Here is some basic info on fertilizers. We have a problem with White butterflies and as well as spraying the plants to protect them from bugs, we need to build up the soil. Its been suggested we use a mix of 6 part lime, 5 parts soft rock phosphate and 3 parts gypsum. Thought I’d check out what these do along with seaweed, as we put some down about 6 months ago……
* Prevents soil borne disease and unlocks the soils own micronutrients.
* Builds up plants own immune system and encourages vibrant healthy growth.
* Excellent for plants under stress
Seaweed/kelp can contain 60 trace elements, many growth hormones, and disease control properties in it! Basically every nutrient that any surface plant can ever need!
Seaweed is also an excellent food source for beneficial fungi in the soil.
When seaweed, or indeed any undecomposed organic matter, is put into the soil, it is attacked by bacteria which break down the material to decompose it. To do this the bacteria needs nitrogen, and they take this from the soil. This means that after seaweed has been added to the soil, there is a period during which the amount of soil nitrogen available to plants is reduced. During this period seed germination, and the feeding and growth of plants, can be inhibited to greater or lesser degree. This temporary nitrogen deficiency is brought about when any undecomposed vegetable matter is added to the soil.
Soft Rock Phosphate
Soft Rock Phosphate is highly soluble and is perfect for soils that have been depleted of minerals. It is a great addition to any soil lacking this vital mineral.
Some web site suggests using bone meal instead as:
Bone Meal is not only easier to find, but also it is already being produced as a byproduct of the beef industry. Rock phosphate is mined.
Lime is ground limestone. It raises the pH of soils (to be more alkaline). It also adds calcium to the soil, which can make stronger plants.
Ideally, lime should be applied only after you’ve had your soil tested and the results require an application of lime. Because too much lime can have negative effects on our drinking water and it can damage plants when over-used, the yearly application of lime is not a very good idea. If you are not willing to get a soil test, then reducing your lime application to once every other year is a good compromise.
Keep the dust off plant leaves. Always err on the side of caution. Water well so that the lime doesn’t burn the leaves of plants.
Lime takes a long time to work it’s way into the soil. It works slowly; you won’t see result for a while.
Gypsum is one of those rare materials that performs in all categories of soil treatment, as an amendment, conditioner and fertilizer.
- Corrects soil alkalinity, lowers high pH conditions.
- Counteracts acid soils, raises low pH conditions.
- Generally improves soil structure and tilth. Creates friable soil and builds deeper top-soil.
- Breaks up soils compacted by its two worst enemies – sodium and clay, compounded by farm animals and machinery.
- Supplies needed calcium nutrient and strengthens cell walls, making plants and trees more resistant to insects and disease.
- Provides necessary sulfur nutrient.
- Amends nutritional tie-up and makes essential nutrients more available, such as nitrogen, phosphate, potash, iron and zinc.
- Gypsum promotes water infiltration, retention and conservation
- By allowing water to penetrate the soil without forming puddles or water logging, gypsum conserves water by stretching intervals between irrigations
What You Should Know about NPK and Fertilizers
Chemical fertilizers and organic fertilizers show their nutrient content with three bold numbers on the package. These numbers represent three different compounds: Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash (Potassium), which we can also describe with the letters N-P-K. The three numbers listed on fertilizer labels correspond to the percentage of these materials found in the fertilizer.
What does each nutrient do? In addition to other properties,
- Nitrogen helps plant foliage to grow strong.
- Phosphorous helps roots and flowers grow and develop.
- Potassium (Potash) is important for overall plant health.
Be aware that high nitrogen fertilizers will make for quick growth but weaker plants that are more susceptible to attacks by diseases and pests. Fast, showy growth is not necessarily the best thing for your plants.
It is clear that Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium are not necessarily the most important elements you need for your plants to grow well. In fact, elements such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, magnesium, copper, cobalt, sodium, boron, molybdenum, and zinc are just as important to plant development as N-P-K.
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