We are often told about the importance of using plant fertiliser in the garden to give our plants a bit of a helping hand to reach their fullest potential. However, a lot of the time, we are unsure of how to use them properly, or why some fertilisers are better used in different situations to others. Is it always better to use a natural or organic fertiliser instead of a chemical one? This guide could help you.
Chemical vs Organic
Organic fertiliser is made through the decomposition of organic matter and is beneficial to your soil in the way that it helps improve soil quality and texture. It is also good for young or delicate plants because it is less concentrated than chemical fertiliser, meaning that it is more gentle. What’s more, because they are natural, there is no worry of causing your pets, or other wildlife, any harm if they consume some. Of course, organic fertilisers may also be preferable because they can be made from your own garden and kitchen waste, making them free and meaning that you are recycling, too.
Chemical fertilisers, however, may be preferable because they are synthetically created to achieve specific outcomes on certain plants. This means that they are reliable and their results are predictable, so you know that they will work in the way that you desire- providing that you follow the instructions carefully. Commercial chemical fertilisers might also be favorable because they are labelled, meaning you do know what is going onto your plants, and what the intended effects are.
When to Apply Fertiliser
Different types and species of plants will need fertiliser to be apply at slightly different times, but as a general rule, early Spring is the best time for fertiliser application. However, if you know that, where you live, there is still the occasional morning frost, you should wait until after the last frost to apply. This is because any new growth as a result of the fertiliser could be too tender to cope with the frost. You should avoid using fertiliser to your plants during the winter as plants aren’t actively growing at this time of year. In general, you should not apply fertiliser until the plant is fully established as overly fast growth could make the plant weak.
You should try to apply fertiliser at the coolest part of the day, or when you are watering your plants. This simply helps the nutrients in the fertiliser to get to the plant’s roots and will also help to prevent root burn.
Which Fertiliser to Use
Unless you are a very keen gardener, or a soil expert, you might not know specifically which nutrients that your garden is in need of. The easiest way to find this out is by performing a soil test. You can buy kits for testing soil at your local garden centre for a small amount of money.
Do you have any tips on how best to use fertiliser on your plants? Share your ideas in the comments.
[Photo Credit: hardworkinghippy]