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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 Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,072

    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 Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,072

    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: 3,212

    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?
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