Why use mineral fertilizer in the garden or in at home? минерални торове онлайн
All plants need nutrients to grow. But there is a difference in how much fertilizer a plant needs. A plant’s consumption of nutrients depends on, among other things. of the size of the plant and the extent of leaf growth. Small plants need virtually no fertilizer, while vigorously growing plants require more. Completely developed plants hardly so much. Also, not all garden plants need to be fertilized every year.
If you give the plants too little fertilizer, they will not be as healthy and beautiful as they have the potential to be. It is important that you regularly give the plants a small supplement of fertilizer rather than large doses a few times a year. With more but smaller additions, the plants get the opportunity to absorb the nutrients continuously and signify with a visible healthy growth and dark green, succulent leaves. If, on the other hand, you give more fertilizer than the plants can use, you contaminate the soil and groundwater and the plant can sweat. There is therefore good reason to understand how much fertilizer the different plants need.
What types of fertilizer are there?
There are several types of fertilizer that you can use in the garden. In general, fertilizers can be divided into 2 main groups:
Fertilizers (mineral fertilizers)
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Video: Which fertilizer should you choose?
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Plants cannot distinguish between organic fertilizer and mineral fertilizer. In most cases it can be beneficial to use a mixture of organic fertilizer and artificial fertilizer. The organic fertilizer (especially compost) ensures a good soil structure, while the mineral gives effect to the plants now and here. However, this does not mean that you need to take a double dose. The total amount of fertilizer must be the same.
You can thus easily combine the two forms of fertilizer, for example by giving the garden organic fertilizer in the spring and supplementing with artificial fertilizer for the plants that need extra nutrition later in the summer.
Fertilizers (mineral fertilizers)
Fertilizers are chemically produced and consist of the nutrients that the plants need.
Fertilizers are made from different soil and rock types and partly from air nitrogen. The production is quite an energy-intensive process.
Fertilizers are salts that dissolve when they come in contact with water. How fast it goes depends on whether the small pellets of fertilizer are coated or not. They decompose into ions in the same way that ordinary table salt does in water.
It has the advantage that it is quickly available to the plant, which can therefore also quickly absorb and use the nutrients. Therefore, artificial fertilizer is an advantage if a plant has symptoms that it lacks fertilizer, that you use a fast-acting soluble fertilizer rather than organic fertilizer, which is longer to be broken down into the individual nutrients the plant needs. The roots of the plants can only absorb the nutrients the moment they are dissolved in the ions of the soil water. The most commonly used products are NPK fertilizers, which are a mixture of three nutrients:
N = Nitrogen (nitrogen), which improves the growth of the whole plant.
P = Phosphorus, which improves the plant’s energy turnover.
K = Potassium, which improves the plant’s growth and resistance to disease.
The ratio of the three nutrients varies within the different kinds of fertilizers. If the fertilizer package says 14-3-18, it means that the fertilizer consists of 14 parts nitrogen, 3 parts phosphorus and 18 parts potassium.
NPK fertilizers may also contain other nutrients in minor amounts, such as magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, manganese and copper.
Artificial fertilizers are available both in pill form and as liquid fertilizers.
Organic fertilizers consist of natural nutrients, which come from plants and animals. It can, for example, be composted cow manure or manure from chickens or horses. It can also be manure made from seaweed, lupine seeds, dried animal blood, fish or bone meal.
Organic fertilizers are also available as industrially produced fertilizer pellets or liquid fertilizers, which are used in almost the same way as artificial fertilizers.
You can make organic fertilizer for the garden yourself by having a compost pile, where you put your green waste from the garden and the household, so that over time it is converted into compost that can be used as fertilizer. If the compost is to be nutritious enough, it is a really good idea to mix in livestock manure from eg chickens or horses.
You can also make liquid organic fertilizer from stinging nettles, compost or animal manure, which is placed in a tub of water. With this way, however, it is difficult to calculate what the fertilizer ratio is. This makes your fertilizer application more uncertain, and in the worst case scenario, you may find that your plants get deficiency symptoms.
Read more about how to make liquid, organic fertilizer yourself at Havenyt.dk.
Get wiser on fertilizer in the video here
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When should you fertilize?
You need to fertilize in the spring. But wait to fertilize until the soil temperature is above five degrees r, it is typically mid-April.
Always fertilize up to the expected rain – otherwise the fertilizer will just lie on top of the soil without being dissolved.
First, spray out the organic fertilizer if you are using that type of fertilizer. Sprinkle it out so that it lies scattered on the ground and not in piles. A rule of thumb is approx. a woman-handful per. plant (roses, shrubs, larger perennials and smaller trees).
If you use an NPK fertilizer, the plants can be scorched if the fertilizer beads are located in leaf corners or on bare roots at the cord surface. Conversely, NPK fertilizer works faster because it dissipates quickly in the rain.
In March-April it is a good idea to start the application of fertilizer to the garden. This should be done as the soil warms up so that the plants have started to grow and the fertilizer is absorbed.
In March-April it is a good idea to start the application of fertilizer to the garden. This should be done as the soil gets warmer, so the plants have started to grow and the fertilizer is absorbed. Stock Photo.
How do you use fertilizer in the garden?
In March or April, it is a good idea to fertilize (add nutrients to the soil by spreading fertilizer) the garden thoroughly. By that time, the plants are seriously waking up after the winter, and they will soon begin to grow and set new shoots, leaves and flowers. At this time, therefore, the need for nutrients is particularly great. Well-established shrubs with shrubs, trees and hedges do not need fertilization in addition to a layer of compost of 3-4 cm.
