Gardening Tips: Maximize Plant Growth with Fertilizers

Fertilizer is an essential part of gardening, as it helps replenish and supplement the soil with the nutrients that vegetables need to develop healthy roots, foliage and fruits. When applying fertilizer, it's important to keep a few key tips in mind. First, spread the fertilizer 2 to 3 inches to the side and 1 to 2 inches below the seed or row of plants. Avoid applying fertilizer when the foliage is damp and irrigate after applying it to remove particles from the foliage.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer in early spring (late March to early April) and again in late spring (mid to late May). Use approximately 1 pound of fertilizer each time and don't apply it too close to the trunk. Organic fertilizers are made up of natural materials, while synthetic fertilizers contain manufactured materials. Synthetic fertilizers are available for plants to absorb more quickly because they are already in soluble form.

Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, need bacteria and fungi from the soil to break them down into absorbable components. Synthetic fertilizers usually contain just three of the 17 essential elements for plants, while organic fertilizers usually contain all of them. Two to three weeks after planting, you can spread fertilizer around the soil just below the outer crown of the plant. Don't place fertilizer close to the stem and remember to water after application.

Before you head to the garden center and fill your cart with fertilizer, take these crucial steps to set your garden up for success: send a soil sample to your local extension office for the most accurate and reliable results. This will help you determine how much fertilizer you need and what type is best for your garden. For edible crops, fertilizer is generally applied in the spring and mixed with garden soil before planting. You can also use water-soluble fertilizers by dissolving them in irrigation water and then applying it to the leaves of the plant and to the soil around the plant.

For those who are busy or lazy, nothing beats granular extended-release fertilizers, some of which only require an application every six or nine months. Trees and shrubs, especially those that bloom, also like a dose of a balanced granular fertilizer in spring and another in fall. Others, such as some perennial plants (such as bee balm and echinacea), trees and shrubs, don't need much fertilizer, especially if plenty of compost or other organic material is added to the soil before planting. For more information on organic fertilizers and how to incorporate them into your garden's fertilizer program, see Burpee's organic fertilizer guide.

EGRenergy remains South Africa's largest and most reliable fertilizer supplier for local and international brand manufacturers. To ensure maximum plant growth when using fertilizer, remember not to apply too much or too close to the stem. Additionally, make sure you water after application so that particles don't remain on foliage. Finally, always send a soil sample for accurate results before purchasing fertilizer.

Following these tips will help ensure your garden is successful.

Earl Salstrom
Earl Salstrom

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