Fix nitrogen deficiency in the garden – Ever taken a look at garden plants and observed some of the plants are not performing well, looking sickly – yellowish or brownish? This could be a sign your soil is nitrogen deficient. To make your garden a success, you must be able to detect when to boost your soil nitrogen levels.
Plants need nitrogen to survive and reproduce, they also need it as an important component of photosynthesis. Once you understand the nitrogen needs of your plants, boosting your garden nitrogen levels becomes easier. Plants in the wild do not often suffer from nitrogen deficiency as garden plants. This article explain methods by which you can fix nitrogen deficiency in the garden
How to Spot nitrogen deficiency
Diagnosing nitrogen deficiency is quite easy. You will observe stunted growth, yellow or pale leaves, this is mainly due to the plant inability to produce chlorophyll. This is caused by chlorosis, which usually begins at the base of plants spreading to the top, making the plant weak and spindly.
How to Spot a Nitrogen Burn
Spotting a nitrogen deficient soil is important, so also is a nitrogen burn. A nitrogen burn is a result of too much nitrogen in the soil. When plants absorb excess nitrogen from the soil, they shrivel up or appear burned.
Garden soils should be tested once a year. Running a soil test will inform you what state your garden soil is, and how much supplement is needed to bring the soil up to the required levels. You can conduct a soil test using this kit
How to Fix nitrogen deficiency in the garden
Your garden soil nitrogen levels need replenishing in order to keep vegetables, herbs and other plants growing at optimal levels. The following are natural ways you can supplement your garden soil with much-needed nitrogen
1. Grass clippings
Got grass clippings? Don’t throw them away, use them as a nitrogen and potassium booster for your garden soil. Grass clippings are readily available and free, and when placed in thin layers around plant base, it forms a compost faster and are great for fixing nitrogen into your garden soil.
2. Coffee anyone?
Coffee compost can be prepared by mixing equal parts of grass clippings, coffee grounds, and leaves. The mixture should be turned over weekly until it forms a fine texture. This mixture can be used to top up the soil around plants, ensure you water after topping. If you will be making use of uncomposted coffee grounds, ensure they are firmly worked into the soil as it can drain moisture off the garden soil.
3. Leaf Mulch
You can fix nitrogen deficiency in the garden by covering the soil with a leaf mulch. This can be done when the growing season has ended, spread about three inches of fallen leaves on the garden soil and water.
4. Leguminous plants
Leguminous plants can help fix needed nitrogen into your garden soil. Legumes take nitrogen readily available in the air around them and process into a nitrogenous compound which your plants need. Groundnuts, peas, and beans are examples of legumes which can fix nitrogen into your garden soil as well as serve as a companion plant with corn and asparagus.
Thinking about weed as an unwanted plant in your garden is correct, but on the other hand, they can also be beneficial, as long as they find their way into a composter first. Burdock and nettles are weeds which speed up the breakdown of compost. A finished compost is a great source of nitrogen for the soil. Weeds that are yet to flower are best, pull them off the yard or surrounding, sun-dry for a day or two and throw into a compost.
6. Human urine
This sounds disgusting, but human urine from a healthy body is a great source of nutrients for the plants. It is a great source of phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen than commercial fertilizers. Mix a cup of urine to eight cups of water to fertilizer and fix nitrogen deficiency in the garden.
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Manure from animals is a great source of nutrient to your garden soil when applied appropriately. Animal manure should be composted before use, it is important they are used in moderation. Below are some livestock manures that can be used.
7. Cow manure
Cow manure is the least nitrogen-rich of all livestock manures. However, it can be used as an all-around garden compost bringing balance to the soil.
8. Horse manure
Horse manure is very rich in nitrogen. Horse manure itself is considered hot to touch. Horse manure can be composted and used on nitrogen-demanding plants such as lettuce, corn, garlic, and potatoes. Horse manures should not be used on flowers, tomatoes, and peppers. The best way to apply horse manure as a nitrogen-booster to your soil is to mix with compost and work it into the soil
9. Sheep manure
Sheep manure contains more nitrogen than horse manure, but contains almost the same levels of potassium, making it more ideal than horse manure. Sheep manure should be composted and work gradually into the soil.
10. Poultry manure
Poultry manure contains twice the amount of nitrogen in horse manure. Poultry manure can be mix with compost, this will nourish your garden soil.
11. Blood meal
Blood is rich in nitrogen and can be used to fix nitrogen deficiency in the garden, it is dried animal blood majorly a cow blood. Blood from the animal is collected and dried into a powdery form. Blood meal will boost the nitrogen levels of your garden soil, giving your plants the needed nutrients to remain healthy and strong. Blood meal is also an animal deterrent, it can keep possums, raccoons, dogs and other critters off your garden. It should be used in moderation to avoid nitrogen burn. Remember to grab an organic blood meal devoid of annoying chemicals
12. Fish emulsion
Fish emulsion is a quick acting liquid fertilizer made from fish. It is a quick nitrogen booster for garden plants. Fish emulsion is generally concentrated and will require dilution before use. It is usually diluted in a ratio ½ cup in one gallon of water. It is important to note the inscribed ratio on your chosen fish emulsion before use. If you selected an emulsion ratio of 2-4-1, you need to feed plants twice a week. If 4-4-2, you need to use half as often. If you have a little fish farm in your garden, the next time you wash and empty your tank, water your pots and gardens with water from the tank, watch your plants thank you for that otherwise grab an organic liquid fish fertilizer.
13. Worm tea
Worm tea is also a liquid fertilizer made from worm castings. When applied on garden soil, it boosts nutrients levels including nitrogen, nourishing your plants. It is also important in helping the soil retain moisture, helps seedlings grow, fix beneficial microbes into the soil and fix nitrogen deficiency in the garden soil.