Fertilizing / Plant Food:
The best way to know how much, and what percentage, to add nutrients to the soil is with a soil test. Simple soil tests can be purchased at some garden supply centers once you determine what nutrients are lacking or are in abundance, you can amend the soil accordingly.
There are four main nutrients that are most likely to be a problem in the soil: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Calcium. The first three nutrients are found in most mixed fertilizers, and Calcium can be purchased separately in the form of limestone.
Nitrogen is necessary for new cell formation in all parts of a plant. Compared to other nutrients, nitrogen is typically the most lacking. A symptom of a shortage of nitrogen is yellow-green stunted growth.
Potassium (potash) is necessary for strong roots and stems as well as deep flower color. A symptom of potash deficiency is weak stems and yellowing or browning leaf tips and edges.
Phosphorus is necessary for development of roots and stems. This nutrient also stimulates fruit and seed production. A symptom of Phosphorus deficiency is red or purple discoloration of leaves. Because phosphorus can become fixed to soil particles, it is important to place it close to the roots.
Fertilizer needs to be somewhat soluble; available to plants soon after application. The nutrients in organic plant foods, such as compost, manure, bone meal, and blood meal are not readily available to plants. These materials must breakdown, which make them slow acting. The nutrients of inorganic plant foods are in soluble form, which are readily available to plants. Inorganic plant foods are not long lasting; therefore, frequent fertilizing may cause the chemicals to destroy the plant. If applied in concentrated form, do not allow the fertilizer to come in direct contact with foliage and roots as the plant may be damaged or killed.
The ratio of nutrients is indicated on the fertilizer container. The numbers indicate the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash respectively – the higher the first number, the more nitrogen, etc. An inorganic fertilizer labeled as 20-20-20 indicates equal portions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash and typically used in gardens with little nutrient discrepancies. Due to the difference between organic and inorganic plant foods, a combination of the two may produce the best results.
Liquid Plant Foods – good for accurate applications for container plants.
Slow Release Fertilizers – feeds plant over an extended period of time, which is good for lawns. This type of fertilizer can be applied without the risk of burning the grass.
Limestone (calcium) – neutralizes the acid level in soil.
Side Dressing – adds fertilizer to plants during the growing period. Apply the fertilizer on top of the soil at least six inches away from the base of the plant.
Base Feeding – especially good for shrubs and roses. Apply fertilizer on top of the soil at least six inches from the base of the plant and extend to approximately twelve inches beyond the branch tips. Scratch the fertilizer into the soil without disturbing the roots.
Weed Control – using a geo-textile material
Plantex works by suppressing weeds. When covered by stone/ bark mulch or under paving, light cannot penetrate to the weeds. The unique structure of Plantex gives it immense strength. Weeds already weak from lack of light cannot penetrate through the fabric. However, unlike black polythene, Plantex will allow the soil to breathe and let’s water through.
Can I feed my plants through Plantex?
Yes. Liquid feed will pass straight through. The nutrients in solid feed will also leach through over a short time, therefore providing a more controlled feed.
Can I lay Plantex around existing beds?
Yes. Although slightly more fiddly than a new bed, Plantex can be cut around the base of your plants. Remember to allow a 100 mm overlap.
How long will Plantex last?
When covered with the correct depth of mulch, Plantex will last for over 25 years. If used uncovered or with insufficient cover the ultra violet rays in sunlight will weaken the tensile strength of Plantex
Can I walk on Plantex?
Yes. Plantex is used under footpaths in many public parks. It is also used under golf bunkers and turfed sports surfaces.
Will Plantex harm children or pets?
No. It is chemically inert. It can even be used to line pond plant baskets and as a filter layer in fish tanks.