All soils start off with plant nutrients but these need replacing as they are used up by the plants or washed out by the rain.

Before dosing your soil with fertilizer check it with a testing kit. Adding too much not only wastes money but may cause plants to make too much leaf or grow distorted roots.

The main chemicals needed for plants to grow are nitrogen, phosphate and potassium.

Nitrogen is needed for good leaf growth, for grass, cabbages and lettuce to thrive.

Phosphate helps root growth and is essential for crops like beetroot, carrots and parsnips.

Potash is essential for good quality fruit and flowers and helpful for crops that mature in the winter, Brussels sprouts for instance.

To feed your plants, use purpose mixed fertilizers. They always show the chemical content in the order nitrogen, phosphate, potash. So 6-7-8 on the box means 6% nitrogen, 7% phosphate and so on.

Inorganic fertilizers are chemicals which quickly supply plant nutrients in powder or granular for. They should be used in spring or summer only- winter rains could wash them through the soil.

Organic fertilizers are animal or plant waste. They release there chemicals slowly as they decay and can therefore be added to soil at the start of winter to do their work.

Cow and pig manure are best for light soil, stable manure with straw in it for heavy clay.

Poultry manure is rich in nitrogen and phosphates, four times as strong as the same weight of stable or farmyard manure, but low in potash. So use it as a dressing for leaf crops like lettuce, at the rate of 8oz (200g) per square yard, but let it rest, first.

Seaweed is a valuable free organic fertilizer which breaks down quickly in the soil. It is first rate for fruit and flowers as well as acting as a mulch.

Hop manure and peat are low in nutrients but useful as growing mediums and are often sold with added chemicals.

Specialist fertilizers are on sale for particular crops - rose fertilizer is high in nitrogen and potash - tomato fertilizer highs in potash, lawn fertilizers majors on nitrogen.

The quickest way to fertilize a plant is by foliar feeding - spraying the leaves with a special chemical.


When to Fertilize a Cyclamen 

Fertilize a Cyclamen

Cyclamen bloom in winter and then go dormant around April. 
During this bloom period is when cyclamen are fertilized. 
In fall fertilize with a low nitrogen fertilizer until blooms appear.
Once blooming, it is necessary to feed cyclamen every 3-4 weeks with a houseplant fertilizer.
In April, when the plant go dormant, stop fertilizing cyclamen.