If you want to use artificial fertilizer, you can e.g. buy an NPK garden fertilizer where the ratio of nutrients is 12-5-14. It is a universal fertilizer that can be used to fertilize the entire garden. There are also special fertilizers that are intended for special plant groups, such as rhododendrons, lawns or roses. But it is not necessary to use special fertilizers for garden plants.
The fertilizer is spread out in the garden by hand, a small shovel or similar. Since the fertilizer dissolves quickly and can thus be absorbed by the plants almost immediately, it is best to give the fertilizer in small amounts in several rounds instead of giving it all at once.
For example, start with basic fertilizer in March / April, and then apply a little bit of artificial fertilizer every four to six weeks until 1 August. In this way, you ensure that there are nutrients available in the soil at all times, and you reduce the risk of contaminating the soil and groundwater.
Never give the plants fertilizer after September 1st. In late summer, the plants should be quietly allowed to prepare for winter. If they grow too vigorously at this time and have many new shoots when winter comes, they are more prone to be damaged by frost.
If you use so-called coated artificial fertilizer in pill form, you do not need to fertilize several times. This type of fertilizer pellet has in fact been given a layer of resin or the like, which is slowly degraded, and the fertilizer is thus released over a longer period. Coated fertilizers are more expensive than regular fertilizers.
How much do you need?
Since fertilizers are concentrated and therefore given in small amounts, you can easily contaminate the soil by over-fertilizing. For this reason, it is important to closely monitor the dosage on the fertilizer package.
However, it can be a little tricky to figure out how much you need to spend in practice. If, for example, it says on the package that 5 kg of manure is enough for 200 square meters, it is necessary to first calculate that it corresponds to 25 grams per. square meters.
Then, on a kitchen scale, you can weigh up to how much 25 grams corresponds to in volume (eg in handfuls or decilitres). Only then is it possible in practice to give the right amount of fertilizer to the beds.
Benefits of fertilizer
Fertilizers can be quickly absorbed by the plants, so the effect can be seen quickly.
Artificial fertilizers are cheaper than similar industrially produced organic fertilizers.
Fertilizers can be dosed very precisely, as you know the exact composition of the fertilizer.
Fertilizers are easy to obtain and do not take up much space.
Disadvantages of fertilizer
Fertilizers do not improve the soil.
Fertilizers are easy to overdose and can thus contaminate the soil and groundwater.
The fertilizer can burn the leaves of the plants, giving them ugly holes and edges.
It requires energy to produce fertilizer, which is therefore not particularly environmentally friendly.
How to use organic fertilizer in the garden
Organic fertilizers release the nutrients as the organic matter in the fertilizer is broken down and released into the water ions of the soil.
If the organic fertilizer is laid out in the spring, the nutrients will be released into the soil as the temperature rises and thus accelerates the bacteria’s decomposition of the organic material.
Thus, the nutrients become available to the plants as they wake up from their winter dormancy and begin to grow.
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Use horse pears and coca boxes for manure
The animal manure should preferably not be too fresh. Stock Photo.
If you use animal manure, it is best to bring it out on the ground in early spring. The animal manure should preferably not be too fresh when it is applied, as it can be so nutritious that it stings the plants. Livestock manure from horses is relatively mild and can be applied almost immediately, while eg chicken manure is scratchy and should preferably go for a walk in the compost pile first.
Composted animal manure is laid in a thin layer of approx. 2-3 cm around plants and in beds. If it is mixed with ordinary garden compost, 3-5 cm can be laid out. You can quite easily turn it down into the very top layer of soil with a grip.
If you use compost, you do not need to dig it down. You can simply lay the compost in a layer on top of the soil in the spring, then the earthworms in the soil will make sure to pull the organic material into the soil. This makes the soil light, porous and nutritious. It also has the advantage that you do not destroy the earthworms’ passages in the ground.
In addition, the ground cover has the advantage that it retains moisture in the soil, which does not evaporate so easily when it gets hot. The soil cover also provides poor growth conditions for weeds.
You do not need to have a compost pile or container to be able to utilize the nutrients in the withered plant remains and leaves. When trees and shrubs lose their leaves and the flowering plants wither during the winter, you can simply leave them in the bed, then the decomposition will happen completely by itself.
The advantage of organic fertilizer and compost is that it has a soil-improving effect. The organic fertilizer strengthens the soil’s micro – life and increases the soil’s content of humus, which is essential for the well – being of the plants. It also has a positive effect in relation to soil fatigue (poor growth when growing the same plant on the same area year after year). If you add organic material to the soil, it will not be depleted.
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How do I fertilize my garden best?
You do not need to have a compost pile or container to be able to utilize the nutrients in the withered plant remains and leaves. Stock Photo.
If you think it looks too messy, you can cut the withered plant parts into smaller pieces. The plants in the bed will quickly cover the withered plant parts in the spring. The plant remains are also converted more quickly if they are cut into smaller parts.
In some municipalities it is possible to pick up compost at the recycling station. Here, the compost has been through a heat treatment, so that there are no unwanted weeds that can germinate or unwelcome plant diseases. This is a free service. The municipal fertilizer is often very nutritious, and therefore it must be applied carefully in smaller amounts than your own compost. You can find out the nutritional content by asking for documentation. Documentation can also often be found on the recycling site’s website.
