Fertilizing Plants 101: Everything You Need to Know to Do It Right
Did you know fertilizing your plants is fascinating? Most gardeners don’t.
In fact, most gardeners don’t know how to fertilize their garden properly. I’ll admit it. In my earlier years of gardening, I fertilized when I felt like it or I felt like it.
Beyond that, my garden was on its own.
However, I’ve since learned that fertilizing is something every garden needs. Your garden soil, the nutrients which fill it, and the proper application of fertilizer can make all of the difference in your harvest.
Which is why I’m going to fill you in.
What Nutrients Do Plants Need?
Plants require specific nutrients from the soil. The issue is when you plant each year, the plants will draw those nutrients out of the soil, and they don’t magically restock themselves.
Therefore, it is important to fertilize your plants, to ensure they are getting the nutrients previous plants could have already taken from your soil.
Also, it is important to fertilize plants while rebuilding your soil. It will allow the plants to be able to naturally pull what they need from the soil without any additives.
Here are the nutrients plants need:
Nitrogen is naturally in short-supply within nature. All plants need it, and over the years, plants have learned to pull as much as they possibly can out of the soil to ensure they have enough to survive.
However, when looking at how vital nitrogen is, you’ll understand why. It helps plants to make protein which helps them create new tissues and keep building and is vital to their survival.
This nutrient is essential to plants because it is what they need to produce reliable root systems. Phosphorous is what encourages their roots to grow.
Also, it helps plants to produce buds, blooms, and flowers to produce fruit. It also helps the plant to create healthy seeds for more offspring.
We’ve heard carbohydrates are bad. For plants, they are not. Plants need carbohydrates to feed themselves.
Well, potassium enables them to make carbohydrates. It also helps the plant to become disease-resistant, which encourages a healthy life.
Plants don’t need much calcium added to the soil, but you will need to make sure there is enough of it in there.
The reason is calcium is what helps bind the soil together. Calcium will improve soil conditions and give the plant an easier chance of survival.
If you’ve made it through any science class, you’ve heard of photosynthesis. It is the process plants use to produce their food.
The source of the food is the sun. Plants need magnesium to process sunlight to feed themselves. Without it, they won’t survive.
Plants need proteins to build and rebuild itself if it becomes damaged. Sulfur is a vital part of proteins.
Without sulfur, a plant could struggle to make proteins which could be the downfall of the plant altogether.
Each of these nutrients can be placed into your soil using different varieties of fertilizer, which we’ll discuss further down.
However, it’s important to know what your plant needs, what it could be lacking, and make sure you either build those nutrients back into your soil or apply them directly to your plant.
If not, you could lose your harvest altogether.
The Different ‘Feeders’
Different varieties of plants require different amounts of fertilizer to be happy producers. The terms are: plants could be a heavy feeder, moderate feeder, or a light feeder.
It is essential to know what type of feeder each of your plants is to make sure you fertilize accordingly.