardener to make up his own soluble feed it is far simpler and much more reliable to use one of the several proprietary brands of liquid feeds that are readily available. If a plant shows signs of, for example, potash deficiency, buy a proprietary brand of liquid fertilizer with a high balance of that particular nutrient, and not one with only that nutrient in it, and use it as recommended.

Organic fertilizers such as bone meal, dried blood and hoof and horn are too slow acting to have any real beneficial effect on a plant with a nutrient deficiency.

In the closed environment of pot or seed tray, inorganic fertilizers such as nitrate of soda, sulphate of ammonia, sulphate of iron, sulphate of potash and superphosphate should also be avoided as they may have too drastic a chemical effect on the plant and also upset the balance of the other nutrients.

If the gardener is plagued with regular magnesium deficiency substitute magnesian limestone (Dolomite limestone) for ordinary limestone in the compost.

Acid-loving plants and ericaceous ones such as heathers and rhododendrons are liable to have an iron shortage and this can be treated with a chelated iron compound either in the compost or as a foliar feed.

When applying a foliar fertilizer, always followthe manufacturer's instructionsexactly. Water the nutrients over the plant's leaves using a fine rose.



Make up a non-foliar fertilizer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Then water on to the compost, protecting the plant's leaves with the hand. Alternatively, place the plant pot in a bowl. Pour in a dilute solution of fertilizer. Leave overnight to absorb.

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  • tero
    What is the correct fertiliser?
    8 years ago

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