Industrially produced organic fertilizer
Organic fertilizers can also be purchased in sacks at hardware stores and garden centers. You can buy composted cow manure, compost and organic manure in pill form and in liquid form.
The industrially produced organic fertilizer can be used directly in the garden in almost the same way as artificial fertilizer. However, the organic fertilizer in pill form should preferably be mixed into the soil, eg with a cultivator or a small rake, to be easier to metabolize. If this is not possible, it may be possible to re-water.
Liquid organic fertilizer is dissolved in water and diluted with a watering can. It is particularly suitable for use in pots, in the greenhouse and for plants that have an urgent need for nutrients.
Benefits of organic fertilizer
Organic fertilizers are metabolized slowly and can therefore be absorbed by the plants over a long period of time. Therefore, you can just give the garden fertilizer once a year – in the spring.
Organic fertilizers improve the soil and its life of microorganisms and earthworms m.m.
Organic fertilizers are difficult to overdose and can therefore not harm the environment.
You can make organic fertilizer for free in your garden in the form of compost.
Animal manure can often be obtained free of charge from farmers or riding schools.
Animal manure does not harm the plants if it has been lying for at least 3 months before it is brought out.
Disadvantages of organic fertilizer
Organic manure from animal manure is cumbersome to store.
Animal manure can smell.
Industrially manufactured fertilizers are more expensive than artificial fertilizers.
Industrially produced organic manure is not as environmentally friendly as animal manure and compost, as energy is used for the production process.
How much fertilizer do the different plants require?
Plants do not need the same amount of fertilizer. Often you can – just by looking at the plant – figure out if it needs extra nutrition. Plants that grow fast, set many shoots, leaves, flowers and berries, usually need extra much fertilizer. Plants in good growth that develop large amounts of leaves, need extra energy and therefore need extra fertilizer.
This applies, for example:
Great kitchen herbs that need to grow fast.
Berry bushes and tomato plants that put many fruits in one season.
Summer flowers that bloom all summer.
Roses that bloom several times.
Lawns that mow s.
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Fertilize black currants and other berry bushes in the garden
Blackcurrants need fertilizer to yield many large, sweet berries. Stock Photo.
The kitchen garden and berry bushes
The kitchen garden usually needs extra fertilizer if the crops are to grow large and succulent during the summer.
As crops grow, they absorb nutrients, and when you later harvest them, you remove nutrients from the soil each year.
If you do not add fertilizer, the soil will eventually be depleted and the vegetables will grow poorly.
However, the crops in the kitchen garden do not need the same amount of fertilizer. Large crops such as pumpkins, corn, squash and celery and tomato plants that plant many tomatoes need the most fertilizer.
Berry bushes like black currants and currants also need extra fertilizer if you want a lot of fruit. However, strawberries should not be fertilized too much and especially not with nitrogen as it will give many green leaves but few berries.
Read more about how you can fertilize the kitchen garden with organic fertilizer at Havenyt.dk.
Summer flowers in beds and pots need nourishment throughout the season because they produce flowers continuously. So if you want a lot of flowers and a long flowering time, it is a good idea to fertilize the summer flowers several times during the season.
If you use potting soil in the pots with summer flowers, there is usually enough fertilizer in the soil for the first few weeks. Then you can water with liquid fertilizer.
You can also dig long-acting fertilizer pellets into the soil in the pots. They even dose the fertilizer over a long period of time. You can also use compost in your pots with great advantage as soil improvement and nutrient supply.
In the beds you can fertilize with artificial fertilizer or organic fertilizer at the beginning of the season, and then you can supplement with liquid fertilizer several times during the summer. You do not have to stop fertilizing in August, as the summer flowers in any case die when the frost comes.
Also remember to sip the withered flowers as it stimulates the plant to set new flowers.
Roses need a lot of nourishment. This is especially true of roses, which are hard pruned and which bloom several times during the summer and autumn (remounting roses).
They need to get fertilizer several times during the season. You can, for example, apply basic fertilizer with organic fertilizer or artificial fertilizer in the early spring and then supplement with small portions of artificial fertilizer approximately once a month until 1 August.
Wild roses and roses that only bloom once during a season have less of a need for fertilizer, as they only bloom once during the summer and do not need to be pruned very hard. However, if they lack nutrition and water, they are more prone to fungal diseases.
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Fertilize roses nourish
Roses need a lot of nutrition and need to be fertilized throughout the summer. Stock Photo.
Animal manure such as chicken manure is also really good for the hungry roses, just as it is good to give the soil under the roses a layer of compost. It improves the soil and also protects the plant slightly from frost.
Supplement if necessary. with the spruce branches in early winter, in the case of a delicate and cold-cut rose.
If the roses get enough water and fertilizer, they are less susceptible to fungal diseases and pests.
Many nutrients are removed from the lawn if you mow it once a week and then tear the cut grass together. Therefore, lawns need extra fertilizer. There is both artificial fertilizer and organic fertilizer especially for lawns.
Fertilize the lawn in dry weather, as the fertilizer then best comes down between the grass blades and does not get stuck in the wet straws. It is best to water just before it rains, so the rain pulls the fertilizer down into the soil.
You can use a pure nitrogen fertilizer (N) in the form of Urea, which is actually a salt and thus fast dissolving elite. That way, you’ll have a more fast-growing, lush green lawn. Sprinkle it out when there is a prospect of rain.
The lawn needs less fertilizer if you leave the cut grass on the lawn so that nutrients can return to the soil when the grass decomposes.
