Enhancing soil with compost

(Question)

Each year, I apply (work in) well composted sheep manure around my mother’s plants. I also apply cedar mulch. I have been doing that for 7 years since I redesigned my mother’s garden. Is that enough nourishment for my plants? I assume that I should be fertilizing the plants throughout the growing season. Is it necessary to apply different fertilizer to different plants? I do apply specific fertilizer for the azalea and rhododendron. I’m negligent with the other plants (:

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(Answer)

You are definitely making a rich environment for your mother’s garden.  By now, she must have the lushest plants around.

You might want to know that you can achieve an organic blend without doing all that work.  If you apply the compost in the late fall, you can leave the digging to the worms.   When the roots are not disturbed, the  mycorrhizal community (the complex network of white filaments we see in the soil) will flourish and reward you greatly.

As for the fertilizer, I am sure that your negligence is appreciated by the plants.  Unless they are prima donnas like the azaleas, they are most likely quite fine without it.

Since you are an advanced gardener, I would refer you to our many Gardening Guides on the topic of soil and fertilizer.  These are found on our website: www.torontomastergardeners.ca.  Click on the link to Gardening Guides and then to Soil and Fertilizers.