Garden Myths - Learn the truth about gardening

Archive for the Fertilizer Category

Compost Tea NPK Values

Compost tea is reported to be great for growing plants and some companies even call it a compost tea fertilizer. What is the NPK value of this magic potion?

I started this post about a year ago and at that time there were many products on the market but I could not find one that provided the Compost Tea NPK value. I checked again today and was surprised that the number of compost tea products available is down significantly. Maybe it was too expensive to ship all that water around the country? Maybe it did not work and people stopped buying the product?

Interestingly, the number of commercial DIY kits for making your own tea is up significantly. When you click on Google images for ‘bottles of tea’ you are taken to pages selling kits. Even with kits the same question needs to be asked. What is the NPK value of the tea these kits produce. Very few of the manufacturers I looked at provided such information, but many did say their compost ingredients were the best. Easy to say if you don’t give any data.

Even if you are not interested in compost tea – the following discussion will show you how companies are misleading consumers.

What is the NPK value of compost tea?

What is the NPK value of compost tea?

—————- Read More —————-

Will TUMS Cure Blossom End Rot?

People speculate that blossom end rot in tomatoes and peppers is caused by a lack of calcium in the soil. Many now suggest that dropping a TUMS (common brand of antacid) into the soil below each tomato or pepper will prevent this problem.

Will TUMS cure blossom end rot (BER)?

This is a very good example of a myth that can be debunked very easily, knowing nothing about BER.

Will Tums Cure Blossom End Rot?

Will TUMS Cure Blossom End Rot?

—————- Read More —————-

Trace Mineral Fertilizers – How Many Nutrients Do Plants Need?

I just replied to a comment in my Fish Fertilizer Post which said, “It’s surprising the article makes no mention of the full spectrum of minerals present in sea food, and therefore the fertilizer. Sea water is known to have an astounding 82 elements (don’t have the link, please Google it) The only thing that prevents us from using sea water as fertilizer is the high sodium content. Fish do the wonderful job of filtering out that excess sodium and leaving you with extremely mineral rich organic matter ! “.

A couple of weeks ago at the Guelph Organic Conference, one of the salespeople selling an Australian sea salt extract, claimed that his product contained 99 nutrients that plants need.

I found the following claim on a company website; “Azomite – Organic Trace Mineral Powder – 67 Essential Minerals for You and Your Garden”. Azomite is a brand name product made from “special” rock dust.

Why does fertilizer only show three nutrient numbers, NPK, when plants need either 67, 82 or 99 nutrients? Inquisitive gardeners want to know.

Periodic Table of Elements

Periodic Table of Elements

—————- Read More —————-

Salts Don’t Kill Plants or Microbes

The idea that salts kill plants and microbes seems very prevalent, especially among organic growers. The topic is poorly understood and leads to a number of statements that are either false or mostly false.

“Fertilizer kills plants because it is a salt”

“Farmer fields are devoid of microbes because of the salt in fertilizer”

“The NPK in manufactured fertilizer is made soluble by chemically attaching the NPK to salts”

“They [fertilizers] also make it easier for the chemicals to run off into waterways”

“Organic sources contain fewer salts”

“Organic sources are slow release”

“Fertilizers are designed to be highly soluble”

It’s time for a chemistry lesson to better understand salts, ions and the difference between synthetic and organic fertilizer.

Salts Don't Kill Plants

Salts Don’t Kill Plants

—————- Read More —————-

Dynamic Accumulators – Are They Beneficial to the Garden?

Dynamic accumulators are plants that accumulate higher than average nutrients in their leaves. Some people grow these plants and then either mulch with them or compost them so that these extra nutrients are made available to other plants. This is particularly popular in permaculture circles, but it is also used a lot in organic gardening.

On the surface this sounds like a great idea. Use plants to fertilize your other plants. How can you get more organic than this.

In this post I will look at the pros and cons of using dynamic accumulators to try and understand how beneficial they are to gardens.  In the process I’ll also uncover some myths about dynamic accumulators.

Dynamic accumulators - Is it worth growing them?

Dynamic accumulators – Is it worth growing them?

—————- Read More —————-