Plants need nutrients in the form of fertilizers. The choice of the right fertilizer and the quantity administered are decisive. Here are some important tips for plant nutrition.
An effective fertilizer is part of the basic care of any garden plant. It can only develop in the long term if it receives the nourishment it needs to live. There are three nutrients:
- The fertilizer in mineral form is dissolved in water and can, therefore, be very quickly absorbed by the plant.
- Organic fertilizer must first be broken down by microorganisms before it can be used for plants.
- In the case of organo-mineral fertilizers, organic and mineral raw materials are mixed, which has a quick and lasting effect.
- Mineral fertilizers are made from chemical materials.
- The specialist trade offers a wide range of mineral fertilizers for different plants and different uses. These fertilizers must be dosed differently depending on the product. The leaflet provides the necessary information.
- Who opts for an organic garden must exclusively use organic fertilizers.
- Natural materials, such as plant waste and manure, are the basic materials for organic fertilizer.
- Organic fertilizer stimulates microorganisms (living organisms) in the soil. Plants, therefore, absorb nutrients indirectly.
- Coarse plant waste or farmyard manure is mixed with the soil in the fall so that the material can decompose in the winter.
- Liquid manure, for example, can be made from rotten farmyard manure. Mixed with water, we get a fertilizer that gives strength and vitality to plants.
- Finished organic fertilizers are available in the specialist trade.
Organo-mineral fertilizers are versatile
The respective advantages of organic and mineral fertilizers are combined to form a single fertilizer. Some nutrients are available quickly, others degrade over a long period. The fertilizer has a stimulating effect on living organisms in the soil.
Ensure the basics
The most important nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg). Calcium, sulfur, and trace elements like iron, manganese, boron, copper, and molybdenum are of great importance.
- Nitrogen: it is responsible for the development of leaves and stems. Protein materials promote plant growth and leaf mass. If the plant lacks nitrogen, it turns yellow, the flowers are small and have poor coloring. Excess nitrogen results in dark green shoots and leaves that “grow” quickly. The plant forms a small number of flowers which are also small. Fattened plants are more susceptible to diseases and pests. In case of excess, integrate easily decomposable carbohydrates, such as chopped straw.
- Phosphorus: it is an important source of energy and stores energy, which stimulates growth. Phosphorus makes the plants bud, makes them flower, fruit, and promotes the formation of seeds. A deficit can be recognized by the red-violet coloration of the edges and veins of the leaves. This results in poor growth and the plant are in poor health. Too much phosphorus prevents the absorption of trace elements and results in stunting and stunting. Keep reading how to germinate seeds.
- Potassium: potassium is required for water balance and carbon transformation. It stimulates the formation of starch, sugar, and cellulose and thus makes the plants more resistant to frost and drought. A lack of potassium is easily visible: the plants wither, the leaves curl up, the edges and tips of the leaves have a yellow to reddish-brown color, the roots are long and yellow. If there is excess potassium, the leaves are light green in color, and growth is weakened. Too high potassium content prevents the absorption of nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium.
- Magnesium: an important component of chlorophyll, magnesium helps in the production of carbohydrates and proteins. When lacking magnesium, the leaves look hungry and are light yellow between the veins. Too much magnesium prevents the absorption of potassium.
When and how to fertilize?
- Fertilizers can be purchased in the form of liquid, powder, granules, cones, or grains. Liquid fertilizer works the fastest. It is therefore recommended for sick or hungry plants.
- Liquid fertilizer is administered with irrigation water. The powder and grains are planted or sprinkled in or on the ground. The manual provides information on the use of the product.
- Some plants need an extra portion of concentrated food for fruit formation after flowering. But beware: this can lead to over-fertilization.
- During the main growth phase, it is possible to fertilize the plants with a special leaf fertilizer. This is available in the specialized trade, in liquid form, and in powder form. This is especially true for plants that grow in containers or pots.
- During the winter months, between October and March, it is possible to dispense with the use of fertilizers for garden plants and plants that are found in their winter quarters. Indoor plants, on the other hand, sometimes need to be fed in winter. The fertilizer supply is however reduced during the cold season.
- The nature of the soil and precise analysis of the nutrients make it possible to carry out individual fertilization. For berry shrubs, for example, a nutrient must be readily available and contain boron. If roses need a little salt, they need phosphorus and iron.
- A nutritional contribution is only beneficial when the nature of the soil is known. A laboratory soil test provides information on humus and nutrient content.
- Neutral pH and conductivity (salt content) are important for the absorption of nutrients. Phosphorus is hardly soluble at high pH. The more compost is used, the higher the potassium stores are generally. Too much compost can cause excess phosphorus and heavy metals. Soil fertility is compromised in the long term. It is therefore advisable to use the compost in a moderate and controlled manner.
- Green manures and mulch stimulate living organisms in the soil and have a positive effect on soil fertility. Plants are more vigorous and more resistant to diseases and parasites.
- Whoever plants vegetables ensures the rotation of crops. Vegetables are divided into three categories: very greedy, moderately greedy, and not very greedy. The groups are planted in flower beds once a year, which allows the soil to be used uniformly. Crop rotation is only relevant if the manure has been distributed in a controlled manner. If no manure is used, rotation by a family with the addition of suitable compost provides significantly better results. Care is taken not to cultivate related vegetable species again in the same flower bed, but wait at least four years before replanting them.
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