Starting to grow in my straw bales was fun. But having very limited knowledge about gardening and plant health, I looked for information about feeding my plants. I also needed to find out if it was really necessary…and if so why? All I knew is that if I was going to give this gardening thing a try it needed it to be easy. A little reading told me this: you do need to feed your plants… and it is not a scary as you might think.
The three nutrients needed for a healthy crop and thriving plants are:
• Nitrogen (N) – this will promote healthy leaf growth;
• Phosphorus (P) – for root development; and
• Potassium (K) – for fruiting.
Plants also need bacteria and fungi in the soil (or straw in this case) to release food to their root systems. This is the good news, because BaleGrow has loads of both.
Part of the breaking down process in straw bale gardening, is that this is a naturally occurring part of BaleGrow’s treatment system. The bacteria and fungi release food to the root systems. But plants do sometimes need additional nutritional support to be healthy and productive. And the easiest way to do this is by choosing a good fertiliser.
If you’re not sure what it is that your plants and veggies need, go back to what we already know: nitrogen (N) phosphorus (P) potassium (K). There are many fertilisers on the market today that will deliver a good quantity of each. Your local garden centre staff can point you in the right direction. If you know what nutrient(s) your plants might be lacking, here are some simple suggestions to boost the levels in your garden:
• Nitrogen and Phosphorus: Your salads and other leafy crops won’t flourish unless they have enough nitrogen. Composted animal manure is cheap and easy to source. A bag can be picked up for around $5-$10 at your local garden centre. Animal manures also contains a level of phosphorus. So this is a two-for-one option.
• Potassium: Adding potassium to vegetables that produce a large crop will only make production better. Crops such as tomatoes, beans, squash, strawberries and other fruiting crops need additional potassium regularly to get the best yield out of the season. The easiest way to do this is to take some wood ash from your fire (or a friends if you don’t have one) and place about a cup per meter around your garden bed.
Or make it easy on yourself and order some plant food with your BaleGrow delivery! We recommend using a foliar fertiliser such as Powerfeed or Harvest. Both are good all-round fertilisers that I have had great results with.