Mineral fertilizers: what is it?
Like all living things in the world, plants feed, but they “know how” to get all the substances they need from air, water and, of course, the soil on which they grow. Plant nutrition depends on their health, appearance and quality of the crop. To understand that a plant suffers from a lack of nutrients is simple: poor growth, soreness, susceptibility to pests, reduced quality and quantity of the crop.
But what if the plant does not grow in its natural environment, but on a coconut substrate or hydroponics? What to add to the substrate so that the plant gets everything it needs? Now more for growers https://420growradar.com/p/best-5×10-grow-tents-what-you-need-to-know-about-them/
Many growers know about organic fertilizers – for example, compost that can be prepared at home, biological tablets (for the full growth cycle) or fertilizers based on bat guano1, which can accelerate root growth, stimulate flowering and get a great harvest.
So, you can do without mineral fertilizers? What is the difference between mineral fertilizers and organic fertilizers? what are mineral and organic fertilizers?
Let’s try to figure it out.
What is mineral fertilizers
To understand what mineral fertilizers are, remember that natural soils usually already have all the nutrients that a plant needs. But even soil, not to mention coconut or hydroponic substrates, may not contain everything a plant needs: magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, manganese, molybdenum, and more. This is because natural soils differ from each other: sandy soils contain less magnesium, peat soils – molybdenum, black soil – manganese. Therefore, intensive farming in any case involves the use of mineral fertilizers – inorganic compounds containing nutrients necessary for the plant – you just need to decide which mineral fertilizer to choose. Fertilizers can increase productivity on any soil, they:
- They have a positive effect on soil fertility;
- Protect against pests and diseases;
- Stimulates plant growth and development;
- Improves flowering and fruiting;
- Ensure proper development of the root system;
- Provide plants with all the necessary nutrients.
Mineral fertilizers: what belongs to them?
First of all, these are fertilizers containing mineral salts. They are:
- simple (phosphorus, nitrogen, potash),
- complex (complex),
- micronutrient fertilizers.
In addition, there are organo-mineral (organomineral) fertilizers.
What is organo-mineral fertilizers
Let’s figure out what organo-mineral fertilizers are. These include humic fertilizers (that is, preparations of natural origin, from natural raw materials – peat, sapropel, silt, brown coal, shale, humus), which also contain mineral compounds. Organomineral fertilizers are obtained by treating humic materials with ammonia, phosphate, potassium salts, etc. Organo-mineral fertilizers have various names:
- peat ammonia (TAU),
- humphos, humfoska,
- peat-mineral-ammonia (TMAU),
- sodium humates,
- ammonium humates, etc.
Organomineral fertilizers are a kind of practical answer to the question of which is better – organic or mineral fertilizers. Pros of organic fertilizers:
- Efficient use of mineral resources in combination with organic resources: an increase in fertilizing efficiency by about two times with the same consumption of the mineral component.
- Effective use of substances of a humic nature (composts, manure, etc.), which in themselves are characterized by low efficiency even at high doses.
- Efficient use of industrial waste (waste from fat and oil, alcohol and wine, sugar, cotton processing, wood processing, pulp and paper, food industries).
- Chemical activation (oxidation, nitration, sulfonation, chlorination, ammonization and neutralization) of organic substances enriches them, increases the solubility and the passage of anion- and cation-exchanging, as well as complexing processes when they enter the soil.
- The interaction of substances of a humic nature with little or poorly soluble phosphates increases the solubility of phosphorus, stimulates the release of assimilable phosphates.
- Calcium and other cations in a slightly soluble humate form play the role of fertilizers and are not washed out from the soil horizon.
- Organomineral fertilizers promote the adsorption and retention of moisture, do not cake and do not form lumps, prevent nutrients from leaching out of the soil, and reduce the rate of their application. The use of such fertilizers reduces soil salinity, increases its fertility and plant productivity, and is environmentally friendly.
Than organic fertilizers are better than mineral
In order to understand why organic fertilizers are better than mineral fertilizers, let us summarize what mineral and organic fertilizers are.
So, mineral fertilizers are inorganic fertilizers containing mineral salts (inorganic compounds). Their application rate depends on the type of natural soil or artificial substrates. Mineral fertilizers are not very popular among adherents of organic farming due to their “unnatural” and “unnatural origin”.
Organic fertilizers contain plant nutrients in the form of organic compounds; their “foundation” is ordinary compost, manure or guano, straw or wood. Silt (sapropel) is also popular. That is, the natural nature of origin is what distinguishes organic fertilizers from mineral fertilizers in the first place. There are also complex organic fertilizers (several different organic substances or organic matter in combination with mineral compounds), which include organo-mineral fertilizers (described in more detail above).
