December 21, 2018 / by Emma Jones

Taking care of your garden may require hard work but it is still a great way to enjoy some time outdoors. Plus, it is a way for you to be active as you will need to do all the planting, pruning, watering and fertilizing. In today’s blog post, I’ll talk about fertilizing and its huge importance for the well-being of your plants. Fertilizers provide the soil with all the needed nutrients thus help promote your plants’ growth while keeping them healthy and thriving. So, whether you have a small garden of plants or a large farm with thousands of acres of crops, there is a garden fertilizer to help your different gardening needs. Let’s help you out understand the different types of fertilizers so you can make an informed buying decision.

N-P-K Ratio

N-P-K ration applies for the percentage of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium the fertilizer contains. For instance, if the formula labeled on the fertilizer is a 23-23-3, this means that the fertilizer contains 23% Nitrogen, 23% Phosphorus and 3% Potassium. To make the right purchase, you need to test your soil first. You can use a special kit for this so you can get an idea of the nutrients your soil has and their percentage. Once you find out which nutrients are missing in your soil and which ones it has in abundance, you can make the best choice of garden fertilizer.

Complete and incomplete fertilizers

As their names suggest, fertilizers that contain all of the above-mentioned nutrients are known as complete, on the other hand, those with one or two nutrients are known as incomplete. Most gardeners think that complete fertilizers are always the best choice for their garden, but this is so not true. It all depends on the nutrients the soil needs. For example, if it already contains enough percentage of the two nutrients, you need to purchase an incomplete fertilizer and boost the third nutrient your soil lacks. Also, if the plant has the right amount of nutrients, adding a complete fertilizer could destroy it.

Synthetic and organic fertilizers

There are natural fertilizers and there are those that are mixed and manufactured. Synthetic fertilizers usually act faster as they are made from different chemicals. They are available in both liquid and dry form with release period from three to eight months. On the other hand, organic solutions are made from fish emulsion, blood meal, bone, manure, compost, cottonseed, and other living organisms. Compared to synthetic fertilizers, they work more slowly.

General and special-purpose fertilizers

General garden fertilizers meet most gardens’ requirements as they have an equal amount of N-P-K, while special-purpose ones contain a specific combination of the three nutrients. Synthetic fertilizers are divided into three main groups. The first group is fertilizers used to encourage growth and they usually contain mostly nitrogen. The other group is fertilizers that stimulate flower and root growth. They have more potassium and phosphorus and less nitrogen. The last group is fertilizers used for specific plants and they usually have the same name as the plant they are formulated for.