Millthorpe Garden Nursery Garden fertilizers come in a wide range of forms and there are really no “must do” rules for fertilizer use in the garden. What to use, how much to use and how often? The answers to all these questions depend a lot on your soil type, what you’re growing and your preferred approach to managing your garden. My preference is to use natural and organic fertilizers in our garden, although I do use control release, granular “synthetic” fertilizers in potted plants in our nursery.
Aged or composted horse manure has long been my favourite for the veggie garden-digging it in after covering the soil with a 5-10cm loose layer of manure every winter. Managing weed seeds that come in the manure is sometimes a challenge, but this can be minimised by composting the manure pile for a few months before use.
Pelleted poultry manure (e.g. Dynamic Lifter) is my preferred fertilizer for perennials, ornamental shrubs and trees, and fruit trees. Spring time is generally the recommended time for scattering a couple of handfuls of these pellets around these plants and trees, before watering them deeply and mulching. I’m particularly keen to fertilize roses and fruit trees in this way in spring.
If you are planning to plant bare root ornamental trees or fruit trees or roses in the coming winter months, my advice is to dig the hole at least 50% deeper than what you need to cover the root ball, then mix some surface soil and a handful of Dynamic Lifter and place that mix in the bottom of the hole before planting. This will create an excellent environment for root growth.
Ash from your wood fires in winter can also be a useful garden fertilizer-I use it mainly in garden beds or pots where there are flowering shrubs that benefit from the potassium in the ash. I also understand that the ash can raise the pH in acid soils and even contribute to slug and snail control in the garden.
Potted plants need more regular fertilizing than those planted in natural soil in the garden. I recommend using a soluble fertilizer (e.g. Seasol) to water in potted plants and then a small handful of Dynamic Lifter about every two to three months, depending on the size of the plant and the pot.
By Ian Rogan