Just like we need to eat a varied diet to get the right nutrients into our bodies, plants need the same. If we are missing key nutrients, we can take a multivitamin or drink a protein shake to get that boost. Soil can be considered in the same way – supplements can be added to ensure plants are getting exactly what they need to thrive.
Food for thought
Many plants need a general boost through growing season to keep them growing strong and healthy. For green leaves, strong root growth and a boost in soil fertility, Growmore Multipurpose Plant Food is a fantastic place to start. The mix of nutrients within the easy-to-use granules is the perfect balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that can be used in all areas of the garden. Fruit, veg, flowering and foliage plants will benefit from this feed, as well as the lawn – so it’s a great all-rounder.
Similarly, chicken manure is a staple supplement in the garden, especially when preparing the soil for vegetables that require plenty of nitrogen. This chicken manure has fast acting nitrogen that continues to feed for up to 6 weeks, so adding it before planting in spring will ensure the crops get a great head start for green, healthy growth. When in active growth, the pellets can be added every 6-8 weeks by sprinkling around the established plants and gently working into the soil, taking care to not disturb the plant roots.
A hero in soil supplements is seaweed, and Levington’s Seaweed Tonic has plenty to offer. The seaweed encourages microorganisms, whilst increasing chlorophyll production as well as encouraging strong root growth. This makes it a fantastic addition when growing strawberries, peppers, apples and tomatoes. It’s a staple in the garden as it can be used in the veg plot all year round.
Flowers and fruit
For a garden bursting with flowers and fruit, there are many ways to enhance the soil to provide the best conditions. For a balanced mix of nutrients for all plants, Fish, Blood & Bone will help provide brilliant blooms and fantastic crops. The nitrogen releases for up to 8 weeks for stronger, healthier, and greener foliage, whilst the phosphate promotes vigorous root growth and potassium boosts flower and fruit production. All that’s necessary is to apply to the specific rate for the plants, which differ slightly depending on the crop type. Strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, and potatoes will benefit from this boost.
For an abundance of flowers and a bigger and better yield of crops, Sulphate of Potash is a versatile product to use. The high levels of potassium activate enzymes in the plant leading to efficient photosynthesis. Not only that, but the fast-acting produce helps to protect plants against disease and drought.
For sweeter tasting tomatoes, pears, and lettuce, adding Epsom Salts+ will deliver organic magnesium. As well as boosting the taste of crops, it can be applied as a root feed to enrich green leaves and correct yellowing foliage.
Although many plants will tolerate different soil types and conditions, there are some that require a specific type. Pieris, blueberries and acers are ericaceous plants, and need acidic soil to grow their best. The Peat-Free Ericaceous Compost is ideal for growing acid-loving plants. For a further increase the acidity of soil, mixing in Sulphate of Iron+ helps to make the perfect conditions whilst making soil nutrients available to plants which allows them to access the nutrients they need.
On the other hand, lime-loving plants such as lily-of-the-valley and honeysuckle will appreciate the addition of Lime to the soil. The mix of nutrients adds calcium to enhance growth whilst helping to break down heavy, clay soils. The calcium not only encourages strong growth of fruit and foliage, but also plays a part in preventing diseases such as club root in veg such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower, blossom end rot in tomatoes and bitter pit in apples.
When improving the soil, adding organic matter such as well-rotted compost is ideal as it helps to improve moisture and nutrient retention, as well as aiding drainage. Create compost at home by adding kitchen and garden waste to the compost heap or bin. You’ll need green materials like grass and vegetable scraps and brown materials like straw and cardboard. Then, speed up the process by working in some Compost Maker which is rich in nitrogen to stimulate bacteria growth.
If you’re a budding enthusiast or an expert gardener, ensure your soil is full of goodness to help your plants grow. For bursts of blooms and bountiful crops, give your plants the right nutrients they need to thrive.
This article is a special feature by David Domoney, professional horticulturalist and television presenter, and our Ambassador for Miracle-Gro.