Which Type of Fertilizer is Right for Your Garden?
In Ann Arbor MI, and many other places in the Midwest, preparing your garden should start the fall before the actual growing season. Now is the time to plan your garden and this planning should begin with preparing the soil. This should begin with an examination of your soil, including testing with a soil analysis. After a soil analysis, you’ll know what you should add to it to gain optimal results from your gardening efforts. Analysis will tell you what you should add, but it’s easy to add the basic amounts without a soil analysis being conducted. You’ll want a rich and soft soil that is porous so that it is easy for your plants’ roots to grow in. Without roots, plants cannot thrive and produce food nor flowers for your and your family. Most lawn care businesses can conduct soil analysis for you.
Fertilizing can help you produce the right kind of soil for most vegetables and flowering plants. There are six macronutrients that are vital for any garden. These are required in higher amounts than the micronutrients needed by most plants. Fertilizing in the fall should take place after all perennial plants are past reblooming and are dormant for the season to prevent another growth spurt. Adding compost during the growing season works well for most plants.
Six Macronutrients and Where to Get Them
Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, followed by calcium, sulfur and magnesium are considered to be macronutrients by horticulturists. During the fall, when plants are dormant for a while and are not actively growing but are only storing food reserves for their future growth spurt in the spring, is when fertilizer should be applied. Fertilizer can be a mixture that is prepared and sold for easy application, or compost that you make yourself. Many advise that prepared fertilizer be applied in the fall, and then followed up by application of composted organic material throughout the growing season.
The first three macronutrients can be boosted if the following items are added to your compost pile:
- Nitrogen – fish meal and urea
- Phosphorous – bone meal and soft-rock phosphate (both are also high in calcium)
- Potassium – kelp and wood ashes
The other three macronutrients can be boosted in compost by including Epsom salt for magnesium and sulfur, gypsum and crushed egg shells both contain calcium in high amounts, and dried egg yolks, preferably from hard-boiled eggs, can increase the levels of sulfur found in the garden’s soil when added to your compost pile.
Composting in Ann Arbor MI
In Michigan, there are regulations banning the practice of placing compost out for collection with the weekly garbage. This includes Ann Arbor and should increase the number of people composting their grass clippings. Lawn care experts advise that grass clippings either be left to mulch the lawn from which they were cut, recycling the nutrients back into new growth. Grass clippings are also high in water which makes it possible to skip a watering after the grass has been cut and save on your water bill. Gardening experts agree that clippings do not create the problem of thatch in lawns if the cut sections are short. When adding clippings to compost, make sure there are no seeds included. For this reason, frequent cutting is highly advisable.
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