Every gardener, farmer and flat dweller wants the best fertilizer for his flowers and crops. But what are the requirements of a good plant food?
A Fertilizer can be any product or substance that will promote growth of plants and their fruits. It has to supply the soil that the plants are living in with a variety of nutrients and trace elementsto fulfill all its needs. The wide variety of soils that exist in the world contain different physical and chemical properties.
Some of them like those rich in humus contain a lot of plant soluble nutrients and can produce and support an abundant plant live.
Others like sandy soils on the other hand have very few nutrients available to plants they are supporting.
But even the nutrient richest soil will need to replenish elements which are essential for plant growth that have been used up as time went by.
The components needed by plants are
These components are needed in different quantities.
Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the most important elements of any growth medium and are needed in large amounts by plants.
If those elements along with calcium, sulfur and magnesium which are used as well in larger quantities are not replaced in the soil, plants that will be planted in the following years will be stunted in their growth.
The best fertilizer
Fertilizers can be grouped in natural fertilizers like manures and compost on one side and chemical fertilizers on the other.
In my opinion chemical fertilizers that are commercially produced and many of them as such from petrochemical waste products are in the long run harmful to the soil.
I believe that all natural soil conditioners are essentially good for the soil but the best fertilizer to have in ones ground are worm castings or worm humus.
The castings are actually worm poop that:
is richer in Nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, potassium and magnesium than the finest top soils.
is a slow release plant food that will release its nutrients only to the plants when they need them.
consists of approximately 5 billion living organisms in just a handful of it.
can feed an average potted plant for up to 6 month
is water soluble and straight away available as plant food to the plants
can hold moisture better than surrounding soil which will lead to less water usage and a reduced water bill
will never burn plants
can be used to produce worm tea a fantastic liquid fertilizer and natural pesticide.
Earth worms and compost worms improve the beneficial microbiological activity of the organic matter they consume by up to 20 times.
In every healthy soil there should be loads and load of juicy worms producing worm castings. The worms can be found under lush green lawns and everywhere where there is moisture and some decomposing organic matter.
Many gardeners that run a
compost heap will find thousands of compost worms inside their heap
where they convert the compost into worm humus.
For those plant friends that don't have a compost heap but would like to make use of worm castings there are a few options they can take to get hold of the thought after worm poop.
They can either purchase them from a commercial worm farmer or garden center or produce them themselves with the help of a worm farm.
Once a worm farm is established it will continuously produce the best fertilizer as long as the worms are kept alive which is quite easy.
Worm castings are so potent that they are not needed in large quantities in soil to show their positive effects on plants.
A mix of just 1 part of worm castings with 2 parts of aged compost and 2 parts of top soil applied to the garden will often already bring fantastic results.
We have been using casting for many years now and the results exceeded our expectations dramatically.
We had 1 tomato plant that yielded over 500 tomatoes over a period of 3 month, Green bean plants that grew 3.5 meter high,
Swiss chard plants that kept producing huge tasty leaves for up to 6 month. In
one experiment we grew a sunflower in a bucket that contained only a
few worms, dog poop and worm castings
that where produced out of that poop. The flower grew into a beautiful strong plant with just that little space inside the bucket for her roots. All plants that like rich organic plant food should thrive in castings.
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