Introduction to Fertilizer

Fertilizer is something that you may not know too much about, but almost all of us undoubtedly depend on it; over half the food we eat today is grown with the assistance of some kind of fertilizer. We get all of our food from the earth, it may have a few steps of processing before it reaches your plate but, almost all of it can be traced back to a plant. After hundreds of years of growing the same crops on the same plots of land, most of the nutrients get removed without ever being naturally replenished. That is where soil amendments and fertilizers come in handy; a soil amendment is a substance that helps improve plant growth and health and, a fertilizer is a natural or chemical substance that is added to a soil to increase its fertility.

The most common natural fertilizer you may be familiar with is compost; a combination of decaying organic material like old banana peels, eggshells and manure. Other organic options of fertilizer include blood meal from slaughterhouses or fish fertilizer. However, the most common fertilizers are chemicals substances, for example the small bottle of Miracle Gro you might spray on your garden to help your tomatoes grow or more industrially used chemical mixtures like urea that are produced in factories and used by large scale farmers.

Land fertility decreases over time because we interrupt the natural cycle of growth and decay; we grow the food on the farm, but we dispose of it elsewhere. Therefore, the vital nutrients that the soil needs are never returned and the soil becomes dependent on external sources of fertility, whether that source is a chemical or natural one is up to us to decide. As the global population and food demand on this planet continue to increase and, soil fertility continues to decrease, the requirement for a powerful and sustainable fertilizer is becoming absolutely critical.