Over the next two episodes we will break down NPK, the acronym used to classify plant fertilizers. NPK stands for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The letters used to represent each of these 3 nutrients are their symbols on the periodic table of elements. This week we will focus on Nitrogen, and next week we'll talk in depth about Phosphorus and Potassium. So, welcome to our 2-part series on organic fertilizer!
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In this episode, we discuss:
- The NPK ratio
- The Nitrogen Cycle
- The role nitrogen plays in the health of your garden
- Organic sources of nitrogen
- Nitrogen is the nutrient that is most responsible for the vegetative growth of a plant. This means that nitrogen is especially important for plants early in their life, as they develop the vegetative structure that will supply your harvest later on in the season.
- Plant that are deficient in nitrogen often show a uniform discoloration of the leaves.
- The crop groups that seems to benefit the most from an additional application of nitrogen are Brassicas and Alliums.
- Some of the most common sources are Blood Meal, Feather Meal, Cottonseed Meal, Alfalfa Meal and Bat Guano.
- The ingredient that we use most is blood meal. It is a pure source of nitrogen with an NPK ration of 13-0-0. It is a dry powder derived from cow's blood which has been steamed or boiled to kill pathogens and remove impurities. It supplies crops with an immediate boost and continues to release useable nitrogen over the course of several weeks or months (depending on weather and soil conditions). Another reason why we love this product is because it is a by-product of the cattle industry- in other words, it's waste that's turned into a usable garden nutrient.
- For more about blood meal, check out Hilary's ORGANIC FERTILIZER BREAKDOWN PART ONE: BLOOD MEAL
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