Do you have a pet? Do you feed her? But what about your plants? Plants also need food for their growth and development. Fertilizer is the food of the plant. You should fertilize your garden to get better production.
But the burning questions are how to fertilize your garden and what is the right method to feed your plant properly?
Here I have answered all of your questions.
Before dive into the main topic learn the basics.
What is Fertilizers?
Fertilizers are the organic or synthetic materials that will bring fertilizing elements to the soil and the elements are essential to plant growth and development. So, If I want to answer this question in short, I will say fertilizer is “PLANT VITAMIN“.
According to the form, there are two categories of fertilizer products used in agriculture and gardening activities:
- Synthetic/Chemical Fertilizer
- Organic Fertilizer
According to the solubility, there are two main types of fertilizer:
- Slow-release fertilizer, which has a progressive and slow action. They are preparing the land for future crops.
- Fast release fertilizers that act much faster and directly support growth throughout the growing season.
The most important synthetic fertilizer is “NPK” fertilizers that contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Synthetic fertilizers are generally fast-release fertilizers.
- Nitrogen stimulates the growth and the development of stems and leaves.
- Phosphorus promotes the development of roots and stems.
- Potassium gives the plant the strength to fight against drought and diseases.
But many other fertilizers also available that are present micronutrients such as magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn) and Boron (B) those help to develop the plant’s tissue. Though plant takes these nutrients in a very small amount but it is very important to remain these components in fertilizers.
The organic gardener uses various types of organic amendments such as compost, manure, comfrey, leaf mold. They are slow-release fertilizer.
Some other good natural fertilizers for plants and vegetables are:
- Seaweed fertilizer (Our pick: Maxicrop Liquid Seaweed)
- Guano fertilizer (Our pick: Hydrofarm BGC1001 Vegetative Guano)
- Bone powder (Our pick: Jobe’s Organics Bone Meal Fertilizer)
- Dried blood (Our pick: Burpee Organic Blood Meal)
- Cottonseed meal (Our pick: Down To Earth Cottonseed Meal)
Objectives of the Fertilizer
- Make the soil easier to work.
- Increase soil capacity for storing or draining water.
- Limit the nutrient losses.
- Improve air circulation.
Remember; Chemical fertilizer is fast and efficient, but it often gives vegetables with less taste. It also increases the susceptibility of diseases and gradually degrades the life of the soil.
Why Need Fertilize Your Soil?
When you cultivate your garden, the crops uptake various elements from the soil that are necessary for their growth. If we do not fill these “losses” regularly, the soil will become poorer slowly. As a result, plant growth will stunt, deficiencies or diseases will appear and finally, crop production will decrease.
Importance of Fertilize soil
- The fertilizer will feed the soil and increases the activity of many organisms: bacteria, insects, earthworms, etc. After decomposing the organic matter, it will make the nutrient in the available form that plants can feed.
- Fertilizer also improves the structure of soil by increasing or stabilizing the humus rate that retains the nutrients and water, promotes biological activity. The biological activity of the various organisms will also aerate the soil, facilitating root growth and exchanges of air and water.
Vegetables and Their Needs
Generally, vegetables are divided into three categories according to their needs.
- High Requirement (2 / 3kg/ M²)
- Moderate Requirement (1kg /M²)
- Low Requirement (No Fertilization)
Here are the most cultivated crops and their needs
How often to Fertilize Your Vegetable Garden
You already know that fertilizer is the plant’s food, but overeating always harmful.SO Plants need a little rest. what is the best time to apply fertilizer?
Here is the deal:
Spring is the best time to apply fertilizers to the vegetable garden and ornamental garden. There are two complementary approaches to soil fertilization in the spring.
At the beginning of the season, Slow-release fertilizers are recommended to improve the soil. Ideally, a slow-acting fertilizer should be brought about 2 weeks before the first sowing or planting on the plot.
At the end of the season, apply quick-release whiplash fertilizer because they instantly absorb in the soil and improve the growth.
The warm season gives plants enough light and sunshine that’s why plants can work without fertilizer.
On the puniest plants, a little amount of fertilizer can boost their development. At the end of the summer, when the heat declines apply a slow-release fertilizer.
The soil will be in rest soon, so it may be useful to apply the amend so that nutrients penetrate durably and deeply soil during the winter.
Some gardeners continue to amend the land during the winter. This is not really justified since soils also need to regenerate and sleep. If fertilizer intake in the spring is sufficient, there is no need to repeat the experiment before the return of good weather.
Methods of Fertilize Your Garden Organically
Now let’s talk about the main topic. Do you want to prepare your garden for next season? then you must fertilize the land. Before planting, you should provide the necessary nutrients for your plants’ growth and the fight against parasites.
Here are our tips for fertilizing your garden
Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully on the package of your fertilizer, you will find:
- The percentage of the three elements indicated by a code;
Example: 10-4-8 means 10% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus and 8% potassium.
- The doses to be applied ( 30 to 50 g / m 2 );
- The periods when the treatment is recommended:
- Commonly in March and October;
- Once in the year;
- Maintain safety Instructions (store the fertilizer in a safe place, use gloves and mask while using).
Method 1: Manually Spread
- Water slightly beforehand.
- Spread the fertilizer evenly in a circular motion by your hand.
This method is only recommended if you grow crops in a small area. Because It is a very time consuming and laborious.
