In Part 1 of the Solving the Garden Aisle of Mystery series, we talked about some soil amendments and what they do. This article is a continuation of that, adding a few more to the list. As in the Part 1, I’ll be going in alphabetical order here, just to keep it organized.
Fish Emulsion 5-1-1
As you might imagine, Fish Emulsion 5-1-1 is exactly what it says it is. It is a combination of leftover fish from the commercial fishing industry. It’s a fantastic natural source of nitrogen right away for plants needing a bit of a boost.
One caution with Fish Emulsions – they get a little stinky for a little while. I suggest using it during your neighbor’s working hours while they’re away from the house…unless you hate your neighbors, then Saturday morning is definitely the best time. Ha! 😉
This soil amendment is not found often available, as most of us don’t need it. It’s only used for soils where there is a LOT of thick clay (not usually Central Florida) or where soil is very salinated and salt needs to be removed from it (now that’s very possible here).
Gypsum can be harmful to other types of soil, such as sandy soil, as outlined in this very helpful article that summarizes the use of Gypsum (which is actually just calcium sulfate). I advise use with extreme caution. Have your soil tested first to make sure you actually need it!
50 lb bag of pelletized Gypsum: https://shellsfeed.com/shop/lawn-garden/fertilizers-soil-amendments/gypsum-micro-pellet-50-lb-bag/
Sources of Iron are important for any green plant. It is a necessary element to make Chlorophyll which is how plants manufacture their food (via photosynthesis).
One of the most common sources of Iron is a fertilizer called Milorganite, which is pelletized deceased poop-eating bacteria from water treatment facilities at Jones Island (Milwaukee, WI). It is organic and does not cause issues with nitrogen runoff. The history of Milorganite is pretty interesting, you should read more about it.
We also have a liquid Chelated Iron and a Pelletized Iron as well. Most people apply it to their lawns as a “quick green up” during the year when grass and landscapes can suffer in the Florida heat.
1 pint Chelated Liquid Iron: https://shellsfeed.com/shop/lawn-garden/fertilizers-soil-amendments/southern-ag-liquid-iron-1-pint-container/
Milorganite (the Lawn Pro edition): https://shellsfeed.com/shop/lawn-garden/fertilizers-soil-amendments/milorganite-pro-6-4-0-fertilizer-50-lb-bag/
Kelp has many nutrients that land-plants need, and it can be sustainably harvested too.
Kelp Green is a wonderful ocean-based seaweed extract and fish emulsion that really offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to use kelp in your garden without harvesting it from the beach yourself. It’s a masterful way to get a large assortment of micronutrients to your plants that is not found in other types of chemical pelletized fertilizers. These micronutrients include antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, hormones, and minerals too.
Fox Farm has an awesome Kelp product for your plants too. This company is really dedicated to sustainable practices, and their products are top notch!
One of my favorite things to do on fertilizer bags is to look for the minor elements they contain – also called the “micronutrients” in some cases (but micronutrients are not just the minor elements…skip that last part there if it confused you!). You can buy a fertilizer that is just a bunch of the minor elements thrown together too which can be applied to everything without worrying that it will harm anything. All plants need these minor elements.
You see, the macronutrients, also called “Major Elements”, are the N-P-K numbers you see on the fertilizer bags. But depending on what you’re targeting, other minerals/elements might be added to help that specific kind of plant. And it’s fascinating to see what certain plants need to thrive.
The Minor Elements include: Boron (B), Chlorine (CI), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo), and Zinc (Zn)
Muriate of Potash
Potash is another word for Potassium, in garden-speak. The N-P-K on fertilizer bags is sometimes called “Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potash” even though “K” is the Periodic Table letter for Potassium.
Why the name Potash? Actually, I didn’t know, so I looked it up. The word Potash comes from the method that Potassium was originally isolated from wood ash. The ash was placed in a large iron pot with a solvent and boiled until the liquid leaching agent was dissipated. The isolation process is much different now, of course.
Muriate of Potash is 50% Potassium and 46% Chloride. Both of these elements are essential for plant health, thus if your soil is potassium deficient this is a good choice to replenish it because it is very highly absorbable.
Muriate of Potash 4 lb bag: https://shellsfeed.com/shop/lawn-garden/fertilizers-soil-amendments/hi-yield-muriate-of-potash-4-lb-bag/
That wraps up Part 2 of the Solving the Garden Aisle of Mystery series! This series will continue probably after our upcoming Spring activities and promotions.
As always, we are here to help with any questions you might have. Stop in and see our awesome staff and pick up your garden, pet, and DIY pest control supplies today!
I hope these explanations help you decipher the crazy Soil Amendments aisle! Until next time….Keep Growing!