Why Do Plants Need Fertilizer
Plants don't eat food like we do; they absorb it directly from the air. They use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into carbohydrates, and water to make sugar out of those carbohydrates.
They take up nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, boron, chlorine, molybdenum, sodium, sulfur, iodine, cobalt, nickel, fluorine, selenium, vanadium, chromium, aluminum, silicon, oxygen, hydrogen, and many others.
These elements are referred to as "macro" or "major" nutrients because they are required in larger quantities. A plant needs about 20 different minerals to grow properly. Only one of these minerals is essential, meaning it must come from outside sources. The rest are considered "nonessential," because they are present in small enough quantities that a plant could survive without them.
The most important macro nutrient for plants is nitrogen. This element makes up about 78% of the dry weight of soil. Without nitrogen, plants cannot produce chlorophyll, which gives leaves their green color. Chlorophyll helps plants capture light energy during photosynthesis. In fact, it is the only pigment found in all living things.
Fertilizers contain three major types of nitrogen: N-P-K. These stand for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Nitrogen is the most important macronutrient for plants. It's also the easiest to add to your garden. You'll find this type of fertilizer at any grocery store.
Phosphorous is an important micronutrient for plants, but it is not easily available in nature. Most soils naturally contain very little phosphorous. If you want to increase the amount of phosphorous in your soil, you need to add some organic matter such as compost or manure.
Potassium is another micronutrient that is often lacking in soil. To get more potassium into your soil, you should add some compost or manure.
If you're growing vegetables, you may also want to add trace amounts of other nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and boron. Calcium is needed by plants to build cell walls and help regulate the pH level of the soil. Magnesium is used to create enzymes and proteins. Sulfur is used to make amino acids and nucleic acids. Boron is used to form glucose, starch, cellulose, and lignin.
When applying fertilizer, remember that too much of anything is bad for plants. Too much nitrogen causes leaf burn, while too much phosphorous causes yellowing on leaves and stems.
Choosing a fertilizer
There are many different types of fertilizers, each suited to specific needs. Some fertilizers contain slow release nutrients while others are fast acting. Choosing the right type of fertilizer is very important because you don't want to overfeed your plants. If you use too much of a particular nutrient, your plants might grow too big and become weak.
Organic and inorganic fertilizers
Fertilizers come in many different forms. There are organic fertilizers and there are inorganic fertilizers.
Organic fertilizers are those that contain natural ingredients like manure and composted animal waste.
Inorganic fertilizers include chemical compounds such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and magnesium. They are used to increase crop yields and improve soil quality.
Both types of fertilizers provide immediate nutrition to the plant. Slow release fertilizers are designed to slowly release nutrients into the soil over several weeks. Controlled released fertilizers are meant to release nutrients over a shorter period of time.
How often should the plants be fertilized?
Feeding your plants regularly helps plants grow faster and stronger. If you don't water your garden frequently enough, it could dry out and become stressed.
This stress causes leaves to turn yellow and drop off. When you do water, use a sprinkler system and apply water evenly throughout the yard. Don't overdo it; overwatering can cause rot.
Springtime is the perfect season to fertilize your garden. You can also fertilizer your plants once in 3 months or 6 months depending on the quality of the soil and the type of fertilizer used.
Different types of fertilizers require different amounts of nitrogen. For example, legumes like beans, peas, and lentils require a high amount of nitrogen because they store nitrogen in their tissues. Leafy greens, however, don't store nitrogen. They rely on the air around them to provide enough nitrogen. So, you'll need less nitrogen for those crops.
Homemade fertilizers are one of the most cost effective ways you can improve your garden.
There are many different types of homemade fertilisers you can make yourself. You can use compost tea, worm castings, fish emulsion, blood meal, bone meal, seaweed extract, green manures, manure teas, horse manure, cow urine, goat dung, sheep dung, duck droppings, peat moss, seaweed extracts and so on.
Different types of fertilizers
Compost is made from decomposed organic material. It's an excellent way to add nutrients back into the soil. Compost also improves the structure of the soil by adding humus. Humus is a substance that binds together soil particles and makes them more porous. This allows water to penetrate deeper into the soil and prevents erosion.
Worm castings are another great way to enrich your soil. The worms eat decaying matter and excrete a liquid called castings. These castings are rich in nutrients and help build healthy roots.
Bone meal is ground up bones. It provides phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, to add nutrients back to the soil. The worms eat decaying organic matter and excrete castings which are rich in nutrients. These castings are then collected and added to the soil.
Fish emulsion is a mixture of fish oil and fish solids. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for healthy skin and hair. Fish solids help with soil fertility magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron, and trace elements such as boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, fluorine, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, vanadium, and zinc.
Green manures are plants grown specifically for the purpose of improving soil quality. Green manures include clover, alfalfa, buckwheat, oats, rye, vetch, and sorghum.
Manure tea is a mixture of manure and water. It helps increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the soil. Beneficial bacteria break down waste products and convert them into useful substances.
Horse manure is a natural source of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulphur. It's also rich in microorganisms that feed on animal waste.
Cow urine is a natural source of ammonia, nitrates, and phosphates. Ammonia increases plant growth while nitrates and phosphates promote root development.
Seaweeds are algae found near the ocean floor. They have been used for centuries as food and medicine. Seaweeds contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats.
Peat moss is a type of sphagnum moss. Sphagnum mosses are very effective at absorbing moisture and retaining it. Peat moss is used as a soil conditioner because it holds onto moisture.
Compost tea is a mixture of compost and water. It adds nutrients back into the soil and encourages the growth of beneficial microbes.
Dr. Vandana K.