Tips for a healthy, no-fuss garden that’s nature friendly

With life becoming busier, it’s hard to find the time for gardening. That’s why the idea of low maintenance gardens is so appealing.  But here’s a thought, especially for those who love their gardens. The healthier your garden is, the less maintenance it needs.

Strong, healthy plants are more resistant to pests and diseases, as well as being more heat and drought tolerant.  As with human health, ‘prevention is better than cure’. Giving plants a good start by meeting their all their nutritional needs from the beginning, makes it easier to maintain their long term health.

Setting up a basic routine of proper soil preparation when planting combined with monthly feeding keeps plants in tip top condition without much effort.

Start from the roots up.

The old saying, don’t plant a R10 plant in a 10c hole still applies (inflation aside), but rather plant a 10c plant in a R10 hole.

Putting a plant into the ground requires effort, so why not pay attention to soil fertility and plant nutrition at the same time for better results?

Try this:

EcoBuz has a three-in-one combo that can be used as a soil drench that addresses soil health, provides nutrients for growth and protects roots from soil disease. Use this drench when sowing seed, planting out vegetable or flower seedlings, roses, perennials and shrubs.

  • HumiGro is a carbon-based soil conditioner, that builds a soil rich in microbes that make nutrients available to plants, improves the soil structure, and makes fertilisers more effective because the soil is able to retain soil nutrients for longer.
  • Start Gro is a blend of micro-nutrients, particularly boron (B), silica (S) and calcium (C), that play a particularly important role during early plant growth and development. It also reduces transplant stress.
  • Root Pro Root contains a natural, beneficial fungus which grows symbiotically with plant roots. It paralyses and destroys soil pathogens, reducing the risk of root disease, which aids root development and improves germination.

All three can be mixed into a watering can and applied at the rate of one cup (250ml) per plant. Should more than the recommended dose be given, it will not burn the leaves or the roots.

Another effective water soluble plant food is Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger that contains macro as well as micronutrients plus a growth stimulant. Before sowing seeds, soak the seed overnight in diluted mixture of Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger to boost germination. It can also be used as a drench for seedlings.

Two weeks later apply another drench of StartGro and Root Pro or use Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger.

Monthly nutrition is must

Make a date with your garden one morning a month to give it some tender loving care in the form of a nutrition boost.

Pretoria landscaper Helét van Blerk is known for her client’s lush, healthy gardens. “Food is more important than water, especially for flowers,’ says Helét. From her experience, the stronger the plants are the less water they need, coping better with dryer spells.

Debbie Smit of Foxgloves Landscaping in Joburg never sprays her clients gardens for pests or diseases, preferring a monthly, intense feeding programme to build heathy, disease resistant plants.

Try these:

Ludwig’s Vigorosa 5:1:5 (25) is not just for roses. It is a granular fertiliser for lawns, landscapes, shrubs, flower beds, and vegetables. It contains a balance of macro nutrients, Epsom salts, Lime, and Boron as well as humic acid, that acts as a neutralising factor in the soil allowing the fertiliser to be absorbed almost immediately, with noticeable results within a week. Apply 30g (one measure) per rose bush, and twice that for larger plants.

EcoBuz MultiGro is a drench or foliar feed for vegetables, herbs, flowers, outdoor and indoor container plants. It is an “all-in-one” plant tonic, containing a blend of nutrition including macro and micro-nutrients that stimulates growth and plant wellness. Use 5 ml (one capful) in 5 litres of water.

It can be mixed with Chronos, a fungicide for black spot, or Disease Pro for powdery mildew and downy mildew, as a monthly treatment.

Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger is not just a good starter tonic but works well as a monthly maintenance tonic. It can be used as a drench or in a sprayer for houseplants, acid loving and all flowering plants, vegetables, herbs, seedlings, groundcovers, fruit bearing plants and lawns. Use 10 ml per 3 litre water and for lawns, groundcovers and seedlings, drench the area with 5L of diluted mixture per 10m2.


Published in the Beeld

Written by Alice Coetzee