With so many fertilizers on the market, it is easy to be overwhelmed by choice. A We break down the fertilizer basics to help you find an all-round throw-a-bit-on-everything fertilizer for your garden.
As your plants grow, they undergo a process that strips nutrients out of the soil. Adding a fertilizer or soil conditioner to your soil keeps it in tip-top shape and makes sure the growing plants get the nutrients they need. You will be rewarded for your efforts by more vibrant flowers, lush lawns and tastier fruit and vegetables.
Chemical Fertilizers are synthetically manufactured and include things like potassium chloride and superphosphate and can be found in granule, liquid or powder form. Chemical fertilizers are fast acting and can burn plants if not watered in on application.
Organic Fertilizers are derived from the remains or manure of living organisms. Organic Fertilizers are from natural sources so this includes poultry manure and things like blood and bone, worm castings and fish meal. An organic fertilizer is broken down by the bacteria and microbes that are in the soil and will release nutrients as they decompose.
Benefits of using an organic fertilizer:
- Build up organic matter in the soil which does great things – it improves the structure of the soil and acts like a sponge to hold water and nutrients. It also feeds microbes, encourages earthworms and helps fight disease.
- They give a slow release of nutrients over time, it is hard to over-use them and they are not easily leached.
Nutrients – A quick breakdown of the numbers
Fertilizers are a blend of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) and other essential nutrients in varying amounts. If you look on a bag of fertilizer, it will tell you how much of each element is in the product. It can be written a few ways – N 10 P 2 K 4 or 10-2-4 or even 10%N 2%P 4%K. The numbers vary depending on the type of fertilizer and its ingredients. Each nutrient works differently and if you are after a fertilizer for a particular type of plant or to fix a particular problem then you may choose a fertilizer based on how much of a particular nutrient it contains. But for an all-purpose fertilizer, choose one that contains all the essential nutrients.
Nitrogen (N) is all about green leafy growth and plant development
Phosphrous (P) is for strong roots and healthy fruit and seeds
Potassium (K) helps with disease resistance and overall plant health
Calcium (Ca) improves plant vigor and promotes the growth of young roots and shoots
Magnesium (Mg) regulates the absorption of plant nutrients
Sulphur (S) promotes vigorous plant growth
All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer – Katek Organic Super Growth
A complete organic fertilizer like Katek Organic Super Growth supplies a range of nutrients and is all-purpose, so it is suitable for use on lawns, flowers, fruit trees and vegetables and is gentle enough to use on palms, shrubs and natives. Super Growth is based on poultry manure and includes a number of other ingredients chosen for their ability to enhance plant growth, promote strong root and shoot development and improve fruiting and flowering. Read more about Katek Super Growth here.