Real World Gardener Which Fertiliser in Plant Doctor

August 26th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney,streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community RadioNetwork.
The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.



How well do you know your fertilisers?

Whether you add organic matter or fertiliser to your soil, you provide your plants with three basic building blocks.

Fertilisers: Inorganic vs Organic photo M Cannon

These are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, often referred to by their chemical symbols of N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus) and K (potassium or potash).

Packaged fertilisers list the amounts of NPK each product contains, often showing it in a ratio format, called the NPK ratio.

But which ones should you use?

Let’s find out..I'm talking with Steve Falcioni, General Manager of

Soil microbes need to break down the fertilisers into a soluble form so it can be taken up by the roots of the plants.

Soil microbe activity depends on soil temperature and soil moisture.

In cold climates, microbial activity slows down to a crawl, but so does the plant's uptake of nutrients.

In warmer climates, soil microbial activity is year round and the decision as to which fertiliser to use is down to convenience.

Liquid fertilisers are fast acting but need to be applied fortnightly for the most part.

Solid, granular and pelletised organic fertilisers are best applied to the soil when the soil microbe activity is the most active.

Controlled release vs slow release fertilisers photo M Cannon

The way plants use nutrients is quite complex and varies from plant to plant.

Some need lots of one nutrient but little of another, while others need a balanced amount of each.

Understanding which nutrient does what gives you a rough guide to selecting the right fertiliser for your plants and garden.

If you have any questions about fertilisers or have some information to share, drop us a line to or write in to 2RRR PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675 and I’ll send you a packet of seeds.

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