Feeding and watering

Like us, plants need extra food and nutrients every now and then to remain healthy.  A good rule of thumb is to feed garden plants every two or three weeks, or slightly more frequently in their peak growing season.  Feed them after watering so the plants can absorb the nutrients.

Feeding and watering plants

Keep it balanced
Different plants have different nutrition needs: Too much nitrogen can result in leggy growth, lots of leaves and not much fruit. Too little can hinder fruit production and growth.

Potassium is important when plants are developing fruit. For a good harvest, apply potash when fruit trees and bushes begin flowering (before the fruit sets)

Watering know-how
Deep watering encourages strong roots and makes plants more resilient, so give them a good soak twice a week. Avoid watering in the middle of the day, water on the leaves can burn them in the sun or evaporate. Also take care to water plants at the roots so the leaves don't get mildew.

Watering takes precious time. You can make life easier by planning ahead. We recommend you:

  • Install irrigation (drippers or sprinklers) on timers
  • Group thirsty plants together so you only have to water one area
  • Use water crystals in hanging baskets to improve water retention
  • Mulch and plant ground covers to improve water retention.

Make your own plant food
Making compost or setting up a worm farm is a cheap, sustainable and natural way to make fertiliser for your garden. It isn’t very hard and there are compost options suitable for city living and small spaces. 

Composting has the added bonus of reducing the amount of rubbish your produce and your carbon footprint. Best of all, it is much cheaper than store-bought fertilisers!

Here are some great options for turning your scraps into plant food:

  • Bokashi bin systems are great for composting your kitchen scraps and are the perfect space-saving compost system for the city.
  • Worm Farms produce a natural liquid fertiliser ('worm tea') and worm castings, (A.K.A. worm poop) which are great for your soil. 
  • Seaweed tea is a nutritious drink for your edible plants.  Make your own by collecting and rinsing seaweed at the beach. Soak it in a covered container for 6 – 8 weeks, dilute 1:5 and water your plants with it.
  • Make homemade banana peel tea to give your garden a potassium boost. Soak banana skins in water for a few days, dilute and use to water your plants 

Learn more about worm farming and bokashi composting in our Guide to Worm Farming and Bokashi