411homerepair.com

Soil Fertility and Plant Food

by Dan Eskelson on Apr 30, 2012

In a very fertile soil with plenty of organic matter, excellent drainage and perfect structure, additions of fertilizer would not be necessary. Unfortunately, this perfect soil is seldom found, and even if found, it will not remain perfect because of the loss of fertility through leaching, vaporization, and use by plants. So we need to amend our soils with ingredients that supply specific nutrients that can become available to plants. Plant nutrients in fertilizers are classified as major nutrients and micronutrients.

The most important major nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Plants require these nutrients in relatively large amounts, and these are the nutrients most likely to be deficient for plant growth. Other major nutrients, called secondary nutrients, are calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S). They are also required in relatively large amounts but are less likely to be deficient. Micronutrients are essential for plant growth, but plants require relatively small amounts of them. They include boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) and zinc (Zn). These elements may also be referred to as minor or trace elements.

The debate continues to rage over which form of fertilizer is better, synthetic or natural. Proponents of synthetic fertilizers claim that all the essential elements can be supplied in greater quantity and at less cost than their natural counterparts. Proponents of the natural or organic fertilizers counter that indeed the synthetic fertilizers supply the chemical forms of the essential nutrients, but these materials, actually derived from crude oil, lack the necessary beneficial soil microorganisms that help to break down the nutrients into plant available forms. It's also been pointed out that the common overuse of chemical fertilizers has resulted in the buildup of harmful salts in the soil, excessive tissue growth resulting in weak plants susceptible to disease and insects, reduced drought tolerance and increased dependence on foreign oil.

Natural fertilizers like compost, manure, blood and bone meal, kelp, etc. All contribute to the quantity and health of beneficial bacteria, fungi and algae, which in turn benefit plant growth. An old adage among organic gardeners is "feed the soil, not the plants". In recent years several companies have developed granular, easily applied natural fertilizers consisting of mixtures of the traditional organic fertilizers listed above. These can be used in place of the "traditional" chemical or synthetic fertilizers. I have used and can recommend, natural fertilizer products from Ringer, Sustane, Gardens alive and Whitney Farms.

There are probably other natural fertilizer products from quality companies - let me know if you have a favorite. Yes, natural fertilizers are more expensive because the raw ingredients are not as plentiful and preparation is more involved. An analogy is useful to explain the difference: you can get a burger and fries at the fast food place, or enjoy a well prepared meal of fresh ingredients at a quality restaurant. You'll save a bit of money at the fast food place, but you may not be happy with the long term effects of regular meals there.

The prepared products mentioned above should not be used as a substitute for general soil improvement. Bulk compost and manures should be used as soil amendments when planting new landscapes and when mulching established plantings. In addition to supplying essential nutrients, these materials will add to the store of beneficial organisms, increase soil humus and improve the structure of both clay and sandy soils. I've used natural fertilizers since the 1960's and have found no reason to do otherwise. It's good to know that I'm feeding my soil without any adverse effects on the environment.

Latest Articles

Tips for Waterproofing Your Basement

Water damage is the most common form of home damage and can be caused by rain, humidity, seepage, plumbing leaks, burst pipes, and overflows. Your...

on Jul 5, 2022

Pros and Cons of Concreting Your Outdoor Area

If you're in the process of looking for a new driveway, patio, pool surrounding or path you may be waying up the option of concrete. Here are a...

on Jul 3, 2022

What Is Vacate Cleaning?

Vacate cleaning or end of lease cleaning, is a requirement for the person renting a home to clean the house at the end of their renting term. The...

on Jun 30, 2022

How Cleaning Your Gutters Can Save You Money!

There are many reasons why gutter cleaning is important, firsty for preventative maintenance and the overall safety of your building or home. We...

on Jun 30, 2022

How To Renovate Your Bathroom in Your Airbnb

If you are looking to renovate your bathroom in your Airbnb rental, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Renovating a bathroom can be a...

on Jun 30, 2022

Sponsored Articles

Actions

More DIY Articles

Maintenance Tips for Concrete Floors

Concrete is growing in popularity as an interior flooring choice. Polished concrete is as smooth as tile, and it can feature any combination of...

Floors / Tile / Hardwood

5 Tips to Choose the Right Tile for Your Bathroom

Choosing the tiles you’re going to put into your bathroom renovation is one of the most important decisions you’re going to make. The tile is...

Kitchen / Bathrooms

Most Common Appliance Issues and What Causes Them

Domestic appliances can last a long time if maintained properly, but even the most well looked after ones will start to show signs of wear and tear...

Appliance / Repair

A Checklist of 8 Things to Do Before Moving into Your New Home

If well planned, moving into a new home can be a fun-filled experience, rather than a stressful one. There’s more to getting a new home...

Real Estate / Finance

Improve Your Mood at Home with LED Candle Lights

Since centuries ago, the candle has been known as a source of light, and after all this time, technological advances eventually succeeded in...

Interior Design / Decor

Contact Us | Submit Article | 411homerepair © 2022