The soil beneath your feet is your most precious resource in the garden: look after it, and your plants thrive. There’s a huge range of bagged soil, compost and fertiliser in our garden centre in Jersey to keep container plants happy and your soil in tip-top health.
Multipurpose compost is perfect for container-grown bedding, cuttings and potting on. In our garden centre you’ll find environmentally-friendly peat-free and peat-reduced composts, and composts with added fertiliser and water-retaining gels – great for thirsty hanging baskets.
Specialist composts are tailor-made for the needs of plants from citrus to roses. You’ll also find soil-based composts in our garden centre for permanent container planting, ericaceous composts for lime-hating plants and fine-grade seed composts for sowing.
Soil improvers like farmyard manure and composted bark beef up poorer soils to keep plants growing strongly. Mix with your soil when planting and use to mulch the surface to suppress weeds and hold in moisture.
Fertilisers include liquid feeds such as liquid seaweed and tomato feed to encourage flowering and fruiting. Add slow-release fertilisers such as bonemeal to planting holes and mix granular feeds into potting composts for feed-and-go convenience.
To fertilise… Or not to fertilise?
Plants need three main nutrients to do well: nitrogen for leafy growth, phosphorus to produce strong roots, and potassium, for flowers and fruit. If your plants go short, they’ll grow poorly, fail to flower or fruit, and develop sickly, yellowing foliage.
If your soil is in good heart, all you’ll need to kick start the year is a spring dose of slow-release fertiliser such as bonemeal or pelleted chicken manure, both available in our garden centre. Repeat in mid summer for greedy plants like vegetables, sweet peas, clematis and roses. Stop fertilising by late summer, though, as new growth after that point is more vulnerable to frost damage.
Plants in containers rely on you for nutrients. Balanced liquid seaweed added to your watering can once a week keeps them healthy. In our garden centre you’ll also find controlled release fertilisers, available as granules or handy pellets to insert into the compost, releasing nutrients for up to 12 months.
Big heavy-fruiting greenhouse plants also benefit from some extra help: give them weekly feeds of potassium-rich tomato feed, also available in our garden centre, as soon as they start flowering.
With such a wide selection of different garden composts available in our garden centre it’s sometimes difficult to know which to choose. Also the soil, compost and fertiliser in Jersey are very specific to our island. Don’t worry, it’s simple: just ask yourself these three questions.
Is my plant growing in a border or in a container? Soil improvers such as well-rotted farmyard manure boost nutrients in the open garden, so that’s what you should use added to the planting hole for new shrubs, trees and perennials.
Annuals and bedding in containers enjoy multi-purpose compost, but for longer-lasting displays of shrubs, perennials or grasses mix this 50:50 with a soil-based compost like John Innes no. 3 which holds on to nutrients for longer.
Is my plant acid-loving? Ericaceous or acid-loving plants, including rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and blueberries, only grow well in soils with a pH (acidity) of less than 6.5. If your soil isn’t naturally acidic, grow them in containers of special ericaceous compost, also available in our garden centre.
Do I want compost for propagating seeds or cuttings? Seeds germinate best in soil-based seed compost such as John Innes Seed. Later, young seedlings can be potted up into multi-purpose compost.
Feeding your soil
Feed your soil, not your plants is a good piece of advice for any gardener: a well-cultivated soil is like deep brown breadcrumbs, rich and hearty and able to provide everything your plants could need.
Healthy soils have an open structure, so water drains through easily. They’re also moisture-retentive, with sponge-like particles which absorb water and hold onto it until plants need it. Open soils also teem with micro-organisms, making it easier for roots to absorb nutrients and generally helping your plants to thrive.
Getting goodness into your soil is straightforward: all you need is plenty of organic matter. Well-rotted farmyard manure, available by the bag in our garden centre, works deep into the soil through the season releasing nutrients as it goes. Dig in to the top layer of the soil at half a wheelbarrow load per square metre.
Slow release fertilisers such as bonemeal and pelleted chicken manure, also available in our garden centre, increase nutrient levels gradually over the season too: apply in March and again in late June. Follow with a mulch of more well-rotted organic matter and your plants will be in heaven.
Special feeds for special plants
For some plants, ordinary feed just isn’t enough. Orchids, for example, need magnesium and other trace elements; even fuchsias are particularly greedy feeders which need more potash than the average soil can provide while they’re flowering in late summer and autumn.
For plants like these, buying a feed that’s specially formatted to suit their needs is a shrewd move. You’ll ensure that those nutrients which your soil can’t provide are there when your plant needs them.
As well as specialist orchid and fuchsia feeds, in our garden centre we have fertilisers formulated for acid- lovers like rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, full of the iron and magnesium they need to avoid leaf yellowing and produce those explosions of flower in late spring.
Citrus like lemons, limes and calamondin oranges enjoy a high-nitrogen food in summer, when they’re in full growth, but like to switch to a more balanced feed in winter, to help keep them healthy and avoid premature leaf fall.
Also available in our garden centre are high-phosphate feed for free-flowering African violets, root- strengthening potash rich feeds for bonsai trees and low nitrogen feeds for slower-growing cacti. Please ask the staff in our garden centre in Jersey for more information and advice about specialist feeds for your plants.
Please ask the staff in our Jersey garden centre for more information and advice about compost, soil and Fertilisers in Jersey.
Please ask the Ransoms staff in our Jersey garden centre for more information and advice about Soil, Compost and Fertiliser in Jersey.