Fertilising the Veg Garden

As its too cold to plant I'm using the winter months for the vital thing called - research. 

This year its fertilising, as I know feeding the plants was something I was certainly remiss with this year. The peas and tomatoes did fine, but any root vegetable I planted came out minuscule if at all.

The fertiliser I bought at the start of the year is a basic shop bought organic liquid feed and states NPK to be Nitrogen 5 - Phosphate 2 (0.9 P) - Potassium 5. I chose this as it was water soluble so assumed could be used as fast acting.

This seems small, as in comparison an internet search gives as a good one of a balanced 10-10-10. Do I throw this out, or do I just use it more frequently?

While on the subject bonemeal is seen as a 4-12-0, while bloodmeal is 13-0-0 and are both slow release. Whats a good slow release potassium element to be stirred into the planting medium? 

Any advice welcome image



  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    Enchantica, can we assume you are growing in containers?

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Yes Bob, sorry. I'm using a mix of plastic pots, glazed clay and some small 1x3 raised beds.

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    Thanks E - it helps.  I agree with Verdun 's advice which gives a good general overview.  Root veg don't really do well in containers so that may be half of your problem.  Try and select varieties which are bred for container growing - often called 'mini veg'.  For carrots, these would be a 'stump rooted' variety as containers generally don't have the necessary depth for standard varieties, so suggest your raised beds for those.  I would also suggest buying the best compost you can afford - a John Innes number 2 type would be good, or mix your own using bagged topsoil mixed with a good general multi-purpose compost and adding a little fish, blood and bone (don't over-do that though!)  Doing that would provide more long-term nutrition than just using MP compost which generally has enough fertiliser to last for 6 weeks.  Later in the season use your weak general liquid feed, much of which can be absorbed via the leaves, so wet those when watering it in.  Little and often is the best way to use liquid types - those based on seaweed are good.  Also use as large/deep containers as you can. If it helps, my root veg grown in the soil didn't do very well last year either although I usually have a great crop, so perhaps it was just a bad year for some crops - the cold, slow start to the year being mainly to blame I think.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks for all the advice. So get the granular stuff in before planting, and make it fish, blood and bone to get a complete mix. If it needs topping up later in the season I can use my liquid one. 

    Brilliant, going to be trying Mel's Mix this coming year as well so will be picking up some good compost for that.

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,906

    Hi, E,

    Growing veg in pots, bags and small beds is not a complex science. What have you grown and what do you want to grow this year?


  • You mention NPK in the original post. Blood, fish and bone has an NPK of 4 : 7 : 4, a bit more balanced than the bonemeal and blood meal you mention. It's also slow release.

  • Is the blood and bone meal a good general feed for a vegetable raised bed?
  • Thanks for the info Verdun, one quick question should I stick to liquid feed for tomato' s or is there an organic option?
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    Hi Boingey, I make and use comfrey liquid feed for my tomatoes (in fact for everything which benefits from liquid feeds.)  You do need a bit of room to grow it, but it's easy-peasy.  'Bocking 14' is the one to plant as it won't seed itself everywhere like native comfrey does.  You just fill a bucket with hand crushed comfrey leaves, add water and cover.  After a couple of weeks, remove the rotted leaves and it's ready.  Dilute with water until it looks like weak tea and water away.image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Re blood fish and bone, do you only use this at planting time for veges or do you add it later as things grow as well? 


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    Hiya Verdun, I have a garden which is quite long and you can guess which end the comfrey bucket is placed! image  The good thing is the smell does quickly go away when it's actually used.  I decant it into 2 litre pop bottles as soon as it's ready though so the smell isn't around for very long really.

    But really, I think I've probably just got used to it more than anything! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,354

    Heheh - of course - les meilleurs vin of the garden liquid feed world! image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • On our allotments we have native cumfrey we draw lots to see who gets to mek it and stir it but by it dunt arf werk. I used to put a bucket full with no lid on at the front and back door of my house when mi mothering law were coming she did not stay long at all.Its good on plants as well.I am not taking the liquid Honest

  • daydaisydaydaisy Posts: 364

    I'm glad I'm not your mother-in-law Brian!

  • I,ll bet you are daydaisy she went to the big allotment in the sky years ago I,ll bet St Peter is,nt too pleased about it. She had a tongue like an adder.Regards Brian.

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