What do plants need?
Organic Fertilizer is best for both plants and humans as well. Identically Plants need nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate in large amounts. Also, these nutrients, to a plant, are comparable to what protein and carbohydrate food sources would be to a human.
In addition, sulfur, magnesium, and calcium are used in “not so large” amounts.
Besides, Plants use carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen in large amounts, but we do not seek to supply these before planting.
Other essential nutrients that are needed are referred to as micronutrients.
However, these are used in small to minute quantities and would be, to the plant, similar to what vitamins are to humans.
On the other hand spraying solutions of these nutrients on leaves can make a lot of difference to how well plants develop in local soils.
Manure should be applied at least three weeks before planting.
For a cow or horse manure, apply at least 25 lbs. Per 100 square feet [11.4 Kg per 11 sq. m] of garden soil. You may supplement this amount with 2-3 lbs [.9-1.4 Kg] of ground rock phosphate. Also, crops growing in local soils benefit well from the addition of rock phosphate or bone meal.
If using poultry, sheep, goat or rabbit manure apply at least 12 lbs. per hundred square feet [5.45 Kg per 11 sq. m] and no more than 100 lbs. per 100 square ft [45.4 Kg per 11 sq. m].
Compost may broadcast at the rate of at least 25 lbs. per 100 square feet [11.4 Kg per 11 sq. m] and up to 200 lbs. per 100 square feet[90.8 Kg per 11 sq. m].
Broadcast the manure or compost evenly over the plot and then mix it into the topsoil with a stiff rake or roto-till.
After planting (as a side dressing) if needed
Cow or horse manure- up to 5 lbs per 100 square ft [2.3 Kg per 11 sq. m] Poultry, sheep, goat, rabbit manure- up to 3 lbs per 100 square feet [1.4 Kg per 11 sq. m] Scatter a band of manure down each side of the row and work it lightly into the soil surface.
Particularly be very careful with handling fresh pig, dog or cat manure. Because these manures may carry diseases/helminths that are troublesome to humans. If these manures are used they should be well composted and, even then, avoid using with crops such as lettuce or cabbage (which may be eaten raw).
Do not overuse organic fertilizers
Since organic fertilizers have low concentrations of nutrients, there may be a temptation to apply excessive amounts. It would be very difficult to burn plants by applying compost. It is all decomposed plant tissue and the levels of nutrients are very close to what exists in the living plants. Some other organic fertilizers are different.
While most manures may not burn the plants when decomposed (fresh chicken or sheep manure may injure plants), it remembered that they often contain levels of nutrients similar to synthetic fertilizers (blood meal has 15% nitrogen which can release very quickly into the soil water; N.B the popular 12:12:17:2 chemical fertilizer has 12% nitrogen).
Just as with chemical fertilizers, these nutrients (especially nitrogen [nitrate]) can end up leaching into groundwater if applied at rates far beyond what plants can use in time.
Therefore, the best approach to taking care of your plants is to proactively build the fertility of the soil and to encourage many soil creatures that will help maintain the best level of organic matter in the soil (humus included). In this way, there will be little need to add large doses of fertilizer at any one time. If recycling is standard practice, then the losses of nutrients from the garden will be minimal.
So let’s see the “Fertilizing techniques” in the next article.
Catch up our previous article.