In today’s world, when someone refers to fertilizing a garden, field, or lawn, the majority of people think of a bag of fertilizer with three numbers on it. The bag will likely have 10-10-10 or 10-13-13 or some combination of numbers. What do these numbers mean? They stand for the percentage of three macronutrients: N -Nitrogen, P-Phosphorus, and K-Potassium. So in a bag of 10-10-10, that means that in every 100 lbs of the material there will be 10 lbs of available Nitrogen, 10 lbs of Phosphorus, and 10 lbs of Potassium. The other 70 lbs of material are likely some form of inert material. N-P-K are three macronutrients that the average person knows about as fertilizer. The truth is that fertilizer is so much more than N-P-K alone.
Fertilizer is a chemical or natural substance added to soil or land to increase its fertility.
All too often, home growers neglect the other essential nutrients and the biological component of growing. Did you know that your soil is made up of more than 16 essential nutrients for plant growth? The necessary nutrient composition includes:
Macronutrients (Not in order of importance)
- Organic matter (basically a measure of carbon)
The organic matter within your soil is basically a measurement of carbon. It is how much carbon is present in the soil profile. A deep dive into the organic matter of any soil reveals an entire world of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, and earthworms. A closer look at just the bacteria would reveal over 18,000 different strains of bacteria in just a single teaspoon of soil. Here trillions upon trillions of interactions of soil microbes begin to break down the nutrients within the soil and enable water-soluble forms of each nutrient to enter the plant. These microbes feed the plant and, in exchange, the plant feeds the microbes through signaling molecules, simple sugars, amino acids, and organic acids. This type of interactive exchange is a long way from simple N-P-K! Without this life within the soil breaking down the nutrients, our plants would not be able to take in nutrients properly.
In a sense, all growers of plants are really caretakers of microbes. The better we can stimulate an environment that accelerates the growth and interactions of these microbes within the soil, the healthier our soils will be. So the main question becomes this: how do we develop these microbes?
Like humans, microbes basically want three things: Water, Food, and Shelter
- Water – Nothing grows without water. Microbial life is significantly stunted when there is too little or too much water. We should view irrigation and drainage of our soils as one of the most important elements of developing the biology of the soil.
- Food – Every microbe needs a food source. In an effort to develop life within the soil, we need to do our best to ensure that these microbes can produce the metabolites necessary for complete biological cycles to occur. This requires food sources such as complex carbohydrates, sugars, amino acids, and more.
- Shelter (or Exposure) – In order to develop active colonies of biological life within the soil, every management practice that exposes the soil to the environment creates interruptions in the life of the microbiology. For example, tillage exposes the soil to excessive oxygen and provides a physical break up of the interactions between the molecules and structure of your soil’s composition. This breaks up soil cover and foliage, exposing the soil to a great risk of nutrient leaching and erosion. Tillage isn’t always bad and it has its place in the management of soil, but excessive tillage over time will result in damaged soil.
At AgriGro, we manufacture a full line of prebiotic liquid fertilizers that stimulate and feed native beneficial bacteria and other biomolecules that transform the biological performance of your soil.
Studies have shown that AgriGro’s prebiotic formulas have the capacity to increase the microbial populations within your soil by as much as 5000% within the first 72 hours of application. (EMSL study) Now that is a true Biological edge.
All growers from the home gardeners to small farms, homesteads, and up to large farmers managing thousands of acres. It is time that we begin to think beyond the standard N-P-K fertilizers. We need to look at our soils as a whole ecosystem of microorganisms that deserve our care. Together we can make a choice to value life. Adding life to our soils by using Ultra or Bountiful Harvest is a great way to give your growing space the biological edge it deserves.