When it comes to getting the most out of your garden, the type of fertilizer you use can be just as important as when and how much you apply.
With so many different products on the market, knowing which one will best suit your needs can be a challenge.
Choosing the right type of fertilizer for your garden allows your plants to grow strong and healthy, with fewer issues with pests and diseases, leading to a bountiful harvest.
With these tips, you should be armed with the right knowledge on the type of fertilizer to use, depending on your specific gardening needs.
Don’t be afraid to experiment through the growing season and see which works best for you and your garden.
With a little trial and error, you will know which works ideally for your garden, and you will be well on your way to a beautiful and fruitful garden.
FIND OUT THE NEEDS OF YOUR GARDEN
The type of fertilizer you choose depends on your garden’s needs, as different plants require different nutrients that are best delivered through different types of fertilizers.
For example, vegetables like tomatoes and peppers require more nitrogen, while herbs like basil and sage need less nitrogen and more potassium.
Acid-loving plants like blueberries and roses require different formulas as compared to other plants.
SOIL TESTING AND NUTRIENT DEFICIENCIES
Before adding fertilizers into your garden routine, it’s best to test your soil to find out the nutrient deficiencies and PH levels.
Knowing what your garden lacks is an easy way to choose the right fertilizer and help your plants thrive.
TIMING AND FORM OF FERTILIZER
Using the wrong fertilizer at the wrong time can lead to burning of your plants.
Fertilizer comes in different forms, including granular, liquid, and slow-release, which all provide different rates of nutrient delivery, and can be used at different planting periods.
Also known as synthetic fertilizers, they are often used because they are the easiest route to a happy and healthy garden.
They generally contain high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which can provide fast-acting nourishment for plants.
However, it’s important to follow application guidelines otherwise you could end up with an over-fertilized garden.
GENERAL OR ALL-PURPOSE FERTILIZER
An all-purpose fertilizer is a great choice for general garden use and can help get your plants off to a good start.
It contains balanced amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which is 10-10-10 (NPK). It should be used when you first see signs of growth, and again 3-4 weeks later.
Most vegetables, plants, and shrubs need this option.
WHAT ARE THE BAD EFFECTS OF SYNTHETIC FERTILIZERS ON THE SOIL?
Synthetic fertilizers are known to kill the beneficial microorganisms in the soil that help to cycle nutrients.
This can cause an imbalance in the soil and lead to a decrease in water-holding capacity and other problems over time, such as nutrient leaching which means they can be washed away and end up in rivers or groundwater supplies.
This creates nutrient overloads, which can create algal blooms that use up oxygen and kill plants.
High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus have been linked to a decrease in biodiversity, as well as the potential for long-term soil fertility decline.
ORGANIC LIQUID FERTILIZERS
Organic homemade liquid fertilizers are a great choice for those wanting to avoid chemical ingredients in their garden whether it’s a vegetable or an ornamental garden.
To create your own homemade liquid fertilizer, you’ll need to start by gathering the ingredients.
This could include materials such as nettles, comfrey, kelp or seaweed, grass clippings, or compost tea.
You can also add some other commonly available products such as fish emulsion or Epsom salts for additional nutrients.
Once you have all of the ingredients together, it’s time to mix them up into a solution.
The general rule of thumb is 10 parts water to one part of each ingredient, depending on what combination you choose this could be anywhere from 1-4 teaspoons per gallon of water.
Because homemade liquid fertilizers are made using organic materials, they contain various nutrients that synthetic fertilizers do not.
They provide plants with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which are the three main macronutrients as well as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and other trace elements – all of which are essential for healthy plant growth.
Furthermore, these ingredients don’t burn or damage the roots as chemical-based fertilizers can.
You can make large batches at once and store them in sealed containers until needed, this way you won’t have to worry about running out of fertilizer and having to make more
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