Guide for potential nutrients to soilN. Madhubalan
It’s a fact that plants require a soil rich in potential nutrients and is the key to growing great fruits and vegetables, abundant flowers, and long-lived ornamental trees and shrubs.
The overall fertility and viability of the soil is a vital point in any gardening rather than the application of fertilizers as quick fixes.
But your soil may be deficient in certain nutrients. As well may not have excellent soil structure.
When to fertilize plants :
1. Potted or Container plants :
* If pot contains soil, fertilize once a month.
* If it contains coco peat, fertilize twice a week.
* If it is a mix of soil and coco peat, fertilize twice a month.
2. Ground or Bed plants :
If plants are growing in ground or beds, they require fertilizer once in 2-3 months.
For potted plants, soil should be changed once in a year or, if roots are seen outside.
How much Fertilizer to be used :
For Fruit and Avenue trees : 200 to 300 gram in 1 kg of soil,
For other plants : 100 to 150 gram in 1 kg of soil.
Note: Most of the plants dies due to over watering or over fertilizing.
Over watering :
Heavy and poorly drained soils are susceptible to becoming waterlogged. Roots growing in water logged soils may die because they cannot absorb the oxygen needed to function normally.
Scientifically fertilizer is not a plant food. It is simply a collection of building blocks plants use to produce their own nutrients.
Over fertilization often results in unusually a high accumulation of salts in the soil, as well as excess nitrogen.
How to use :
Organic Fertilizers -
The below mentioned organic fertilizers can be used with dry soil, mix very well and then should be watered.
Chemical Fertilizers :
* If chemical fertilizers are taken from the market, use instruction given on the product manual.
* Once it is mixed in water with given proportion, use immediately and don’t keep for more than 1 or 2 hours.
* Soil should be pre-watered for direct application or for sprays also.
* Also strong sunlight should be avoided at the time of fertilizing to prevent burning of plants. Better if used in the morning or evening.
When adding fertilizer to potted plants, use organic blends derived from many nutrient sources. Organic fertilizers are effective and long lasting. Also does not burn plants. They supply the required macro-nutrients (N, P, K) as well as a large selection of minerals, micronutrients, amino acids and vitamins.
Some of the basic organic fertilizers :
1. Neem Cake :
The Neem cake is used as good organic manure in agriculture and also protects from fungus and pests.
The high Azadirachtin content in Neem cake helps in protecting the crops against parasitic nematodes and as best soil conditioner.
2. Vermicompost :
It is the final product of composting organic material using different types of worms, such as red wigglers (Eisenia Fetida) or earthworms, to create a homogenized blend of decomposed vegetable and food waste, bedding materials and manure.
Vermicompost similarly known as worm castings or worm manure, is used to loose the soil and can be used as a high grade natural, organic fertilizer.
3. Stear Meal :
It is used as good organic manure in plants. It increases calcium in the soil, helps growth of fruits, branches and flowers as well acts as pest repellent.
4. Organic Fertilizer Mix ( Vermicompost + Stear Meal + Neem Cake ) :
5. Organic fertilizers Mix:
It is the right composition of Vermicompost, Stear Meal and Neem Cake .Plants usually need the right proportion of nutrients to be added externally which soil can not provide. Adding Organic Fertilizer Mix to the soil will fulfil all the nutrient requirements of the plant.
Some of the growing media for plants:
1. Coco Peat :
As a growing medium coco peat, also called coir or coir dust, provides an alternative to potting soil featuring high water retention, suitable aeration and antifungal benefits.
Coco peat can also be used in combination with soil in proportion of 250 gram per 1 kg of soil.
2. Perlite :
Perlite improves aeration, draining and insulation, and also facilitates re-wetting. Perlite can be used to open up ready-mixed loam or peat-based composts.
Perlite can be used only in combination of soil as 1 handful ( 15-20 gram) of perlite in 1 kg of soil.
3. Clay Balls (Light Weight Clay Aggregates For Plants) :
The clay balls or pellets help create an ideal soil environment for your potted plants.
Clay balls provide plants with plenty of oxygen for fast-growing roots, and it holds enough moisture within its micro-pores to allow for healthy water and nutrient retention from the roots all the way to the top nodes.
* Choose planters according to size required for your plants for various purposes and locations.
* In general use a soil-based compost (Nutrient rich soil) placed over a generous layer of drainage material such as earthenware crocks, pebbles or gravel. Water and feed regularly, especially while plants are bearing flowers and fruit, when a high-potash fertilizer is recommended.
* Using pebbles in a garden brings different colors and textures to the garden. Pebbles can also fill up empty space in the garden, leaving a visual that might be considered more interesting and aesthetic than simple dirt, soil or mulch.