Every gardener and farmer knows that plants need a lot more care than just occasional watering if they are going to thrive. And when it comes to growing any kind of plant for profit timetables must be met.
We need our plants to grow tall and quickly! And to do that plants will need plenty of food and fertile soil.
Fertilization is a crucial component of reliably raising any crop or other plant in a timely fashion. But what kind of fertilizers will make your plants grow faster?
Nitrogen- and phosphorous-rich fertilizers can help plants grow faster. Plant needs vary depending on the species, and there are many different types of fertilizers that can make plants grow faster depending on their needs and prevailing soil conditions.
There are lots of different types of fertilizer out on the market these days and it can be hard to figure out which one is best for your plants.
Good organic fertilizers include things like compost, manure, and green manures. Inorganic fertilizers include things like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, or NPK.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the most popular fertilizers and what they can do for your plants. With the right fertilizer, you can see amazing results in no time!
Basic Overview of Soil Nutrients
All plants need three primary nutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).
These are typically represented as numbers on fertilizer bags, with the first number being nitrogen, the second phosphorus, and the third potassium.
For example, a bag of fertilizer that is 5-10-5 contains five percent nitrogen, ten percent phosphorus, and five percent potassium.
Each of these nutrients plays an important role in plant growth:
Nitrogen is responsible for leaf and stem growth.
Phosphorus promotes root growth and helps with flower and fruit production.
Potassium helps the plant to resist disease and aids in water uptake.
While all three of these nutrients are important, nitrogen is often considered the most important because it is used in such large quantities by plants.
In fact, insufficient nitrogen is often the limiting factor in plant growth, which means that if there isn’t enough nitrogen available, the other nutrients won’t matter because the plant won’t be able to use them. This is why most fertilizers contain a high percentage of nitrogen.
How Do I Know Which Fertilizer to Use?
The best way to figure out which fertilizer to use is to have your soil tested. A soil test will tell you the nutrient levels in your soil and whether they are adequate for plant growth.
It will also tell you the pH of your soil, which is important because plants can only uptake nutrients if the soil is within a certain pH range. Most plants do well in soils with a pH between 6 and 7.
If you don’t want to get your soil tested, you can just buy a general-purpose fertilizer that contains all three of the primary nutrients. These fertilizers are often referred to as “complete” fertilizers.
There are also specialized fertilizers available for specific purposes, such as promoting flowering or increasing fruit production.
These fertilizers typically have a higher concentration of one of the primary nutrients.
For example, a fertilizer for promoting flowering might have higher phosphorus content, while one for increasing fruit production might have higher potassium content.
You can also buy “organic” fertilizers, which are made from natural materials such as manure or compost.
These fertilizers tend to be slower acting than chemical fertilizers, but they are less likely to damage plants and they improve the quality of the soil over time.
When Should I apply the Fertilizer?
The best time to apply fertilizer is in the spring, just before plants start growing rapidly. This will give them a boost of nutrients that they can use to grow quickly and produce lots of flowers and fruit.
You can also apply fertilizer in the summer if plants are starting to look sluggish or if they are not producing as much fruit as you would like.
It is also a good idea to consult vetted care instructions for your particular plant or crop. Each species has its own unique lifecycle and accordingly unique requirements for optimal growth.
Depending on the stage of development your plants are in, they may benefit more or less from nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium earlier or later in the season.
How to Use Fertilizer
Applying fertilizer to the soil is usually simple, but the procedure can vary depending on the type.
For example, granular fertilizers can be spread by hand or with a fertilizer spreader, while liquids are usually applied with a watering can or hose-end sprayer.
When using granular fertilizer, it is important to follow the directions on the package because applying too much fertilizer can damage plants.
It is also important to water the fertilizer into the soil to prevent it from blowing away or being taken up by the roots of nearby plants.
When using liquid fertilizer, you’ll need to be careful not to apply too much because this can also damage plants.
It is best to start with a solution made according to the package instructions and careful meter out a known quantity. Increase the concentration only if needed.
You can also apply liquid fertilizer more frequently than granular fertilizer because it is taken up more quickly than granules which slowly break down and release over time.
How Much Fertilizer Do I Need to Use?
The amount of fertilizer you need to use will depend on the type of fertilizer, the nutrient levels in your soil, and the plants you are growing.
It is always best to follow the directions on the fertilizer package or those given to you by a professional.
It is also important to keep in mind that too much fertilizer can be just as harmful as too little.
Applying too much fertilizer can damage plants and pollute the environment that is downstream from your patch.
Always be cautious when using fertilizer, for yourself and for others, and use too little versus risking too much.
Where Should I Buy Fertilizers?
You can buy fertilizers from most garden stores, hardware stores, farm stores, nurseries or online, along with the garden section of some department stores.
It is important to make sure you are buying a fertilizer that is appropriate for the plants you are growing and the soil you have. If you are unsure, ask a professional at your local nursery or gardening store.
They will be able to recommend the best type of fertilizer for your needs and will likely understand the peculiarities of the local soil and associated ecosystems.
With so many different types of fertilizers available, it can be tricky to know which one to choose for your plants.
In general, though, all you really need is a good all-purpose fertilizer that contains all three of the primary nutrients.
Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.