However, it is important that the cut grass is evenly and thinly distributed over the lawn so that it does not shade, otherwise dull, yellow spots may appear in the lawn.
Some lawn mowers mow the grass into small pieces (multi-cut) so that the cut grass disappears down into the lawn and the withered grass does not damage the lawn.
Plants that require little nourishment
Some plants and beds in the garden do not necessarily need to be fertilized every year. This applies to e.g.
Trees and bushes
You can reduce the need for fertilizer in these beds further if you leave withered leaves and other dead plant parts so that the nutrients return to the soil when the plant parts are broken down. The soil cover will at the same time improve the soil and retain moisture.
ALSO READ Å: Should I buy or rent a compost shredder and cultivator?
flowers need to be fertilized – how?
If you use potting soil in the pots with summer flowers, there is usually enough fertilizer in the soil for the first few weeks. Stock Photo.
If you think it looks too messy, you can instead collect the garden waste in a compost pile or container and only put it back in the beds once it has been broken down into fine, black-brown compost.
The beds with perennial flowers (perennials) you can possibly. give a little fertilizer in the spring, but be careful with the amount. If you give too much, you run the risk of the plants becoming tall and ruffled, causing them to fall over when it rains.
Shrubs and trees can benefit from a little fertilizer in the first few years after they are planted. Otherwise, they usually do fine without fertilizer.
The importance of the soil for the garden’s fertilizer needs
How much fertilizer the garden should have and how often it should be fertilized also depends a lot on what soil is in the garden. Heavy clay soil, for example, is better at retaining nutrients than light sandy soil.
By submitting a soil sample from the garden to a laboratory, you can find out exactly how the soil composition is in your garden and what nutrients are needed. It is best to take 10 to 15 soil samples, evenly distributed from the part of the garden that you would like to have examined.
Each soil sample is taken as follows:
Cut a cut vertically into the ground with a shovel to approx. 20-25 centimeters deep.
Lay the ground in front of the shovel aside.
From the smooth vertical surface behind the blade of the spade, cut off a narrow slice of soil.
From the soil disc, you then cut a narrow strip of soil, so that you get soil from the entire thickness of the soil layer.
The soil strips are placed in a bucket and mixed thoroughly with similar samples taken 10-15 elsewhere in the garden.
Then take approx. 500 grams from for analysis and place the sample in a plastic bag.
The soil sample can be taken in the garden in the period from October to May at a time when you have not just spread manure.
The soil sample is placed in a plastic bag and sent to a laboratory in a strong sample envelope. A standard analysis in a laboratory costs between DKK 550 – DKK 1,100 incl. VAT (2015).
You can also buy a soil analysis kit in some garden centers or DIY stores and try to test your soil yourself.
We know that farmers are very concerned about fertilization. A good fertilizer is key to achieve the maximum possible yield in the crop, but fertilization is also one of the main production costs. In this article we help you make a good choice of mineral fertilizers that you are going to use !!
1 Mineral fertilizers
2 Mineral fertilizers: many ways to classify them
2.1 Solid vs liquid: a question of storage and application
2.2 Blending vs complex: price and homogeneity
2.3 Slow release fertilizers: high technology reaches the subscriber
2.4 The composition of the fertilizer: knowing the needs of your crop is the key
As you know there are many mineral fertilizers on the market. There are some that are recommended as a background, others as a cover, others to help the birth of the crop. There are granules, liquids, blendings, complexes, slow release, etc. With all this variety it is easy for you to feel a little lost.
Free guide: Discover how to improve your agricultural profitability
In this article we are going to try to clarify all these concepts. In this way you will have a clear idea of what each type of fertilizer gives you, its pros and cons, and you can choose safely.
Mineral fertilizers: many ways to classify them
Solid vs liquid: a question of storage and application
Traditionally mineral fertilizers have been applied in solid form, as granules. In recent times the use of liquid fertilizers has been increasing. The most common liquid fertilizer in extensive agriculture is N32. Even so, there are other liquid fertilizers that can be used in extensive agriculture: phosphate-based, potassium and mixed mineral fertilizers.
Liquid fertilizer has its advantages and disadvantages compared to solid. The main advantage is that as it is a liquid, its absorption by the plant is faster. Another great advantage is that its application is much more precise and uniform.
Its main drawback is storage. A tank is required to store the liquid fertilizer. Large agricultural supply companies have liquid manure storage tanks, but going to load there every time is only an option for farmers close to them. Granulated fertilizers, on the other hand, are used in sacks or big-bags that are much more manageable on all farms.
Another factor to take into account is the application of the fertilizers. Liquid fertilizers are applied with a bar sprayer. Many farmers do not have it since they outsource the application of herbicides. In this case, the application of liquid fertilizer can also be outsourced. Or you can opt for a solid fertilizer since the granulate fertilizers are much more affordable.
In horticulture and fruit growing, it is more common to use liquid mineral fertilizers either by fertigation or by foliar application in certain critical periods of the crop.
Blending vs complex: price and homogeneity
These names sure sound familiar. They are applied in compound mineral fertilizers that have more than one nutrient, for example 8-15-15. We are going to define them and see their advantages and disadvantages.
In a blending compost, each granule is of a different nutrient. That is, inside the compost we find nitrogen granules, phosphorus granules and potassium granules in the proportion indicated by the formula. On the other hand, in a complex fertilizer within each granule we find all the nutrients in the proportion indicated in the formula. Therefore all granules are exactly the same in composition.
