Fertilizer products consist of two subsets, each playing different a role: fertilizers and soil amendments.
While one should be added to the soil in small, regular contributions to benefit the plant, the other is added to the soil in large quantities to help the soil itself.
Here’s everything you need to know about natural fertilizer products.
Nutrients provided by fertilizers are not directly available to plants. The phenomenon of mineralization, made possible by the work of digestion of micro-organisms in the soil, helps make them accessible.
The major plant nutrients are, after carbon from the air and water: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).
There are two main types of fertilizer:
They are used to provide a single, main element to your plants.
The N supply is provided by the dried blood, grounded horn and roasted horn. The difference between these three products is digestion time: blood takes the shortest amount of time, and grounded horn the most. The latter is recommended for trees and shrubs.
Contributions of P and K are provided by natural and organic phosphate potash.
These fertilizers are used to bring several elements in lower quantities, and adapted to each plant. They are made of different materials that can be mineral, vegetable or animal.
Organic fertilizers can be of animal origin (guano, feather meal, fish bones, etc.) and/or plants (cocoa, olive pulp, etc.). They contain a lot of organic matter that is not fully decomposed and will maintain the microbial life of your soil.
Mineral fertilizers come from rocks having experienced physical and/or thermal treatments (no chemicals).
Organo-mineral fertilizers, as their name implies, are composed of organic and inorganic raw materials.
Amendments (or soil conditioners) are less rich in essential nutrients than fertilizers, but have a crucial role to play in the physical and chemical properties of your soil.
Soil texture is an important factor that will determine its agglomeration capacity, and therefore its ability to ventilate and retain water properly.
Its texture also defines the ease with which you’ll be able to work it. Soil amendments will allow you to change the texture if it is not optimal.
If your soil is sandy loam, an amendment will give it better consistency and avoid the phenomenon of capping (soil compaction due to pressure from rain).
If your soil is clay, an amendment will be able to fragment it, to improve root infiltration and drainage.
Formation of organic humus that results from the amendment will increase formation of clay-humus bindings in your soil. This avoids erosion, increases storage capacity of your soil, limits losses of essential nutrients to your plants, improves air circulation and promotes aerobic microbial life.
Humus from amendments is mineralized and releases nitrogen into the soil.
It also helps bind with iron. The element is then protected and will not be blocked by limestone. You avoid phenomena of chlorosis.
The binding of clay and humus acts as a buffer in the soil. The result helps to maintain a stable pH which facilitates the exchange of soluble nutrients.
Loams are less rich in nutrients that soil amendments. They are used to benefit smaller plants, primarily in pots or tubs. They do not need to be mixed with the soil.
They can also be used in gardens as planting soil. If you have land or soil of poor quality, it can be a good idea to replace it with loam.
Three essential actions for a good natural fertilizer
1. At first, it is necessary to ensure good storage capacity from your soil. To achieve this, enrich it with humus through organic amendments.
2. Secondly, you’ll have to stimulate root growth through natural root stimulators.
3. Finally, enrich the soil with specific nutrients needed for your plant. Use natural organic fertilizers.