Feeding of Herb Plants
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Maria Marion
Posted on: May 28, 2002

I have a small herb garden in Florida that I was hoping to develop into a useful and good one that would last me for a long time. I was hoping you could answer a few questions. Do herb plants need to have some sort of plant food given to them to thrive? I have asked around my local nurseries and I have had tomato plant food recommended to me. Is this true? Is there something better? Do they actually need anything? Most of my herbs are for culinary purposes so that I would not want to use any sort of poisonous substance on them. Should they be fertilized? If so, what should be used?

Herbs should not be as heavily fertilized as most vegetables, because lush growth has less flavour than slightly stressed growth. Give your herbs the correct amount of light -and for most herbs that means full sun - and the correct drainage and again for most herbs that means sharp drainage and only fertilize if they seem to grow too slowly. This will happen as the soil becomes depleted, but usually -again depending very much on the soil you started with - the first year they will be OK as long as you worked in compost to make the soil friable and moderately fertile, before planting your herbs.

When you do fertilize we would recommend a seaweed additive such as Maxicrop seaweed fertilizer, because it is wholly organic and replenishes micronutrients, usually the first to disappear from a soil. If you must fertilize you can of course use a tomato fertilizer. However, if you grow your own herbs, you may as well try to eliminate anything not organic if at all possible. Therfore we would recommend a more organic procedure by using a fish fertilizer such as Richters’ Lakefish fertilizer. The latter is as organic as complete fertilizers are made at present and if someone starts to produce something completely organic, we will be the first to carry it! We have investigated many socalled "organic" balanced fertilizers and have found that they are not completely organic. The one we offer is the closest to that ideal. Check our web-site www.richters.com under the "Q&A" heading in the "News & Info" section of the site. Click on "Search Question & Answers" and type in "fertilizer", to find more about the problem of producing organic fertilizers..

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