Fertilisers Explained by Charlie Albone

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There seems to be a myriad of different fertilisers on the market all in different forms, slow release, granular, organic, liquid, concentrate, those for greening and those for flowering … it can all get very confusing!  I thought with the release of Black Marvel Tomato & Vegetable Food it would be the perfect timing to explain how each different fertiliser works and how to best use it.

The one most people know is the slow release balls you see in potting mixes and on top of the soil in plants when you get them back from the nursery. These slow release ‘prills’ (as they are known as) hold nutrients inside them and as the heat from the sun and water get to them they expand and release a small amount of the nutrients from the inside. This, then get taken up by the plants. They last for a long time, are cheap to make and apply so they are perfect for the nursery industry. The home gardener however can do better.

Liquid fertilisers are the best way to see quick results with your plants. This is because plants need to take up nutrients in water and liquid fertiliser provides that. Black Marvel liquid comes in a convenient hose-on that can be sprayed on the plants. It always interests me that plants can absorb nutrients through their leaves as well as the roots so this application method allows for nutrients to enter the foliage and the excess gets taken up by the roots.

As liquid fertilisers are water based, gravity will pull them through the soil quickly so their use, although fast acting, is short lived. As such, I feed my tomatoes (and all my veggie patch) with Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable liquid fertiliser once every 7 to 10 days as a supplement to granular fertiliser.

Concentrated liquid fertiliser is exactly the same as a spray-on liquid fertiliser. As it is ‘concentrated’, it will need diluting before application. Concentrated forms save you money and trips to the nursery and as a tip, only apply as per the instructions on dilution. Adding more concentrate to the watering can won’t make your plants grow faster! The boffins at Richgro have done all the testing towards the health of plants and adding more will only upset the balance of nutrient intake and can be harmful to your plants.

Granular fertiliser such as Black Marvel Granular is the perfect mix of fast and long acting fertiliser. The black coating on the fertiliser is actually highly soluble Iron, that when watered in, has an instant effect on helping your plants green up and look healthy.  The remainder of the granule then slowly breaks down to feed your plants over 8 weeks when it comes into contact with water. I apply this as prescribed, every 8 weeks and supplement with the liquid Black Marvel every two weeks.

General all purpose fertilisers contain the majority of nutrients, both Macro and trace that the majority of plants need; However it’s a blanket application for most plants. Specific fertilisers such as lawn fertiliser, Black Marvel Rose and Flower Food , Black Marvel Fruit & Citrus Food and Black Marvel Tomato and Vegetable contain specific ratios of different Macro and Trace elements for the plants they specialise in. Why?  Well all purpose is fine and it won’t harm your plants but by giving specific fertiliser you maximise the plants’ ability to perform to its best – and who doesn’t like showing off with the best rose, lemon, tomato, lawn etc etc etc.


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