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Special, simple and organic – the trends for fertilisers for the garden and balcony

Veggi fertilisers: Many garden and balcony owners, who are also vegan, don’t want to add any animal ingredients such as wool or horn shavings to their plants. – Photo: Neudorff

It is hardly believable, but the social megatrends are reflected in all areas of our lives sooner or later. They even have an influence on the fertilisers the retail sector is offering hobby and balcony gardeners. Dr. Arne Hückstädt, speaker for the themes horticulture and environment within the Industrieverband Garten IVG (Garden Industry Association), made this very clear in his lecture in the Garden Café Forum at spoga+gafa last year in Cologne. Growing urbanisation, augmented connectivity between our living environments, neo-ecology, an increased customisation of the individual societies and of the silver society – in other words: the large number of sprightly pensioners – are just some of the developments the industry is having to deal with by adapting its concepts and products.

“Due to the fact that more and more people are moving to the cities, the urban gardening movement has become increasingly popular over the past years,” said Hückstädt. “For many people it satisfies a nostalgic longing to grow one’s own foodstuffs. Growing fruit and vegetables, which if at all only played a subordinate role in gardens for a long time, has suddenly become interesting and hip again.”

Allotments gardens have also regained popularity: Around 45 percent of the approx. one million German allotments are leased to young people and families with children today. And those, who don’t have their own plot or garden, are growing herbs and vegetables in their kitchen or on the balcony.

“Fertilisers for the fruit and vegetable section are thus playing a more and more significant role among the line-ups of many suppliers. Organic products are traditionally in high demand in this segment. Because people who grow their own salads, tomatoes and kohlrabi, ultimately want to enjoy these in organic quality,” explained Hückstädt. “The trend is ongoing with so-called veggi fertilisers. Many garden and balcony owners, who are also vegan, don’t want to add any animal ingredients such as wool or horn shavings to their plants. The corresponding offers are also available for these special consumer groups today.”

Raised-bed gardens are becoming more and more popular for growing one’s own vegetables in the backyard or garden. They promise rich harvests on a limited amount of space. Furthermore, for elder people the raised plant areas can be tended to while standing which is kinder on the back. Alongside the classic raised-bed garden that is open towards the ground and is filled with different layers of compost and substrate soil, there are also so-called table beds. These raised plant boxes on four legs are primarily implemented on balconies and terraces. Many manufacturers are in the meantime also offering special fertilisers for raised-bed gardens.

“Special fertilisers have in general been a major theme for some time: Whether for berries, hedges, confers, perennials, potatoes or roses… There are an increasing number of products that are precisely tailor-made to suit specific plants,” said Hückstädt. “Since many consumers no longer have much knowledge about gardening, these offers are ideal for them. The application is simple and there is hardly any risk of over or underdosage.”

Fertiliser balls or sticks that one simply has to insert into the soil at the beginning of the season are also popular for balcony flowers or vegetables like tomatoes. Resins make sure that they only dissolve slowly and emit their substances evenly over a very long period of time.

Smart gardening is presently the top theme of the green industry especially for the irrigation of garden plants and watering the lawn. This development is also definitely having effects on the fertiliser industry. Because if the automatic irrigation is combined with providing the plants with nutrients, above all fluid fertiliser that can be mixed well and according to the respective needs, is called for. There are meanwhile also special fertilisers for those areas of grass where robot lawn mowers are implemented. Since the cut grass remains on the surface, where it is left to rot away once the robot has finished its work, the grass doesn’t need any additional nutrients.

“Overall, a lot is happening at the moment in the lawn care section,” according to the experts. “Today there are already lawn fertilisers that are combined with microorganisms, which have a positive influence on the soils, or which contain a substance that combats moss and weeds.”

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