It works both ways. If we want our gardens to feed us, we too must feed them. The growth has exploded this past month so now would be a good time to prepare a feeding schedule for your plants.
One of the best natural fertilizers out there is derived from the comfrey plant. A controversial herb, once banned south of the border, likely due to its amazing medicinal properties, which is another blog topic altogether. As a fertilizer, Comfrey is loaded with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, exactly what’s needed for your plants. Comfrey will sprout in early spring and is guaranteed to last all season long. It grows continuously, and will even survive a couple of frosts.
Compost is another one of our go-to feeds. Rich in microorganisms and nutrients, it has everything plants need for healthy growth.
Knowing which plants are heavy feeders is a good starting point. Your soil conditions also play a role on how much feeding will be required. The general rule of thumb is the bigger the fruit or vegetable, the more feed is necessary. Which is why well composted manure should also be included in your feeding schedule, especially when your plants start bearing fruits and veggies.
Tomatoes are one of the heaviest of feeders, and they will let you know if they’re not happy. Most seed packages tell you to feed every 2 weeks. Heed that advice. They also appreciate a good pruning allowing air flow through your plants. Did you know tomatoes are vulnerable to tobacco? Smokers beware and always wash your hands good, or better yet wear gloves when handling tomato plants.
Brassicas: Yes I know you should always grow these separate from one another since they all attract the same cabbage moth pest that can easily destroy your crops. That guidance was followed but it still didn't matter, so after many years we are attempting to grow cabbage and broccoli once again. Together with Kale - oh no! - they are all under a row cover that is so far doing its job. P.S. cabbage & broccoli are both HUGE feeders.
Corn; this one’s another hungry crop. So much so it “sucks the soil dry” of all its nutrients. Beans are amazing at rejuvenating the soil which is why we always plant corn wherever beans were grown the previous year. Make sure to feed this crop regularly once those Ears appear.
Gypsy Moth Update:
The caterpillar plague is over. And it looks like spring again with our trees sprouting new leaves. At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me. But with each passing day we’re watching the forest rejuvenate herself. Amazing. Thankful. Sigh of Relief.
What remains to be seen is the upcoming gypsy moth emergence from pupa state. I don’t want to make any assumptions but something magical happened, as it is very obvious many caterpillars have succumbed to either a virus (upside-down V) or a fungus (stretched out, head down). So yeah, my fingers are crossed...