If your veggie patch is looking a little sad, your soil may be depleted from essential nutrients.
Whilst the three main nutrients your plants need to survive are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, your plants will need a whole lot more to thrive. Happy plants will also mean more resistance to bugs which will also take away another swag of problems.
So how do you know what your plants need?
Your plants will generally tell you what nutrient they are missing by their colour or growth -which can be hard to identify especially if you’re new to growing your own food.
For example a nitrogen deficiency could mean your leaves start turning yellow, potassium deficiency could mean your leaves are yellowing at the tips of any new growth. Then on top of this, if your soil PH is out of wack, you may have the nutrients available in your soil, but your plants cannot absorb those nutrients (I’ll talk more about this in another post).
So the question is how do you fix it? Well as they say prevention is always better than a cure so I like to make sure when preparing my beds I add a few bits and pieces to give it the best start.
Goes without saying that compost is like gold dust for your garden beds. The best compost is the compost you make yourself (see how I compost here) often the store bought stuff is rubbish so if you don’t have a compost bin setup, do this first.
Harder to find but this stuff is gold for your gardens it will naturally boost your trace elements in your soil.
Lime is a form of calcium as well, but it will also have an alkalising affect on your soil – which is great for worms, but too much will be not so great for your plants.
This is going to help with your potassium.
Epsom salts will boost your magnesium. This will help keep your plants leaves lovely and green.
Egg shells are packed full of calcium, and if you have chickens or are an egg eater you’ve likely got a freely available abundance of them. I just rinse them out and crush them up as finely as possible (I blend mine to make a fine powder and sprinkle them in my bed preparation).
Blood and bone
A power punch for your garden bed great for giving your plants a nitrogen fix as well as phosphorus. A little on the stinky side so not so great if you have a very nosy beagle!
So there are the main things that I add to a new garden bed to keep my plants thriving. What have you found helpful to add to your gardens?