Fertilizers, in agriculture and gardening, include substances and techniques that aim to bring nutrients to the soil, to stabilize it, to modify or improve its chemical-physical properties in order to favor plant growth and increase production. In a broad sense, fertilizers not only include substances or products having a specific chemical or organic composition, but also precise cultivation techniques that aim to enhance the “fertility” of the soil and plants. Among the most common fertilizers we find fertilizers, but also substances (synthetic or biological) defined as amendments or corrective. Fertilizers are mainly used to bring essential nutrients to the soil for plant growth, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, while soil improvers are used to modify the chemical-physical characteristics of the soil to make them more suited to the needs of the cultivated species. The soil improvers essentially aim at modifying the PH of the soil, making it acidic, if basic, and vice versa, while the corrective agents are used to make land with anomalous physical characteristics cultivable. Generally, anomalies in certain soils are corrected by returning them to a neutral pH.
In addition to certain chemical and natural substances, fertilizers can also include specific cultivation practices that aim to improve the quality of the soil and of the cultivated plant. Expanding the definition of "fertilizer" we could also include in this term the technique of irrigation, aeration, plowing, green manuring and turning the soil, up to pruning and grafting. In fact, all cultivation practices aim at the same objectives: to promote healthy plant growth, to ensure proper nutrition of the soil and plant roots, to make cultivated species more resistant to adversity and disease. Fertilizing the soil through specific substances and targeted techniques is the fundamental step to learn how to grow your own plants, both for ornamental purposes and for purely agricultural purposes.
Strictly speaking, however, the term "fertilizer" refers to certain substances which, added to the soil, condition its nutrition and the ability to promote adequate and healthy development of plants. Among the main fertilizers used in agriculture and gardening, chemical ones stand out, especially in modern times. These are products obtained from more or less complex industrial processes that use mixtures of mineral substances useful for soil fertilization. The substances necessary for the soil, present in nature, such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium and others, are combined with other chemical compounds that accentuate the effectiveness and fertilization times of the soil itself. Chemical fertilizers containing soil nourishing substances are also called fertilizers. On the market there are chemical fertilizers in liquid, granular or powder form. On the basis of the formulation and the substance contained, the phosphatic, nitrogen and potassium ones are distinguished. Combinations with other chemical components can lead to the emergence of potassium or phosphatic chlorides and sulphates and nitrogenous nitrates and urea. Chemical fertilizers have recorded excessive consumption in recent years due to their ease of transport and extremely accessible selling prices, even if some studies show that these substances have a high environmental impact considering them among the likely products responsible for the greenhouse effect. Among the chemical fertilizers, there are maleic acid vinyl acetate and ferric salts, while among the corrective fertilizers we mention calcium cyanamide, calcium nitrate, ammonium and potassium sulphate, chloride (always potassium) and mineral superphosphate. Complex chemical fertilizers, that is composed of several elements, can have both a nutritional and amended and corrective function, so much so as to make the boundaries that differentiate fertilization from fertilization very narrow.
Natural fertilizers derive from organic substances, that is, from living organisms that have undergone molecular transformations by microorganisms or specific treatments, but not of an industrial nature. Natural fertilizers have the advantage of not being polluting and in any case of being less polluting than chemical ones and of respecting better the physiology of the soil and the plant. Among other things, natural fertilizers are those allowed in organic farming which, in its cultivation methods, precisely excludes the use of chemicals and other industrial processes. Even natural fertilizers, like chemical ones, can have a nutritional, corrective and amending function at the same time. This is the case of manure, which contains both compounds essential for plant nutrition (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium), and minerals with amending properties, such as calcium and magnesium. Fertilization can also take place with other absolutely natural products, such as clay, sand, with amending functions, dried animal blood, with nutritional functions, humus, which includes peat, and compost.
Humus is considered the main one fertilizer natural. It is a substance that is formed from the decomposition of plant waste (leaves, wood, flower petals, roots). The plant parts that plants lose under certain conditions, accumulate on the ground and are decomposed by microorganisms that break them down into elementary organic substances rich in carbon and nutrients. The decomposition of the organic parts of plants occurs in conditions of stagnation or immersion or particular aeration. Humus can form in swamps, but also in forests. Based on the conditions in which it is formed, we will have different types of humus, with a different mineral composition from one compound to another. In conditions of total immersion, peat is formed, which is the precursor to coal. Peat derives from the organic decomposition of plant and animal remains immersed in water and is used as a nutrient and for the soil, also promoting its permeability. Some types of peat, such as white peat, without nitrogen and mineral salts, are used as fertilizers for carnivorous plants. Acid humus is formed on forest soils, while calcium humus is created on agricultural and prairie soils. Humus is of almost fundamental importance in the biological fertilization processes of the soil because it allows a better absorption of nutrients, an excellent water retention, which reduces the costs for irrigation, and a good interaction with the mineral substances that allow to improve the chemical and physical characteristics of the soil.
