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Look after your soil with nutrients

All plants require nutrients in some form to grow well. For a healthy garden, you want to achieve plant growth and production which is free (or relatively free) of any pest or disease. In in nature, this is achieved with disease suppressant soil.

By using the right fertiliser – you can recreate nature’s perfect garden. But figuring out which fertilizer to use can be confusing! Which type do you need for your garden and what do all those numbers mean? Should you get the bag of 17-5-24 or the bag of 6-4-6?

Let’s Start with The Fundamentals

There are 13 different nutrients required for plant growth. The first six elements listed are the most important. The remaining seven are known as trace elements.

Nitrogen                              [N]

Phosphorus                        [P]

Potassium                           [K]

Calcium                                [Ca]

Magnesium                        [Mg]

Sulphur                               [S]

Manganese                        [Mn]

Zinc                                        [Zn]

Boron                                    [Bo]

Molybdenum                     [Mo]

Copper                                 [Cu]

Cobalt                                   [Co]

Iron                                        [Fe]

Getting to Know Your Plant’s Nutrients

All these nutrients are required in varying amounts, with the first six being the most important in terms of the amount required. The trace elements are important as well, with requirements usually being in very tiny amounts.

Fertiliser /Plant Foods– a gardener’s best friend

From a gardener’s perspective, let’s look at some common fertilisers and plant foods available in the garden stores and what might they contain.

(Expressed in NPK).

Chemical and Compound Fertilisers:

  • Urea – 46 0 0
  • Calcium Ammonium Nitrate – 27 0 0 – plus has also Ca 6% and Mg 4%
  • Nitrophoska Blue -12 5 14 plus S & Mg
  • Nitrophoska Blue Extra- as above plus added trace elements
  • Superphosphate 0 9 0
  • General Garden Fertiliser – 6 6 6 plus Mg & S

(There are several variations of these available and the above is just one example).

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Additionally, there are several slow release fertilisers. These are generally coated, and release nutrients in a response to either temperature or moisture e.g. Osmocote and Nutricote.

(These Types of Fertilisers are Ideal for Container  Gardening)

Organic Types -derived from natural sources

  • Guano 0 9 0 plus Ca
  • Blood and Bone 6 12 0
  • Fishmeal 10 N plus trace elements from the sea.
  • Seaweed meal – great for trace elements, minerals and amino acids in a balanced form.

Soil Conditioners

Compost materials come in a wide range and have varying amounts of nutrients. Compost materials are best used best used when they are complemented with other fertiliser types such as blood and bone.

Personally, I use sheep manure in liberal amounts, plus seaweed meal, and guano in conjunction with EarthZing – a ZingBokashi product.

EarthZing is great for your soil because it also supplies beneficial micro-organisms. The EarthZing method is a biological approach to soil health. It builds your soil organic matter on a continual basis provides many other benefits.

Adding fermented food waste to the soil provides valuable nutrients, organic matter AND lots of beneficial microorganisms.

Follow these steps and you’ll soon have a happy healthy garden you can be proud of! You can also buy EarthZing and ZingBokashi Composting on our website. If you enjoyed this blog you might also like, The Best Dates to Plant Vegetables in Your Garden.

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