The main advantage of complex fertilizers is their homogeneity of application. As all the granules are the same, the calculated dose is applied exactly in all areas. With a blending fertilizer, a uniform application cannot be ensured so much.
The main advantage of the blendings is the price. They are cheaper than complex fertilizers since their manufacture is simpler. In general, blending fertilizers are between € 20 and € 40 / ton cheaper than complex fertilizers.
Starters, an extra help for the seed:
The starter fertilizers are designed with the sole objective of helping the seed in the germination and emergence of the crop. These fertilizers include, above all, phosphorus and nitrogen, the two nutrients that the crop requires for a good implantation.
The starters are applied at the time of sowing, close to the seed. In this way, as soon as the first roots emerge, the nutrients are already available to the plant. In general, they are applied with the seeder, as long as it has a second hopper designed for the application of starter or microgranules.
There is some controversy about the usefulness of starter fertilizers. By many technicians they are a great innovation which ensures a bu in implantation of the crop. But for others they are not very useful and only represent an additional cost. The seeds of all plants, both crops and weeds, have reserve nutrients to be born and survive until they can begin to photosynthesize.
It is once they begin to photosynthesize that they necessarily require nutrients from the soil to grow. At this point, many technicians believe that the plants can already obtain the nutrients provided by a cover compost or those that are already available in the soil.
As you can see, there are different opinions on the use of starters. For this reason it is important that you observe what happens in your case. If you have problems with a good implantation, you can try a starter fertilizer to see if it improves the implantation and draw your own conclusions. Beyond technical opinions, the experience of each one in their fields is essential to fertilize correctly.
Slow release fertilizers: high technology reaches the subscriber
Slow-release fertilizers are usually nitrogen fertilizers. They are designed so that nitrogen is available for a longer time for cultivation since, being a very mobile nutrient, it is easily washed out of the soil.
Through different technologies (nitrification inhibitors, poorly soluble coatings, etc.), slow release fertilizers make nitrogen available to the crop gradually and when it is needed.
They are useful fertilizers in areas without availability of organic fertilizers, since they act in a relatively similar way to these. In areas with a lot of slurry or manure they are less useful since organic fertilization ensures a progressive availability of nitrogen by carrying organic nitrogen that will be converted to mineral over time.
The composition of the fertilizer: knowing the needs of your crop is the key
The type of fertilizer is important to achieve a good result, but more important is the formulation of the fertilizer. It is important to apply in greater proportion those nutrients that are most necessary for the crop. As well as those nutrients that are scarcer in our soils.
The variety of formulations in subscribers is infinite, although not all are found in all the presentations described above. Agricultural companies usually have the most used formulations in each agricultural area.
Soil tests are an important tool for fertilizing. These together with the needs of each crop help us to choose the formula and the ideal dose. Using the one that best suits your needs is the key to maximizing performance at the lowest cost.
We hope that with this short summary of the fertilizer classes you have been able to clarify concepts. In this way you will be able to acquire the most convenient subscription for your case now that the new campaign is approaching.
And remember that with the Agroptima application you can write down all your fertilizer work with the applied product, its dose and in which plots. In addition, you will control the cost of fertilization, which can amount to 30% of operating costs. Agroptima helps you be more profitable and make better decisions. If you want to start using Agroptima and register your operations.
In this new article we want to focus our attention on the most used types of fertilizers: Mineral Fertilizers and within mineral fertilizers, we are going to talk about solid fertilizers.
Although there are mineral fertilizers of all nutrients, this time we are only going to address the nutrients that are contributed to the soil almost exclusively: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). By regulation, the richness of fertilizers is expressed as a percentage of N, P2O5 and K2O, this unit is what is called Fertilizer Unit (UF), which is how the fertilizer recommendations for crops are also expressed. That is, one thing is the chemical symbol of each element (N, P and K) and another is how its richness is expressed in a fertilizer (N, P2O5 K2O).
It is important to know how the richness of a mineral fertilizer is expressed in order to calculate the fertilizer units that are provided.
This does not mean that all fertilizers are chemically formulated according to the way their components are expressed, as we see here it would be impossible:
Nitrogen (N): N, as such, does not exist, what does exist is N2, which is a gas and cannot be directly assimilated by plants.
Phosphorus (P2O5): Actually the substance is P4O8 which is quite a corrosive and irritating substance. The solution in water is a strong acid, reacts violently with bases and is corrosive. Phosphorous oxide (V) in the presence of water reacts with metals forming flammable or poisonous gases
Potassium (K2O): It is an oxide that reacts violently with water to form potassium hydroxide, which is a strong base. If the fertilizers were K2O, the bags would explode.
So how are mineral fertilizers made? We can find out below.
How Mineral Fertilizers Are Made
In the following diagram we show the basic manufacturing processes of mineral fertilizers.
Nitrogen is in the air we breathe, as N2 in a very abundant form, but thus it is not usable by plants. Only legumes are capable of transforming atmospheric nitrogen into forms available to plants. Man has learned to transform natural nitrogen for use in agriculture in the so-called Ammonia Synthesis. Nitrogen in ammonia form is the precursor to the other forms of nitrogen. The ammonia synthesis process requires a great deal of energy.
Phosphorous fertilizers come from phosphate rock that is highly insoluble and cannot be used by plants. To do this, it is treated with mineral acids, especially sulfuric acid and phosphoric acid. The world reserves of phosphate deposits are very limited and concentrated, since more than 68% have it in China and Morocco. It is estimated that the reserves of easily extractable phosphorus on Earth would be sufficient for an interval between 150 and 300 years.
