Plants need good nutrition too …. it’s all about the N:P:K
Do you grow flowers, fruit, vegetables or potted plants? Well, at some point they need more than just water to help promote growth and produce.
Compost has nutrients enough for the initial growing season, but after that, they will all benefit from some plant feed. Crops and flowering plants growing in garden soil will need feeding through the summer, while they produce a harvest. Whilst there is a cost associated with plant food, most people who grow their own fruit and veg are doing it as a lifestyle benefit and not necessarily as a cost saving devise. If you totted up the number of hours you spend from planting the seeds, pricking out the seedlings and then weeding, and all this prior to harvesting, the true cost of growing your own would probably not balance out. And then there is the fact that many fruit and vegetables crop at the same time, so much of this produce is given away to friends and neighbours, which is linked to the lifestyle value.
There are three special ingredients in plant food, and given in the correct proportion, add invaluable nutrients to the plants.
First ingredient is nitrogen, abbreviated to N. Nitrogen helps create lush green leafy growth, so if you grow vegetables like lettuce and broccoli, foliage shrubs, or bedding plants such as hosta, look for this as the main ingredient. However, don’t be too heavy handed! Too much nitrogen, and your plants will grow lovely leaves instead of fruit, or flowers – which might not be the result you were hoping for.
Second up, is phosphate, or P. Plants need it to help develop healthy roots and immune system. Think of a building – without solid foundations, even the most beautiful and elegant construction will fall down.
Third comes K, for potassium, usually called potash. Potassium promotes fruiting and flowering – so it’s essential for tomatoes, hanging baskets, gooseberry bushes, etc.
If you buy specialised tomato food you’ll see phosphate as the number one ingredient. Did you know that tomato food isn’t just for tomatoes? It works for all your fruit, vegetables and flowers. For foliage shrubs and the like, all-purpose plant food has enough phosphate. You can tell which kind of food you have by the “N:P:K ratio” : three numbers, usually on the back label, which are always in that order. The biggest number indicates the kind of food it is. If you buy all-purpose plant food, you’ll notice that the N:P:K ratio is more equal. The similar nutrient levels will help your plants develop healthy roots, leaves and flowers.
This all sounds fairly straight forward, until you go into the garden centre and are faced with shelves filled with endless brands of plant food! For more information on the NPK ratio and more expert advice on what to look out for check out Love the Garden for general garden fats, but if you want to know more about the N:P:K ratio do so by clicking on the picture below and all will be revealed.
Are there any particular plant feeds that you would recommend?
Latest posts by Silversurfer's Editor (see all)
- Which travel adventure is top of your Bucket List? - June 26, 2017
- Does the country need a new ‘caretaker’ prime minister? - June 25, 2017
- Escape to Ardencote Manor - June 25, 2017
- Five Essentials for Carers Looking After Someone with Dementia - June 22, 2017
- Over 50s ‘should have more sex to boost their IQ’ - June 22, 2017
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!