Feeding your Spring/ Summer Garden
Chemical, organic or liquid – which is best?
Everyone loves a garden filled with healthy plants and, with the rains having begun early in many provinces in the country, this is the perfect time to commence your feeding programme.
There are so many products on the market that it can be a bit confusing, so let’s break it down as to what your garden needs right now.
After lying dormant or at least partially dormant during winter in our summer rainfall areas, lawns are once again growing furiously, and so we need to give their nitrogen levels a boost.
If you are not overly familiar with fertilisers, I would strongly advise against using a single element such as LAN (limestone ammonium nitrate). Not only can this fertilizer burn your lawn if not applied correctly, it is pretty much like giving your lawn an energiser drink, and it is just too soon in the season for any ‘quick boosts’.
All fertilisers are indicated as Nitrogen (N), Phosphate (P) and Potassium (K) – in that order N:P:K - on the packaging. Fertilisers designed for lawns have a higher nitrogen content than either phosphate (for root growth) or potassium (to encourage flowering and fruiting), so check for a high first number when purchasing your product, although usually the purpose of the fertilizer is explicitly stated on the packaging.
Popular products on the market for feeding lawns are :
Wonder Lawn & Leaf 7.1.3 with sustained release nitrogen (inorganic)
Kynoch Turbograss 10.1.5 (25) Fast acting (inorganic)
Talborne 5.1.5 (16) Lawn & Foliage fertilizer (organic)
Atlantic Bio Ganic Lawns 26.18.33 (organic)
Protek 7.1.3 (15) Lawn & Foliage Plants
Guanoboost – Sea Bird Guano complete garden nutrition (organic liquid feed)
By feeding your lawn with one of these products, you are boosting the nitrogen and essential micro-nutrients that the plant needs to develop healthy foliage throughout the summer months and into the colder part of the year. Hand in hand with feeding, is the height at which you cut your lawn. It is essential that you remove no more than one third of the new growth with each cut.
More than that and the lawn will battle to photosynthesize the energy absorbed from sunlight.
For different lawn species, this may mean cutting more frequently while, for other species such as Buffalo grass, cutting every two weeks will be sufficient.
Shrubs and Flowering Plants
Personally, I like to give my entire garden a kickstart by feeding lawn and shrubs with 5.1.5 just once at the start of summer. Thereafter, I drop the nitrogen level down to a 3.1.5 for my flowering plants and continue with 5.1.5 for my lawn. Not everyone agrees with this method, but it works for me.
Products on the market are :
Wonder Fruit & Flower 3.1.5 (26) (inorganic)
Talborne Vita Fruit & Flower 3.1.5 (18) (organic)
Knyoch’s Kyno Shrub, Flower & Fruit 3.1.5 (25) (inorganic)
Atlantic Flower & Fruit (organic)
Foliar Feeds for lawns and flowering plants:
Multifeed 3.1.6 (46) (inorganic)
Talborne’s Nourish 4.1.6 (11) (organic)