The salts found naturally in terrestrial deposits are extracted and ground to make them more assimilable by plants. The most common salts are Potassium Chloride and Potash (Potassium Hydroxide). Different fertilizers are made from these raw materials (or K sources).
The sources of phosphorous fertilizers are very limited and only a few countries bring together the majority of farms.
How Mineral Fertilizers Are Classified
Mineral fertilizers can be classified according to various criteria: composition, state or form of application, but in this article in which we are dealing with solid mineral fertilizers we are going to stop at the classification criteria based on their composition.
They only contain a single fertilizer element, we can cite as examples:
Nitrogenated. They only contain Nitrogen, even in different forms: Urea, Ammonium Nitrate, Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (NAC 27), Ammonium Sulfate, etc.
Phosphorous. They contain only Phosphorus: 45% or 18% Superphosphate.
Potash. They contain only Potassium: 60% Potassium Chloride or 50% Potassium Sulfate.
They contain two or three of the basic elements: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. They are identified with three numbers that identify the richness of each of the elements, for example 8-15-15, which means that in 100 Kg of product there are 8 Kg of Nitrogen (as N), 15 Kg of Phosphorus (expressed as P2O5 ) and 15 Kg of Potassium (expressed as K2O).
Within the compound fertilizers we can find two well differentiated types:
Mix or Blending fertilizers.
► Complex Fertilizers
These fertilizers are produced industrially and are made by chemically reacting various raw materials with each other. The resulting product is granulated and conditioned for handling. In this way, the same richness is guaranteed in each granule. It is a homogeneous product. We can cite some examples such as:
Ternary fertilizers, with the three elements: 8-15-15, 8-24-8, 15-15-15, 9-18-2, etc.
Binary fertilizers, with two of the elements: Diammonium Phosphate (DAP 18-46-0) or Monoammonium Phosphate (MAP 12-56-0)
► Blending Fertilizers
They are physical mixtures of different raw materials, without chemical reaction, but like complexes, they can be binary or ternary. If a handful of blending compost is observed, each granule is different in terms of color and shape, since the raw materials have only been mixed, they have not been previously reacted to form a homogeneous substance.
So that the mixture does not cause us problems, they have to meet some characteristics:
Chemical compatibility: That the raw materials do not react with each other. It can form a paste and lead to serious problems.
Similar particle size so that smaller particles do not settle to the bottom of bags and trailers, which can lead to a very heterogeneous product distribution.
Similar density, for the same particle size reason.
Similar grain hardness, to prevent dust from forming during transportation.
There are several mixtures that are used in crops, such as:
Mix of 50% DAP and 50% Potassium Chloride, which gives rise to a richness: 9-23-30.
Mix of 70% Urea and 21% Ammonium Sulfate, which is used to avoid sulfur deficiency in certain crops. Actually, this fertilizer is Simple in terms of its main nutrients and mixed in terms of its raw materials.
In the following table we can see the advantages and disadvantages of the two types of compound fertilizers:
Slow Release Fertilizers
In the soil, mineral nitrogen forms tend to change very quickly to the nitric form (NO3–), nitrates dissolve very quickly in the soil solution, are very little retained and are very easily washed out, causing significant pollution problems of aquifers by nitrates.
On the other hand, the ureic form is also very mobile (somewhat less than nitrates) but it has the disadvantage that due to the action of the sun, if it is left on the surface, it is transformed into ammonia and is lost in the atmosphere.
In order for the release of nitrogen provided by fertilizers to be more controlled, the industry has developed some strategies, among which we can highlight the following four:
Low Solubility Molecules: Nitrogen is transformed into less soluble molecules, such as Urea Formaldehyde.
Coated Fertilizers: Fertilizers are coated with poorly soluble materials: sulfur, resins, etc., with the aim that the water penetrates more slowly and the nitrogen fertilizer takes longer to dissolve.
Nitrification Inhibitors: These are fertilizers that slow down the activity of bacteria that transform ammonium into nitrate.
Urease inhibitors: These fertilizers slow down the activity of urease, which is an enzyme that converts urea into ammonia.
Phosphorous Fertilizers: Their Solubility
There is a big difference in the solubility of phosphorous fertilizers. The origin of the raw material and the treatments that have been carried out industrially are decisive. In the current regulations, it is required to declare the phosphorus richness on the labeling of mineral fertilizers as follows:
It refers to the total amount of phosphorus in the fertilizer, which does not mean that it is readily available to plants. Especially in basic soils, the amount of water-soluble phosphorus and ammonium citrate must be known.
Water Soluble Phosphorus and Ammonium Citrate
It is a way to determine the phosphorus available in the medium term, especially in basic soils. If a compost does not have soluble phosphorus in ammonium citrate and water, it should not be used on basic soils (pH> 8).
Water Soluble Phosphorus
Water soluble phosphorus tells us the fraction of phosphorus that dissolves in water, without the need for any acid. This is the highest quality phosphorus and the fastest available, although it is good that the bottom fertilizers have a balance between the forms with different solubility so that the assimilation is more efficient.
To obtain a maximum yield, a good fertilization must be carried out, for this, it is necessary to choose the fertilizing strategy of the crop well.
On the one hand, knowing the needs of our farm, through soil analysis and foliar analysis, but also, making a rational fertilizer since it is one of the main costs of the exploitation and the raw materials with which the fertilizers are manufactured they are a limited resource.
