Fertilizers & Soils
Buy Fertilizers from Anderson's La Costa Nursery Encinitas
At Anderson’s we take the time to properly evaluate the myriad offerings (and claims) and select the product mix that we believe will best satisfy our customer’s needs. We also carry a broad line of fine organic soils, amendments, pest control and weed abatement products. Just as a good foundation is necessary to support a building good soil is necessary to build a successful garden. All soil is not alike. It differs in texture, fertility, and balance.
At one extreme is beach sand with grains so large you can see the individual particles. Water runs right through it. Not much grows in sand. In direct sun it gets so hot you can hardly walk on it in bare feet.
At the other extreme is clay such as the red and gray clay found in many parts of the country. Clay is made up of tiny particles that turn into a gooey mess when wet and something like cracked brick when dry. It is slow to warm up in spring and water stands on it meaning gardeners with clay soil can get a late start in spring.
Every gardener wants loam which is a mixture of particle sizes. It holds water and is easy to work.
All soils have one thing in common. You can improve them by adding large amounts of organic matter (organic simply meaning “once living things). Leaves, grass clippings, manure, and vegetable wastes from your kitchen are examples. These are best for the soil if they are mixed together and broken down into soil-like particles in a simple and natural process called composting. When turned into the soil organic matter breaks up clay particles. In sandy soils it binds the grains together and retains moisture and fertility.
Under the ground the roots of plants are busy with their own unique processes that turn materials in the soil into growth, flowers, and fruit. Light and water are essential for this process.
In the soil plants particularly need supplies of:
When you buy fertilizer you will see a series of three numbers on the bag (something like 5-10-10). These represent the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in the bag. Vegetables and flower fertilizers are blends like 5-10-10 or 10-10-10. Lawn fertilizers have a higher first number because lawns need more nitrogen to promote foliage growth. Too much nitrogen in vegetable garden soil can promote the growth of foliage instead of the crop you want.
Plants do best when the soil is in a range between being acid and alkaline. Soil balance is expressed as pH to measure its acidity or alkalinity. Most plants do best in a range of 6.5 to 7.5 pH. The pH scale goes from 0 (acid) to 14 (alkaline) so most plants like to be in the middle (there are exceptions - plants like azaleas, camellias and hydrangeas like more acidic soil).
In our local areas (the West and Southwest) soils tend to be a bit more alkaline. Sulphur can be added to bring about a more neutral balance.
Testing Your Soil
You can do a simple soil test yourself or have a more complete one done by a private lab or cooperative extension service at your state university. It is one of the most important things you can do to be a successful gardener. A simple test kit available at Anderson’s will show you the pH balance. Remember – a good garden begins with healthy soil. The more you know about your soil the more successful you will be.