When it comes to getting the most out of your home garden, nourishing the soil with the right fertiliser is essential. With plenty of options to choose from, finding the right one for your needs can seem like a daunting task.
To make it easier, let’s explore what those different types of fertilisers actually are and how they can support the growth and health of your plants. We’ll also look at how to read and understand the labels on fertilisers, so you know exactly what you’re purchasing for your garden.
By following these tips, you’ll be sure to find a fertiliser that’s not only best suited to your environment but also tailored specifically to cater for your plants’ individual needs. So let’s dive in!
Horses for Courses
Getting the most out of your plants requires some careful planning and that’s where fertilisers come in. Fertilisers provide the essential nutrients that plants need to thrive, but not all fertilisers are created equal.
For example, if you’re growing vegetables, then a specialised herb and vegetable fertiliser is best for supplying your plants with the nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus they need. Other types of fruiting vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes require more potassium to support flowers and fruiting, so it’s important to find a fertiliser that adds more potassium or you can simply some extra potash to your general veggie fertiliser.
The same goes for ornamentals – make sure you are using a flower-specific fertiliser to ensure that your blooms look their best. You can use these fertilisers for your fruit trees too.
Fertilisers for growing azaleas and camellias will also help to acidify the soil. You can grow your acid loving plants in a highly fertile soil, but if the pH (acid/alkaline level) is incorrect, then all the nutrients can be trapped. It’s always a good idea to do a pH check on your soil to make sure its at the right level. Ask in store for our pH kits to do a test at home yourself.
Organic vs Synthetic
Fertilisers are essential for plants to get the necessary nutrients they need to grow and thrive. The two main types of fertilisers are organic and synthetic – each with its own set of benefits.
Organic fertilisers are made from natural materials like compost, manure, bone meal, and seaweed extract. These fertilisers help improve soil structure, retain water, and ward off pests. They also release valuable nutrients gradually, over a long period of time.
Synthetic fertilisers are usually derived from petroleum and other chemicals, and they provide a quick boost of nutrients to plants. However, they can be easily washed away by heavy rain or strong winds, so it’s important to use them sparingly.
Potting mixes are formulated to different Australian standards. This is shown by either red or black ticks on the pack. Red ticks means you have a premium product with more goodies added to it. Black ticks show you that it is a standard product which will need some extra inputs from you.
By adding home made compost or additional specific fertilisers listed above, you can improve the quality of your mixes and customise them according to the plants you’re growing.
Your plants will require a continual supply of nutrients while they’re growing, so liquid fertilisers will help address any additional needs of the plant and keep them healthy. This is especially important for plants growing in pots.
Every time you water your plants, you will leach nutrients when water runs out of the drainage holes. Potted plants need a bit of extra care when supplying the right amount of nutrients.
Yellow leaves are an indication that your plants are hungry and in need of a feed. For general ornamental garden beds and orchards, you should aim to add fertilisers twice a year, once in late winter and then again at the end of summer. Liquid fertilisers should be given every 2 weeks, while the plant is actively growing.
For a flourishing garden, it is essential to select the right fertiliser for each plant and soil type. Doing so can benefit your plants with added nutrients, boost growth rate, improve root development, and provide additional protection against disease.
When choosing the right fertiliser, consider the individual needs of your garden's plants, as well as your soil's current nutrient levels. With careful selection and proper usage, you will be well on your way to creating a thriving, beautiful home garden!
Have a chat to one our in-store Garden Guides to help you get it right!
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Thanks to Toni Salter, The Veggie Lady, for her contribution in writing this article exclusively for the Mittagong Garden Centre and our valued customers. We hope you enjoyed the article and found it helpful. For more information on the Veggie Lady click here www.theveggielady.com