Barbie's garden Fertiliser Gardening Miscellaneous

What do you Feed your Plants?

Thyme bucketI spent the day cleaning the front of my garden and adding compost and organic, liquid fertilizer and I came to realise something! I always read in all good gardening books and magazines that to keep your plants healthy and thriving, you have to feed them. Well, what in the world do plants actually eat?? I did some research in my favourite book – “Food From Your Garden” by J G Simpson –  and here I found out that the three major plant food elements are Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK). All artificial fertilizers show the ration of these major elements, i.e., 2.3.3 (22) – this is the best combination of NPK for vegetable beds and 3.1.5 (26) is the best combination for fruit trees, vines and creepers. NOT that I will be using these artificial fertilizers – but at least I am now aware of what these codes mean and what the plants actually need to flourish.

I sometimes get the feeling that these commercially sold products are meant to keep you from actually understanding the why and what in gardening. You lose touch with the true needs of  nature around you if you just grab a bag off the shelf that has a picture of a fruit tree on it! I have this tendency (can be annoying at times) to cut things up and look inside…. if you know what I mean! I want to know how things work and why. So now I am doing my research on nutrition. I’ll keep you posted on what I find!

Happy gardening xxx

By Barbara

Country living is the best! Being a true spirit of the earth, my garden is all about vegetables and fruit trees and herbs and chickens roaming free. I was keen to really start gardening when we moved to Philadelphia in 2005, but not your typical suburban-type garden – sterile and bug-free! I wanted an edible garden.

6 replies on “What do you Feed your Plants?”

Yes , and while you are looking at fertiliser, remember things like Pop Up and Bounce Back, which happily say organic – in South Africa means – made in a battery chicken, not a factory. If you seriously want ‘Certified Organic’ you have to go with Talborne Organics, which we get at Starke Ayres. We are vegetarians, no battery chickens, no battery eggs, and trying to get truly free range or certified organic dairy. Not buying factory farmed manure full of antibiotics and this-cide and that-cide.

Oh no – I am so against this business of battery chickens – please don’t tell me Neutrog who make Bounce Back use battery chickens?? I’ve been using Bounce Back believing it to be a good organic product. Any company that keeps their chickens in one of those “battery chicken” thingys needs to be exposed. Thank you for telling us! Neutrog just lost me as a customer.

Thank you so much for this! This is the kind of information we never get exposed to. I am going to get Talborne stuff today!! I also know that Starke Ayres also is the only supplier of another true organic compost made in Stellenbosch – I forget the name! THat is why I go there – more expensive than other nurseries, but the selection is excellent and more of the products are organic.

Dear Barbara, Thank you for explaining NPK! It was a mystery to me for some years. But unraveling the mysteries of gardening is a wonderful pastime, and can only lead to a more beautiful garden. P x

So good to know and glad to help! I will be unravelling lots of things I do not understand in the weeks to come! Sometimes it is wonderful to start something new – it is like being a curious child again!

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