Barnet Post

Barnet Post

Natural ways to feed your plants

In her latest gardening column Wendy tells us why it’s important to feed plants naturally

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Credit: Wendy Alcock
By Wendy Alcock 24 November 2021

It’s at this time of year gardeners start making plans for the year to come. Before our memory fades on this

year’s highs and lows it’s a good time to reflect and think about how we might do things differently next year. The start of November is also an important time in the world’s collective fight against climate change with our world leaders meeting in Glasgow at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, also known as COP26. There they will be discussing (and hopefully agreeing) solutions to a wide range of issues affecting our climate, including a whole day on the topic of nature and sustainable land use.

But it’s not just down to our governments to make changes, we can take action too. If you’ve been thinking of moving towards a more sustainable garden now’s the time to plan for it and there

are loads of things you can do with little time and money. Ideas include installing water butts to save on mains water use, encouraging more wildlife into your garden to deal with pests naturally, growing more of your own food to limit air miles and packaging, and, the one I’m going to cover a little more below, avoiding chemicals when feeding your plants.

Although plants make up the largest group of organisms that can produce their own food (through photosynthesis), some- times we might need to top this up and provide extra nutrients (mainly ‘NPK’, which stands for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) to keep our plants happy. This is where fertilisers get used.

Fertilisers come in various forms but many gardeners still resort to using chemicals made in laboratories that can also have a negative impact on the wider environment, including releasing greenhouse gases during their manufacture, damage to the

soil and polluting nearby watercourses. The alternative, natural organic fertilisers, can do the job just as well in our back gardens and can often save you money too. Of course, I covered the ultimate way to feed your plants in my last article about the wonderful world of compost – check it out on the Barnet Post website.

If I’ve planted a seed about natural organic fertilisers that you can dig into and nurture over the winter you will find lots of alternatives you can try. As well as my homemade compost I use chicken manure, green manures (plants that draw nutrients into the soil), comfrey tea, vermicast (from my wormery) and seaweed but there are others you can make or buy. Let me know if you’re trying to be more sustainable in your garden and please share your tips on ways you feed your plants more naturally.