If fertilizers based on natural components are so effective, why do we need inorganic fertilizers – chemical, “unnatural”, “not biological”? Here are the main advantages of “chemistry” over “organic”:
- quick positive effect,
- wider spectrum of action,
- more convenient and cheaper to transport.
Both organic and mineral fertilizers are dry, granular, or liquid. What are liquid mineral fertilizers? These are mineral fertilizers in liquid form, the advantages of which are: ease of use, safety during storage and operation (for example, they do not need to be kneaded, and ignition, which happens with some types of dry “chemical” fertilizers, is excluded).
Which is better – organic or mineral fertilizers?
Discussing how organic fertilizer differs from mineral fertilizer, some plant breeders insist on the safety, “naturalness” of the first and “non-ecological” second. Allegedly, the “chemistry” in fertilizers can negatively affect the health of the end user, the state of the soil and the environment in general.
In fact, this is not the case: in modern crop production, mineral fertilizers that are hazardous to the environment and human health are rarely used. Deciding which mineral fertilizers are better should be based on the type and composition of the soil, the openness or closedness of the soil, and also what plants are to be grown. Of course, adherents of “organic” can give preference to organic fertilizers: they give excellent results.
What are the mineral fertilizers? Above we figured out what, first of all, are simple and complex (complex). Simple ones contain one main nutrient, and their action is clearly aimed at solving some problem – most often, one. Complex ones are designed to solve a complex problem, or several issues related to the state of the soil or plant at once.
Types of simple mineral fertilizers for the main nutrient: nitrogen, ammonia, nitrate, amide, potassium, phosphoric.
Types of complex mineral fertilizers: nitrophosphate, nitrophoska, ammophos, diammophos.
So, we figured out how organic fertilizers differ from mineral fertilizers, let’s take a closer look at the question: mineral fertilizers – what is it? What are their composition and principle of operation?
What mineral fertilizers are better to choose?
Mineral fertilizers: what is included? It depends on whether we are talking about simple or complex fertilizers.
Let’s list the simple mineral fertilizers according to the type of the main nutrient:
Nitrogen. They are highly soluble in water, used as solid and liquid. They are introduced into the soil in advance, so that the beneficial substances have time to be released before the active growth of plants begins.
Ammonia, for example, ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3). It contains about 35% nitrogen, as well as phosphorite flour, phosphoric gypsum and calcium: chalk, limestone. The plus of ammonium nitrate is that in the open field it acts even when the soil has not yet had time to warm up. The downside is that it is explosive.
Nitrate, for example, sodium nitrate (now it is practically not used in crop production).
Amide: Urea (often used outdoors and indoors in the form of a liquid mineral fertilizer) and potassium cyanamide (a cheap but unsafe substance, effective on poor podzolic soils that need fertilization).
Potash: potassium chloride (used for potatoes and cereals), potassium sulfate (the best fertilizer for plants with potassium deficiency), potassium salt (used for berry crops).
Phosphoric: simple superphosphate (used in floriculture), double superphosphate (introduced into the soil in the fall to prepare plants for wintering), phosphate flour (helps plants to fight pests and diseases, increases their own immunity of plants).
Complex mineral fertilizers are special artificially created mixes containing a large amount of useful minerals for growth, development and fruiting). The most common:
Nitroammophoska (nitrophosphate) – equal content of phosphorus and nitrogen.
Nitrofoska is a complete mineral fertilizer, used during sowing, as well as for the entire growing season.
Ammophos is a complete mineral fertilizer based on potassium, magnesium and phosphorus with a sulfur content, a universal top dressing.
Diammophos is a complex mineral fertilizer based on three main nutrients for the entire plant environment – nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Where to buy mineral fertilizers?
Now we know what organic and mineral fertilizers are, it remains to decide where to buy mineral fertilizers (and organic, of course) – so that the quality is high, production technologies are advanced, and the price is reasonable.
The assortment will satisfy an experienced grower – there are, for example, calcium nitrate, potassium sulfate, magnesium sulfate – simple mineral fertilizers for those who know how to prepare (mix, dilute) and apply them. Both beginners and experienced growers will love the wide range of complex mineral as well as organo-mineral fertilizers. Organic lovers will love the bat guano lines, as well as bio tabs: these are one hundred percent natural fertilizers that exist not only in dry and liquid but also in tablet form.