Gardening

Types of Fertilizers

What do you do when your food doesn’t give you all the essential nutrients and vitamins? Do you eat or more food or have supplements and vitamin capsules?
Of course you have vitamin capsules in addition to your food. The same way, when soil doesn’t provide the plant with all its needs, we need fertilizers. Fertilizers add texture to your soil and add nutrients to it.

Types of Fertilizers:

Fertilizers are broadly classified into Organic and Inorganic/Chemical fertilizers.

ORGANIC FERTILIZERS

Organic Fertilizers are the most convenient forms of fertilizers. They are safe and easily available. Things like manure, slurry, worm castings, peat moss, seaweed, sewage and guano are good examples of organic fertilizers. Vegetation material called mulch, such as hay, peat moss, leaves, grass, bark, wood chips, seed hulls, and corn husks all help to aerate the soil, insulate the ground against temperature change, and add needed nutrients.

Apart from these naturally occurring minerals like sulfate of potash, limestone and rock phosphate are also considered very good Organic Fertilizers.

Advantages of Organic Fertilizers

  • Improve the structure of the soil.
  • Retain soil moisture.
  • Release nitrogen slowly and consistently.
  • Mobilize existing soil nutrients.
  • Do not burn the plants like some chemical fertilizers
  • Less subject to leaching

Disadvantages of Organic Fertilizers

  • Often Organic fertilizers, especially those that contain animal and plant feces are contaminated with pathogens. Make sure they are properly composted to reduce the risk of pathogens.
  • The composition of organic fertilizers is variable thus it becomes a very dilute and inaccurate source of nutrients compared to Inorganic type of fertilizers. For profitable yields, significantly large amounts of fertilizers should be used to cope up with nutrient requirements.

INORGANIC/CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS

Inorganic or Chemical Fertilizers are primarily derived from chemical compounds such as ammonium nitrate, ammonium phosphates and potassium chloride. Chilean sodium nitrate, mined rock phosphate and limestone are examples of Inorganic Fertilizers.

Advantages of Inorganic Fertilizers

  • Higher and accurate amount of nitrogen promotes protein and chlorophyll and encourages growth of stems and leaves.
  • Higher amount of phosphorus results more flowers, larger fruits, and healthier roots and tubers.
  • Potassium from potash fosters protein development and thickens stems and leaves.
  • Release of nitrogen rapid.
  • Accurate source of nutrients.

Disadvantages of Inorganic Fertilizers

  • Inorganic Fertilizers if used carelessly can burn your plants and distort the quality of your soil leading to cadmium poisoning.
  • Using Inorganic fertilizers would mean that strict watering schedules have to be adopted in order to retain the soil moisture.
  • Inorganic fertilizers are made up of elements like Potassium and phosphorus that come from mines or saline lakes thus from limited resources.

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