Why you should fertilise all year round Feature Diamond Sponsor – Atlantic Fertilisers

Like humans and animals, plants require regular feeding throughout the year – at least once a season. Happy, healthy, well-nourished plants are more resistant to pests, diseases, heat stress and frost.

 

Spring and autumn are the more recognised times to fertilise the garden, however summer and winter are just as important. Even though there’s no dramatic plant growth in winter, there is still plenty going on below the ground. Applying an organic fertiliser such as All Purpose or Bio Ocean introduces beneficial bacteria which stimulates activity within the soil, breaks down organic matter, unlocks nutrients and enhances root growth, providing your plants with a head start for spring.

The importance of organic fertiliser

With inorganic, or synthetic, garden fertilisers so plentiful, it might make a gardener wonder if it’s really all that important to use organic products instead. After all, it’s all about what works right now and makes the garden beautiful, right? Well…this is not the case. In organic gardening, the overall health of the soil and plants is the main concern, so while synthetic chemical fertilisers may do a job today, organic fertilisers ensure the health of the garden tomorrow.

Fertiliser
We’ve highlighted the main advantages of organic fertiliser below:

Organic fertilisers work slowly. For organic fertilisers to work, the soil has to first break them down. This means that both the soil and the plants in it get the nutrition they need when they need it. Chemical fertilisers, although speedy, often overfeed the plant, do nothing for the soil, and can damage plants by burning them.

Organic fertilisers improve the soil. Organic materials and fertilisers improve the soil texture, allowing it to hold water longer, and increase the microbial activity in the soil. So, they not only assist your plants, they help the soil. Chemical fertilisers, on the other hand, deplete the soil of its nutrients, making it unproductive.

How to plant a plant Back to Basics

How to plant a plant

Out the pot and into the ground, simple as that, right? If you would like your plants to thrive there are in fact several important aspects to consider in perfecting the art of transplanting. New additions to the garden can cost a couple of pennies too, so let’s make sure you get all the bloom for your buck. Here is Life is a Garden’s guide on how to properly plant a new plant.

 

Reading planting instructions  

The information provided on every pot or label at the nursery contains essential information that helps you make an informed decision on what to choose and where to plant. Each container and seed packet indicates:

  • Sowing/growing season (when to plant it)
  • Position (amount of sun/shade needed)
  • Spacing (how far apart they need to be from the next plant)
  • Watering guide (how often to water)
  • Germination and flowering (how long seeds take to germinate and when they plant flowers)

 

*Top tip: GCA Garden Centre attendants are both knowledgeable and friendly. They are available to help you choose the best plants for your environment. Ask them for help and they’ll show you which new lovelies are best suited to your needs.

How to plant a plant
How to plant a plant
Planting in pots

If you have chosen to grow in a container, here are some simple ways to give your new plant the best head start in life. Remember to ask your garden centre advisor to assist you in choosing the correct potting mix and fertiliser for your plant.

  1. Wash your homing pot before transplanting with a gentle disinfecting soap.
  2. Ensure there are sufficient drainage holes.
  3. Line your planter to keep it clean and help protect plants against mineral deposits and disease. Ask your garden centre advisor about which lining material would be best for your container and plant. Remember to also make drainage holes in the lining.

August in the Garden Spring into action

Cosmos August in the garden blog
August in the Garden

Although spring only officially starts on the 1st of September, we don’t need a calendar to see that spring has sprung! For most of the country there is a delightful springiness in the air. For the Free State and Western Cape, your time is soon to come. Although August is warm to even hot in various parts of the country, always apply the following rules when planting or sowing plants that are sensitive to frost damage:

  • In frost-free areas, start planting at the beginning of August.
  • In areas of light to moderate frost that lasts until about the end of August, plant in early September.
  • In areas with late frosts or winter rainfall, wait until late September.

With pruning behind us, there is so much to do in the garden, so push aside the winter chills and spring into action. Your spring bulbs and annuals should be a riot of colour by now, inviting you out onto the patio with family and friends during our balmy, warm August days. The beauty of spring may only be rivalled by the stunning women that surround us. The 9th of August is National Women’s Day and the perfect opportunity to celebrate both Mother Nature and all of womankind!

 

An African appetite

Have you considered growing an edible local fruit? The following shrubs, trees and ground covers can form an aesthetic part of your garden and become a valuable, unusual food source:

  • The kei-apple (Dovyalis caffra) is an evergreen large shrub, or small tree, that creates an impenetrable hedge with its spiny thorns. The yellowish-orange fruits are delicious and mostly used for jam, jelly, and syrup-making. The flowers feed honey-bees and attract butterflies whilst the fruit is a delicacy for several birds.
  • The shrub num-num (Carissa macrocarpa) and the ground cover num-num (Carissa macrocarpa ‘Green Carpet’) both have beautiful glossy leaves with compact, thorny growth.