We have looked at soil structure which is usually the key to a good garden in most areas but we should also discuss fertility here as well. Fertility is the result of three factors:
- Structure – it doesn’t matter how rich your soil is in nutrients if the plant can’t get to them or the soil is so wet it is oxygen deficient and a breeding ground for anaerobic bacteria. Or conversly, too dry.
- Nutrients – we’ll look at these in more depth in this session. These are consumed by plants as part of their normal growth cycle.
- Trace elements – these are elements, present in minute quantities that usually favour one type of plant more than others. They are present in such tiny quantities that they can only be measured with complex instruments, beyond the scope of the average gardener.
The NPK nutrient group.
Plants need sunlight and water to survive; something we all take for granted but they also need other nutrient compunds for growth too. As a simple overview, we call this the NPK combination. Basically they need all three elements (N = Nitrogen, P = Phosphorus and K = Potassium).
In the next instalment we’ll look at these in more detail, what they do and where to get them.