To keep plants growing healthy they need to be fed. Plants absorb through their roots about 30 different nutrients and minerals all dissolved in water.
Fertilizers are basically divided into two groups, Organic and Inorganic. Plants do not care where their nutrients come from but from a gardeners point of view organic fertilizers have the edge as they encourage soil bacteria which helps keep the soil healthy.
The N.P.K. (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) ratio helps you choose the right fertilizer. Nitrogen encourages leafy growth, phosphorus encourages root development and potassium encourages fruit and flower production.
Granular and powdered fertilizer need to be spread over borders in spring and lightly forked in, solid fertilizer needs to become accessible to plants so water in well if the soil is dry. The best time to feed beds and borders is in early spring prior to plant growth.
Hungry plants such as sweet peas, clematis roses and vegetables will benefit from a mid summer ‘top up’. Liquid feeds are great because the nutrients are immediately accessible, the right amount to apply is what you would pour on if you were just watering. Slow release feeds are the perfect answer if you are absent minded or have an irrigation system. Mix slow release feed granules in with compost when you are potting up or add it to fresh compost when you are top dressing established plants.
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