What fertiliser to use on my allotment?
New Allotmenteer Posts: 33
in Fruit & veg
I have a large allotment to fertilise ASAP. The person who had it before me only used green manures and some of my veg last year struggled for size - particularly the leeks.
I am about to finish up the digging and get the potatoes in the ground and would like to know what best to use as a fertiliser this year - I'm not keen on manure as would need a lot and the allotment society supply is a bit fresh.
Should I just dig in a good scattering of growmore / chicken manure pellets?
Advice much appreciated!
That combination is fine.
The general idea is to get your soil in good heart first by digging in well rotted compost to improve soil structure, this will encourage worms and so the cycle goes on.
After this, a top dressing of choice may be added at planting time...this may be blood fish and bone meal, Vitax 4. There other fertilizers available for specific purposes such as bone meal which is a slow release fertilizer and used mainly when planting out trees & shrubs.
Truth is you need to understand the NPK table, which explains the three main plant foods ie Nitrogen, Phosphates and Potash. Then familiarise yourself with the requirements of the crop you are growing and choose accordingly.
Bit of a pain, but it takes much of the guesswork out of it.
Spuds do love the manure, but you will get plenty with Growmore too. My OH used Growmore, he would just sprinkle it along the trenches then put in the spuds and cover them up. I'm more organic orientated.
You have to compromise at the start I'm finding. There is a lot of benefit in manuring, getting good heart in the soil, but at the start we can't always be in that position. As we get into crop rotation it has the benefits of the years before that start to pay-off.
Green manure can never be enough. It doesn't work that way. Green manure can prevent loses from the soil which would occur if it was left bare and open, but it cannot put back more than it took out. This may be part of the issue.
At some point either organic material or fertilizer has to go into the system to allow you to keep taking the crops out.
So I would go with the Growmore, but for next year get that muck dug in this Autumn where the potatoes will be next year.
Years ago I got hold of a trailer full of fresh chicken manure and dug a load into my potato patch just before planting. I didn't know then how rich it was in nitrogen. The patch ended up looking like the Amazon rainforest, lush and green. Didn't get many spuds though.