If your goal for your garden is more flowers, more vegetables, more fruits, and zero spotty areas on the turf, know that you aren’t alone. A study has shown that homeowners spend billions on fertilizers each year. The thing is, the random addition of fertilizers does not necessarily result in a bountiful harvest or plentiful flowers; soil and plants alike need diets with the right amounts of nutrients which are suited to their needs. Read on to learn how exactly you should provide the right amounts of nutrients to soil and plants—what you should sprinkle, mix in, spray, and spread to achieve a garden that everyone will want to have.
Fertilizers or Soil Amendments?
How are both different? The former, which can come in chemical or organic forms, directly provide nutrients to plants, particularly nitrogen (which fuels stem and leaf growth), phosphorous (which stimulates seed formation and root growth), and potassium (which promotes fruiting and flowering). The latter, on the other hand, include things like compost, peat moss, and animal droppings. These have an indirect impact on plants by enhancing soil texture, microbial activity, and structure. A top organic mulch layer, like pine bark, deters weeds, conserves moisture, and feeds soil upon decomposition. These, when used together, help to deliver the best nutrient balance to the garden.
Dealing With Struggling Plants
The first thing you need to do is to feed the soil. Top-dressing beds with centimetres of properly-aged compost during spring and fall helps raise the ability of soil to hold both rainwater from a large rainwater tank and nutrients, thus helping to make it fluffier. This also stimulates microbial action. When you have improved soil, fertilizers should fill deficiencies and provide plants a needed boost in growth. Fertilizers should only be applied after a soil test is done.
What is a Soil Test?
A soil test is the best garden investment that you can possibly make, and it’s cheap. A kit can usually be obtained via universities, and results can be obtained in a week’s time. The analysis provides specific recommendations as to the nutrients that should be added. Testing should only be done once per five years.
An Analysis of the Fertilizer Label
Fertilizers are labeled with numbers, called fertilizer grade, which guarantees the real percentage of NPK content (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). The total percentage of NPK content isn’t 100 percent; the rest of the fertilizer is filler, usually clay, which ensures even distribution as well as prevents chemical burn.
Use the NPK numbers when choosing fertilizer in order for any nutrient deficiencies to be sufficiently addressed.
Organic vs Synthetic
Organic and synthetic nutrients are two different types of nutrients, and as such, it’s imperative to read the label before purchase. Synthetic fertilizers primarily are water soluble, and act fast. These are able to green a lawn up or maybe revive a slumping plant in days. However, it does little in the way of improving soil fertility or texture for upcoming growing seasons. As for organic fertilizers, these break down eventually, particularly over months or years, to stimulate soil microorganisms and enhance soil structure.