Plant Food

Anything to do with growing herbs and vegetables goes here.
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bonniethomas06
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Plant Food

Post: # 261256Post bonniethomas06
Fri May 25, 2012 9:03 am

I have a confession to make...I don't feed my plants - other than a bit of Blood, Fish and Bone in the soil during digging time.

I don't know why...maybe it is a notion that unpampered plants are harder plants (back in my Growmore days I used to find the aphids loved that soft, sappy growth) but probably more because I don't know what to feed them, or how often.

What do you feed your veggies and garden plants, and how often?
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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261258Post Gra
Fri May 25, 2012 9:55 am

I try to give everything a 2" mulch of compost or well rotted manure each year. I also give an additional bit of worm compost to things like melons, cucumbers and tomatoes. I also give comfrey tea to things in the polytunnels and perhaps to anything looking poorly outside.
But in general I agree feeding plants is not a good idea, but feeding the soil is essential. I recall an experiment at the Centre for Alternative Technology where they showed the results of growing veg on soil, on slate and on slate but with 2" mulch of compost. After a few years the latter won hands down.

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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261262Post demi
Fri May 25, 2012 11:07 am

we just mix in composted manure into the soil before planting.

i gave my tomato the leftover water from boiling beans. dont know if its good for them or not, but i think i must have heard to do that from someone.......possible jamie oliver? no idea, maybe i drempt it, but they seem healthy so it hasnt done them any harm at least :oops: :lol:
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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261266Post gregorach
Fri May 25, 2012 11:58 am

I tend to follow the "feed the soil, not the plant" approach too - apply as much compost as you can. Things that need an extra feed (e.g sweetcorn) get nettle tea. (Or comfrey juice if I can lay my hands on it - must get that comfrey patch established!) I usually add a bit of seaweed meal to my potting compost mixes and use Chase SM3 seaweed extract as a foliar feed where it's needed - especially on the tomatoes and capsicums in the greenhouse (great stuff - a little goes a long way). The tomatoes and capsicums also get get with a proper commercial tomato feed such as the Chase Organic Tomato feed once they start fruiting.
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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261273Post contadina
Fri May 25, 2012 1:40 pm

New trees and tomatoes get fed either worm juice (the worms get fed a fair bit of chicken poop) or comfrey tea and it really seems to help.

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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261274Post Zech
Fri May 25, 2012 2:09 pm

I don't understand this distinction between feeding the plant and feeding the soil. I put the compost in the soil, then the plant in on top. Which am I feeding?

I mostly use garden compost, and I got hold of some horse muck this year, so my potatoes got that. I also use seaweed for asparagus (which I understand doesn't mind the salt) and comfrey/nettle tea for tomatoes (must get going with that - haven't started making any yet). I also have wood ash that I keep meaning to put round the fruit trees. I'm wondering about using more seaweed, and rinsing it first. Maybe I could add some to the comfrey and nettle tea - that stuff smells so vile anyway that even rotting seaweed couldn't make it any worse... could it?
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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261275Post gregorach
Fri May 25, 2012 2:23 pm

Zech wrote:I don't understand this distinction between feeding the plant and feeding the soil. I put the compost in the soil, then the plant in on top. Which am I feeding?
That's more what we'd call feeding the soil... "Feeding the plant" refers more to the application of soluble NPK fertilisers which are intended to be taken up directly. It's not really a hard and fast distinction, it's just a way people talk about different styles. "Conventional" agriculture tends to regard the soil as simply a sterile, inert medium, to which you add nutrients as the plants require them - that's the sort of thinking we call "feeding the plant". "Organic" agriculture regards the soil as a living ecosystem in its own right, which needs to be maintained if things are to grow well in it - that's what we call "feeding the soil".
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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261283Post Zech
Fri May 25, 2012 5:21 pm

gregorach wrote:
Zech wrote:I don't understand this distinction between feeding the plant and feeding the soil. I put the compost in the soil, then the plant in on top. Which am I feeding?
That's more what we'd call feeding the soil... "Feeding the plant" refers more to the application of soluble NPK fertilisers which are intended to be taken up directly. It's not really a hard and fast distinction, it's just a way people talk about different styles. "Conventional" agriculture tends to regard the soil as simply a sterile, inert medium, to which you add nutrients as the plants require them - that's the sort of thinking we call "feeding the plant". "Organic" agriculture regards the soil as a living ecosystem in its own right, which needs to be maintained if things are to grow well in it - that's what we call "feeding the soil".
Thanks, that makes sense. I'm totally sold on the whole soil-centric approach to nutrients and growing in general. I have no idea whether I'm adding as much as I'm taking away in crops, but that's what I'm trying to do (if not more).
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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261310Post Millymollymandy
Sat May 26, 2012 11:46 am

We dig in home made compost and I also add organic fertiliser over the veg patch and apply it to all the flower beds and around all the fruit trees. I do a 2nd fertilising of roses and fruit in the summer with wood ash, but only if we are about to have rain otherwise it's pointless.

All my plants in tubs get either granular fertiliser (long term for geraniums) or liquid tomato fertiliser for tomatoes.

I'm making comfrey tea at the moment (1st time) and can't resist a sniff every day. Day 5 and it's starting to get interesting. :iconbiggrin:

How much you need to fertilise is dependant on your soil type - clay retains nutrients just as it retains moisture, free draining soils will lose nutrients very quickly.
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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261334Post thesunflowergal
Sat May 26, 2012 9:06 pm

Through the winter I empty the contents of the chicken house and run on the beds, then at some point dig it in. Its all a bit hit and miss :lol: . This year I will be making some comfrey tea for the plants in the greenhouse, and maybe the squashes and such like.
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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261344Post Biscombe
Sun May 27, 2012 5:23 am

I tend to spoil my plants! the veg plots get horse manured every time we put in new plants. I also have 3 dustbins full of feed around the plot. My feed is a strong mix of molasses, comfrey tea and liquid aloe vera with banana skins and left over tea, I feed flowering veg weekly and everything in pots every two weeks. The fruit trees get goat poo once a year. Time consuming but works well for me.

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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261407Post The Riff-Raff Element
Mon May 28, 2012 3:07 am

Manure & compost in the soil, plus a bit of green manuring and wood ashes for the mineral contents. Feeding the soil strikes me as being the most sensible approach. That said, I do add a little liquid feed (organic, stinks, must be good :mrgreen: ) to water for tomatoes and a bought-in organic dry feed for strawberries that does something incredible for the yield / quality.

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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261417Post bonniethomas06
Mon May 28, 2012 11:16 am

Thanks all. I am glad it isn't just me that feeds the soil and not the plants, but I do have some stinky nettle tea brewing as we speak. How much do you dilute it?
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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261446Post Thomzo
Mon May 28, 2012 8:27 pm

I'm like you, the odd spoonful of BF&B at planting time and over winter. Then I mulch with chicken bedding, home-made compost, blanket weed from the pond etc. I'm making my own comfrey tea at the moment, it's just beginning to smell - :pukeright: .

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Re: Plant Food

Post: # 261462Post gregorach
Tue May 29, 2012 8:50 am

bonniethomas06 wrote:Thanks all. I am glad it isn't just me that feeds the soil and not the plants, but I do have some stinky nettle tea brewing as we speak. How much do you dilute it?
Depends on how strong it is. It should be sort of tea coloured when you apply it - although I suppose that depends on how you take your tea... :wink:
Cheers

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