Garden soil is a complex web of nutrients and vitamins. One of these essential nutrients is nitrogen, which your plants need to grow.
When you notice your plants are underfed, there’s an easy way to tell. They might look stunted or sickly, or they might be growing slowly.
A nitrogen deficiency is the most common problem that you’ll need to fix. It can be hard to figure out how much nitrogen is in your soil, but you certainly want to add nitrogen fast.
when it comes to nutrients, nitrogen is one of the three essentials. You’ve heard of NPK, right? Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the big three. They’re crucial for your plant’s growth.
If your garden is lacking nitrogen, it will let you know in no uncertain terms. Stunted growth, leaf death, and even plant death are all possible side effects of nitrogen-deficient soil. So, how do we add nitrogen to the soil and why is it such an integral part of your gardening success?
WHY IS NITROGEN USEFUL FOR PLANTS?
Plants need a lot of nutrients to grow. One of these is nitrogen. It’s part of the NPK big three, which are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These three key nutrients are critical for plant growth. A lack of any of these will affect your plants, and deficiencies can lead to significant problems.
Plants need nitrogen to make themselves. Without it, they cannot make proteins, amino acids, DNA, and other components. If plants lack nitrogen, they suffer from stunted growth and death.
Nitrogen exists all around us. However, 78% of the air we breathe isn’t usable for plants. You need nitrogen in the soil because plants convert it easily.
HOW TO KNOW THE CONTENT OF NITROGEN IN SOIL
There are many methods that you can do to check whether the soil you want to cultivate is deficient in nitrogen or not, but the accuracy of the method also needs to be questioned.
You need to either purchase a soil testing kit or send your soil to be tested by a professional. Or you can contact your local extension office; they may offer testing services for a small fee or free of charge.
If you want to test your soil at home, you can use a kit found at most garden centers or hardware stores.
The results from these home tests aren’t 100 percent accurate, but they can still give you an idea of how much nitrogen is present in your soil.
If you suspect that your garden is deficient in nitrogen, you must test your soil before adding any more nitrogen. The last thing you want to do is oversupply your plants with nitrogen; it could burn or kill them!
SIGNS OF A NITROGEN DEFICIENCY
Nitrogen is a plant nutrient. When you have a nitrogen deficiency, the plants will show signs of it. They will be stunted and slow-growing. If you catch it early, you can fix the problem and the plant will recover.
The following are signs that the soil where you are gardening is experiencing a lack of nutrients and nitrogen:
- Plant growth becomes slow and stunted.
- Plants become stunted.
- Plant leaves look unhealthy.
- The number of flowers that fall without producing fruit.
- If the plant succeeds in bearing fruit the results will not be maximal.
HOW TO ADD NITROGEN TO THE SOIL
When you have a nitrogen deficiency, you must increase your soil’s nitrogen. Organic methods are best in the long run, but they take time to reap the benefits. Non-organic methods can be faster, but they’re more likely to burn your crops if you add too much in the wrong place.
Generally, the lack of nitrogen in the soil can be caused by several things, including the frequent use of land for farming.
To restore nutrients and nitrogen in the soil, there are many ways you can do, including:
UTILIZING COMPOST FERTILIZER
Manure is a great garden additive, but you must compost it first. Manure is rich in nitrogen, which makes it a great fertilizer. However, if you add manure directly to the soil, your plants will die. Composting manure will make it less “hot,” and it will be safe to add to your garden.
Chicken manure is hot and must be composted first. But for jennisk Cow dung and goat dung are not very hot, and you can add them to the soil by reducing the risk of the soil overheating. It’s usually safest to compost rabbit manure before applying it to the soil.
If you want your garden to be healthy, it’s best to spread manure. However, you can’t expect it to help for a few months. Manure takes time to break down and work its way into the soil. But it’s best because it lasts the longest in the soil.
USE PLANTS THAT BIND NITROGEN
Have you heard of a cover crop? A cover crop is a nitrogen-fixing plant that can be planted in a garden bed to restore nitrogen that was used up by a nitrogen-hungry plant.
Using cover crops to fix nitrogen is a relatively new practice. What is it? A cover crop is a crop that you plant in the off-season or at the start of the season that is not meant for harvest.
The disadvantage of using this method is that it takes a lot of time and effort. Because in addition to planting you also need to get rid of these nitrogen-fixing plants so that they can be used for the core plants you want to plant.
USE FISH EMULSION TO RETURN NITROGEN IN SOIL
Fish emulsion fertilizer is a good alternative for plants that can’t handle high NPK levels. It has 5 parts nitrogen, 1 part phosphorus, and 1 part potassium. This means it will provide some nutrients to your plants, but it won’t burn them.
One benefit of using fish emulsion is that it also contains various other nutrients that benefit your plants. For example, there are:
When you buy fish emulsion, you need to dilute it with water. The ideal ratio is 2-3 tablespoons of fish emulsion for every one gallon of water. Then, pour the mixture onto the soil or spray it on the leaves of your plants.
If you have a fish tank, don’t dump out the water. It’s a free, lite version of fish emulsion. Fish poop in the water and fish droppings contain plenty of nitrogen. You can water your plants with fish water, and it makes the nutrients available immediately for the plants to use.
USE CHEMICAL FERTILIZER
The biggest number on the package is the one that matters. Look for a fertilizer with a high first number in the NPK ratio — the larger the ratio, the less you need to apply. The NPK ratio is displayed on all fertilizer packages and looks like 10-10-10 or 20-20-20.
The first number of the chemical fertilizer indicates the amount of nitrogen, so a fertilizer with a higher first number gives a significant boost to your soil. However, it can also burn your plants by providing too much nitrogen at once. Organics have smaller first numbers, but they take longer to be absorbed.