When preparing soils, it can be difficult to maintain the proper perspective regarding the long-term effects of our actions upon the land. Many gardeners and farmers today focus only on the “cost-effective" short-term benefits of adding chemical fertilizers to the soil while failing to realize that the long-term effects will cost them more than they bargained for. In order to avoid this type of problem, it is essential to a healthy garden that you maintain the soil's nutrient levels and preserve its structure while simultaneously avoiding soil leaching.
There are several steps or rules involved in the process of preserving your soil for each incoming generation of plants that you grow. First of all, it is important to understand that the soil requires more important nutrients than simply what standard N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphate-potassium) fertilizers provide. Plants require a complete and effective balance of not only these primary macronutrients, but also of secondary nutrients including sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and many trace elements (iron, copper, chlorine, etc. ).
In addition to all of these chemical elements, the soil also requires the presence of many humic and fulvic acids. These acids facilitate the release of nutrients into the plants of your garden. The combination of a wide range of soil nutrients, humic and fulvic acids, and also moisture within the soil can produce an ideal situation in your garden for growing healthy and highly productive plants. The aforementioned soil acids help build up the organic matter and structure of the soil, and this is especially important if your garden has been the victim of nonstop soil leaching through the sole use of chemical fertilizers. After all, you can't have the benefits of soil nutrients unless you have the proper soil for them to in!
The key thing here is preserving the valuable minerals and nutrients that your plants need within the soil. Every time a farmer or gardener harvests his crop from the ground, this crop contains nutrients from that soil and it is only natural that these nutrients will need to be replaced after a few generations. Sure, perhaps the amount of nutrients that each plant actually takes from the soil may seem insignificant, but after a few years, it can really add up! Many minerals are present only in trace amounts compared to 100 years ago.
Repeatedly stripping away the same nutrients year after year deprives the plants in your garden and they will be unhealthy and more susceptible to diseases and molds. Using a natural fertilizer can prevent these things by providing the soil with a balanced amount of nutrients without adding too much of a particular element. This is especially true for nitrogen, which, in excess, can skew the carbon-nitrogen ratios and cause the soil to lose soil acids. Natural fertilizers help to preserve these soil acids, such as humic and fulvic acids, which in turn provide nutrient uptake for your plants and also nourish the valuable microbes in the soil that keep it healthy. (One of the products that works nicely in this regard is called ProtoGrow)
Soil acids help to retain moisture in the soil and help to prevent disease and mold in plants through the utilization of copper and zinc. In this way, these soil acids and a balanced variety of nutritional elements can turn your plants into nutrient-producing machines and only a natural fertilizer can help to preserve these things and thus enrich your soil!
Christopher A. Williams (aka Natural Fertilizer Guy) edits the website: http://www.safe-fertilizer-reviews.com
The website contains articles about natural fertilizers and seaweed based fertilizers, as well as general natural gardening tips.