Between fertilizers for potted plants on the terrace, those intended for indoor plants, fertilizers for flowers in flower beds or even fertilizers for vegetables in the vegetable patch, the gardener has plenty to get lost in when spring he has to feed all these little people. It is indeed essential to use fertilizers adapted to each type of plant to promote their growth and then benefit from an abundant production, to be able to admire a luxuriant flowering or to give a good boost to the plants which emerge from their vegetative rest. Distributing fertilizer is a bit like serving an à la carte menu since you have to take into account the specific requirements of each plant. Let’s take a closer look.
Spring: what fertilizer in the vegetable garden?
The gardener tramples with impatience when winter is about to bow out and the period for sowing and planting is only a stone’s throw away. Above all, he must fertilize the soil of the vegetable garden and at the same time improve its structure. The soil having then reconstituted its reserves, it will be possible to harvest beautiful vegetables when the time comes, since fertile cultivation land promotes the growth and fruiting of plants. We choose a fertilizer with common sense, in harmony with nature. This is why natural fertilizers are preferable to chemical fertilizers.
We obtain a good fertilization of the soil of the vegetable garden with mature compost, manure or organic fertilizers, all indicated to nourish the leguminous plants. They must be incorporated into the earth in March or April, when you pass the hook to scratch the surface of the soil 10 cm deep in order to loosen it. It is also possible to use certain commercial organic fertilizers to complete the action of compost and manure.
Mature compost can be recognized by its smell of undergrowth, its dark color and its crumbly structure. To achieve this level of transformation, the waste needs 10 months on average (some 8 months, others 12). When you decide to make your own compost, you have to be patient at the beginning so that it matures and can be used.
In any case, it is necessary to get into the habit of recycle different brown and green plant materials thanks to a composter for example. We thus have a natural fertilizer which can be used in the spring to enrich the soil of the vegetable garden. Mature compost has the advantage of releasing nutrients as soon as it is spread, which is why it is called immediate-release fertilizer.
In the spring, the manure should be placed directly on the surface layer of the garden soil where you plan to sow and plant a little later. It is ideal for improving the quality of the soil as well as its structure since it promotes microbial life without which no culture would be possible. Manure is so rich in organic matter that it can make very poor soil fertile.
There are different types of manure available: sheep, cow, chicken and, perhaps the best known of all, horse manure. Each of these manures has a very specific action, namely:
- The horse manure : it heats the ground more than the others, but for a shorter time, and it is perfectly balanced. This is the manure to use in the spring because the earth is still very cold and has trouble warming up.
- The goat and sheep manure (goats, sheep): he lightens heavy soil, but it should only be used when it is perfectly decomposed. It is a cold manure which brings freshness to the growing medium. In the spring, it can be used especially in the southern regions when the temperatures are already quite high at the time of spring planting.
- The cattle manure (cow): it heats moderately but longer than horse manure. It is recommended for improve light, siliceous, calcareous soils, to which it gives substance. The soil can be amended with cow manure before spring sowing.
- The chicken coop manure (chicken): it is rich in nitrogen, potash, well supplied with trace elements and brings warmth to the soil. It is particularly suitable for salads, green cabbage, potato, cucumber, zucchini. Do not hesitate to complete it with a little mature compost, hen manure being poor in humus. It is also a compost activator, hence the interest of using it where leafy vegetables are grown (lettuce, sorrel, spinach, etc.).
Whichever manure is chosen, it must have undergone at least one year of composting. Above all, do not use it fresh because it could burn the plants. On the other hand, it is recommended to deposit it on a layer of green manure for example but not in the ground because its fermentation involves the formation of toxic substances which are likely to be fatal for the roots of the plants.
Manure is fine nutrient-intensive vegetables that can only be harvested after several months of cultivation, such as:
- The melon,
- the tomato,
- The cucumber,
- The different varieties of cabbage…
On the other hand, it is above all necessary do not use manure where we grow garlic, shallots, onions or carrots who do not tolerate this type of fertilizer.
They are of three types, namely:
- Of mineral origin : they make it possible to supplement the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) intakes. NPK fertilizers should be used sparingly and it is important to take into account their content expressed in percentages for each of the components.
- Of vegetable origin : composed for example of crushed plants or seaweed, they can be used without problem in the vegetable garden.
- Of animal origin : it can be dried blood, crushed horn, guano (which is none other than a fertilizer made from seabird droppings or bat excrement). Guano should not be used for seedlings but only on growing plants.
All these fertilizers are good solutions for start well in springespecially those that distil nutrients over ten weeks, which is perfect at this time of year when we sow, transplant and plant young plants.
Spring: what fertilizer for indoor plants and plants in window boxes
The choice of a fertilizer for plants that are grown at home and all those that bloom abundantly on terraces and balconies, is simpler than for vegetables in the vegetable patch. It is of course preferable to give preference to a organic fertilizer such as manure or compost rather than a inorganic fertilizer that contains chemicals.
Anyway, many people buy different fertilizers suitable for each type of plant such as bromeliads, orchids, green plants, geraniums or window box plants, because they are easy to use… Just respect scrupulously the dosage and the fertilization frequency indicated on the packaging. We do not lose sight of the fact that the slightest excess can kill a plant, which is not the case if we deprive our plants of fertilizers. At most they will remain stunted or lack flowers.
Indoor plants and flowering plants for beds and planters can receive fertilizer to be diluted in watering water from early spring until autumn, unless otherwise stated. Fertilizer should always be added after watering and never on a dry substrate. But a plant that is systematically watered with rainwater may do without fertilizer throughout its life because this water is rich in natural minerals.
Finally, let’s simply remember that at the beginning of spring, it is useful to make a contribution ofslow acting fertilizer 15 days before sowing and planting and that at the end of spring, we opt for a boost fertilizer, whose action is immediate, but only for plants that need it such as flowering plants, leafy vegetables and plants with decorative foliage.
Finally, be careful not to start sowing and planting too early in the spring because in many of our regions, risk of frost can last for a long time yet. It would be a shame to see all his efforts ruined by a severe frost. And there, whatever the fertilizer used, there could be nothing…