fertilisers are chemical compounds that provide nutrition to soil and plants. Although plants gain their nutrition from the natural supplements present in the soil, but fertilisers fulfill those needs that are not fulfilled by the soil.
The right types of fertilisers can make your plants green and healthy; whereas a single drop of the wrong fertiliser can ruin your entire garden. Given that your garden’s size is small, the damage will be more drastic.
When fertilising plants, you need to take special care regarding the quantity. If you overdose your plant with fertilisers, they will start decaying. Too little quantity will reduce the plants’ growth. Fertiliser’s impact is dependent on its application as well.
“For example, some fertilisers show positive results when used during plantations while others work best while sowing seeds. Scientific studies have showed that 30% to 50% crops need natural or synthetic fertilisers for their proper growth” according to leading Garden experts ‘Garden Tool Box’
Every fertiliser contains the following key components. * Magnesium * Nitrogen * Potassium * Phosphorous * Sulfur * Potassium The other three major nutrients oxygen, carbon and hydrogen are acquired by plants from the soil and water.
Various Fertiliser Types
The fertilising need of every plant is different. Moreover, if your plant is growing in a soil that is rich in nutrients, then you don’t need to fertilise your plants.
Soils that constantly go through harvesting and planting lose their nutrients; that is when fertilisers come in handy. fertilisers are available in solid form as well as liquid form.
Most gardeners prefer using solid fertilisers, which are usually in granular or powdered form. Liquid fertilisers, on the other hand, are more effective and are capable of covering more area in short amount of time.
There are two major categories of fertilisers: organic and inorganic. However, there are a lot of other subcategories which you should know about if you want to build your own miniature garden. Let’s take a look at the various fertiliser types.
Synthetic fertilisers are synthesised with the help of various chemical sources.
Generally high chemical constituency is considered harmful for plants, but if your plants are on the dying stage then you should treat them with a dose of synthetic fertilisers so that they can gain instant nutrition from the artificial sources.
Every synthetic fertiliser contains one or more of these three main nutrients: phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium.
The reason why most gardeners rely on synthetic fertilisers is that they provide a consistent supply of nutrients to the soil. Moreover, they are very easy to use and people always choose easiness over other factors. Like all chemicals, synthetic fertilisers also have some negative effects.
These fertilisers are harmful for the microorganisms present in the soil that convert plant and animal feces into organic matter. Moreover, if you are using a nitrogen based fertiliser that has high constituency of phosphorous or nitrogen, it will penetrate in the ground water and increase the toxicity of the soil. Therefore, long term use of synthetic fertilisers is not recommended. If you are using it quite frequently, then you should dilute the fertiliser by mixing water in it. It will minimise its harmful effects.
These types of fertilisers are made up of animal or vegetable materials such as manure, compost etc. If you are not interested in using processed organic fertilisers, then you can sue the ones that naturally occur in the environment such as peat, seaweed, slurry and worm casting.
The raw matter left behind by the animals serve as an excellent food of plants. This is the nature’s way of taking care of its creations.
Organic fertilisers are considered beneficial for the environment as well as the health of plants. The absence of chemicals in these fertilisers make them environment friendly. Moreover, if you accidentally inhale it while fertilising your plants, you will suffer no harm. Same cannot be said about chemical based fertilisers. Multiple times application of organic fertilisers does not harm the growth of the plants but make sure that you are not using it too excessively.
Another benefit of using organic fertilisers is that it can enhance the moisture retaining capability of the soil and save it from going under the draught attack.
Another reason why you should switch to using organic fertilisers is that they are less expensive as compared to artificial fertilisers and are easily available at majority stores.
Phosphorous — Based fertilisers
It is one of those fertilisers that cultivate positive results when applied during planting. Gardeners who use this type of fertiliser recommend using steamed bone meal fertiliser, and that too in powdered form.
Phosphorous based fertilisers are available in organic as well as inorganic forms. In the inorganic category, superphosphates are the best type of fertilisers. You need to be very careful when applying this fertiliser. If you increase the recommended quantity, you will damage your plants.
Phosphorous is an essential requirement for plants; therefore, it does not harm the organic farming methods. However, organic phosphorous based fertilisers are not in chemical form. They are usually made up of manure digested by worms known as vermicompost.
Rock phosphate and bone meal are other suitable options. Bone meal, which is made of bones, is an essential requirement for soils that have pH level below 7.
When applying phosphorous based fertilisers, make sure that your timings are correct. Cost is another important factor that you should consider when purchasing fertilisers.
Organic ones are available at reasonable prices, whereas, inorganic ones can be a little pricey. But the good part about fertilisers is that once you purchase them they can last for a couple of weeks or even months.
Nitrogen — Based fertilisers
Nitrogen based fertilisers are applied to the soil after the plantation process is complete. Once you put this fertiliser in the soil it slowly releases nitrogen in the soil. If you are not willing to use a company manufactured nitrogen based fertiliser,
then you can obtain this from natural sources as well.
Animal and plant byproducts are considered best nitrogen sources, especially when it is in the form of fish manure or meal. Plants need high quantity of nitrogen for proper growth and some of this need is accomplished by the nitrous oxide emitted from the soil, but still you need to make sure that your soil’s nitrogen needs are fulfilled through fertilisers.
In inorganic nitrogen based fertilisers, sodium nitrate is considered one of the best ones. However, it is usually preferred for large scale crop productions.
Since you have a small garden, it is better if you avoid using chemical based fertilisers because their use can be really tricky. You have to stick to the manufacturer’s specifications if you are using inorganic nitrogen based fertilisers. Moreover, animal waste is easier to obtain and it is rich in minerals.