Whether you operate a large commercial farm like Seagate or have a small backyard garden, nutrient deficiencies can happen in both organic farming and commercial agriculture. In recent decades, nearly half of America’s sustainable farmers have experienced nutrient deficiencies in their crops. Organic farmers often add nutrients to their land to maintain soil fertility and promote long-term crop sustainability. Instead of simply feeding plants in the short-term, this strategy ensures that plants obtain balanced nutrition through the activity of the soil microbes. To produce healthy yields, it is important to understand which nutrient deficiencies are common in organic crops and how to cure them.
Nitrogen, a component of chlorophyll, is needed by all plants and important to plant growth. Your plants may be nitrogen deficient if their leaves are small, pale-colored, or tinted with red or yellow coloring. Although you should test your soil before adding any nutrient amendments, there are several supplemental sources that may help cure the deficiency. Many organic gardeners swear by blood meal, composted poultry manure, and feather meal amendments.
Plants also require a large amount of phosphorus for normal growth, since it is a structural component of DNA and RNA, the genetic components of reproduction and growth in living organisms. Your crops may be phosphorus deficient if they have limited root systems or thin stems. The seedlings of many phosphorus deficient plants look stunted and have a purple tint. Deficient fruit trees often have malformed, short, and small fruits, seeds, and shoots. Consider adding bone meal, rock phosphate, or fish meal nutrient amendments to cure phosphorus deficiencies.
Crops need calcium to boost cell growth and cell division, and it also helps them properly utilize nitrogen intake. You may have a calcium deficiency if your plants exhibit blossom-end rot or tip burn, which is especially common on lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers. Try using gypsum, lime, or bone meal to cure calcium deficiencies.
Plants need potassium to maintain the osmotic potential of their cells and facilitate water intake. Potassium also helps plants form essential sugars, starches, and proteins. Potassium deficient plants are more susceptible to disease, and their fruits and seeds appear small and shriveled. In many cases, the stem tissue is weak, and the roots are underdeveloped. You can try adding composted manure, seaweed, and wood ashes to your soil to boost potassium nutrients for your plants.
According to soil science experts at North Carolina State University, careful visual inspection of the growing plant can help identify a specific nutrient stress. Although characteristic symptoms may appear in plants, nutrient deficiency does not directly produce symptoms. When plants accumulate more of certain organic compounds and lack others, their normal processes are affected, thereby resulting in obvious visual changes. But be aware that visual changes in your plants could also be a result of disease, insect damage, temperature changes, and soil fertility.
To cover all the nutrient requirements of most plants and vegetables in your garden, there is one fertilizer that is rich in everything – Fish Fertilizer – made by Seagate and processed from whole dehydrated sardines and anchovies. It contains 11% Nitrogen, 5% Phosphorous, and 1% Potash. It is also very rich in calcium at 5% derived from the bones in the whole fish. Whether you are looking for the healthiest rose bushes or are growing tomatoes in your backyard, the nutrients available from the whole fish will give you the largest and healthiest plants and vegetables.
Fish fertilizer is used exclusively on all of Seagate’s crops. It contains no chemicals. Since fish is not listed as a certified organic ingredient because it is derived from the ocean, we cannot certify our crops as organic. This is the sacrifice we had to make in order to be able to use the best natural fertilizer on our farms.