Soil Nutrients

Growing in soil presents different opportunities and challenges from a nutrient perspective than hydroponics, and thus it is important to implement specific nutrients for this endeavor.

What nutrients do plants get from soil?

The three most important macronutrients for plants are nitrogen, phosphourous, and potassium. These three nutrients make up the N-P-K ratio. Three essential secondary nutrients for plants are magnesium, sulfur, and calcium. All six of these nutrients are readily available in soil, but can be difficult for the plant to absorb, and thus we must feed our plants all of these nutrients.

What are immobile nutrients?

Mobility of nutrients refers to their ability to be transported within the plant. Deficiencies of immobile nutrients appear first in new growth, since the plant was not able to send adequate amounts up the shoot. Mobile nutrients are the opposite, and you will notice deficiencies of these in older leaves. Phosphorous, potassium, chlorine, and zinc are examples of mobile nutrients, whereas calcium, sulfur, boron, and copper are not. Knowing which nutrients are mobile will help you diagnose your deficiency.

Amending your garden soil

If you are planting in fresh soil with no growing history, you are starting with a clean slate, and your plants will require larger does of NPK nutrients. Experienced outdoor growers will utilize a garden soil amendment to condition the soil, so that when it comes time to plant, the soil is fertile. If you are growing in soil outdoors or in previously planted soil, it’s a good idea to use a soil meter to determine which nutrients will already be present, and you will also know if you have microbial activity and other organic matter already present, which helps aid in nutrient absorption.

What are organic nutrients?

Organic nutrients are derived from natural sources, commonly plant or animal waste. Planting in soil offers the opportunity to grow organically, leading to the cleanest, healthiest, and best tasting plants possible. Organic nutrients improve the overall quality of your soil, leading to healthier plants down the line as well. This also presents challenges, however. Organic nutrients take longer to absorb, and deficiencies will take longer to spot and correct.

Healthy soil generates healthy plants, and thus we recommend all growers read our article on garden soil amendments. While you are in our learning center, check out our other articles regarding nutrients. If you still have questions, give one of our experienced growers a call today at 888-815-9763!

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