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Nutrients in fertilizer
Plants need several types of nutrients. Macronutrients are best implemented in large quantities. The remaining nutrition should be served up in a liquid or granular base application. These fertilizers will include:
- Nitrogen- for plant growth, leaf development and the production of vivid, green color.
- Phosphorus- for root growth and the creation of fruit, seeds and flowers.
- Potassium- (Potash) for root development and resistance to drought and disease.
Secondary nutrients — oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, calcium, magnesium and sulfur — are also necessary macronutrients, often available in air or soil. Micronutrients — including boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel and zinc — are needed only in smaller quantities.
You can purchase a home test kit, or send a soil sample to your local soil tester for the best results. The results will tell you what to add to the soil to make it ideal for the plants to grow.
Types of fertilizer
Applying granular fertilizers dry with a mechanical spreader or from a shaker container will mean watering after is a must.. Fertilizer for lawns and gardens are often in granular form. They're easier to control because you can take a visuare on the amount. There are two types of granular fertilizers:
- Quick-release (known as water-soluble nitrogen) - fertilizers provide nitrogen to plants immediately. They generally last for three to four weeks, depending upon temperature and rainfall.
- Slow-release (water-insoluble nitrogen) The time estimates may vary depending upon the amount of rainfall. You don't need to apply these fertilizers as often, and they produce more even growth. Fertilizers are available in sulfur-coated varieties, which last for about eight weeks, and polymer-coated varieties, which can last for about 12 weeks. Also burning caused by nitrogen is less of a concern with slow-release fertilizers.
Peat Moss: An amendment that aerates and lightens heavier soils such as clay. It adds mass to sandy soils to reduce the leaching of nutrients.
Bone Meal: Another byproduct of the meat-packing industry, bone meal contains calcium and phosphorous, essential elements for plant growth.
Composted Manure: For soil conditioning or use in the compost pile.
Fish Emulsion: A fish-processing byproduct. Mild, nontoxic and organic, fish emulsion is good for tender plants that may suffer fertilizer burn.
Compost: One of the best, all-around garden materials for soil improvement.
Blood Meal: A byproduct of the meat-packing industry. Steamed and dried, it's high in phosphorus.