Compost or fertilizer? Differences between fertilizer and compost

Often the soil does not contain enough nutrients to meet the needs of plants. We need to add fertilizer to keep them healthy and strong. Many gardeners want to know what to “feed” their plants: fertilizer or compost? In fact, you can use both, but there are differences.

Key Differences: Composts/Fertilizers

Plant nutrition is related to soil fertility. Fertility is the availability of nutrients (micro and macro elements) that can be absorbed by plants.

Additional Information! For a garden to be successful, the gardener must ensure that the plants receive nutrients. They can be obtained by using both fertilizer and compost.

Compost is a product obtained by the biodegradation of organic matter: sawdust, twigs, plant residues, garden grass, etc. Under the action of microorganisms, humus is obtained – a nutrient-rich product that has many benefits for the soil and plants.

The use of compost, a natural and environmentally friendly material, eliminates the need for fertilizer. Compost and fertilizer can work together, and fertilizer without compost can also be used.

Using compost

Compost is often mistakenly considered fertilizer. Of course, compost is a fertilizer, as it enriches the soil with nutrients. The main difference between compost and fertilizer is that the compost improves the composition of the soil, while the fertilizer serves as food for the plants.

Since this organic fertilizer is cheaper and even free, it plays an important role in organic farming. It is a slow form of soil nutrition that takes a long time to decompose, providing slow nutrition that supports plants for a long period of time.

Compost has the ability to balance the soil: lightens heavy clay soils, improves drainage, and allows sandy soils to better retain water and nutrients. Thus, regular application of compost (every 3-5 years) in the long term improves the structure of the soil, regardless of its nature. The soil becomes looser, more aerated, its water-holding capacity and fertility increase. Roots develop better there, nutrients are less washed out by rainwater or irrigation.

Note! The advantage of compost is that it does not burn the roots of plants, unlike mineral fertilizers (and some organic ones), and releases its nutrients slowly and gradually: the soil is sustainably enriched. The most common plant imperfections in a garden or home can be corrected by simply adding compost without the risk of overdosing.

There are two types of fertilizers: organic and synthetic. Organic fertilizers are an energy material and food for soil microorganisms useful for agriculture. They are created using organic materials such as manure, peat, compost, fallen leaves, green manure, etc. and are more beneficial for plants because they do not harm the environment. As a result, they turn into black soil with a pleasant smell and soil organisms.

Inorganic or synthetic fertilizers are fertilizers that use chemicals to provide essential plant nutrition. Mineral fertilizers differ from organic fertilizers in a much higher concentration of nutrients.

 Synthetic fertilizers

They consist of concentrated minerals, primarily the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In addition, they may contain other minerals and trace elements such as boron, copper, cobalt, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc, which plants need for their growth, but only in small quantities.

Inorganic fertilizers are popular because they give results quickly and can be absorbed by plants faster. Minerals dissolve fairly quickly and are quickly taken up by plant roots, but they do not help maintain or improve soil structure.

Additional Information! Mineral fertilizers are not approved because they can pollute nature. For a short time, you can feed the plants, but their constant use can kill microorganisms in the soil. Thus, the soil, which is regularly fertilized with inorganic fertilizers, gradually degrades.

How to use compost?

Compost can be used for all plants in the garden and for all garden soils. It has a neutral pH of 7.0 which does not cause problems when mixed with soil.

  • Scatter on the ground with a layer from 3 to 5 cm thick, like mulch on weeded ground at the foot of shrubs, roses, fruit trees, perennials.
  • Mix with garden soil when planting (1/4 compost, 3/4 soil);
  • To improve heavy, sandy or poor soils, they are embedded in the soil. Updated every 3-5 years.

When is the best time to add compost? Compost can be used from spring to autumn. It is preferable to provide plants with mature compost, which will immediately begin to fertilize the soil.

 Scattered on the ground like mulch

For mulching in autumn, half-ripe compost can be used, which will complete its decomposition during the winter.

Using compost: advantages and disadvantages

Composting is a natural process that takes several months to a year to produce a natural product. But the result is worth it. Compost brings many benefits to the soil and plants:

  • promotes the growth of microorganisms in the soil;
  • improves soil health;
  • create more nutrient-rich soil that allows plants to grow healthier;
  • brings unique benefits to the soil, such as aeration;
  • improves water retention in sandy soils and drainage in clay soils;
  • helps prevent plant diseases;
  • adjust soil pH.

The advantage of organic fertilizers is that they are harmless to the environment and, in addition, contain organic substances that improve the physical properties of the soil. They also increase the soil’s ability to hold water.

Disadvantages of Using Chemical Fertilizers

Chemical fertilizers are cheaper and offer many possibilities due to their varied composition at all stages of cultivation.

 Fertilizer autumn

The use of chemical fertilizers can have the following disadvantages:

  • there is a risk that the fertilizer will overload the soil with nutrients;
  • chemicals in fertilizers can change the relationship between soil and microorganisms;
  • excessive use of fertilizers and the chemicals they contain can damage the environment;
  • the risk from chemicals is further increased by the possibility of them entering nearby water bodies.

Before proceeding with the selection of fertilizers, it is important to conduct a soil analysis in order to be able to accurately determine the type and amount of fertilizer that is needed.

Похожие статьи

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *