arjoonApril 26, 2009


I live in Trinidad in the Caribbean. I recently started planting parley. A friend told me to fertilise using urea when he noticed some of the leaves were light green. When I did, most of the plants melted and died. I believed that I used too much. What fertiliser should I use?

I also noticed some green moss growing on the soil around the plants. Is it harmful? How can I get rid of it?

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

You are using a chemical fertilizer and its not recommended for any herbs or edibles. The use of natural fertilizers is better for most plants. Things like fish emulsion and seaweed concentrates can help a lot. Usually herbs don't need much in the way of fertiizers, but using a raw chemical product like Urea is very bad. Plants will yellow if watered too much. They can also lack iron in the soil, but that condition is less common. Look for organic fertilizers when feeding plants. Avoid things like Miracle Grow and other chemicla bsed ones that are just plain bad for edible plants and herbs.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 10:37PM
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As Ksrogers said, 'herbs don't need much in the way of fertilisers' - most of the common culinary ones, anyway. I find the very best of all fertilisers is compost. Just ordinary household compost, a handful or two around the plant once every blue moon or so (perhaps a little more often if the plants are in pots- it's a good potting mix topper-upper). You can buy it from your garden centre in bags if you haven't got your own compost heap.

Certainly, you should never fertilise baby plants, or those which have just been transplanted. It's too easy to overdose them!

Killing by kindness is the most common mistake made by beginner-gardeners.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 3:32AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Using bagged compost at best may provide many things that are not safely broken down yet. I would mix the bagged compost with a bit of peat moss and moisten slightly and then cover it loosly and allow it to break down further, about a month. Doing this will give a safer product. I used bagged compost added to my potato soil and it introduced wire worms to my growing potatoes. They were pierced all over with tiny pinholes that went ito the flesh an inch or so. Turns out the compost was not fully broken down yet, Thats why I mentioned fish meal and seaweed. As to losses, the plants are gone, if they have been 'burned' by too much Urea. Start with new soil and don;t add any fertilizers. If your seed starting, its best to use a STERILE soilless medium (shreadded coconut husks- coir). These mediums are lighter and looser, so they allow seeds to germinate and form roots early. The sterile medium also has no bacteria or harmful things that can cause damping off or other malady.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 4:34AM
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You may want to check for root pests. My parsley was killed by termites. Parsley produces a woody tuber that termites found irresistible. In this termite-infested area, the only way to grow parsley is in a pot, away from soil access. The symptom was the same as your description, the leafs turn light green, and the plants melted and died.

And yes, never use urea. It is a very bad fertilizer. Good for first year only. Over time my garden soil is turned into a hard clay.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:01AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

A better choice for the garden as a nitrogen boost is nitrate of soda. Much less powerful and breaks down much faster. This year, I have to add that to my garden soil before I do my tilling, but I also add the fish meal and feather meal for long term nitrogen. We have termites too. They chewed through a piece of 2x4 I left on the ground. It didn't take long to make it into Swiss cheese.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:24AM
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