Choosing Fertilizer


Once one is equipped with sufficient knowledge it is easier to make choices from the wide variety of excellent garden care products available. Organising this knowledge into a basic framework makes it simple and easy to use. Organic fertilizer has two components, the compost (organic) part and the mineral (fertilizer) part. Green plants extract the full range of essential minerals (12, including nitrogen) from the soil.

View this as the “dry pap” part of plant food. The water soluble part of compost is the “sauce” part, helping the minerals to dissolve in the soil water and improve their availability to and uptake by the plants. So it is clear that applying fertilizer alone is like eating dry pap. Using fertilizer with one mineral, such as superphosphate, or three elements, like 3:2:1 or 2:3:2, only meets part of the plant’s requirements and can be likened to a person eating meat all day. On the other hand, sauce alone hasn’t got enough nutritional value. Based on this knowledge, I follow these two rules:

Plant Nutrition Rule 1

Feed your plants all 12 minerals through the year, supported by at least a liquid compost and good mulching practice.

Plant Nutrition Rule 2

Plants absorb their food continuously in minute amounts in liquid form. Feeding them frequently, very little at a time when watering, is much more efficient and economical.

The following examples are actual problems with soil nutrition that have been experienced by gardeners who have approached me for help:


Q:”In places, like beneath my lawn, the soil has become as hard as a block of cement. I can’t get my fork in anymore. The water doesn’t penetrate, it stays on top.”

A: The problem here is that the soil has become extremely deficient in organic material. Without the ‘tools’, which open up the soil structure for the water and the minerals to move about, it becomes hard and compacted. Spraying with a liquid compost high in humic acid, like BlueRoot will help to solve the problem.

Q:”Although I fertilize, my plants don’t respond as expected – no flowers, yellow leaves, stunted growth, dropping of fruits and flower buds.”

A: The fertilizer program is obviously lacking in some of the minerals and/or your soil has become deficient in organic material. Start by applying a trace element product like BlueMint or Trelmix at the end of the season, and support this with a liquid compost spray and mulching.

Remember to feed with the next season in mind, plants need time to grow! Organic fertilizers provide a slow release of nutrients to plants. It supplies your plants with much need macro and micro nutrients and improves carbon levels in the soil.

The Gardener