Tim’s tips for a bountiful vegie and berry patch – part two
Tim Mounsey, Fruitfed Supplies Technical Horticultural Representative in Canterbury, shares his suggestions on how to grow a successful vegie and berry patch, focusing on adding organic matter and fertiliser to your soil to boost nutrient levels and increase earthworm activity.
Organic matter matters
Consider applying organic matter to your soil. Tim says by mixing into the soil, organic matter will improve soil structure and increase microbial and earthworm activity. Take note if you have very light soil that doesn’t hold moisture well, organic material will help retain moisture in the soil and assist with the nutrient exchange process.
Looking to add compost as organic matter to your soil? Head to our online store to purchase Tui Compost, a combination of organic matter, blood and bone and gypsum which will help break up heavy or clay soil and improve drainage and water holding capacity in all soil types.
For more products designed to add organic matter to soil, visit your local PGG Wrightson store. Tui’s range includes Chicken & Sheep Pellets designed to top up nutrients in the soil and Gypsum, a slow-release source of sulphur and calcium, both of which improve soil structure, aeration and water retention.
You’ll need a fertiliser
You can’t go wrong with a good all-purpose fertiliser according to Tim. Consider a NPKS fertiliser with a range of trace elements including, for example, boron, iron, manganese and zinc. In case you didn’t know what NPKS stands for, its nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and sulphur (S). These macro nutrients each perform a different role in boosting plant health and performance. Nitrogen encourages green growth while phosphorus aids root development. Potassium helps form flower buds and fruit. The amount of each of these macro nutrients varies, depending on the plant the fertiliser is designed to boost.
Tim says you can choose from a standard broadcast fertiliser or a slow release product, designed to deliver nutrients over several months into the soil.
Wondering how often to apply fertiliser? Tim says to apply over the surface of the soil when you’ve first planted, being careful not have the fertiliser come into contact with the plant’s roots. Fertiliser can then be applied again in say a couple of months’ time, and again in late summer. If you’ve used a slow release product, you’ll only have to apply once a year.
An all-purpose fertiliser recommended by Tim is Ballance Agri-Nutrients YaraMila Complex. Head to our online store to purchase.
For more fertiliser options, specifically designed to meet the requirements of vegies or berries, visit your local PGG Wrightson store. Tui’s fertiliser range includes Strawberry Food, containing nutrients that encourage fast establishment and growth of strawberry plants.
Tui’s Lime fertiliser improves soil structure by naturally adjusting pH levels, an important component of soil health.
Tui’s Vegetable Food includes dolomite lime and blood & bone to support vegie growth and microbial and earthworm activity in the soil.
Tui Potato Food contains macro nutrients, phosphorus and potassium, which are needed to produce yummy potatoes.
Consider a foliar fertiliser
A foliar fertiliser, or bio stimulant, is worth considering, according to Tim, to promote general plant health. This type of product helps a plant flower, fruit or aids in the fight against disease. Tim explains if you’re wanting to grow more fruit, apply a foliar fertiliser containing potassium or to stimulate plant growth early in the season apply one with nitrogen.
For a foliar fertiliser from Tui, head to your local PGG Wrightson store. Tui’s Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic strengthens a plant’s ability to tolerate temperature extremes, particularly hot summer days, while also supporting healthy plant growth, fruit and flower production.