Alan Titchmarsh on how best to feed your plants
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When gardeners think of plant fertiliser, store-bought chemical products may be the first thing to spring to mind. However, these can be expensive, especially for those on a budget. Instead, there are plenty of natural ways to make homemade plant food for a cut of the price.
Gardening expert JayLea, Founder of flourishing said: “Flour is a staple in many households, worldwide and is unknowingly a readily available fertiliser.
“Using flour on plants is a cost-effective method to grow healthier plants by providing nutrients and deterring pests.
“Flour, provides a significant amount of the nutrients plants require for growth.”
These nutrients include: carbohydrates, amino acids, and other micronutrients.
The nutrients are similar to using banana peels and rice water on plants.
Although flour is good for the soil, “too much nitrogen can be toxic to plants”, says JayLea.
Therefore, gardeners should consider the nitrogen balance of the soil before applying flour to it.
If gardeners see a plant with yellow leaves instead of green during summer, you’ll know the soil is low on nitrogen.
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Adding some flour can help balance the nitrogen cycle of that soil.
It is best to lightly sprinkle flour in the soil around the plants, rather than dumping the flour on the soil as it will clog the pores of leaves, causing plants to die.
Flour is also great to add to compost piles, however it will take a long time for it to compost fully.
Gardeners can speed up the process by adding green components, fruit peels, and vegetables to the compost pile.
As well as fertilising plants, flour can be used to defend gardens against pests, according to experts.
The plant pro said: “Using flour on plants will stop grasshoppers and other chewing insects while at the same time adding nutrients to the soil.
“Flour affects the digestive tract of smaller insects such as aphids and gnats, while its stickiness clogs the mouth of grasshoppers.
“Flour will suffocate the aphids by clogging them up.
“The theory is that aphids will ingest some of it and when they try to excrete their honeydew, the flour will mix with the stuff and prevent them from excreting.”
Simply take a cup of self-rising flour, pour it into a small bag, and roll up the top of the bag.
Poke a few holes in the base of the bag and sprinkle the flour over the plants.
This should be applied early in the morning while the plants are damp with dew.
If there is a heavy aphid infestation, JayLea suggests “covering the plant with flour is a low-cost and effective solution in defending your garden against the bug.”
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