Whether you are a farmer by profession, have a large backyard garden, or are trying to keep just a few small plants alive in your home, fertilizer is an important part of the plant-growing process. Fertilizer serves as food for plants, supplying them with nutrients and improving quality and crop yields. There are many different kinds of fertilizer to choose from, and these are worth learning about to select the one that’s right for your growing goals.
Many commercial fertilizers are produced with chemical compounds like urea or ammonium nitrate. These fertilizers provide nutrients to plants but don’t add beneficial microorganisms to the soil like organic fertilizers do. Synthetic fertilizers are affordable options but may destroy existing microorganisms in the soil, run off into the local water source, or contaminate edible plants with toxins.
Organic fertilizers are made from other plants, animals, or minerals and are eco-friendly choices. Types of organic fertilizers include products with bone meal, fish emulsion, and blood meal. These fertilizers often have lower nutrient concentrations than chemical fertilizers, which prevents fertilizer buildup in the soil and “burning” plants with too much fertilizer. It takes longer for some organic fertilizers to improve plants compared to synthetic fertilizers; however, they usually require less frequent application.
One popular type of organic fertilizer is fish fertilizer, which is a product we make at Seagate. Our Fish Fertilizer Concentrate is an 100% natural all-purpose fertilizer that is derived from whole anchovies and sardines caught along the Baja California shore. It’s in the form of a highly concentrated powder. One container is the equivalent of 16 pounds of whole fish. Use this fertilizer on trees, flowers, and vegetables and enjoy its long-lasting effects of up to four to five months between applications.
Fish + Seaweed Fertilizer
Another organic option is Seagate’s Seaweed and Fish Soil Tabs, which combine these two great nutrient sources in one convenient tablet. This type of fertilizer is made of dehydrated sardines and dehydrated seaweed, which is harvested by hand by our contract divers. Using fertilizer options like this rather than chemical products will help your plants be stronger and more disease-resistant. Also, there is no danger of over-fertilizing or burning the roots with these fertilizer tabs.
Livestock Manure Fertilizer
Farmers will often use livestock manure to fertilize their crops after collecting the fecal material of pigs, chickens, or other animals. However, it is very important to properly treat manure from livestock because it contains hazardous materials before it is treated and can cause seedlings to burn due to rising temperatures after fermentation.
Slow-and-Controlled Release Fertilizer
The purpose of a slow-and-controlled release fertilizer is to deliver nutrients to your plants over a period of time rather than all at once. Using this type of fertilizer prevents harmful runoff of chemical materials if you are using a synthetic fertilizer and allows you to fertilize less frequently. Some gardeners use a quick-release fertilizer initially for young plants in addition to a slow-release product for sustained growth over time.
Fertilizers that are water-soluble give plants a quick boost of nutrition and usually come in the form of ready-made liquid or crystals to mix with water. Container plants often fare well with this type of fertilizer. The most common forms of fertilizer are liquid, granular, or powder.
Nutrients in Common Fertilizers
Plants need nitrogen to grow, and nitrogen is a common ingredient in both organic and inorganic fertilizers. A nutrient that plants also need is phosphate to strengthen the stems and roots of plants. Phosphate-rich fertilizers are great for avoiding stunted plant growth. Another nutrient worth mentioning is potassium, which aids root growth and photosynthesis. If you are unsure about the best type of fertilizer to use, ask the staff at your local garden store or contact us to learn more about our fish-based fertilizer options.