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Grow your own better crops

How to grow the biggest, best and most flavoursome salads, vegetables and fruit.

It seems like the whole of the UK has gone GYO veg crazy. And, in many respects, that’s not too surprising. You can’t have vegetables and salads fresher than growing them at home and creating an almost instant “plot to plate” experience. For those worried about climate change and flying in all our food from abroad, if you grow your own, you don’t have to worry about food miles – instead, you have food feet! And, of course, we’re all seeing the price of food rocket with the current economic crisis.

So, how do you make the most of every vegetable you grow and grow the biggest, best, flavoursome crops? Of course, seed sowing at the right time, growing in good soil or compost and watering at the right time and giving the right amount are vital. But so is feeding your crops. Here are some typical questions we get from subscribers to the Flower Power Gardening Club.

‘First year using Flower Power and Root Booster and the results have been amazing, the strawberries have produced the most fruit ever.’
Anthony Paterson

Why do I need to feed my vegetable plants?

Like you and me who get very upset, even angry, when we don’t eat enough and soon fail to be able to perform to our peak and become more prone to illnesses, your plants are the same.

Yes, plants make the starting block for all their food from their leaves (through photosynthesis), but their roots also need a steady supply of all the minerals and nutrients essential to combine with this to make all the carbohydrates, fats and proteins for a strong, healthy life. While many of these will already be in the soil to some degree, a shortage soon puts a halt to their growth – and that means a smaller crop or yield. And that’s why they need you to give them some supplementary nutrients by feeding them regularly and correctly.

Fruiting plants – like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, aubergines, courgettes, marrows and peas and beans – need a regular supply of potash, the nutrient that encourages, promotes and improves flowering and fruiting, This is very soluble in the soil and often lacking, so feeding with a high potash feed will ensure bumper crops. Flower Power Premium Plant Food is a high potash fertiliser and is perfect for these – and, in fact, all vegetable plants. A weekly feed with this will give bigger, better, stronger and healthier plants and a heavier harvest.

Richard’s Premium Organic Seaweed Tonic is brilliant for giving crops a pick-me-up tonic if they’re not doing their best, as well as making them more resistant to adverse weather conditions, pests and diseases – and increases flavour! Or try Richard’s Organic Plant Booster, which contains even more plant-friendly goodies.

Do I need to feed root crops?

Most root crops, apart from potatoes don’t like overly-rich, over-manured soil. This can lead to stunted and forked roots. An application of Flower Power Premium Natural Fertiliser a couple of weeks before sowing or planting will feed the soil and feed your plants for up to six weeks. A weekly feed of Flower Power Premium Plant Food after this will keep those crops cropping. Of course, Flower Power Premium Natural Fertiliser isn’t only suitable for root crops, and especially potatoes, it can be used all over the veg garden.

Plant and feed your plants with a combination of Root Booster and Premium Plant Food for the best results.

How do I feed my vegetable plants?

There are several ways you can feed your vegetables. Apart from preparing the soil with Premium Natural Fertiliser and giving a weekly feed of Premium Plant Food, there are some other things you can do.

You can feed the soil further and make clay soils more workable and help hungry light, sandy soils hold on to more water and nutrients by digging in home-made garden compost. A HOTBIN hot composter will make quality garden compost quicker and easier. And get all your veggies off to the very best possible start in life by planting them with Root Booster.

And, finally, Flower Power Premium Plant Food is formulated so that it can also be used as a foliar feed, as well as watering it on the soil around plants.

Will I get tastier and better crops if I feed my vegetable plants?

While overall yield is important – the more the better – taste is also important, as is the overall quality of the food produced. Any plant feed that contains seaweed extract, for example, will not only aid growth, it also helps improve flavour, especially of fruiting crops.

‘Using a good quality compost and feeding with the superb quality Flower Power feed is to us, the perfect combination for growing excellent, full of flavour, quality vegetables.’ Margery & Bernard Le Masurier

You can read my trial on using Flower Power Organic Liquid Plant Food on tomatoes against the leading tomato food to see how it improved my crop.

Beat the bugs

Sadly, even with the best will – and gardening practices – in the world, veggies are prone to attack from insect pests. You can protect plants and deal with insect pests using pesticide-free Pest Control Concentrate, which is approved for use in organic gardening.

And where slugs and snails are a problem – and where aren’t they – protect plants with Richard’s Slug & Snail Control, also suitable for organic gardening.


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