Fertilisers are the secret sauce that makes our plants grow so well, but they’re also a controversial subject. Some people think they’re bad for the environment while others argue it’s impossible to feed today’s world’s population without them.
So, what’s the real deal?
In this article. you’ll understand a little bit more about what these products are and also how to use them correctly, as well as their benefits and possible risks of improper handling.
Fertilisers are Rated According to Their Nutrient Content Using the NPK System
If you’ve ever bought fertiliser, chances are you’re familiar with the NPK system.
This stands for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium—three elements found in fertilisers that plants need to grow.
Fertilizers are rated according to their nutrient content using this system. You can check this Online Fertiliser Guide if you’re in need of further help.
The standard way of determining what kind of fertiliser is needed for a certain crop or soil condition is by measuring the amount of nutrients present in soil samples and comparing them to what’s required by plants for optimal growth (usually expressed as parts per million).
Fertilisers Can Be Organic or Inorganic
There are two main types of fertilisers: organic and inorganic (or chemical).
Organic fertilisers are made from materials that come from living organisms, such as an animal. This includes manure, blood meal and bone meal.
They are good for the soil because they are slow release, meaning you don’t need to apply as much chemical fertiliser. They also do not pollute the environment like some inorganic fertilisers can do.
Both organic and inorganic fertilisers supply nutrients that help soil produce healthy plants. They can be called quick-release if they contain a large amount of the plant’s main nutrients.
Or they can be called slow-release if they contain enough of the plant’s main nutrients to last for a long time—up to several months or even years, depending on what kind of plants you’re growing! Try applying some if you wish to boost your garden blooms.
Inorganic fertilisers are made from mineral salts. These minerals, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, are extracted from the earth’s crust and then refined into a form that plants can use.
Inorganic fertilisers are more stable than organic fertilisers because they don’t rely on living organisms to break down in order to release their nutrients. Instead, they’re already in a form that plants can absorb immediately.
They also tend to be less likely than organic ones to be contaminated with pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms), preventing your garden from getting unwelcome guests, like snails, for example, but not without a price.
Nowadays most farmers use a combination of both types because each type has its own set of benefits as well as drawbacks.
As that most known drawback, or the price, we can cite the fact that inorganic fertilisers are human made and consist of chemical composts that are unnatural and can be harmful for the environment.
Problems with Chemical Fertilisers
Studies have shown that chemical fertilisers can cause root burn or fertiliser burn. Chemical fertilisers do not allow enough water intake for the plants.
When the nitrogen is absorbed by soil too quickly, it will dehydrate and dry up the plant. Another important issue of using nitrogen fertilisers is groundwater contamination.
Nitrogen fertilisers can also break down into nitrates and travel easily through the soil. Because it is water-soluble and can remain in groundwater for decades, adding more nitrogen over time has an accumulative effect.
Chemical fertilisers can pollute our water bodies when too much is being used. When these fertilisers are used on crops, some of the chemicals used may seep into the ground and contaminate nearby ponds and streams. This may lead to health problems for both humans and animals.
What About Biofertilisers?
Biofertilisers are a type of organic fertiliser that contains naturally occurring bacteria and fungi. They are used to enhance the growth and development of plants, improve soil structure, and increase nutrient availability in the soil ecosystem.
Biofertilisers can be used as a substitute for chemical fertilisers while being sustainable for the Earth.
If you’re not familiar with the world of microbiology, bacteria and fungi are microorganisms. Microbes are everywhere – in soil, plants and even the air. They help make healthy soil fertile by breaking down organic matter like dead leaves into nutrients that plants can use to grow.
Biofertilisers use naturally occurring bacteria or fungi to grow healthy plants without using synthetic chemicals or fertilisers that could damage the environment.
They can be used as composts, mulches, or fertilisers to improve soil quality.
They can also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing nitrogen fixation in the soil and reducing carbon dioxide production.
What Differentiates Organic Fertilisers From Others?
Biofertilisers are living composts that work with the plants’ natural processes. It contains beneficial microorganisms, macro and micronutrients that help plants thrive without chemicals.
They may come in solid or liquid form, like Arktivate, for example, and are designed to build and sustain microbial life.
This thriving ecology creates beneficial biological compounds for plants, physically improves the soil and provides means of defense against pests, diseases and environmental stress.
All done without harsh synthetic chemicals or harmful pesticides.
As you can see, there are many different kinds of fertilisers available. All of them supply nutrients that help soil produce healthy plants.
If you’re looking for organic options, consider using compost and manure for your garden. Inorganic fertilisers may seem great for gardeners who don’t have time to manage their soil and want to get results quickly, but they can pollute the environment and kill your plants if handled carelessly.
If you’re new to gardening or have never used any kind of fertiliser before, it’s best to start with an organic one such as compost or manure because these materials decompose faster than inorganic ones like rock phosphate or blood meal.
Of course, excess is always prejudicial, if you are not sure of how much to use yet, you can try this OSU Organic Fertiliser & Cover Crop Calculator.
Biofertilisers are the key to a healthy earth and a healthy plant. They are simple, effective ways to encourage better soil quality and healthier plants, organic and stable as inorganic ones.
Because they are made from natural materials that have been broken down by microorganisms, then turned into a powder or liquid form.
These fertilisers have nutrients that plants need for growth, such as nitrogen and phosphorus.