The plants feed on substances released from the soil but which are not always present in the quantities required by the plants in order to obtain a balanced nourishment. Fertilizers that can be of different types intervene to supplement them. Among them there are organic and mineral fertilizers, whose characteristics are able to assist the growth of the plant without resorting to chemical agents.
A plant has nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, oxygen, potassium, calcium, copper, zinc, iron, sulfur, magnesium, its main nutritional elements.
Organic and mineral fertilizers have the task of providing the soil with the main macro substances so that the plants can then benefit from them. In indoor cultivation, fertilization must be precise as sometimes the soil already has some characteristics and above all it can already include some substances. There is therefore a different technique than outdoor cultivation and organic and mineral fertilizers are of great importance for the success of the crop. Furthermore, considering that indoor crops can take place throughout the year, the subject always arouses particular interest.
How organic and mineral fertilizers are produced
Organic fertilizers are characterized by having a progressive degradation capable of releasing elements that the plants absorb within a few weeks. They are produced by nature or in any case by natural processes of animal or vegetable origin, such as manure, guano, bone meal, manure.
What varies from one to another are only the times necessary for the plant for assimilation. The method of production of an organic fertilizer is nature itself or animal or vegetable decomposition.
On the contrary, mineral fertilizers have a practically immediate disintegration due to humidity and therefore are more easily assimilated by the vegetation. Production can involve simple or complex minerals depending on the content. If the package bears the NPK marking, it means that the complex mineral fertilizer contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) in different percentages. These elements each have their own task: nitrogen is best suited for lawns and plants with leaves and is especially useful in the spring period, phosphorus acts better on flowers and roots, as well as giving more structure and resistance to plants, while potassium favors the abundant presence of flowers and fruits.
Having an indoor cultivation fed with organic fertilizers means using elements from controlled farms or plantations: manure, dung, manure and the like, are therefore derived from animals that live and are fed according to a certified organic process.
The main differences between organic and mineral fertilizers
Between the two types of fertilizers under analysis there are differences only in the production, but also in the use of these categories of fertilizers. Organic fertilizers are better for soil preparation, while mineral ones contribute more to the growth phase of the plant. The former therefore play a decisive role in the chemical balance of the earth, while the latter act more than anything else during the development phase of the plant.
With mineral fertilizers you have a much shorter way to give the plant the chemicals it needs to grow and live. The main difference between an organic and mineral fertilizer is the way in which substances are released and absorbed by plants. From a visual and aesthetic point of view, the result provided by a mineral fertilization is more evident than the organic one, even if both are necessary in a balanced and correct way.
The main advantages of organic fertilizers are obvious.
– Quality: plants of better quality are obtained because there is a nutrition that starts from the roots, from the soil itself, which is more suitable for cultivation.
– Low risk: if you release more organic fertilizer than necessary, the problem is minimal and does not cause much damage. If the recommended doses are not respected, it would not be too much of a problem.
– Natural: due to the way the production process is structured, this is natural and therefore the soil is not undermined in its balance. We therefore speak of a fertilizer that respects the environment and ecology, as it does not contain chemical variants.
On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages, such as the slowness of the release time, the cost, the not very pleasant smell and above all the precision of the substances present inside the compound is not available.
Mineral fertilizers also have undeniable advantages.
– Effectiveness: being easily disintegrating, they have a more immediate absorption and therefore are more effective in a reduced time interval. That kind of con buds are widely used in indoor growing.
– Accuracy: the percentage subdivision of the substances contained is precise and is indicated on the package.
– Attention to the plant: they have a greater influence on the development of the plant and therefore are able to develop their action by favoring the growth of the plantation without acting too much in favor of the soil.
– Mixtures: with mineral fertilizers it is possible to make mixtures that lead to the obtaining of organo-mineral fertilizers. In this way it is possible to benefit from properties and advantages that represent the best synthesis of the fertilizers used, both at an organic and mineral level.
– Prevention: the use of mineral fertilizers, if specially enriched with secondary elements, favors the prevention of diseases, integrating the natural deficiencies of the soil.
– Odorless: being mineral based, this type of fertilizer does not release odors and is therefore also perfect for use in closed environments, such as greenhouses or indoor crops.
Mineral fertilizers entail a risk of over-fertilization which occurs if a greater quantity than necessary is introduced into the soil. In this case the plant grows in an unbalanced way and anomalies could occur, mainly visible on the leaves (shapes, colors), moreover few fruits will be obtained.
Indoor fertilizer table compared
Speaking of mineral and organic fertilizers, there are several brands that are proposed on the market of indoor and hydroponic cultivation in a more or less pushed way, depending on the marketing and commercial strategy of each manufacturer. The choice must always be oriented to one’s needs, trying to provide a nourishment aimed at both the soil and the plant, in a balanced way. Here are some of the main and most popular indoor fertilizer brands that can be found on the market.
The main brands of mineral fertilizers are:
Twenty years of experience in the production of mineral fertilizers able to act in a direct and balanced way on the plant, protecting it from diseases and nourishing it with the main macro substances enriched with additives. In addition, the product range includes a special line for indoor cultivation.
The fertilizers bearing this brand are products oriented mainly to flowering plants. Their effect is recognized to naturally stimulate growth and floriculture in general, acting not only on the plant but also in the soil.
Fertilizers able to satisfy different needs and suitable for both experts and beginners.
