Many growers make the common mistake of not focusing on the source of nutrients they feed their plants. It may seem insignificant, and you may wonder why you should invest time and effort in it, but where your nutrients come from can make all the difference. This is why we will talk about it in detail in this blog.
Plant nutrients can be divided into two categories, organic and synthetic. These two categories can be further broken down as organic nutrients can be derived from both plant and animal sources. Which option is best to use when it comes to price, absorption, and overall growth and yield of the plant? We'll look into the matter deeply in this blog and possibly answer all the queries you might have related to this topic. So, let's begin!
Animal vs Plant Nutrient Sources: Where Do They Come From?
Let's begin the discussion by talking about the sources of organic nutrients. As the name suggests, organic nutrients are sourced from living things - from plants or animals' waste materials.
To find out about the source of the nutrients, look at the label on the bottle, as it is often mentioned there. Some of the common ones are listed below:
Evident by their names, the fish fertilizer is sourced from fish, kelp from seaweed/kelp, and bat from bat manure. These are just are a few examples of different types of organic fertilizers. Although these are a great way to feed your plants, you can check out other options as well.
What Happens When You Give Your Plants A Plant-Based Fertilizer?
In theory, it makes a lot of sense to treat your plants using plant-based fertilizer because the compounds (amino acids) in such fertilizers seem more compatible with the plant you are feeding. Organic gardening using plant-based fertilizers is a popular choice among growers as it has fewer environmental implications. Some people are very passionate about using eco-friendly methods and are very strict with their product choice. So, plant-based fertilizers are their optimal choice because they leave a greener footprint and do not support commercial animal farming.
How To Tell If A Nutrient Source Is Better Than The Other?
To actually determine if the animal nutrient is better than plant or vice versa, we need to get into the nitty gritties, which is all this blog is about. This section will shed light on a few points that will create a clear comparison between the two. To begin, we first need to check how much availability of a nutrient a source provides. For instance, how much nitrogen does your plant absorb compared to the number of nutrients you have fed it? Another factor that needs attention is the uniformity and concentration of the nutrients. Plant nutrients should be highly concentrated to make them affordable. You don't want to pay extra to ship water. Another factor worth considering is how even is your first dose as compared to the last. To get better results, you must serve with consistency and feed with accuracy and probability.
What Does The Research Say About Plant-Based Vs. Manure Nutrient Sources?
We always strive to bring you the best information. Although this topic is not researched much, we have found a few studies that might be useful for you. Since these studies were conducted in a commercial setting, this might not be applicable to home growers in the exact same manner.
University of Nebraska
The effects of nutritional value/yields on crop yields while being fed a plant-based and a manure-based fertilizer were examined by the University of Nebraska. The research revealed that the plants which were fed plant-based fertilizers resulted in higher-yielding crops, better performance in and resistance to stressful conditions, degradation during storage, and higher and better soil fertility. In light of this study, one should opt for plant-based fertilizers because of the advantages mentioned above. However, a few plant varieties performed poorly when tested with the plant-based fertilizer and better when tested with the manure-based fertilizer. So, choose wisely!
International Society For Horticultural Science
Due to the Swiss government's restrictions on the slaughterhouse by-products, the studies carried out in Switzerland focused on plant-based fertilizers. Since Switzerland aims to be a greener country, they examined plant-based fertilizers' effectiveness compared to manure-based. The study conducted here conflicted with the one done by the University of Nebraska. The results showed that animal-based fertilizers outperformed the plant-based ones and grew more and better-quality plants.
We can extract from both these studies that fertilizer can vary according to the plant type. The factors that might affect this fertilizer's working or the plant's growth are soil, climate, water, and others. The only way you can find out which kind of fertilizer best fits your plant is by doing a practical on it. Use both plant-based and animal-based nutrients and follow a similar routine to see and evaluate the difference for yourself. Testing different things is not only fun and interesting, but it will also allow you to learn more about planting and eventually make you a better grower.
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