“I must confess, much as I love the decorative garden, the vegetable plot is, for me, both a place to relax and, occasionally, somewhere to hide. Yes, I admit, my vegetables are organically grown. I cannot see the point of going to all the trouble of growing them yourself, and then dousing them with poisonous chemicals. Save yourself the bother and buy them from the supermarket, sprayed and scrubbed.”
Beth Chatto Dear Friend and Gardener (1998).
Most plants are in full growth now so it is the optimum time for adding fertiliser. The uptake by the plant will be at its greatest while it is growing strongly. However, you don’t need to fertilise everything just because you can. Apply it where it is needed, not as a matter of course. If you use a mulcher mower, your lawn should never need added fertiliser. When you use compost in the vegetable garden, you may not need to use additional fertilisers.
If you are a consumer, you may be talked into buying a whole range of different types for the garden – one for lawn, another for citrus, yet a different one for acid loving plants like rhododendrons and you will be told that different plants need different ratios of NPK (that is nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus). Being of the KISS persuasion, we just go for something cheap and cheerful for the odd occasions we feel impelled to use additional fertiliser in the garden. With the current research on nitrate run-off, the less is more philosophy is looking ever more appealing.
First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.