As organic gardening is becoming the norm, the range of environmentally friendly plant foods has become bigger.
As many work on a holistic basis, you’ll find they work on the health of your plants too.
Here are the new products unveiled at this year’s Garden Press Event.
You can buy them at good garden centres or online.
Hate mixing plant food? Then Dr Organics Plant Pills are for you.
With a special NPK mix that includes a probiotic ‘good bacteria’ that nurtures the soil, the most common plant diseases can be cured too, www.organicfertiliser.info
Feed & Fortify is made of organic diatomaceous earth which has a coarse granular construction for slug protection, rather than a powder which blows away and dissolves in the rain – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYBIpbtxCWQ
It also improves fertility – when it gets wet, it leaches iron silicates into the soil.
If you add it to a shaker (jam jar with holes in the lid) it controls spider mites and ants.
This is a seaweed-based fertiliser with five per cent solids, Xtra Urea and Iron plus amino acids and comes in an easy-dose bottle.
This one is a bacteria-based solution to improve the strength and yield of tomato plants.
Testers reported protection against blossom end rot.
Early Starter (which I trialled last year and found very helpful with tomatoes) protects young plants in spring, visit www.envii.co.uk
New this year are more than 10 products, including specialist feeds, following demand from gardeners.
There is the Acer Feed, perfect for fans of Japanese gardening.
Organic Rooting Gel is also new, developed specifically to aid rooting and the establishment of cuttings, made from natural plant extracts and contains no synthetic growth hormones or fungicides, www.gardenworld.co.uk
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JOBS TO DO THIS WEEKEND
Slugs and snails will become very active. Most newly emerging shoots will be at risk. Act now and destroy their egg clusters, translucent milky spheres, usually laid in nooks and crannies in the soil, and down the sides of pots. Delphiniums and newly emerging hostas, in particular, are at risk. Once the soil has warmed up enough, apply the slug nematode. They will get rid of soil-dwelling slugs but not snails. Use all controls available. Don’t rely on just one method.
Stop weeds before they start in earnest. Cover a weedy, empty patch of ground with cardboard to stop unwanted plants growing until you have time to deal with them. On already cultivated ground, hoe weeds as they emerge and don’t let them seed. If you are blighted with perennial weeds such as bindweed and brambles, keep digging them out.
Russian comfrey plants – Bocking 14 – are a must to make your own plant food. The leaves can also be used as a compost activator, a mulch, or a liquid feed. Bocking 14 won’t take over your garden – but beware – the plant food it makes absolutely stinks!
Continue to prick out seedlings before they become straggly. Shade seedlings in the greenhouse on sunny days, as they can quickly wilt and die. Don’t water seedlings with cold water direct from the water-butt or hose pipe. Keep a couple of cans filled and inside the greenhouse so the water is at the ambient temperature.
Top-dress containers. Scrape the top 4cm/2ins of soil off, and replace with new compost. Finish with a layer of horticultural grit to retain moisture.
Make sure automatic vents in the greenhouse are working properly, and open the door on sunny days. Temperatures will soar inside a closed greenhouse. Avoid fungal diseases by watering from below to avoid wetting foliage. Don’t let plants stand in (still icy cold) water for longer than 10 minutes.
Feed hedges with a top-dressing of garden compost or well-rotted manure, or mulch with lawn mowings.
Plant evergreen hedges. Prepare the site well, adding a couple of handfuls of garden compost per plant. Water well over the next few months as the plants settle in.
There is still time to divide overgrown clumps of herbaceous perennials. Water well after transplanting, and keep moist in dry spells.
Aphids can multiply rapidly during mild spells. Remove early infestations by hand to prevent the problem getting out of hand. Protect sweet pea plants in particular, as they can get sweet pea viruses.