It goes without saying that finding and utilizing an effective fertilizer is absolutely key to sustaining any healthy garden. After all, without nutrients plants cannot thrive. Most soil has plenty of riches to go around, at least at first, but years of planting and re-planting can rob a once fertile area of its precious resources. If your soil has been sapped of its nutrients over time, fertilizer is an absolutely necessary mediation, a way to close the gap between way a plant needs and what little spent soil has to offer. But which kind of fertilizer to buy? There are many different types, some organic and some chemical-based, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. A few of them are listed below for your convenience.
- Organic Fertilizers: There are a great many types of organic fertilizers, too many to cover here. One of the most popular options is manure. Though effective, manure can obviously add an unpleasant smell to your yard or garden, along with presenting certain health risks. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options. Bone meal is full of phosphorous, a nutrient which a wide variety of plants require, along with nitrogen and calcium. You also don’t need very much, with a tablespoon covering up to two square feet. Fish emulsion smells temporarily, but that problem doesn’t last for long. Use it early in the spring and it can be a major boon to your plants. Blood meal contains lots of nitrogen, and is ideal for assisting in the growth of edible plants. There are many more organic fertilizers to consider as well, but the options described here are among the most effective. Mulch is an example of an organic fertilizer.
- Inorganic Fertilizers: Whereas organic fertilizers are naturally occurring products which just happen to be good for plants, inorganic fertilizers are compounds specifically created for that purpose. Organic options are great if you plan on using them at the beginning of the season and letting them do their gradual, but effective, work. If you need to supply your soil with nutrients in a hurry, an inorganic fertilizer is a great option.
- Plant-Specific Fertilizer: Some plants have markedly different needs than others. If you have a picker plant growing in your yard or garden, do a little searching to see if there’s a fertilizer just for that product. Chances are fairly high that there is.
- Liquid Fertilizer: The fastest option of all, liquid fertilizer goes right to the roots of your plants, allowing it to go to work almost instantly. The trade-off is that liquid fertilizer doesn’t last for long, so you’ll need to reapply a short time later. For this reason, it is only truly useful for smaller applications.
- Time Release Fertilizer: Most inorganic fertilizers release all of their nutrients immediately. This can sometimes cause plants to be overwhelmed and actually be negatively effected. Time release fertilizer releases nutrients slowly over time, a slower but more beneficial method.