Soil types and fertilisers

Soil types and fertilisers

Garden plants | 26 April 2021

Every garden needs fertilising occasionally to give the plants enough nutrients for optimum growth and flowering. Alternatively, you can choose between organic manure or fertiliser.

Organic fertiliser

Farmyard manure and mature compost are ideal for soil improvement and by covering the soil with these minerals you will help your crops grow stronger. It is true to say that for really strong growth more nutrients are needed. For example, offer dried granulated cow manure or fertiliser from poultry manure, blood meal or bone meal. These contain nutrients, which are slowly released to the soil and plants and the big advantage of this is that the plants get a growth boost.


Inorganic fertiliser contains only food; it does not affect the structure and soil life. The plant uses this food to grow and prosper. The three key elements for proper development of plants: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen stimulates the growth; phosphorus is good for flowering, fruiting and the formation of healthy roots and tubers; and potassium stimulates the formation of new leaves and is necessary for the water and food transport in the plant.

In the spring, sprinkle some food manure, for example Phostrogen powder. In summer, give the rapidly growing plants some extra fertiliser. Do not use only inorganic fertilisers for years on end because after a long period of time it might have a negative impact on the structure of the soil and the soil life. Organic material is always necessary.

Ground improvement

Organic material such as compost or manure, not only provides nutrients but also has a beneficial effect on soil structure and soil life. Also peat is a good soil conditioner. The regular use of organic material is very important for your garden. The bacteria, fungi, and worms break off the dead material and turn it to humus, which in turn causes the soil particles to adhere to one another and retain more moisture and nutrients. Humus is essential for a productive and healthy garden with a loose soil structure.

Compost creation

Compost will give the nutrients back to the soil which were taken by the removal of cut flowers, leaves and harvesting the land. You can buy ready-made compost but you can also create your own valuable soil improving compost. It’s easy, even if your garden does not have much space, you can still use a small compost bin.

Firstly, you can process the kitchen waste into compost. Coarse material is shredded or cut into pieces and the tray is filled layer by layer. Start with a layer of old compost or garden soil. Add a layer of waste of about 20 cm. Then sprinkle some old compost or garden soil. Continue to build up until the bin is full. Bacteria will, over time, convert the waste into the best soil conditioner that you could wish for. If you have space, you could build a compost heap in your garden.


Turf is also a good organic fertiliser. The material has been formed in the course of tens of thousands of years from plants. Peat humus works and can be twenty times its weight in water! Peat improves the structure of the soil and makes it looser and lighter. Peat has another special property; the acid is in the ground. You can create a calcareous soil with acidic peat and it can make the ground suitable for strong acid-loving plants such as rhododendron, azaleas or heather. If you do decide to use peat, ensure the area which you use it on is always wet. Dry peat in the soil sucks the moisture like a sponge so the plants wither.


Mulches are loose coverings which can be applied to bare soil that provides excellent protection against the weather, rough winds, torrential rain and bright sunshine – it helps the moisture content and temperature to be maintained. This living floor consists of all the necessary bacteria and the mulch eventually will turns into humus. You can also use for mulching: grass, leaves, straw or tree trimmings. Mulch also helps to suppress weeds, deter pests and gives a decorative finish.

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