General Hydroponics Europe
Famous for the production of mineral and organic fertilizers specific for hydroponic and aeroponic (landless) crops. The fertilizers are innovative and of high quality.
The main brands of organic fertilizers are:
Natural and organic fertilizers mainly produced for hydroponic and organic indoor cultivation. The packaging is proposed in a simple way so that anyone can immediately identify the characteristics of the product, allocating it to their own cultivation.
Fertilizers intended mainly to nourish the substrate of hydroponic and organic crops on the ground or in hydroponics. The Dutch grower is best known for successfully nurturing fast-growing and thriving plantations.
Line from Dutch Atami. 100% organic, they are liquid and concentrated and have an excellent quality / price ratio.
Worldwide, 138 million tons of chemicals are dumped into the fields every year. The productivity of the land increases exponentially, but so does the pollution of soil, water and air. But the real question is: can we do without it?
Giulia Dallagiovanna • 13 December 2018
ORGANIC AND SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
Fertilizers are plant supplements. They supply the crops with the nutrients that the soil has lost with wear and protect them from attacks by external agents. Almost all farmers use them, but few have chosen organic products. 138 million tons of substances are poured into fields all over the world every year, according to the numbers of the ICEI (Institute of International Economic Cooperation).
The productivity of each hectare increases exponentially and each strip of land is exploited to the maximum. But at what cost to health? And what environmental impact do they have? But above all: are there alternatives?
1.What are fertilizers
2.How fertilizers are made
3.When do fertilizers pollute?
5.Can we do without fertilizers?
What are fertilizers
They are products that serve to improve the performance of the soil, making it ready to welcome and grow plants. They can be obtained from chemicals or natural raw materials, although the most common are the former.
Fertilizers, remedies and pesticides are all part of this family. As you already know, fertilizers serve to enrich the earth with the nutrients it has lost due to the continuous use of the same field. While pesticides serve to eliminate parasites and other living things that could damage the plant. Corrective agents, on the other hand, are concerned with restoring the pH of the soil, when it is too alkaline or excessively acidic and does not allow crops to survive.
Fertilizers have been used in Italy especially since the post-war period, when intensive monocultures spread and it was necessary to obtain maximum productivity from each field and each crop. But their history is actually older, if you think that the first was patented even in the mid-nineteenth century by the English scientist John Bennet Lawes.
But those who can be considered the fathers of these chemicals are probably Fritz Haber and Carl Bosh, who synthesized ammonia in 1909. And it is precisely this procedure that has made it possible to obtain nitrogen-based fertilizers, which are the most widespread today.
How fertilizers are made
In short, they are obtained through chemical extraction processes and are composed of elements that are classified as primary, secondary or minor depending on the percentage of presence in the finished product. Fertilizers, in particular, contain above all nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium which, just like fossil sources, represent a resource destined one day to run out.
As I told you before, nitrogen is the basis of at least three quarters of the fertilizers that are on the market. For example, ammonium chloride and ammonium nitrate are nitrogen fertilizers. This chemical element acts as a real doping for plants and enormously increases the productivity of the soil.
When do fertilizers pollute?
Let’s start with a few numbers: every year in the world an average of 140 kilos of fertilizers are used per hectare of land. According to data from the FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the use of these chemicals increased by an average of 1.8% every 12 months from 2014 to 2018. China is the country in the world that consumes the most, while the African continent is at the bottom of the ranking.
35% of the fine dust in the Milan air is produced by agriculture
These millions of tons that are poured into the fields every day produce 95% of the ammonia particles present in the air you breathe. And they get into your lungs even if you live a long way from the countryside. In the spring of 2014, Paris had to cope with very high pollution peaks: according to data from the European Commission for the Environment, 62% of the particles in the air were ammonia. Similarly, a 2017 report drawn up by the Foundation for Sustainable Development announced that 35% of the fine particles that invade Milan are the fault of fertilizers and farm waste.
And this, once they have already been used. But what happens first? They must be produced, packaged and transported all over the world. About 20% of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are caused by agriculture and a third of this is caused by fertilizers. CO2 is created every time the minerals that are the basic elements of the compound are extracted, when a temperature of 500 degrees is reached to synthesize ammonia and, very simply emente, when distributing finished products to farms around the globe.
Fertilizers are used to feed the soil, okay, but how much of that is actually absorbed by plants. Little. Indeed, in the case of phosphorus-based products it is only 20%. The rest is waste that remains in the soil, ends up in wastewater or flows into water channels. Not only seas and rivers are polluted by agricultural waste, but also the aquifers that are found underground.
And when a fertilizer gets into the waterways, it does what it was created to do: it fertilizes. This creates a phenomenon with a complex name, eutrophication, but in reality with a fairly intuitive procedure: the habitat where the product ends up is suddenly enriched with nutrients that lead to the proliferation of algae and therefore to the loss of oxygen for other beings. living. Too much life, in essence.
Can we do without fertilizers?
The answer is clear: no. At least not as long as the global population continues to grow at this rate. According to Assofertilizzanti, fertilizing the earth with chemicals would avoid having to resort to new spaces to cultivate and therefore the deforestation and destruction of natural habitats. But as we have seen, the damage to the environment is still significant and cannot be ignored.
How do you do it then? As often happens when it comes to pollution, you are part of the solution. Choosing organic, seasonal, and zero-kilometer products reduces the need for fertilizers. Furthermore, avoiding food waste prevents demand from growing exponentially. garden shop pro