There are many tips and tricks revolving proper gardening and especially fertilizing. Natural fertilizers are omnipresent in stores around you, but picking out the right one can be tricky.
See, even if a fertilizer is labeled natural and organic, companies enjoy using this tactic to still sell poor-quality product.
So, if you are into fertilizing right, here are the best ways to ensure your plants are receiving the needed nutrients.
1. The Right Fertilizing Formula
All fertilizers are usually labeled with lettering, which indicates the contents of the product. For instance, the N-P-K labeling indicates the fertilizer is enriched in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
All these minerals are necessary for fertilizing, as they encourage the growth, development, and quality of your plants.
2. Trace Nutrients
No plants can solely depend on mineral content alone. Therefore, plants need around thirteen other elements to deliver the desired results in your garden. Apart from the aforementioned minerals, plants also need secondary mineral content, including calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S).
Together with these, plants also need sunlight, so they can transform water and CO2 into hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), and carbon (C), which the plants then use as food.
On top of it all, plants also need a decent amount of boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), chloride (Cl), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and zinc (Zn), all of which empower the soil and feed the plants.
If your soil has a low pH balance, you can fix this by introducing more N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and S to it. In cases of a higher pH, the soil will need additional B, Cu, Fe, Cl, Mn, Mo, and Zn content. The best way to ensure the quality of your soil is to test it ahead of time.
3. Tomato Fertilizers
Tomato vines thrive on nutrients, especially calcium. Together with this mineral, tomatoes also need an adequate dose of nitrogen early on.
As soon as your vines take on, you should begin using a fertilizer which is enriched in phosphorus and potassium, but low in nitrogen. Another mineral tomatoes also need is magnesium, which ensures a sweet-tasting veggie once grown.
4. Rose Fertilizers
The secret behind perfect roses is proper fertilizing. Roses are tricky to maintain healthy, as they require constant monitoring, weeding, pruning, and feeding.
However, not all is lost, and you can, too, grow the best roses by using the right kind of fertilizer. Interestingly, instead of finding the ultimate fertilizer, you can prepare it at home and use it to encourage healthy and fairytale-like rose blooms.
5. Up-cycling Fertilizers
Homemade fertilizers work just as good as purchased ones, and here are a few tips on what you can use:
- Combine used coffee grounds on brown leaves or plants to ensure the soil is getting enough nitrogen. Coffee grounds work amazingly if you are growing hydrangeas, azaleas, and roses, all of whom favor a more acidic soil.
- Using eggshells can help your plants acquire around 96% of calcium and will provide proper nutrition to both the soil and your plants.
- Use fresh water from your fish tank to nurture your plants and keep the nitrogen content ideal. Keep in mind that saltwater will impair your plants, which is why this trick applies to fresh water only.
6. Epsom Salts
Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, which can accelerate the photosynthesis process and empower the seeds’ quality. At the same time, Epsom salts contain plenty of sulfur, too, which enhances the root growth, and encourages a faster creation of chlorophyll.
This fertilizer works amazingly with onions, broccoli, and cabbage, and it is an inexpensive way to guarantee well-nurtured plants.
To use it right, combine a tablespoon of Epsom salts with one gallon of water and water use the solution as a foliar spray every two weeks. If you are growing roses, use a tablespoon of Epsom salts mixed in a gallon of water per foot of the plant.
Spray your plants in spring, or as soon as the first leaves begin growing. When growing veggies, sprinkle a tablespoon of Epsom salts around your seedlings and repeat the process after your plants bloom.
If you have potted plants, mix 2 tablespoons of salts with a gallon of water and apply once a month.
7. Vinegar Fertilizer
By using simple white vinegar, you can boost the growth and quality of your garden plants. White vinegar is most suitable is growing berries, roses, and hydrangeas.
To prepare your fertilizer, combine a tablespoon of vinegar with a gallon of water and use this mix every three months together with your regular watering practice.
Before using this mix, test your soil to ensure the balance is not too low.
Composting is a great way to both recycle and still maintain your garden healthy. Some of the favorable ingredients to use in your compost include:
- Air and water, which help bacteria in the decomposing process.
- Drying the dead leaves, straws and other garden waste.
- Rabbit or chicken manure, grass clippings, and remaining fresh plants. Still, avoid using weed seeds when composting.
The best compost ratio of carbon and nitrogen is around 30:1 and 40:1 ratio.
9. Compost Tea
Use available compost material to turn into a tea and use it as such to help your plants grow stronger.
To do this, fill in a third of a five-gallon bucket with compost, and add water to fill to the top. Let the mix steep for 3-4 days, stirring occasionally. Then, strain the compost using a gauze and add to your garden plants.
10. Grass Clipping Tea
Grass clippings are an incredible food for your garden plants. To use this as a fertilizer, fill in two-thirds o a five-gallon bucket with fresh clippings.
Add water almost to the top and let the mix sit for 72 hours, stirring it once a day. Strain liquid with a gauze and mix the contents with one part of fresh water. Add solution to your garden directly to the ground or spray it evenly across the surface.
Avoid Fertilizing Mistakes
To be sure you are fertilizing your garden right, keep the following tips in mind:
- Do not use too much fertilizer, so you avoid damaging your plants
- Keep the fertilization timing balanced
- Test your soil before fertilizing
- Add more fertilizer if needed, depending on your plants