EAGS
Eltham Allotments and Garden Society

What’s It For?

Spring & Summer Lawn Feed

Autumn & Winter Lawn Feed

Lawn Dressing

Bonemeal

Calcified Seaweed

Lime

Milk

Phostrogen

Sulphate of Iron

Sulphate of Potash

Sulphate of Ammonia

Superphosphate

Vermiculite

Perlite

Garotta Compost Maker

Blood Fish and Bone

Hoof and Horn

Dried Blood

Epsom Salts

 

What's It For? - Spring & Summer Lawn Feed

This fertilizer is specially formulated for lawns and grassed areas, and contains nitrogen, phosphate and potash (N-P-K 11-5-5). Used at 6-8 week intervals from say April to August, it will maintain an attractive lawn with good colour (see also What's It For? - Autumn and Winter Lawn Feed). Apply evenly at 1oz per square yard when rain is forecast, but if no rain falls within 48 hours water it in with a hose or watering can. Do not apply on top of wet grass as some scorch may occur. Do not use during very dry or frosty weather. After a very wet winter you may have to 'renovate' your lawn by dressing it with 'Lawn Feed, Weed and Moss Killer' - possibly more than once (the manufacturer recommends not more than three such treatments annually). This contains herbicides (to kill the weeds); sulphate of iron (to kill the moss); nitrogen (for top growth); potash (for hardiness) but no phosphate (for root growth). Being a 'multipurpose dressing', it costs about 20% more than Spring and Summer fertilizer at today's prices. Therefore, once your moss and weed problems are under control, change to Spring and Summer Fertilizer - it's better and cheaper.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Autumn & Winter Lawn Feed

If you treated your lawn with fertiliser this year, you probably used 'Spring and Summer' and/or 'Feed, Weed and Moss Killer' as and when necessary. These fertilisers have a high nitrogen content compared with their phosphate and potash contents in order to promote vigorous growth. It is not always realised that they should not be applied after say about the end of August, since this can lead to soft growth, which may be susceptible to disease as winter approaches and average temperatures drop. However, your lawn could still benefit from a change to 'Autumn and Winter Lawn Feed', the nitrogen content of which is relatively low but with high phosphates and potash contents. These ensure a strong root system and disease resistance and provide for vigorous growth when spring arrives.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What’s it For? - Lawn Dressing

A waterlogged lawn will quickly deteriorate so it is vital to keep it well drained. Lawn dressing is formulated to improve the drainage of the lawn, help repair patches and to support its overall health by increasing nutrient levels. The use of lawn dressing encourages a thicker, healthier lawn which will look green and lush all season.

To use, after raking, spiking or machine scarifying spread the dressing evenly over the surface of your lawn at 1-2kg per m2 (2-4 lb per sq yard) then brush firmly into the surface of the lawn and water well. For best results use when the lawn is dry.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Bonemeal

When finely ground and sterilised, bones provide a slowly available source of 'organic' phosphate, which is safe to handle. As a bonus, they also provide a useful level of slowly available 'organic' nitrogen.

Bonemeal is a particularly good pre-planting fertiliser for roses, shrubs, trees and other woody plants, encouraging strong and healthy root growth, leading to quick establishment. Vegetables, especially peas, potatoes, onions and root crops benefit from it and a regular dressing encourages the vigour and colour of outdoor bulbs and plants.

It may be applied all the year round as a base dressing before sowing and planting. Sprinkle it evenly over the whole area (4oz per square yard) and work into the top 4 inches of soil with a fork. When planting roses, trees and shrubs, mix 4oz with the soil from the planting hole before planting. As a top dressing to established plants, sprinkle it evenly amongst bushes and flowers, between rows of vegetables or over the whole area covered by the branch spread of trees and shrubs. Hoe or rake in and, if dry, water well for maximum benefit.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Calcified Seaweed

Calcified Seaweed is a calcareous marine algae resembling coral, known to marine biologists as Lithothamnium Calcareum. It is dredged from the sea bed mainly off the Brittany coast, dried at low temperature and crushed to a fine powder, which is readily assimilated by the soil. It contains about 46% calcium oxide, 5% magnesium oxide; sulphur, copper, iodine and cobalt and some twenty trace elements. It is an ideal soil conditioner and clay breaker, and can be used on lawns, beds and borders as an alternative to lime to correct soil acidity. It is highly favoured by chrysanthemum, sweet pea, dahlia, leek and onion growers. It is non-toxic and safe to use, does not scorch and stores well if kept in a reasonably dry place.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Lime

