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The Rose: Its General Care And Culture
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Fertilizing, Fertigating and Foliar Spraying







In our heavily leached region almost no soil is naturally rich, while fertilizers, manures, and potent composts mainly improve the topsoil. But the water-wise gardener must get nutrition down deep, where the soil stays damp through the summer. If plants with enough remaining elbow room stop growing in summer and begin to appear gnarly, it is just as likely due to lack of nutrition as lack of water. Several things can be done to limit or prevent midsummer stunting. First, before sowing or transplanting large species like tomato, squash or big brassicas, dig out a small pit about 12 inches deep and below that blend in a handful or two of organic fertilizer. Then fill the hole back in. This double-digging process places concentrated fertility mixed 18 to 24 inches below the seeds or seedlings. Foliar feeding is another water-wise technique that keeps plants growing through the summer. Soluble nutrients sprayed on plant leaves are rapidly taken into the vascular system. Unfortunately, dilute nutrient solutions that won't burn leaves only provoke a strong growth response for 3 to 5 days. Optimally, foliar nutrition must be applied weekly or even more frequently. To efficiently spray a garden larger than a few hundred square feet, I suggest buying an industrial-grade, 3-gallon backpack sprayer with a side-handle pump. Approximate cost as of this writing was $80. The store that sells it (probably a farm supply store) will also support you with a complete assortment of inexpensive nozzles that can vary the rate of emission and the spray pattern. High-quality equipment like this outlasts many, many cheaper and smaller sprayers designed for the consumer market, and replacement parts are also available. Keep in mind that consumer merchandise is designed to be consumed; stuff made for farming is built to last.





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