Fertilizers are available as solids, granules, powders, and liquids. The most familiar fertilizers are fertilizer salts, in the form of crystals or granules. These are scattered on the soil and watered in. The irrigation dissolves them and carries them into the soil.
Other fertilizers are liquids or soluble powders that are dissolved in water before application. These fertilizers are diluted with water and are applied by watering. They can be applied with a watering can or a hose attachment, or through an automatic watering system attached to a drip irrigation system.
Fertilizers can also be applied as solid chunks that are placed individually in the soil where the plant can reach them. They are always slow-release fertilizers and come in the form of pellets, briquettes, spikes, and coarse salts.
Nutrients can also be applied in the form of organic matter. Manure is the farmer’s ancient source of plant nutrients. Compost, dead leaves, and most other forms of organic matter decay to release plant nutrients. Organic matter is bulky, but it improves soil structure as well as adding nutrients. Since most of the nutrients are insoluble until the protein that contains them decomposes, the effect lasts for a long time.
Granular Complete Plant Food
- Scatter on the surface or incorporate into the soil
- Contains a mix of instantly-available and controlled-release nutrients
- Often formulated for specific plants
- Water after spreading
Water-Soluble Plant Food
- Mix with water to apply (with a garden hose or with a watering can)
- Easy to control amount and frequency of feeding
- Feeds through plants foliage and roots
- Won’t burn plants
- Starts feeding almost instantly
- Fast results often visible in a few days
- Proven to grow more and larger flowers and vegetables
- Repeat application every other week for spectacular results
- Used by most professional growers
Slow-Release Plant Food
- Incorporate in the soil
- Feeds slowly and steadily for up to 3 months
- No danger of overfeeding or underfeeding
- Apply directly in planting hole
- Water in thoroughly after applying
Organic Plant Food
- Adds organic matter as well as nutrients
- Slow release of nutrients
- No danger of burning
- Incorporate into soil