Soil is limed as and when necessary to counteract its natural tendency to become more acidic and to create and maintain optimum conditions for plant growth. Soils may be alkaline (chalk or limestone soils) or acidic (peaty soils) in reaction. An alkaline soil contains lots of calcium - an element required in small amounts by all plants. In very acid soils there is a shortage of calcium salts. The acidity or alkalinity of a soil is measured on the pH scale, which ranges from zero (exceedingly acid) through 7 (neutral) to 14 (exceedingly alkaline). In Britain most soils tend to be slightly acidic due to rain constantly leaching out the calcium. Luckily, most plants will thrive if the acidity of the soil can be adjusted to a compromise pH of 6.0-6.5. Club root disease of brassicas flourishes in acid soils but can usually be controlled if the soil can be held at a pH 7.5 (the upper pH limit for this class of vegetable). Simple soil testing kits, available from garden centres, enable you to determine the pH of your soil. They also give a list of plant pH preferences and the amount of ground limestone that you need to apply to raise the pH by one unit.

It is always preferable to use lime in the form of ground limestone (or chalk), which is safe and easy to apply. Hydrated lime (slaked lime, builder's lime) is available but its caustic nature means that it must be handled with care and applied with care to avoid damaging plants in the vicinity. If possible, apply the lime in autumn or after winter digging so that the rains wash it in slowly. Choose a calm day and spread it evenly by hand. Never use lime at the same time as manure or nitrogenous fertilisers as it may react chemically with them and reduce their effectiveness. If you are in a rush, apply the lime to soil that has been raked to a fine tilth and distribute it by raking well into the top few inches. Water the area and allow it to stand for a week before applying a nitrogenous fertiliser.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Milk

It would seem that the kitchen, rather than genetic engineering, may hold the key to garden pest control in the future. According to a report in New Scientist (14th Oct '99) Brazilian scientists have discovered that spraying plants with dilute cows' milk stops powdery mildew in its tracks. The disease is controlled conventionally by spraying with benomyl or other synthetic fungicides. Apparently, milk diluted with nine parts of water is just as effective. So milk joins that other kitchen standby, bicarbonate of soda, as a safer alternative to chemical sprays. The only snag is that in Britain, because neither substance is approved as a pesticide, anyone tempted to try them in the garden risks prosecution!

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Phostrogen

Phostrogen is a specially formulated all-purpose plant food in the form of a white, water-soluble powder. It contains nitrogen to promote healthy green foliage; potash to develop abundant flowers and fruit and make plants drought and disease resistant; phosphate to encourage a strong, healthy root system; and essential trace elements to keep plants healthy.

For convenience, it is normally applied as a solution in water. It can be used regularly throughout the growing season for all types of plants, both indoor and out. Apply plant food solution round the roots of plants as far out as the foliage reaches, using as much solution as when watering thoroughly.

How much and how often?

Container plants and young plants and seedlings: 1 level 5ml teaspoon in 10 litres of water, at every watering.

Flowers, shrubs trees, lawns, fruit and vegetables: 4 level 5ml teaspoons in 10 litres of water, every 7-14 days.

Tomatoes: 4 level 5ml teaspoons in 10 litres of water, every 7 days after first flowers have set.

House plants: 3 pinches per litre, at every watering.

Powder application, apply 2oz per square yard as a soil dressing in spring and repeat in the summer. Alternatively, to feed your garden in minutes, use a Phostrogen 'Handy Feeder', 'Easy Feeder' or 'Thru Hose Feeder'. Simply pour 250g of powder into the feeder bowl and use as directed in the feeder instructions.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Sulphate of Iron

Sulphate of Iron is used for lawn improvement, moss control and for creating the acidic soils needed by lime-hating plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas, heathers etc. It darkens the lawn grasses and improves their appearance. Used regularly, it gradually increases the acidity of the soil, which discourages some weeds and favours the finer grasses. It helps to protect the lawn against some common diseases and controls moss and algae growth.

As it is soluble in water, a convenient "moss killer" can be made by dissolving 1oz in 2 gallons of water and applying this from a plastic watering can with a fine rose over 4 square yards in spring and autumn. In spring, the inclusion of sulphate of ammonia (2oz) will boost the growth of the grass but this should be omitted from the autumn treatment so that the grass will harden off for the winter.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Sulphate of Potash

Potash strengthens plants and makes them more weather and disease resistant. It also encourages flower formation and colour, leading to better blooms and higher fruit yields. It is particularly beneficial to tomatoes.

