Fertilizer Basics – Family Plot

All right Celeste, fertilizer mixing and guess
what? Math is involved! – Yes, lots of numbers and math. We were talking
about fertilizers. Darn it! – Math has to come in handy somewhere, right?
It does, but you know it’s not hard math. So, we’re doing some basic Junior High math
skills. Nothing too difficult. We’re gonna do a little division, little multiplication,
and we’re good to go. – I think I can handle that. All right, so
where do you wanna start with this? I see you have fertilizer here. – Yeah, we got several places we could start.
You wanna start with talking about the parts of fertilizer? – Let’s do that. – Okay, well your fertilizers are gonna have
three numbers that are denoting what type of fertilizer they are. That’s known as the
fertilizer analysis. So for example, 34-0-0’s the bag I have right here beside me. The first
number is the amount of nitrogen you have in that fertilizer. The second number is your
phosphorus. The last number is your potassium, and a lot of old timers know potassium as
pot ash. So, it’s a little confusing. When you’re talking about that, people think phosphorus
is pot ash, but it’s not. So we’ve got nitrogen first, phosphorus, then potassium. – N, P, and K. – N, P, and K for short if you wanted to sum
that up. It is called the fertilizer analysis, but it can also be looked at as a ratio or
a percentage. So these numbers are telling you that percentage that’s in that bag of
each ingredient. So, 34-0-0 has 34% nitrogen in this bag, and it’s got 0% phosphorus and
potassium. For example, there are some other types out there that people may be familiar
with. We have on the table triple 13. If you look at that in a ratio form, that would be
a 1:1:1, because all three numbers are the same. So you’ve got 13% nitrogen, 13% phosphorus,
13% potassium, and hopefully I’ve described that well enough to make sense. – Yeah, that makes sense, 1:1:1 ratio. Okay,
now so we have triple 13, or we have, how about 15-5-15? Let’s start with that. So,
if only 45% of 15-5-15 is actual fertilizer, what is the remaining portion? Okay, so the
remaining portion that’s not talked about on your fertilizer analysis, that is going
to be what they call inert material. It’s a filler. It’s usually going to be made of
clay or something organic in that form that that fertilizer is able to be mixed with,
and you would think, “Well, I’m getting cheated. “I’m not getting all I paid for.” But really
it does have a few purposes. Number one, it helps owners be able to apply it more efficiently,
get better coverage, and it also prevents over-application of fertilizer. So farmers
buy fertilizer in bulk, and that doesn’t have filler in it. Bagged fertilizers are going
to have this inert material, and it just makes it more efficient for homeowners to be able
to use it properly. – Okay, inert ingredients. – Inert. – It’s pretty much what you see on the bag.
So how about this one. What’s the difference between complete verses incomplete fertilizer? – Okay, well we have some perfect examples.
The 34-0-0 that we talked about, that would be considered an incomplete fertilizer because
it only has one ingredient. It doesn’t have all three ingredients in the fertilizer. Now,
anything else that has a number in every one of those slots would be considered a complete
fertilizer, like a triple 15, or 15-15-15, people shorten it for short and say triple
15. Or the triple 13 that we have on the table as well. Those would be considered complete
fertilizers. There are also some other ways that you could categorize fertilizers. You
could categorize them as slow release or fast release. These both would be considered a
fast release fertilizer. They’re gonna release their nutrients over a two to three week period,
and they’re usually gonna look kind of like crushed up rock, just for general appearance.
Slow release fertilizers are in more of a, it’s called a prill, it’s a small, smooth,
round type ball. And those are gonna release their nutrients over a two to three month
period. – Like Osmocote. – Right, like Osmocote would be considered
a slow release, and they make it in large bags as well. So, you’ve got a lot of different
options and difference circumstances call for slow and some you may wanna go ahead with
fast release. So those are a few different ways that we can divide fertilizers up into.
You could also go water soluble or insoluble. A water soluble fertilizer would be soemthing
that’s in a crystal form, kind of like Miracle Grow. They can pour into water and it goes
into solution. You can water your plants with it. So that’s a few different ways that you
could talk about fertilizers. – Okay, now let’s definitely talk about this
while we have a little time left. Organic sources of N, P, and K because you know of
course a lot of folks wanna grow their vegetables organically. So let’s give them some organic
sources for N, P, and K. – We definitely have sources for organic nutrients.
The only issue with that is usually they’re going to have less of that nutrients in them
so you’ll have to use more of it than you would synthetic fertilizers. They’re also
a little more expensive, but we’ve got a couple of examples here. This first one is Blood
Meal. This would be a source for nitrogen, an organic source for nitrogen. This particular
one here I think has 12% nitrogen. So obviously that’s not even half of the synthetic 34-0-0,
but it’s available. Also, here we’ve got Bone Meal. That’s a good source for phosphorus.
It does have a little nitrogen in it as well. This particular brand has 2% nitrogen, 14%
phosphorus, and 0% potassium, so it’s namely a phosphorus source. Now, the third ingredient,
your pot ash or potassium, I don’t have an example of it here, but that would be products
that are made from seaweed, or kelp, or even burnt wood ashes, you can get some nutrients
in the form of pot ash in that way. They’re usually gonna be between four and 10% active
ingredient in those products. So they are available and on the market. – Again, these are your organic sources. So,
these do work. – [Celeste] Yes. – Okay, and they are good. – Yeah, and they’re good. I mean, this is
what folks used before we had synthetic. So, if you are trying to promote organics and
try to go in that direction, you can definitely do that with those products. – All right, Celeste. We appreciate that information
and you’re gonna be with us next week to show us how to apply these fertilizers. – Yes. – All right, thank you. – Okay, thanks.

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