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As its too cold to plant I'm using the winter months for the vital thing called - research. 

This year its fertilising, as I know feeding the plants was something I was certainly remiss with this year. The peas and tomatoes did fine, but any root vegetable I planted came out minuscule if at all.

The fertiliser I bought at the start of the year is a basic shop bought organic liquid feed and states NPK to be Nitrogen 5 - Phosphate 2 (0.9 P) - Potassium 5. I chose this as it was water soluble so assumed could be used as fast acting.

This seems small, as in comparison an internet search gives as a good one of a balanced 10-10-10. Do I throw this out, or do I just use it more frequently?

While on the subject bonemeal is seen as a 4-12-0, while bloodmeal is 13-0-0 and are both slow release. Whats a good slow release potassium element to be stirred into the planting medium? 

Any advice welcome

Hiya enchantica

I would suggest a granular fertiliser for veg.  I use fish blood and bone.  Things like tomatoes in pots,  grow bags etc can be fed with liquid fertilisers and I like seaweed for this.

I'm not keen on high fertiliser rates.  Organic fertilisers are generally slower acting and help " feed" the soil too.  In my opinion, artificial fertilisers are often harsh and too powerful producing soft,  lush,  more-easily  attracted to pests produce.

Soils with high humus levels but little fertiliser content can still produce decent crops.  Poor soils with masses of fertiliser added produce poor crops.

If your soil has plenty of compost added a  good organic moderate-level fertiliser is all you need


Enchantica, can we assume you are growing in containers?


Yes Bob, sorry. I'm using a mix of plastic pots, glazed clay and some small 1x3 raised beds.


Thanks E - it helps.  I agree with Verdun 's advice which gives a good general overview.  Root veg don't really do well in containers so that may be half of your problem.  Try and select varieties which are bred for container growing - often called 'mini veg'.  For carrots, these would be a 'stump rooted' variety as containers generally don't have the necessary depth for standard varieties, so suggest your raised beds for those.  I would also suggest buying the best compost you can afford - a John Innes number 2 type would be good, or mix your own using bagged topsoil mixed with a good general multi-purpose compost and adding a little fish, blood and bone (don't over-do that though!)  Doing that would provide more long-term nutrition than just using MP compost which generally has enough fertiliser to last for 6 weeks.  Later in the season use your weak general liquid feed, much of which can be absorbed via the leaves, so wet those when watering it in.  Little and often is the best way to use liquid types - those based on seaweed are good.  Also use as large/deep containers as you can. If it helps, my root veg grown in the soil didn't do very well last year either although I usually have a great crop, so perhaps it was just a bad year for some crops - the cold, slow start to the year being mainly to blame I think.



Thanks for all the advice. So get the granular stuff in before planting, and make it fish, blood and bone to get a complete mix. If it needs topping up later in the season I can use my liquid one. 

Brilliant, going to be trying Mel's Mix this coming year as well so will be picking up some good compost for that.

Hi, E,

Growing veg in pots, bags and small beds is not a complex science. What have you grown and what do you want to grow this year?


You mention NPK in the original post. Blood, fish and bone has an NPK of 4 : 7 : 4, a bit more balanced than the bonemeal and blood meal you mention. It's also slow release.

Is the blood and bone meal a good general feed for a vegetable raised bed?


Fish blood amd bone is an excellent organic fertiliser perfect for veg.  It won't "burn" either in dry thin soils like some of the more (over) powerful artificial granular fertilisers.  It gives a sustained gradual release of nutrients 

Thanks for the info Verdun, one quick question should I stick to liquid feed for tomato' s or is there an organic option?

Hi Boingey, I make and use comfrey liquid feed for my tomatoes (in fact for everything which benefits from liquid feeds.)  You do need a bit of room to grow it, but it's easy-peasy.  'Bocking 14' is the one to plant as it won't seed itself everywhere like native comfrey does.  You just fill a bucket with hand crushed comfrey leaves, add water and cover.  After a couple of weeks, remove the rotted leaves and it's ready.  Dilute with water until it looks like weak tea and water away.

Re blood fish and bone, do you only use this at planting time for veges or do you add it later as things grow as well? 


Madeleine, use it as amd when.  It's a gentle fertiliser.

Bob......but the STINK.......



Hiya Verdun, I have a garden which is quite long and you can guess which end the comfrey bucket is placed!   The good thing is the smell does quickly go away when it's actually used.  I decant it into 2 litre pop bottles as soon as it's ready though so the smell isn't around for very long really.

But really, I think I've probably just got used to it more than anything!

I like the way you say "decant" Bob. 


Heheh - of course - les meilleurs vin of the garden liquid feed world!

Language Bob. !  

On our allotments we have native cumfrey we draw lots to see who gets to mek it and stir it but by it dunt arf werk. I used to put a bucket full with no lid on at the front and back door of my house when mi mothering law were coming she did not stay long at all.Its good on plants as well.I am not taking the liquid Honest