Chick, chick, chicken!
November 13, 2015
It really pays to have a season-by-season approach to feeding. For example, in spring and summer it’s the quick-fix liquid feeds that are needed. They get straight to the plants’ roots to be taken up and instantly be made use of.
In high summer, granular feeds are useful to release goodness over the warmest months, to be used up before the colder weather of autumn slows things down.
But what about feeding at this time of year, when it’s definitely cold and dark outside? Well, indoors we can be keeping warm with a nutritious cup of soup, but outdoors the plants need feeding too. You shouldn’t apply liquid or quick-release feeds now, as they will be leached through the soil thanks to autumn and winter rain. However, you can feed plants now with chicken manure pellets. Without wishing to appear odd in any way, in recent years I’ve developed a fondness for poultry manure! It’s a brilliant, non-chemical fertiliser.
Both Westland Organic Chicken Manure Pellets and Westland Earth Matters Natural Chicken Manure Pellets are slow-release feeds, meaning that they nourish the soil over a long period – and this is the best way to prolong the life of garden plants.
They provide a useful source of nitrogen (N) for plants, and also contain smaller amounts of other important nutrients. Nitrogen is responsible for leaf and stem growth, and is vital to nearly all plants in the early stages of growth. If you’ve been planting trees, shrubs and perennials this autumn (this is best time of year to plant), hopefully you also placed some of these chicken manure pellets in the planting holes. Whether you did or you didn’t, about three or four weeks after planting you can sprinkle some around the new plants, and water them in. They’ll release the nitrogen slowly all over the winter.
The pellets are also good for leaf crops (lettuce, cabbage, spinach and so on).
The other two essential plant nutrients are: phosphorus (P, usually referred to as phosphate), responsible for root growth; and potassium (K, usually known as potash), for flower and fruit production. Good amounts of both of them are available in chicken pellets.
The best way to apply the pellets is to sprinkle up to six handfuls per square metre around the plants you want to feed. For bedding plants and young vegetables, just keep to one or two handfuls, but up to six handfuls for trees and shrubs. Work the pellets well into the soil, and apply plenty of water immediately afterwards, to start the nutrient release process.
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