Method 2: Spread Mechanically With Spreader
As you already know the manual method is not advisable for wide land. Because it is not easy to disperse the fertilizer evenly for the wide land and the application process can be long and tedious. Then what should you do? Buy the best fertilizer spreader on your budget.
What is Spreader?
A spreader is a tool that spreading or scattering fertilizer evenly. There are four kinds of fertilizer spreader
- Rotary or Broadcast Spreader.
- Hand-held Fertilizer Spreader.
- Drop Fertilizer Spreader.
- Liquid Fertilizer Spreader.
|Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard DLX||Broadcast|
|Scotts Wizz Spreader||Hand-Held|
|Nylon Bag Spreader||Hand-Held|
|Earthway 2150 Spreader||Walk-Behind|
|Agri-Fab 45-0288 Spreader||Behind Drop|
|Brinly BS36BH||Tow Behind|
The Advantages of Fertilizer Spreader
The fertilizer spreader disperses the fertilizer on a regular basis and thus ensures a balanced intake everywhere. When you throw the fertilizer by hand, you never know exactly if the area has already been fertilized or not. This is the main advantage of the spreader. Moreover, It is less laborious and time-saving tools.
- Never store your spreader with any remaining fertilizer, clean with water before storing it.
- Use only when it is dry.
- Before fertilization, loosening the soil that the nutrients provided can be absorbed. After applying fertilizers you have to water on the soil, it helps to reach the fertilizer to the roots of the plants.
How to Use Fertilizer Spreader?
The application of fertilizers with a spreader is a relatively easy task, but it must be done with care and precision. Fertilizers are generally beneficial if the amount is perfect. You must determine how much fertilizer you should use. This is also very important because an overdose can burn your plant and strengthen weeds and other plant pests
Calculate the Amount of Fertilizer to Use
To easily determine the amount of fertilizer needed for your soil application, you can also refer to the instructions provided by the manufacturer in the spreader manual. To do this: determine the land area to be treated, measure the various dimensions. Then multiply the area by the amount of fertilizer recommended in per square meter. Finally, take the amount of fertilizer obtained and divide it by two. Why two? because you’re going to make two passes. This is the best way to allow your soil to absorb fertilizer gradually avoid the risk of burning.
Calibrate A Fertilizer Spreader (Rotary Spreader)
- Determine the application dose. Most of all fertilizer bags have application dose printed on the label. Application doses are usually based on 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. To calculate the number of pounds of fertilizer to apply, divide 1 by the percentage of nitrogen. Example: NPK 10-10-10, 1 ÷ 0.1 = 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
- Determine the calibration area. 200 square feet is a good amount of area to do a calibration analysis. Start measuring the application width on a rotary spreader. The number of feet you walked multiplied by the application width is equal to the total area of square feet. Follow the formula provided to calculate 200 square feet with a single pass of the separation bar.
- Measure the calibration area. Place a flag or paint marker on each edge of the application width. This will be the starting position. Measure the travel distance from the starting place and place the third marker.
- Weight for the predetermined amount of fertilizer. Use 20% of the amount of 1,000 square feet. Use 2 pounds if you are going to apply 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet. (10 lbs x 0.2 = 2 pounds of 200 m2).
- Adjust the fertilizer flow. Here are some guidelines that will influence the setting: high nitrogen content = less open. Fine particles = less open. Large particles = more open. Heavy (dense) = less open. Light (bulky) = more open. Organic = more open.
- Start spreading the fertilizer within the marked 200 sq. Ft. If the fertilizer remains after covering the entire area, close the additional holes according to the amount of fertilizer remaining. Mark a new 200 sq. Ft. Zone and repeat until no fertilizer remains in the separation bar when it ends up covering the marked area.
- If the fertilizer is empty before finishing 200 square feet, close the additional holes according to the amount of area remaining to cover. Repeat this step until fertilizer remains in the separation bar.
Tips and Warnings
- If there is fertilizer left after covering the area of 200 sq. Ft., Cover the area several times until the fertilizer is gone. This will ensure that the correct amount of fertilizer was applied.
- If the fertilizer is obviously going to end early, close the hole of some and spread the fertilizer evenly over 200 sq. Ft. Zone.
- If the fertilizer runs out before finishing the calibration area, a small amount of additional fertilizer is spread over the uncovered area to ensure growth.
An excess of fertilizer not only unnecessarily increases the consumption of chemicals, but can be detrimental to your soil:
- Advanced fertilization leads to chemical burns.
- If you have doubts at the time of dose, prefer a too low dose to a too high dose.
Practice the Amendment
Some amendments have the ability to rebalance the power of the soil.
The application of amendment will vary depending on the type of soil or the type of crop.
Fertilizing your land with chemical fertilizer has a negative impact on the environment. If you want to fertilize your soil without going through the polluting the environment. Choose the green fertilizer to feed your plant.
- Opt for green manures.
- Fast-growing plants that retain nutrients from the soil: when they break down, they are a major source of organic matter.
- Rapeseed, buckwheat, mustard, phacelia are the most used.
- Avoid the weeds.
Dried blood, crushed horn for nitrogen
- Quick and durable action for dried blood (approximately 1.25 kg per 10 m2 ).
- Slow action for the crushed horn (about a handful per m2).
The shell of eggs or bone powder for a phosphorus
- Stack the eggshells.
- Mix them to the ground.
Ashes of wood for a contribution of potash
- Spread the ashes on the floor.
- Rake on the soil.
There are also seaweed fertilizers, guano, rock powder, nettle manure for a specific nutrient.