Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fertilizer & Understanding It's Use

by Mike O'Brian

Commonly used to promote growth in plants, fertlizer is applied to the soil after being obtained naturally or through a chemical process. Due to the fact that natural products are generally more healthy than those that are manufactured, natural fertilizer is often the best type to use. Fertilizer, alone, is designed to provide three major plant nutrients in various proportions. Humans need nutrition in order to grow and thrive as do plants and it is important to make sure that crops receive the proper care and nutrition during their growth process.


Chemical fertilizer may lead to surface runoff if over applied, which is easier to do than with natural products. This can often lead to problems with growing and may even be dangerous to wildlife. While it is also possible to over apply natural fertilizer, their release rates are generally much less than with chemical products.


Depending on the fertilizer, various storage requirements must be met. If purchased commercially, it is best to carefully study the ingredients and storage instructions on the fertilizer packaging. Knowledge of the nutrient content and requirements will help to maintain a healthy crop, usable fertilizer and less pollution to the garden.

Fertilizer is commonly used in gardening, but it also used for growing flowers and plants. Commercial fertilizer is available at most home improvement stores or in the gardening department at most retailers. Because plants and gardens are not abundant during the winter months, most fertilizer products are sold just before spring as planting becomes seasonal. If planting is done too early, a late frost may eliminate the crops and will ultimately be a waste of planting and fertilizer. When the weather is ideal for planting, typically in the early spring, fertilizer will be widely available in stores.

Various climates and geographical locations will provide for different crop planting seasons. Some areas may have success with gardening during most of the year while other parts of the world are restricted to mainly spring and summer months. Extreme cold and inclement weather will reek havoc on crops, which is why it is important to know the optimal growing season for each individual location.

When purchasing fertilizer, it is recommended that individuals thoroughly read the care and usage instructions. In addition, any caution and/or warning labels should be read carefully before proceeding with use. These products should be kept out of children's reach and may also prove harmful for animals.

About the Author

For more information about fertilizer, click the link to visit our website at http://www.fertilizerreview.info . We have some great free articles and resources about fertilizer.

Fertilizer Guide

Organic Fertilizers: Mix Your Own Special Blends

by Judith Schwader

Organic gardening involves a system that centers around healthy soil - a mixture of sand, clay, silt, and decomposed organic material (humus). But even when the soil is well-balanced and healthy, plants benefit from additions of specifically formulated organic fertilizers.


You can buy prepared organic fertilizers, or blend individual fertilizer ingredients for specific purposes, such has high nitrogen blends for leafy greens or high potassium blends for root crops.

Since the following organic fertilizer recipes all involve dry ingredients, they can be blended ahead of time and stored in labeled plastic containers with lids. Most gardening centers will have the individual ingredients, but if you can't buy them locally, they are available from online sources, such as Whitney Farms, which sells only organic products.

For all of the following recipes, make any amount using the volume ratios given. Use anything from a yogurt container to a lemonade pitcher as a scoop. Each full scoop equals one part.


An all-purpose, basic organic fertilizer recipe is useful to have on hand in a large quantity. If you're making a big batch, mix it up in a wheel barrow and stir to blend with a hoe. Then store in a labeled, plastic container with lid.


Basic Organic Fertilizer Mix:
~~For use as at planting time or side dressing for all types of plants~~
3 parts blood or fishmeal
3 parts steamed bone meal
1 part kelp meal
1 and 1/2 parts Sul-Po-Mag (a brand name for a sulfur, potassium, and magnesium source, but you can substitute any such mixture.)

The following specially formulated mixes are fast acting and work well when used at planting time and as side dressings. Although these balanced mixes will generally give desired results, soils do vary. You can experiment and find what works best for your soil.


Generally, the fertilizers are applied at the rate of: 1/2 cup per transplant, or 5 pounds per 100 square feet or 100 row feet.


High Nitrogen Mix
~~For plants that are grown with the leaf or follar structure as the edible part~~
4 parts blood meal
2 parts cottonseed meal
1 part steamed bone meal
1/2 part Sul-Po-Mag (a brand name source for sulfur, potassium, and magnesium)
1/2 part kelp meal


High Potassium Mix
~~For crops that are grown with the root or tuber as the edible part~~
2 parts cottonseed meal
2 and 1/2 parts Sul-Po-Mag
1 and 1/2 parts steamed bone meal
1 part greensand
1 part kelp meal


High Phosphorous Mix
~~For crops that are grown for the fruit or seed as the edible part~~
4 parts steamed bone meal
1 part fish meal
1 part meat and bone meal
1 part soft phosphate
1/2 part Sul-Po-Mag
1/2 part kelp meal


Additional ideas for organic fertilizers include an Acid Mix for plants that prefer lower pH, (blueberry, strawberry, potato, tomato and squash); or a Super Grow Mix that has two ingredients for each nutrient, releasing at different rates.

About the Author

Life-time gardener Judith Schwader specializes in organic gardening methods. She shares expertise, humor, and advice for your gardening success at A to Z Gardening. Also visit FB Home for additional home and garden information.

Fertilizer Guide

Fertilizer

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Fertilizer Guide