Monday, March 25, 2019

Time to Feed

New foliage on Lavender Lassie, hybrid musk
The days are definitely getting longer and, most importantly, warmer. With six inches of new growth on most rose bushes that were pruned back in January, it's time to give them something to eat.

I say "something" because they do require a steady intake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. That's the N-P-K that must appear on every bag or box of commercially sold fertilizer.

Remember that the forms of nitrogen and potassium that are readily available for plants are water soluble. Given the huge downpours we've had this winter. It's likely that much of the nutrients have drained out of the soil beneath your garden are now beyond the reach of the roses and other shrubs.

New foliage on Gloire des Rosomanes (Ragged Robin) hybrid china
If you are committed to organic sources only, get those fertilizers in the soil now. You'll need to work them in somewhat so that the microbes which convert them into usable forms can get to work. Make sure that there is plenty of light reaching the soil so that the soil temperature heats up to maximize the microbial action.

You can also use chemical fertilizers now as well and not have to worry too much about the roses being sufficiently hydrated. Just make certain that after you apply the Triple 16 or Triple 10, you water and water well. The nutrients need to dissolve and reach the roots of your plants.

If you haven't given your roses any Epsom Salts in the past three or four years, give each hybrid tea approximately a half  a cup and water it in. Epsom Salts are magnesium sulfate. Magnesium helps all plants transport nutrients from the ground up through the stems and canes into the leaves and thus stimulates plant growth.

The recent rains are slightly acidic which most ornamental plants love so you should see some very healthy growth in the garden right now.

New foliage on Maria Callas, hybrid tea
As most folks who follow this block of come to understand, I buy my fertilizers based on price. Whatever is cheapest is for me. Plants can't tell whether the fertilizers are organic or non-organic. The benefit of using organics such as fish fertilizer or guano is based on what else is coming with the nutrients. You can bet that food sourced from the ocean will contain most of the minor and micro nutrients all plants need. Food from agricultural sources such as cow or chicken manure will also contain abundant organic material that helps to amend the soils and ensure that future growth can depend on them once they break down.

I just purchases a box of MiracleGro at a really good price. I dilute it beyond the recommended amount believing a little every time I apply regularly is better than a bunch two or three times a year.

I'm likely to give my garden something to eat perhaps every two weeks through the summer. My feeding schedule is a little bit goes a long way if you do it regularly.

Get busy. Get out there. Get your roses looking great.
New foliage on Dublin Bay, large flowered climber