Apply it from early spring to November as a base dressing before sowing or planting. Sprinkle it evenly over the whole area (2oz per square yard) and work it into the top 4 inches of soil with a hoe or rake. As a top dressing to established plants, apply early in spring (1oz per square yard generally and up to 4 oz per square yard for fruit trees and bushes). Sprinkle evenly between rows of vegetables, amongst flowers and over the whole area covered by the branch spread of trees, shrubs and fruit bushes. Hoe or rake in and, if dry, water well for maximum benefit. Do not apply as a heap at the base of the stem and shake off any that lodges on the foliage. It may also be dissolved in water (1oz in 2 gallons) and used as a liquid feed.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Sulphate of Ammonia

Sulphate of Ammonia is a well-established, quick-acting, growth-promoting fertiliser with a response normally seen in about 10 days. Its main use is to give a rapid boost to established, quick-growing vegetables and salad crops. It is also a very effective spring tonic for shrubs, fruit and spring greens.

Apply it from April to September. Sprinkle it evenly between the rows of vegetables and under the full branch spread of trees, shrubs and fruit bushes (1oz per square yard). Hoe or rake it in and, if dry, water well for maximum benefit. Do not apply as a heap at the base of the stem and shake off any that lodges on the foliage. It may also be dissolved in water (1oz in 2 gallons) and used as a liquid feed. A light sprinkling over the surface of a compost heap each time the height rises by about 6 inches will speed the rate of compost production by 'feeding' the organisms responsible for the degradation process.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What's It For? - Superphosphate

Phosphates are vital in helping root development and the quick establishment of young and recently moved plants. Vegetables, especially peas, potatoes, onions and root crops benefit from them and a regular dressing encourages the vigour and colour of outdoor bulbs and flowers. Phosphates also encourage the early maturing of fruit.

Superphosphate may be applied all the year round as a base dressing before sowing or planting. Sprinkle it evenly over the whole area (2oz per square yard) and work into the top 4 inches of soil with a fork or hoe. As a top dressing to established plants, sprinkle over the whole area covered by the branch spread of established bushes, trees and shrubs (2oz per square yard). Hoe or rake in and, if dry, water in for maximum benefit. Do not apply as a heap at the base of the stem and shake off any that lodges on the foliage.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What’s it for? - Vermiculite

Vermiculite is ideal for the germination of seeds, because its aeration properties combined with its water holding capacity make it a very suitable medium for direct contact with the seeds. Vermiculite can also be applied to the outdoor seed bed where it will give improved emergence and less risk of capping. Vermiculite in potting compost gives a very light open compost, holding more water, thereby lengthening the time between watering.

To improve an existing compost add 20-25% by volume of Vermiculite and mix thoroughly.

Rootings/Cuttings A 50/50 mix is generally suitable for cuttings. Thoroughly water the vermiculite before inserting cuttings, and do not compress around the base of the cutting.

Seed Sowing The excellent aeration and water retention of vermiculite encourage faster germination and improved seedlings. Seeds of all sizes can be raised in just vermiculite. Alternatively, seeds can be germinated using an equal mix of compost and vermiculite (50/50). This is most beneficial for very small seeds.

Pricking Out Plant the seedlings in a mix of compost and 25/30% vermiculite by volume. The addition of vermiculite will facilitate the absorption of nutrients slow release to the plant's root hairs. This is especially beneficial when applying liquid plant foods.

Potting On Add 25-30% vermiculite by volume to potting compost allowing sufficient space to accommodate plant roots. This will create a light and open structure enabling the compost to absorb and retain moisture. Before transplanting plants, water them well and allow to drain. Remove the plants from their plant pots and pot on, firming compost around the plant roots. Water well and feed as appropriate.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What’s if For? - Perlite

Perlite is a naturally occurring, non-toxic neutral volcanic rock that has been heated to a high temperature to produce a lightweight, micro-porous material with a high surface area. It is ideal for use when sowing seeds, rooting cuttings, potting on and container growing to improve aeration, moisture retention and drainage. Perlite absorbs and retains vast amounts of air and moisture, improves aeration and drainage and is stable and long lasting.

Root Cuttings For soft stem and leaf cuttings use a mixture of equal parts compost and perlite. For harder cuttings and for fragile plants, increase to two parts perlite to one part compost. Keep well watered but ensure free drainage. Feed as soon as roots develop. Once roots have developed, pot on in the normal way either into compost or a compost/perlite mix. The addition of perlite accelerates rooting and reduces the risk of damping off (fungal disease). It provides an optimum balance of air and water, making waterlogging almost impossible and minimising damage to roots when transplanting.