Compost is a sort of artificial humus obtained through human (but not chemical) processes that make it possible to obtain a substance similar to humus, derived from the decomposition of organic matter (remains of plants, wood, insects and animals) by bacteria and microorganisms. The difference between compost and humus lies in the methods of obtaining the fertilizer. The first is obtained by processing organic waste in special industrial plants, called composting centers. In these plants the conditions are recreated to favor the development of microorganisms and bacteria that feed on the waste, transforming it into compost. Compost is also obtained from the disposal of organic household waste (fruit peels, leftovers from lunch, dinner and the like). In the home and in the garden, compost can be obtained with very simple methods. The most important are heap and surface composting. Pile compost is obtained by shredding various organic waste (old soil, withered flowers, straw, coffee grounds, leaves and stems of legumes, fruit, etc.). Adding wood to the chopped substances improves the decomposition process. The waste can be chopped by hand or with special choppers. The waste mixture must be added with other nutrient-rich substances, such as manure, which is rich in nitrogen and serves to bind with carbon, enhancing the properties of the compost. The mixture must be decomposed in a well-ventilated place, taking care to humidify it in hot and dry periods and to protect it during the most humid and rainy ones. The aeration prevents the accumulation of moisture in the compost, which can cause the development of harmful molds. The surface compost is obtained with the same technique as that in heap, except that the chopped pile must be decomposed at the foot of the plants. Before this procedure, the soil must be hoed, while the heap must be stirred frequently to ensure good ventilation.
Cultivation techniques also play a role fertilizer for the ground. Among these techniques we find plowing, practiced in agricultural fields. Plowing consists in overturning some clods of the soil with the plow. This tool moves the soil by cutting or overturning it. Plowing is carried out in areas, that is, proceeding on portions of land called slices. The different movements on the individual slices will involve the complete plowing of the soil. The purpose of plowing is to improve the chemical and physical characteristics of the soil to make it suitable for plant cultivation. The movement of the soil also stimulates its aeration which, in turn, facilitates the action of bacteria, also promoting the absorption of nutrients.
Among the fertilization techniques we also remember the green manure. This technique consists in burying specific crops to improve soil fertility. Green manure allows greater absorption of atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. With this practice, the risk of soil erosion is slowed, the availability of nitric nitrogen is maintained and the quantity of organic substance necessary for plant nutrition is increased. Green manure is practiced in organic farming, especially in areas with an arid and hot climate, where organic fertilizers can sometimes be scarce.
It's extraordinary how in biodynamic agriculture seek remedies for the care of plants through what Nature itself produces and gives us. It is fascinating to observe how in Nature there is everything that this needs for its needs, in perfect balance, harmony and respect with all beings and organisms that interact with it.
To produce natural fertilizers for the care of our plants is an activity that is part of a process aimed at respecting the environment, saving energy and time that wants us to get in tune and close contact with nature and its infinite resources and possibilities. Let's see together some types of natural fertilizers that help us take care of the our biodynamic garden.
Already with the first spring sunshine in the garden, the work begins. Plants need to be prepared for the summer season, cut, whitewashed, treated with pests. Towards the end of March, right along the ice crust, the first fertilizers are introduced. The choice of them is huge and novice gardeners can [...]
Already with the first spring sunshine in the garden, the work begins. Plants need to be prepared for the summer season, cut, whitewashed, treated with pests. Towards the end of March, right along the ice crust, the first fertilizers are introduced. The choice of them is huge, and novice gardeners may find it difficult to understand what and when to do. In this article, we will talk about proper garden nutrition.
The most common fertilizers with phosphorus content are phosphorus flour and superphosphate.
Tip: Phosphoric mineral fertilizers are not recommended to be applied simultaneously with lime, as it interferes with the assimilation of phosphorus by the roots.
How to use potash fertilizer correctly:
Popular fertilizer containing nitrogen, which is suitable for fertilizing the garden in the spring:
The highest percentage of nitrogen is in ammonium nitrate, where it is 1/3 of the fertilizer. But taking it into the ground should be taken into account that it significantly acidifies the earth, so together with it it is recommended to make lime.
How to use nitrogen fertilizers correctly:
You can not only buy fertilizers for the garden, but also make them yourself.
How to properly use manure as a fertilizer:
Bird litter is worth mentioning separately, insofar as the concentration of nutrients for plants is significantly higher than cow and horse fertilizer.
This is an excellent organic fertilizer, which practically does not require financial investments.
Hardwood ashes make an excellent addition to mineral fertilizers. It is rich in phosphorus, potassium, calcium and a number of other microelements, which are easily assimilated by plants.
How to make ash correctly:
"Healthy garden" homeopathic fertilizer
Specially developed for herbal preparations, they contain all the necessary trace elements in the right proportions. They are chosen in such a way that everyone is assimilated with maximum benefit and respectful of the environment.
How many things are i coffee grounds! From cleaning drains and pipes, to remedying wrinkles and cellulite, as well as how natural fertilizer, thanks to the presence of nitrogen and antioxidants. These substances are able to enrich the soil. Coffee grounds can also be added to compost or, once crumbled, scattered on the ground, making it more acidic.
The best use of this natural fertilizer is found in azaleas, camellias, blueberries, rhododendrons, roses and more generally in all evergreen plants. Thanks to the contribution of many nutrients to the soil, the coffee grounds also perform an action repellent against parasites and snails.
Even this kitchen waste element is precious for our vegetable garden or garden: washed, chopped and buried in the ground, i egg shells they favor the fertility of the soil and also fight i parasites that infest plants, as well as soft-bodied animals - snails, snails, caterpillars and vermicelli, capable of ruining our leaves.
In addition, the egg shells contain calcium carbonate for over 90% and are also used to tackle one of the most common problems for growing a vegetable garden or keeping seedlings on the balcony. Among the most typical cases, the tomato plant which in many cases is not strong enough to bear the weight of the fruit: thanks to the egg shells, in this way, it becomes stronger.
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