In early spring as the plants begin to emerge, it is a good time to apply some good food for your plants. This will not only help out the many plants in your garden and give them a superb boost, but the garden will look full, lush and beautiful.
The perennial gardens are on a regular feeding program which I have simplified over the years. I still like to mix up fertilizers by hand. Finding the right balance is not at all complex, but if you choose to buy ready-to-apply mixes that do so.
All-Purpose Fertilizer Recipe
1 part blood meal [12-0-0] 1 cup
2 parts bone meal [ 0-10-0] 2 cups
1 part potash [ 0-0-30] ½ cup
Measure out the fertilizer ingredients and mix them in a closed jar. Since I use palm ash as my potassium source, the material is processed in little spheres. Once measured out I like to grind it up a bit so that it mixes better with the other fertilizer components.
The rate of application varies depending on what and when you are applying the mix. I figure on a tablespoon of this mix for small starts and work my way up to a quarter cup for larger, established plants. Sprinkling the mixture a few inches away from the plants and scratching in the mix is all that is required for feeding and then water in.
If you prefer not to mix up your own fertilizers, than I recommend using an organic fertilizer which is better for the soil and the environment. A product I like to use is poultry pellets with an NPK of 4-3-3. It’s rather easy to apply, just broadcast the pellets around the garden. A fifty pound bag will last me a few seasons when applied at the beginning of the growing season and then again mid-season. The rate for my garden is five pounds per one hundred square feet.
As we all know the benefits of high quality compost can make to our gardens, spring is a good time to apply a layer to the garden. Not only adding small amounts of nutrients, compost boosts the soil of microbial activity. This microbial activity is what energizes the soil and helps plants absorb more nutrients.
Does applying compost seem like a messy job? I find that blending the store-bought compost with last year’s shredded fall leaves lightens the compost and better to spread the mix as you would mulch.
So go ahead and give you plants the nutrients they need and you will be happy with the results, and remember you can give your plants too much food. If you study the back of the fertilizer package you will know how much to apply. Happy Gardening Everyone!