Q&As/Garden Preparation/How often to Fertilise

Question

How often should I fertilise my small vegetable garden?

Answer

There two main things that remove nutrients from your garden’s soil; the amount of plant growth and the amount of rainfall or watering.  When it comes to fertilising your garden, application largely depends on the type of fertiliser you choose and the time of year you intend to use it.   There are different types available; from liquid to slow release, so it is very important to check the manufacturers label for usage and application guidelines.  

Based on using the Daltons Incredible Edible or Premium Fertiliser range, you can apply a side dressing of fertiliser approximately every 4-6 weeks during the summer months.  In the winter, you would drop this back to every 2-3 months depending on the vegetable crops you have growing in your garden (some crops are heavy feeders and may require more applications).  The term “side dressing” means to apply fertilizer to the soil on or around the sides of the plant.  Always ensure that your applied fertiliser is watered in well.  

If you are planning to put in a vegetable garden, initial preparation is of primary importance, and is critical to the success of any garden big or small.  Ideally soil should be deep, loose, crumbly, free draining and nutrient rich.  Preparation includes deep digging to loosen up and aerate the soil.  Be sure to incorporate lots of organic matter such as good quality compost, and blood and bone which improve the soil quality and help plants develop strong healthy root systems.  For best results do this about one week to two weeks before planting to allow the soil to cultivate.  

Top tip: During the height of summer (mid-late Jan to early February), watering becomes the critical factor so water plants adequately and remember to mulch to help retain soil moisture.  

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