3Phase program for growing vegetables on sandy soils

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3Phase is a fertiliser program for growing lettuce, celery, cabbage and broccoli on sandy soils under irrigation.

It matches the plant’s demand to the amount of fertiliser required during three phases of growth: establishment, rapid growth and maturation. Following the 3Phase program can help growers gain the maximum return for money spent on fertiliser and reduce losses due to leaching.

The 3Phase proram for fertiliser application has been developed for broccoli, lettuce, cabbage and celery, when grown on sandy soils of the coastal plain using sprinkler irrigation.

The system was developed after more than four years of research trials by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia on some of the least fertile sandy soils of the coastal plain.

It provides a fertiliser schedule which gives the highest yield and best quality throughout the year, while being practical to apply and economical with labour. It does not use soil amendments such as compost or manure.

Careful attention must be paid to fertiliser applications to: ​

  • maximise the efficiency of fertiliser use 
  • minimise the loss through leaching 
  • maximise return on the dollars spent.

Fertiliser and cost savings are achieved by making informed choices about fertiliser type, application rates and the timing of applications, that is matching fertiliser application to crop demand. This is achieved by considering the life of a crop in three phases:

  • establishment
  • rapid growth
  • maturation.

Different fertiliser strategies are used to optimise growth in each of the three phases.

Detailed information on the 3Phase program is available at each of the listed links to specific crops. These provide information on fertiliser application in each of the three growth phases and outline a ‘year-round’ fertilising strategy for each of the crops.

Following the 3Phase program can save growers money by keeping fertiliser in the root zone where it is used by the plant, and preventing leaching of nitrogen and other nutrients into groundwater.

Contact information

Rachel Lancaster
+61 (0)8 9780 6210
Page last updated: Thursday, 20 October 2016 - 8:11am