Organic Nutrients vs Synthetic Nutrients, Which one is best?
Are you just starting to grow and deciding between organic and liquid nutrients? or are you already growing and looking to change how you feed your garden?
Growers are constantly debating whether organic is better or worse than conventional farming, with the main issue being whether it's more beneficial to use organic nutrient sources-- like animal manure and plant residues-- OR manufactured fertilizer.
How Do Plants Get Their Nutrients?
Have you ever wondered how plants get their nutrients? Unlike humans and animals, plants can't just go to the grocery store or eat a balanced meal to get the nourishment they need. Instead, they have to absorb nutrients in inorganic form from the soil. In this blog post, we'll take a look at how plants take up (absorb) nutrients in inorganic form and how those nutrients help them grow strong and healthy.
There are two ways that plants take up (absorb) nutrients in the inorganic form: through the roots and through the leaves.
Roots absorb water and minerals from the soil and transport them to the leaves. This process is called transpiration. Transpiration also helps to cool the plant by evaporating water from the leaves.
Leaves absorb sunlight, which is used to convert carbon dioxide from the air into glucose (sugar). This process is called photosynthesis. Glucose is used by the plant for energy and to make other molecules like proteins and fats. This is why using carbohydrate (sugar) supplements like Sticky Bandit from Cronk Nutrients are beneficial to your plant's growth as you are saving the plant's resources and energy to focus on growing instead of making glucose.
Why are they important?
Nutrients are needed for various functions in the plant, such as:
-To build new cells
-To repair damaged cells
-To produce energy
-To activate enzymes
There are 17 essential nutrients that plants need in order to grow properly: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, boron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, and chlorine. These elements are found in the air, water, and soil.
While all of these nutrients are important for plant growth, some are needed in larger quantities than others. The three primary macronutrients needed by plants in large quantities are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). These three elements are often referred to as "NPK" because they're usually listed on fertilizer labels in that order. For example, a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 6-5-4 contains 6% nitrogen, 5% phosphorus, and 4% potassium. Macronutrients are needed by plants in relatively large amounts to perform essential functions such as photosynthesis and cell growth.
In contrast, micronutrients are needed by plants in smaller quantities because they're only required for specific functions within the plant cell. Micronutrients include iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl), and nickel (Ni). While micronutrients are only needed in small amounts by plants, they're still essential for plant health because they play key roles in various plant processes such as photosynthesis and respiration. For example, iron is necessary for chlorophyll production; without iron, plants would be unable to perform photosynthesis efficiently and would eventually die.
So Organic or Inogranic Fertlizers?
Even though we haven't settled the ongoing debate about organic and inorganic, it's a fact that crops prefer certain nutrient sources. Crops take up and use almost exclusively inorganic nutrient forms. None of the nutrients in any organic matter are available to crops until decomposition (mineralization) occurs, releasing those nutrients into the soil.
Agricultural soils contain organic matter that is slowly decomposing into an inorganic form. Though they are full of nutrients, these nutrient sources can only be used by plants after the nutrients have been converted to their inorganic form.
In reality, plants consume nutrients in the form of ions. Ions are electrically charged versions of each nutrient or element. Some carry a positive charge (cations) and others carry a negative charge (anions). For example, the three major plant nutrients nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) enter root systems as follows:
• N can be taken in either as ammonium (NH4 +, a cation) or nitrate (NO3 – , an anion).
• P can be absorbed either in the form of H2 PO4 – or HPO4 2–, both anions.
• K is absorbed as K+, a positively-charged ion.
If we use K to demonstrate, the following series of events could occur when a nutrient is added to the soil. It's important to note that it doesn't matter whether the nutrient source is animal manure, crop residue, biosolid, or manufactured fertilizer--the K must be available as K+ before the crop can utilize it. In this ionic form, the original source becomes indistinguishable and is instead affected by the external forces in its new environment.
The K cycle is essential for soil health and crop growth. Remember: plants can only absorb nutrients in their inorganic form, no matter the source. This is why Adding Beneficial bacteria to the root zone like Monkey Juice is beneficial as it helps break down these compounds, whether you are growing with organic fertilizer or synthetic fertilizer, into the inorganic compound required by the plant in order to uptake these essential nutrients. By adding these microbes you are again, saving your plant time and energy by assisting them with the process they do naturally.
This means at the end of the day it comes down to personal preference and your growing style. The advantages of synthetic over organic would be constancy, being able to control nutrient levels and availability, and less chance of pests or disease putting your plants at risk. If you are someone who prefers to use organic methods for growing, there are some great natural alternatives available that can help give your plants the nutrients they need with minimal work on your part. Ultimately, it is up to each gardener to determine which method is best for their needs.
Cronk Nutrients liquid plant fertilizer contains offers base nutrients that cover you for your NPK and your micro and macronutrients, as well as supplements to help give your plants the boost they need.
What do you think about the debate over organic vs inorganic nutrients? Do you prefer one method over the other, or are you still undecided? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and get out there and start growing!
K+ Image Reference: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-59197-7_2
Organic & Inorganic Fertilizer Study: http://www.ipni.net/publication/envb.nsf/0/22E42BA77D7347E5852579E4006E886E/$FILE/09062-01-Enviro-Brief-01.pdf