Moreover, learning the difference between the two will greatly help you on your journey to becoming a better gardener.
But first, let us go through their individual characteristics where you will learn their similarities, differences, and unique attributes.
The Common Fertilizer Characteristics
But fertilizers are certainly not limited to that since they have tons of benefits like additional supplements of nutrients, minerals, enhanced drainage, growth security, and many others!
Fertilizers are in a different category to liming materials, and other soil amendments. So try not to confuse them with each other.
Basically, fertilizers replenish nutrients in soil and this applies to nature, not just your garden. When crops are being harvested, this includes the removal of the nutrients. This is because they are carried away with the crops when they are pulled out. For crops that are not replenished with fertilizers, yields will eventually degrade in the long run.
The Common Soil Characteristics
For non-gardeners, they presume that soil is the same as dirt, which is very different since dirt does more harm than good to plants. Soil is made up of a lot of mixtures, and it is definitely not limited to one material or elements, which is why you can create your own soil as well if that is what you prefer.
Naturally, soil is made up of nutrients, minerals, water, air, and other organic matter. Along with those are countless microorganisms, and there is the presence of decaying matters as well that were once thriving organisms. They usually form under your soil but there are surface microorganism dwellers as well.
Soil is considered the stronghold for your plant’s roots, which is why soil is essential for nature to bloom.
8 Ways To Fertilize Soil
In this section, you will learn the best ways to fertilize soil. You may choose to apply which method suits for your environment, plant, and soil type.
Let’s start with the most common way.
1) Use Eggshells
You have probably seen eggshells being used as fertilizers from other gardens. But why?
Basically, eggshells have similar benefits to using lime but let us focus on eggshells first. Eggshells are much cheaper, in fact, you can even consider them as a freebie after you eat your omelet!
They are very convenient to apply and effective. First, you wash the eggshells from your eggs. Afterward, you crush them into pieces then put it in your soil. They are 93% calcium carbonate which is great for both your plants and soil!
2) Add Lime To Your Soil
If you do not know why lime is used for gardening, it is because lime helps your garden by lowering the acidity in your soil. Acidity is good for specific plants, which is why it is not applicable to all plants. Lime also provides your plants with high calcium content. Lime is highly recommended if you are looking for another natural fertilizer.
3) Utilize Mulch
If you already use mulch, keep them! Aside from mulch shielding your soil from drought, mulch also enhances moisture retention. More importantly, they can be used to amend and fertilize soil. This is because it contains elements that benefit your soil and plants! These elements are phosphate, boron, potassium, etc.
Since mulch is considered as organic matter, they are beneficial to tropical plants. They are also used to cover the soil to keep unnecessary weeds from growing. Although excess weed is mitigated, this still gives air and water to scatter throughout the soil.
4) Banana Peels? Don’t Throw Them Out!
Chances are, you have bananas on your dining table. After you eat your banana, do not throw the banana peels out! Bananas contain potassium, and a lot of plants benefit from potassium! Instead of putting them on top of your soil, bury the peels under your soil for them to decay or compost naturally.
Potassium is also one of the elements that promote good soil health. The placement of banana peels will boost your plant’s growth. So, do not throw them away!
5) Add Tree Leaves
As the same with eggshells and lime, do not throw away fallen tree leaves. These can be used as a natural fertilizer. Collect tree leaves, and use them as natural soil. Leaves are rich in nutrients and minerals, which is why earthworms appear in your soil. They can also retain moisture and this makes soil lighter as well.
You can till them into your soil or use them as mulch to fertilize your plants. Like mulch, they also keep excess weeds from growing.
6) Use Animal Manure
Animal manure is great for soil. However, it is well recognized for being a rich source of infectious agents that can cause diseases to humans even if it is directly or indirectly passed. Nevertheless, is an excellent fertilizers. An important element to remember is that you should only used aged animal manure.
Fresh or hot manure can burn your plants and potentially kill them.
7) Consider Adding Fish Emulsion
Fish emulsion can be used as fertilizer since it is partially composed of a decomposed mixture of fish that is pulverized. However, it is worth noting that the smell can be intense once you apply it to your soil, but the smell only lasts for a couple of days, Fish emulsions contain NPK of ratios up to 5-2-2, which makes a good source of trace elements.
It is recommended to be to be applied late spring after your plants have bloomed. This is followed with deep watering to boost your plant’s growth while also maintaining your soil in pristine conditions.
8) Use Coffee Grounds
Coffee grounds can be used as fertilizers because they contain essential nutrients for plants. Coffee grounds also contain nitrogen, potassium, phosphoric acid, etc.
For specifics, they are good for fruits, flowers, and other tropical plants. If you have extra coffee grounds, do apply them to your soil since they are great for soil fertility. They will naturally dry and scatter, similar to that of mulch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are common questions that beginner gardeners are naturally curious of when it comes to fertilizing soil.
What Is The Difference Between Soil and Fertilizer?
Soil is the organic matter that is considered as the stronghold for your roots and your plants, whereas fertilizers improve the cycle of nutrients in your soil. This directly affects your plant’s growth. Soil amendments helps your soil improve through its physical condition.
Are Fertilizers Necessary?
For farmers, they do require fertilizers to grow healthy crops that are full of nutrients even after their harvest. Without fertilizers, crops will struggle to replenish the nutrients. Soil that is not replenished will struggle.
Why Are Fertilizers Important?
As aforementioned, nature will struggle without fertilizers for those plants that require sufficient amounts of fertilizer for them to sustain themselves and have extended longevity.
By now, you are aware of the importance of fertilizing your plants. Personally, I apply fertilizers to most of my plants to boost their growth and development. I find it very effective because before I used fertilizers, my plants were growing at a slower pace, and my soil would harden easily compared to soil with fertilizer.
I would love to know your experience! So, do not hesitate to comment your results, and let us have a conversation below.