All about fertilizers

Organic compost on the ground

Plants, like other living beings, need water to exist, but also food. If one of the two things is missing, they immediately weaken and dry quickly. Although of course, so that they can be perfect it is very important to choose the Fertilizers more suitable and follow the indications specified on the product packaging.

In the market we find a wide variety of fertilizers, both organic and mineral that, used correctly, will allow us to have healthy and strong plants. Let's know more about them.

What do plants need?

Tree roots

Before getting into the subject, let's first talk a little about the needs of plants. Surely you have read and heard many times that they need nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). These are essential macronutrients that should not be lacking, since without them they could not grow, or flourish, much less produce fruit. They are, therefore, the most important, but they are not the only ones.

In the same way that no human being could be healthy eating only and exclusively on, for example, rice, no plant can be healthy if it feeds only on NPK. Why do I say this? Because in recent times more and more synthetic fertilizers are coming out that seem to focus only on NPK, forgetting all the other nutrients.

Keep in mind that a rich compost, a compost that has calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, etc. it will always be much more complete than one that only has NPK. We can have beautiful plants with NPK, yes, but over time they will weaken and will not be able to have the necessary strength to overcome the attack of pests or diseases.

For more information on this topic, I recommend reading this article.

Types of fertilizers

Organic

There are several types, which are the following:

Green manure

Green manure

El green manure is obtained by growing legume plants (Jewish, green peas, alfalfa, lima beans, lupins, clover) to then bury them. Thus an extra supply of nitrogen is achieved.

Compost

Compost, an organic compost

It is a material that is obtained from fermented organic matter. To elaborate it is used earthworm humus, agricultural residues, food scraps, herbivorous animal manure ...

It has the advantage that can be done at home, but it can also be purchased from a nursery.

Guano

Manure guano powder

El guano, chicken manure, bat droppings or palomina, is an organic compost similar to manure: are the droppings of bats. It is very nutritious, so it is highly recommended for fertilizing horticultural plants.

Manure

Horse manure

El manure of herbivorous animals, such as the horse, the goat or the sheep, it is suitable for fertilizing the soil and, incidentally, also plants. We can find them for sale on farms or in nurseries; some with a bad smell and some without.

Peat

Black peat

Peat it is a dark or light brown organic material that forms in marshy places due to the decomposition of plant debris. It can be blonde (with a pH of 3,5) or black.

It is used above all to mix with other substrates. The blond peat is also used to acidify a land.

Others

Other types of organic fertilizers that we can find and obtain are the crushed bones, Blood meal, horns, or even buried straw.

Chemicals

Conventional

Universal fertilizer for plants

Image - Elrincondeljardin.com

They are those of quick release; that is to say, at the moment or a few days after laying them down, the plants can already have them. There are of several types:

  • Nitrogenated: urea, ammonium sulfate, potassium nitrate, ...
  • Phosphoric: ammonium phosphate, superphosphate, ...
  • Potash: potassium chloride and potassium sulfate.
  • Binaries: they carry 2 of some of the macronutrients (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus).
  • Ternaries: they carry the three 3 macronutrients.

These can come in liquid or granulated form.

Slow release

Chemical fertilizer for plants

They are that dissolve little by little (months) as it is watered. The roots slowly absorb the nutrients they need. Examples: Nitrofoska, Osmocote, Nutricote, etc.

Specific for each type of plant

Compost for cacti from Massó Garden

Image - Tiendatodojardin.com

Nowadays we can find a fertilizer for each type of plant, such as fertilizer for cacti, for lawns, for indoor plants, for bonsai, for acidophilic plants, ...

They are normally liquid fertilizers, but in some cases they can also be found in granules, such as those for acidophilic plants.

Foliar

Applying foliar fertilizer to the plant

Image - Arcuma.com

They are that are applied by spraying on the leaves, from where they will be absorbed. They are very interesting to quickly correct deficiencies, such as a lack of iron or manganese.

Organominerals

They're a combination of organic matter with minerals, like nitrogen or manganese for example.

What type of compost is better?

Now that we have seen all the fertilizers that we can find in the market, it is possible to wonder if there is any fertilizer that is the best, but the truth is that no, there isn't. Each plant has its own needs, and therefore, there is no universal fertilizer that can be applied to all crops.

Therefore, I always recommend combine chemical fertilizers with organic ones (using one once, and the next another). It is a good way to ensure that they are getting all the nutrients they need. Of course, we must always bear in mind that there are some that do not have to be paid: carnivores, since they hunt other animals precisely because in their natural habitat the earth does not have enough nutrients and, therefore, their roots are not prepared to absorb food directly.

When to fertilize the plants?

Plant leaf in detail

To the plants they must be paid throughout the year. Yes, yes, you most likely think that this is not the case, since they only grow during the months during which the weather is good. But, as we said at the beginning, animals and plants need to drink and eat to stay alive. It is true that during the cold winter and the very hot summer they hardly grow, but they have to feed themselves to stay strong.

Thus, during the autumn-winter we will use slow release fertilizers, compost or manure, and during the rest of the year we will be able to use, for example, guano, which has a very fast effectiveness with a specific one. In this way, the needs of our beloved plants will be covered twelve months of the year.

We hope it has been useful to you. 🙂


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  1.   Quorthom said

    Very useful data like everything I read on this page that for me is already the header.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      We are very happy to read that 🙂

      Enjoy the blog!