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Soil Nutrient: use you Organic or Mineral!
The soil is more than just a place to plant seeds it is also where the plants need all the essential nutrient they need to thrive. The three major soil nutrients are nitrogen phosphorus and potassium, there are also many oil micronutrients as well:
Nitrogen is very important for photosynthesis and as part of what makes the plants green, so a plant that does not have enough nitrogen will tend to be yellow and contrast a plant that is receiving too much nitrogen and not enough of the other nutrients will tend to produce a lot of green growth, and not very much fruit tomatoes are a good example of that you may have seen that a tomato plant that is big and green, and lush with very few tomatoes on it.
Phosphorous is very important for root development and fruit development a phosphorus deficiency will often show up as purple colors on the leaves, and the veins and that’s why we fertilize our lawns with phosphorus in the fall because it helps promote healthy root development.
Potassium is a really important one for cellular function and it helps with disease resistance and it also really helps with cold hardiness in plants, so that’s are some of the reasons why it’s important to have enough of what we call our macronutrients nitrogen phosphorus, and potassium if you’ve noticed signs of nutrient deficiency in your garden.
You can add compost or manure and you can also add fertilizer if you’re gonna fertilize your garden. Be sure and take a soil test first and you can work with your Extension educator to help interpret the results.
Organic Nutrient versus Synthetic Nutrient
So organic versus synthetic which do we choose in which situation; now it is there’s definitely a lot of hype around growing organically I definitely have to make it clear that plants do not eat blood meal or worm castings plants eat nitrogen phosphorus and potassium so anything that you feed to them has to be converted into its chemical form before they can take it up, so in organic gardening when we’re feeding our plants alfalfa meal, it’s important that we have the action of humic acids to break down that alfalfa meal as it says the humic acids expand and contract in the root zone into nitrogen phosphorus, and potassium, and then the humic acids are gonna form a bridge between the nutrient and th root zone allowing these nutrients to be taken up right synthetic fertilizers chemical fertilizers do not require, this action they are available immediately so why would we choose one over the other there are some various situations where for example an organic fertile let’s say we have a recirculating reservoir in a hydroponic garden if we take some type of potent fish fertilizer and put it into that reservoir and recirculate it for days it’s going to become incredibly disgusting in which case, we would be much better off to stick to synthetic fertilizers and maintain a clean reservoir in drained waste Gardens like peat based Gardens or cocoa Gardens outdoor gardening and big bags it’s absolutely possible to or garden organically. What are the advantages it’s hard to say when you’re talking about NPK?
Fertilizer and organic Nutrient
If a fertilizer manufacturer is using very clean nutrients salts then it’s hard to say that there is truly an advantage in the organic NPK, where does the advantage lie in organic gardening think it really lies in the things that are beyond the 20 essential elements for plant survival the things we don’t understand, when we’re looking at organic gardening it’s more about the additives like microorganisms, micros a Trichoderma these different fungi that colonize the root zone enhancing nutrient uptake and a root development humic acids which facilitate nutrient uptake right, can we use these things with synthetic fertilizer absolutely sometimes I have scenarios where a client is under the impression, that because they’re growing organically because they’re using a synthetic fertilizer they can’t put in organic additives and this is not true we can have the best of both worlds we can use a synthetic fertilizer and Verma tea to increase the nutrient uptake of that synthetic fertilizers right.
We can use an organic nutrient along with synthetic additives and enhancers, we can mix and match if we understand what we’re doing, and why so really what it comes down to is furthering our education so we understand what’s in the products we’re using, we understand what plants need and how these interactions can occur in the root zone and the plant material, so there are applications where organic gardening is a fantastic choice there are applications, where using a synthetic fertilizer is a perfect choice sometimes we combine both of these worlds and get the best of both worlds sometimes we like to use a synthetic fertilizer throughout the vegetative growth, and the initial flowering period to make sure that everything is perfectly under control because synthetic fertilizers are readily available, and for the most part can be somewhat less problematic than organic gardening, and then towards the end of the flowering cycle we might cut off the synthetic fertilizer and move into a straight organic products in an attempt to increase flavors and aromas that’s definitely something that sometimes we can get from organic products is those hidden little subtleties that make something higher quality increasing flavors and aromas can be a definite benefit of utilizing organic products towards the end of the flowering period, so it’s all about figuring out your plant and what is going to be utilized to produce the best quality material
Macro-Nutrient Vs Micro-Nutrient
so nutrients can be divided into macronutrients and micronutrients your macronutrients are nutrients that are required in large amounts and that’s going to include your NPK nitrogen phosphorus and potassium, it’s going to include calcium and magnesium and potentially sulfur but mostly it’s your nitrogen phosphorus and potassium calcium and magnesium required in large amounts, this is very important to understand your micronutrients are gonna include things like boron copper zinc Molly bad neom these are acquired in small amounts it’s very common, when clients are trying to assess problems in their garden that they might think they have a micronutrient deficiency, when actually the majority of nutrient formulas on the market today are incredibly complete we’re using the best food in the world, and quite often there’s some part of the plants metabolic process that’s limited making it appear like a nutrient deficiency when potentially the plant does have a problem taking off the nutrient so these macronutrients and micronutrients can also be looked at as mobile and immobile nutrients, so the macronutrients required in large amounts are mobile the plant can move them throughout its material as needed micronutrients are immobile which means that the plant cannot move them around so when we’re looking at macronutrients being mobile if we’re seeing a nutrient deficiency that genuinely relates to macronutrients we’re going to see it in lower leaves a calcium, a macronutrient is a nitrogen fixer without enough calcium, the nitrogen cannot be taken up so we may be looking at what appears to be a nitrogen deficiency but actually is a calcium deficiency that’s why it is very common for us to utilize products like calcium magnesium additives like pro Calcium by Green Planet nutrients, this calcium is a macronutrient required in large amounts but this product also contains iron which is a micronutrient required in small amounts so this is somewhat a micronutrient supplement.
It’s very common for us to have to supplement nutrient programs with calcium and magnesium products, so if we’re looking at a mobile nutrients deficiencies of those will occur in the new growth the top growth of the plant because the plant cannot move these nutrients around but I will emphasize that genuine nutrient deficiencies related to micronutrients are actually quite rare thanks for tuning in today.
So you’re mixing a nutrient solution and you add your pH adjuster and you notice a milky white swirl appear in your reservoir what’s going on. Sometimes when we pour in a concentrated pH adjuster into our nutrient solution as it goes into the water and is moving around in its concentrated form, it actually starts to bind with summoning the nutrients in you solution into forms that are no longer available for nutrient uptake by your plant, so this I what people refer to as nutrient law code essentially the nutrient is binding up into forms that are no longer available how can you deal with this if you know how much pH adjuster you need to add to a given reservoir, you could add it before you add your nutrients so your pH adjuster is diluted fully without throughout your nutrient solution, and then no therefore no longer available in concentrated forms to bind up with anything, another way to go about it if you want to add it after you’ve added your nutrients is to dilute the pH adjuster heavily before you add it to your reservoir, so there’s definitely ways to deal with this it’s not a huge deal but keep in mind you want to provide your plants with the most optimum nutrient solution possible which means you don’t want to see any locking out whatsoever.