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Gardening Tips: Fertilizer Basics

Supply the best nutrients to maintain good health.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Growing plants need an endless supply of the best nutrients to maintain good health. This is true whether the gardener is trying to grow ornamental flowers, fruits, or vegetables. Fertilizer is often added to the soil to replenish depleted nutrients sucked out by plant life during the growing season.

Natural and substance composts give fundamental supplements, including potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen. Plant life needs these essential ingredients as well as other valuable trace elements. Applying the right amount of fertilizer and the correct percentages depends on a variety of factors. But all are dependent on the particular needs of each plant.

Test the soil.

By testing the soil, the gardener can determine its acidity or pH factor. This will give him all the information he needs to determine which nutrients are deficient in the soil. The soil test can help the gardener adjust the types of fertilizers used to replenish nutrients. Even the best tests give minimal results when it comes to determining how much nitrogen to add to the soil.

Garden centers in home improvement stores or hardware stores offer sample testing kits. These types of tests can give the gardener much more information about the soil by analyzing its contents. It is possible to get high-quality soil without using a soil test, but it takes a lot more guesswork to choose the best fertilizer.

Adding amendments

A natural alteration is regularly utilized related to solid synthetic composts. A natural correction can be just fertilizer. Organic matter is breaking down and leaching out much of the essential nutrients it contains to provide vital ingredients to the soil.

Some gardeners choose to add bone meal as a natural organic substitute to add phosphorus to needed chemical fertilizers. Also, blood meal and manure can provide needed nitrogen. And pottery ash can generate potassium. All organic amendments should be mixed into the soil before planting begins.

When it’s time to fertilize

Each type of fertilizer has its own application time to be mixed into the soil. This is often indicated on the bag. All types of fruit and vegetable plants enjoy higher phosphorus levels early in the growing season. It is phosphorus that promotes the production of healthy stems and roots.

In mid-season, adding nitrogen to the soil can help with fruit and foliage production. Yet, too much nitrogen often results in too many leaves and minimal flower buds.

To the savvy gardener, over-fertilizing the soil can cause as much damage to plants as under-fertilizing. When the gardener has doubts about giving more fertilizer to his garden plants, it is always advisable to wait until the plants start producing less. Only then can the gardener be sure that the proper fertilizer should be added.

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