August 10, 2015
As the vegetables and flowers in your garden grow, they strip nutrients from the soil. This is why it’s so important to choose the right additives, which will help keep the soil in tip top shape as your garden blooms. The type you choose and how much you use will depend on the soil and the plants you’re trying to grow.
Commercial fertilizers are labeled with a series of three numbers. The first number is the nitrogen percentage; the second number is the phosphate percentage; and the third number is the potash percentage. A complete combination will be labeled something like 5-10-5, with at least a little bit of each nutrient. Others, like bone meal, will have a zero in some places – bone meal doesn’t contain any potash, so the last number is zero.
Some people in Ann Arbor MI will opt for an organic additive, made with animal manure, green manure, fish emulsion, blood meal, rock phosphate, cottonseed meal and granite dust. There are advantages to using this type of fertilizer:
• They contribute organic matter to the soil, which improves the structures, fights bacterial and fungal diseases, feeds the soil microbes and adds micronutrients.
• They provide a steady diet to plants.
• They can be inexpensive and they’re easy to create on your own.
Opposite from organic selections are chemical additives, which are manufactured synthetically. They include potassium chloride, sodium nitrate and superphosphate. They come in various forms, including pellet, liquid, powder and granular. They’re fast-acting and concentrated, which is important for gardeners who want to see results quickly.
Unfortunately, these usually pale in comparison to organic options. They don’t add any organic matter to the Ann Arbor MI soil and don’t improve the soil structure. They may even harm the soil’s microorganisms, which means the soil won’t be able to support growth for the long term.
Additionally, this isn’t a great option if you’re interested in going green. These types of additives require a lot of energy to produce; that energy is provided by non-renewable sources. The carbon footprint of using synthetic combinations is huge, because it adds to pollution and global warming. While some organic ones also require energy to be created, many home gardeners opt to make their own at home.
For the most part, plants need 16 different nutrients in order to grow. If your garden isn’t growing as well you thought it would, it could be because it’s lacking in one or more nutrients. Plants need a lot of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen for photosynthesis. They also need mineral nutrients: phosphorous, nitrogen, potassium and others. To determine exactly what your plant needs, it’s best to have the soil tested. Then, you can search for fertilizers that have the nutrients that the soil’s lacking. If you don’t want to have your soil tested or aren’t able to do so, start with additives that have a broad array of nutrients.
Keep your lawn looking beautiful with maintenance services from Twin Oaks Landscape. Find us online at https://www.twinoakslandscape.biz/, visit us in Ann Arbor, MI at 4100 South Maple Road, or call us at (734) 213-6911.
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