Fertilising the Vegetable Patch in Spring – Tips and Tricks

Many vegetable beds are lying fallow, many a clod from autumn’s tilling is waiting to be crumbled by rake or rake. But wait: before starting to prepare the beds, the kitchen garden should be supplied with the first nutrients. How to fertilise your vegetable bed is explained below.

In spring, fertiliser granules, compost, pelletised manure as well as lime and seasoned manure are worked into the surface.

Working in organic fertilisers such as horn meal is particularly important because their nutrients are only mineralised by soil organisms when they come into contact with the soil and are thus made available to the crop plants.

Fertilising vegetable beds: Things to know

✿ If possible, do not let your vegetable patch lie fallow. Before a crop with high nutrient requirements, green manure plants can contribute to a good supply of nitrogen. This is true when using legumes (leguminous plants), as these have the ability to bind atmospheric nitrogen. Green manuring also ensures a lively soil life and a good soil structure.

✿ Compost provides valuable humus and contains relatively many nutrients. So use it sparingly and apply less purchased fertiliser accordingly. Mulching with plants from other garden areas achieves similar positive effects as spreading compost.

✿ Fertilising can be more targeted after a soil test. This protects against overfertilisation and one-sided deficiency. In addition, a soil analysis can help to gain comprehensive knowledge about the garden soil (soil type, pH value, lime requirement, humus quality). However, it often takes a while before you have the results in your hands. Therefore, send in a soil sample as soon as possible.

✿ Mineral fertilisers often work quite quickly. They can therefore also be used up quickly or – in the case of an oversupply or poor soil conditions – end up in groundwater and running waters. You are on the safe side with slow-release fertilisers such as Osmocote, Blaukorn entec or Compo Plant Fertiliser 5 in 1.

✿ With mineral fertilisers, nitrogen in particular is often present in a form that is quickly available to plants, but is not completely absorbed if there is an oversupply. Therefore, when fertilising the vegetable bed, give small amounts, but more often.

Young plants do not need so many nutrients. They are well served with small doses of fertiliser or slow-release fertilisers.

Some nutrients such as phosphate and potassium can be stored for twelve months (sandy soil) or up to two years (heavy soil). Stockpiling fertiliser is therefore possible. But here, too, it is better to have the soil tested for its nutrient content beforehand, because many garden soils contain plenty of nutrients that can be stored well.

✿ Organic fertilisers can lose volatile nutrients, e.g. nitrogen as gaseous ammonia, even when stored properly. So always store well closed and dry and ideally use within one season.

✿ Mineral fertilisers retain their fertilising effect when stored moist, but they bake together or often become greasy. It is better to store them dry. They are then easier to dose and apply.