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To fertilise... or not to fertilise?

To fertilise soil or not to fertilise, that is the question – when it comes to gardening at least. Plants need three main nutrients to do well: nitrogen for leafy growth, phosphorus to produce strong roots and potassium, for flowers and fruit. If these nutrients are not present in the soil, your plants will grow poorly, fail to flower or fruit and develop sickly, yellowing foliage. So make sure that your plants stay fertilised! At Rushfields we have all kinds of nutrients to add to your soil. Your plants and flowers will stop drooping and foliage will become greener than you've ever seen! Ask our staff in the plant centre about the best way to cheer up your plants and make your soil nutrient-rich.

When to fertilise your soil

The frequency with which you should fertilise your soil, of course, depends on the type of soil that you have in your garden:

  • clay soils are heavy and dense. Clay soils retain a lot of water and drain slowly. Managed well, clay soil typically requires less irrigation and less fertilizer, and leads to healthier plants all around;
  • silty soils are dense too and tend to curb air circulation and drainage. Because of the good aeration, silty soil doesn't need to be fertilized often. Still, they are more fertile than clay soils;
  • sandy soils are the exact opposite of clay and silty soils. The water quickly drains through the spaces between the sand particles without retaining any of its nutrients. 
  • loam soils are rich in humus and necessary minerals, which makes this type of soil the most fertile.

When your soil does not contain any loam, it is best to add fertiliser to make the soil more balanced in structure. Apply fertilizer in early spring when all danger of frost has passed. Fertilisers will help your plants to grow strong leaves and produce beautiful flowers and tasty fruits.

Different types soil - Rushfields

How to fertilise your soil

If your soil is in good health, all you need is a dose of slow-release fertiliser such as bone meal or pelleted chicken manure. Repeat this process in midsummer for greedy plants, such as vegetables, sweet peas, clematises and roses. Stop fertilising by late summer. Fertilize pot bound plants with liquid plant food every month during spring, summer and fall. Water your plants thoroughly after fertilising, so the nutrients can reach the places where they are most needed. Start fertilising with compost. You can make compost yourself, or you can buy compost at our garden centre in Poynings.

Fertilising to encourage strong root development

Fertilisers do not only protect your crops and plants from weeds and make your soil more fertile. They also help young plants to develop strong roots. This makes them capable of picking up all the nutrients that they need to grow. Add balanced liquid seaweed when watering your container plants once a week to keep them healthy. Give big heavy-fruiting greenhouse plants weakly feeds of potassium-rich tomato feed as soon as they start flowering.

Do you want more tips on how and when to fertilise your soil? Visit our garden centre in Poynings and ask our staff for advice!

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