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Planting Tonics

TheSouthernGardenerTheSouthernGardener Munster, Ireland.Posts: 68

Hello All,

I heard on the radio recently that instead of spraying for pests and diseases people are using plant tonics which are supposed to boost the plants own defence system to combat the above. Has anybody been using these tonics , could they recommended any , and finally when do you start using them ? Thanks in advance.

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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,090

    JUST AS HUMANS ARE MORE LIKELY TO FALL ILL IF THEY HAVE A POOR DIET, BAD HOUSING AND A LOT OF STRESS IN THEIR LIVES, PLANTS FAIL TO THRIVE FOR THE SAME REASONS.

    PROVIDE A GOOD GROWING MEDIUM, AN APPROPRIATE WATERING REGIME, THE CORRECT ASPECT, LITTLE INTERFERENCE (FIDDLING FINGERS) AND NO COMPETITION FROM OTHER PLANTS AND YOU SHOULD HAVE A HAPPY GARDEN.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,490

    Seaweed extract is an excellent tonic. I use it throughout the growing season.
    It's not a food as such, so it's used alongside traditional feeds.
    I start using it when seedlings are a few inches high then try to give most plants a weekly foliar drench, or water it into the soil.
    Used in the greenhouse makes it smell like the sea-side :)

    This is the one I  use

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maxicrop-Original-Organic-Seaweed-Extract/dp/B00719S168/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516264783&sr=8-1&keywords=seaweed+extract+for+plants

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,555

    I haven't found seaweed here but I can buy tonics based on nettles for leafy plants, comfrey for flowering and fruiting plants, mares' tail for I don't know what and many other things I've never come across.   It's also possible to make one's own nettle or comfrey "tea" by steeping fresh leaves in a bucket of water (with a lid for the pong) for a couple of weeks then straining it and using it diluted 10 to 1 as a drink or foliar spray.

    A garlic "tea" is supposed to be a good spray for deterring insects pests and rhubarb leaf tea is another.

    However, I agree with Pansyface. The best treatment for plants is the right growing conditions so research a plant before buying or planting.   Healthy soil is key so prepare it well before planting and add plenty of well-rotted garden compost or manure to a bed and mulch, mulch, mulch every autumn.

    That's all I do plus a handful of pelleted chicken manure when planting new things and microrhizal fungae for new roses, clems, shrubs and trees.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Bright starBright star Wrea GreenPosts: 1,120

    I’ve just bought a David Austin bare root rose and reading the planting instructions it recommends some products to use if you don’t wish to use fungicides. These are SB Plant Invigorator, Maxicrop, which I use already and Uncle Toms Rose Tonic. 

    Pete8 I have some annual flower seedlings which have overwintered in the cold frame and are coming along nicely, still only smallish 3-4 inches. Is it too early to start feeding them with the seaweed extract? 

    Its this overwintering stage that I’m not sure of wether to feed or not. I try to keep them just moist enough so that they don’t freeze when frosty. Sorry for straying off topic, I wanted to pick your brains while your on this thread! ?

    Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 4,964

    Pete 8  I agree seaweed tonic is very useful I use it a lot too it seems to toughen up the cuticle of plant leaves. Personally I use SM3 from the organic catalogue but Maxicrop is a well established brand too. Garlic spray is said to deter aphid attack but needs to be re-applied frequently- fortnightly.

    AB Still learning

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,490

    I agree Iain - I first used seaweed ex a few years ago and the results were impressive.
    It provides a huge range of trace minerals etc that are very beneficial to plants and may not be available in the soil.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • TheSouthernGardenerTheSouthernGardener Munster, Ireland.Posts: 68

    Thanks for the tips everybody . I've bought some maxi crop seaweed feed for the first time a couple of weeks ago but haven't used it yet, by the sounds of it some of you have had good results so I'm excited to see what kind of results I'll get. Tempted to try the Uncle Toms tonic on the roses , has anybody here been using that I wonder? .Apparently  it's supposed to be good stuff according to some gardening programmes I've been listening to. Also I'll be using microrysal  for the first time on my new trees  pre planting this spring as I read its great for getting plants root systems established , particularly bare root , which is what I'll be planting. Hopefully it's as good as they say.

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,490

    Advertising can tempt us to buy all sorts of stuff that we're told will work wonders, but at the end of the day, a plant needs NPK and trace minerals.
    So an appropriate plant food will supply NPK and some trace minerals and if used alongside seaweed extract (or whatever other tonic you choose) is all that's needed.
    Too much of a good thing can cause imbalance in the soil.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,555

    And overfeeding makes plants sappy and prone to sucking insects such as aphids and makes them lazy about sending their roots looking for food and water.   Much better to keep the soil healthy than to feed the plant.  

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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