Potting On Add 25% perlite by volume to compost allowing sufficient space to accommodate plant roots. Perlite can be used wholly or partly in place of sand and/or grit to create a light and open structure, improving aeration, drainage and insulation. Before transferring plants from plant pots to containers, water the plants well and allow to drain. Remove plants from their plant pots and place into container, firming compost around the plant roots. Once the container is fully planted, water well and feed as appropriate.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What’s if For? - Garotta Compost Maker

Garotta contains micro organisms which accelerate the composting process giving rich organic compost in weeks. Its biological formula is a blend of naturally occurring high active microbes and enzymes for use on all types of garden and kitchen waste.

To use, build up the compost in layers, treating each fresh load with a sprinkling of Garotta. When the bin is full, leave for six to eight weeks to compost down completely. When the compost is ready spread as a mulch or soil improver, leaving any material not fully composted as the base for the next mix.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What’s it For? - Blood Fish and Bone

This traditional and valued plant fertilizer has been used by generations of gardeners and contains a balance of 3 major plant nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Apply at 2 - 4oz per square yard during soil preparation of new land before digging. Another 1oz per square yard over the seed bed prior to sowing will support seedling roots before they reach the main dose of plant fertilizer.

The key uses of Blood Fish and Bone are to raise the fertility of unimproved ground, increase soil nutrients following a hungry crop and as a balanced plant food to boost all-around fertility. It can also be used before vegetables that need to make a lot of growth in a fairly short time. Easy to store and handle if you do not like manure.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What’s it For? - Hoof and Horn

This is a high nitrogen feed for plants that produce large amounts of leaf, especially vegetables and sweetcorn. Nitrogen is needed to make leaf protein therefore plants that make large amounts of green leaf can benefit from top dressings of Hoof and Horn. Examples include brassicas such as cabbage and kale, as well as lettuce, courgettes, and rhubarb. High quality leaves are also important for sweetcorn to produce good crop yields.  Hoof and horn can also be used on greens overwintering and around large fruit trees. Do not apply around small soft fruits, as the high nitrogen content will favour leaf production as opposed to flowers/fruit.

Hoof and horn also contains phosphates for root growth and application on the ground prior to transplanting will help new root development.

Hoof and horn should be applied at - 5oz per square yard at start of season, and 1oz per square yard when transplanting vegetables.

You may consider using Hoof and Horn if you have poor soil. Whilst fertility is best achieved using bulky organic matter, top dressing may be a stop-gap measure when growing hungry vegetables.

Hoof and Horn can be used as a compost decomposition activator.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What’s it For? - Dried Blood

Dried Blood is made of dried and powdered blood of animals (usually cattle), and is used as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for plants. It has been used by organic gardeners for years. Dried blood is used to increase green leaf growth, but should not be used around seedlings. Use only on non-legumes (peas and beans). When adding as a nitrogen source, always blend it into the soil.

Dried blood can be used as a compost decomposition activator.

Scattered around the garden it makes a good Deer deterrent!

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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What’s it For? - Epsom Salts

Epsom salts help seeds to germinate, make plants grow bushier, help produce more flowers, increase chlorophyll production and improve phosphorus and nitrogen uptake.

Houseplants: 2 tablespoons per gallon of water; feed plants monthly.

Tomato and Peppers  Epsom salts can keep plants greener and bushier, enhance production of healthier fruit later in the season, and potentially help reduce blossom-end rot. Apply 1 tablespoon of granules around each transplant, or spray a solution of 1 tablespoon Epsom salts per gallon of water at transplanting, first flowering, and fruit set. Roses: 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height per plant; apply every two weeks. Also scratch 1/2 cup into soil at base to encourage flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth. Soak unplanted bushes in 1/2 cup of Epsom Salt per gallon of water to help roots recover. Add a tablespoon of Epsom Salt to each hole at planting time. Spray with Epsom Salt solution weekly to discourage pests. Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron): 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet. Apply over root zone every 2-4 weeks. Lawns: Apply 3 pounds for every 1,250 square feet with a spreader, or dilute in water and apply with a sprayer. Trees: Apply 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet. Apply over the root zone 3 times annually. Garden Startup: Sprinkle 1 cup per 100 square feet. Mix into soil before planting.

Information can be obtained from the Allotment Shop on Sunday mornings from 9.30am to 12 noon.

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