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Using a general purpose fertiliser in a garden in Feb: Good idea? Recommended brand?

Hi all,  I read the following advice on a gardening website:

"Towards the end of (February), you can top dress beds and borders with a balanced fertiliser such as Growmore or blood, fish and bone, to feed perennials as they start back into growth."

Does that mean a one-off top-dressing of the whole garden, or do I continuously top dress from feb onwards (eg every two weeks or something)?

Also, is it better to sprinkle the fertiliser on dry, or dilute it in water and then water the beds?

I see there are various brands of growmore fertiliser, eg westland/vitax/elixir.  Is there a brand you would recommend?

Also is there any danger in over-fertilising a garden?

Thanks


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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 25,361
    As far as I know, Growmore is a product of the petrochemical industry and best avoided.  Better to use one of the products based on pelleted chciken/cow/horse manure which are more suitable for encouraging healthy micro-organisms in your soil.

    Scatter a generous handful round the base of each shrub or a couple of handsful per square metre for flower borders.  Do this in late Feb to late March depending on how mild it is.  No point when the soil is frozen.   No need to dissolve it as it's a slow release fertiliser.

    If you need an instant tonic for a particular plant or bed, use some liquid rose or tomato feed or some seaweed, diluted according to the instructions and then watered on.

    If you over fertilise, plants will grow soft and sappy and be less resistant to damage form pests and strong winds.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 25,361
    edited February 2020
    Lots.  It's a large plot - 4 acres - which includes bands of solid sand, bands of solid volcanic "schiste" and also good fertile clay and loam which has been fertilised for centuries by cows and more recently a donkey in one part.

    Oops - you meant the OP not me.  Doh!
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 25,361
    Agree about the mulch.  This schist is rather solid and unforgiving of spades and forks.   There's a quarry of reddish, volcanic stone just over 1km away and most of it ends up in road building or similar as it doesn't come out in big, useful lumps for buildings.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  •   Obelixx said:
    As far as I know, Growmore is a product of the petrochemical industry and best avoided.  Better to use one of the products based on pelleted chciken/cow/horse manure which are more suitable for encouraging healthy micro-organisms in your soil.

    Scatter a generous handful round the base of each shrub or a couple of handsful per square metre for flower borders.  Do this in late Feb to late March depending on how mild it is.  No point when the soil is frozen.   No need to dissolve it as it's a slow release fertiliser.

    If you need an instant tonic for a particular plant or bed, use some liquid rose or tomato feed or some seaweed, diluted according to the instructions and then watered on.

    If you over fertilise, plants will grow soft and sappy and be less resistant to damage form pests and strong winds.


    Thanks for all that info, much appreciated!  B)


  • CulpabilityBrownCulpabilityBrown Posts: 63
    edited February 2020
    Rik56 said:
    ahh. Schist.. takes me back to my Geology A level - we went looking for it in the Lake District on one of our various field trips - it can have Garnet in it - we never found any.

    And yes I meant the OP :)...was going to suggest if he's on clay that just a mulch of organic material would probably be more than sufficient.

    I don't think my soil is clay (i.e. it seems to drain okay if that's what you meant?), but yes I give it a bit of a mulch of broken down compost about this time of year, the only thing is the compost is spread pretty thinly as there's not really enough to cover everything sufficiently, so I was going to add some fertiliser as a bit of an extra "kick" if you see what I mean? 
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,303
    I don't really fertilise much in my garden.
    Once in a while I may buy a large tub of chicken manure pellets and chuck them around.
    Over the last couple of years I have started to mulch the beds with the bagged farmyard manure,not so much to fertilise but to improve the soil.
    Most things seem to grow regardless of what I do!
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,625
    Yes BUT if you use BFB or chicken manure in an area where there are foxes or where your dog goes they will dig up all your plants trying to get at it. I had to change to Growmore when I found the borders had become a feast for foxes. I'm not sure if the badgers didn't like it, too!
  • Posy said:
    Yes BUT if you use BFB or chicken manure in an area where there are foxes or where your dog goes they will dig up all your plants trying to get at it. I had to change to Growmore when I found the borders had become a feast for foxes. I'm not sure if the badgers didn't like it, too!

    Yes, this is one reason why I was considering Growmore aswell, as I've heard cats+foxes (I have both!) will attack your borders if you use blood-fish-bone. So they'll do the same if you use types of manure aswell?
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 25,361
    Have never used Growmore - always pelleted or well-rotted manure and compost -  and have two dogs and two cats.  I've always had cats and, for the last 30 years have lived in the countryside and have never had foxes digging up beds tho one of our dogs does seem to find their poo to roll in occasionally.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 9,397
    I had to stop using FBB because of our large fox and badger population.
    Too many hands in too many pockets
    Not enough hands on hearts
    Too many ready to call it a day
    Before the day starts
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