BACK­YARD

Fam­ily DIY A fer­tiliser is classed as any­thing that sup­plies nu­tri­ents to a plant. We dig com­post (or any or­ganic ma­te­ri­als), into the soil to im­prove its struc­ture and air cir­cu­la­tion. This also aids wa­ter re­ten­tion and pro­vides the soil with liv­ing orga

Parenting - - Contents -

Grow­ing from scraps

If you're a gar­den-lover, or you're keen to be­come one, get­ting to know your fer­tilis­ers is key. Fer­tilis­ers are classed as or­ganic or in­or­ganic, and most gar­den­ers choose to use a mix­ture of the two. Or­ganic fer­tilis­ers are com­posed of plant or an­i­mal by-prod­ucts and are con­sid­ered sus­tain­able and safe to use. Sheep pel­lets, fish ma­nures, blood and bone, sea­weed, bone meal, and dried blood are the most com­mon or­ganic fer­tilis­ers avail­able. In­or­ganic fer­tilis­ers are man­u­fac­tured, or some­times re­fined from nat­u­ral sources. Al­ways spread the fer­tiliser evenly – dump­ing it in plies will cause fer­tiliser burn to the fo­liage. Side dress­ing is the prac­tice of ap­ply­ing fer­tiliser to the soil dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son. Spread it around the plant or along­side a row. Lightly rake or fork it in to the soil and then wa­ter. Al­ways wa­ter the fer­tiliser af­ter you have ap­plied it. It needs to get into the soil to do its work, not dry up on the sur­face. For the busy gar­dener, ap­ply fer­tiliser just be­fore it rains. Liq­uid fer­tilis­ers’ nu­tri­ents are ab­sorbed by the plant through the leaves as well as the roots. Re­mem­ber that no amount of fer­tiliser will fix a plant that is in the wrong place – ei­ther grow­ing in poorly-pre­pared soil or un­der stress with too much or not enough wa­ter. Blood and bone is good to use around veg­eta­bles at time of plant­ing, and dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son as a side dress­ing. Keep a di­ary – it is easy to for­get when, what and where you have ap­plied fer­tiliser. Make your own liq­uid fer­tiliser Com­frey is a use­ful herb that serves many pur­poses. Some gar­den­ers call it a nui­sance plant as it spreads rapidly, but the leaves are potas­sium and ni­tro­gen-rich, mak­ing a great liq­uid feed. • Make this away from the house as it does smell a lit­tle. • Fill a mesh bag (like an onion sack), with com­frey leaves and tie up the bag. Us­ing a con­tainer with a lid, drop the bag in, fill with the con­tainer wa­ter, and close the lid. Let it sit for 10 days. You might want to di­lute it with wa­ter, depend­ing on the strength of your brew. Use to feed the whole veg­etable gar­den.

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