Figuring Out The Best Fertilizer For Medical Marijuana
Posted by Lee G. Leissett | 23302 views
By Lee G. Leissett
N-P-K is the start of the ideal fertilizer regiment.
(Click to enlarge)
NPK, or nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, are the building blocks for all plant life. Although more recent discoveries have found other macro and micro nutrients to be just as important to the health and functions of a flourishing garden, every fertilizer available for sale lists its fertilizer ratios in a NPK format. The three numbers on all fertilizer labels represent the corresponding ratio to that particular element. For example, a fertilizer with a label stating “20-10-15” has 20% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 15% potassium (by weight). Seems pretty straight forward, but here’s where it gets a little tricky: the NPK amounts listed on the fertilizer labels are the percentages of available NPK. This means the amount of NPK that is already in a form ready to be up-taken by the plant. Organic fertilizers or fertilizers containing organic compounds can actually have what I refer to as hidden NPK values.
Figuring Out The Best Organic Fertilizer For Marijuana
When browsing the aisles of your local hydroponic shop a few observations can be made about fertilizers in regard to NPK ratios. Generally speaking, organic fertilizers contain lower percentages of NPK than chemical fertilizers. This means that chemical fertilizers must be better and more potent, right? Well, kind of. As an organic fertilizer is broken down by the microorganisms in the soil the organic compounds are changed into elements that are usable to the plant. In other words, just because an organic fertilizer has a seemingly low NPK doesn’t mean that the value won’t change over time as the organic compounds are broken down. This makes it extremely difficult to gauge the NPK values that the plant is receiving. However, beneficial microorganisms only break down organic compounds that the plant “desires,” making it a virtually fool proof way to provide a plant with a proper diet.
Chemical Fertilizer Equals NPK Precision
Chemical fertilizers are more straight forward. You get what you pay for and the label truly represents the NPK ratio. For some people this is much easier than relying on microorganisms to break down compounds. Chemical fertilizers give more control to the grower and they, instead of the beneficial microorganisms, decide the NPK values given to their plants. Chemical fertilizers also make it much easier to calculate NPK ratios in fertilizer regiments that contain multiple parts. This calculation combined with experimentation can give a grower insight to the perfect NPK ratio at various times throughout the life cycle of their plants.
Whether you choose chemical or organic fertilizers, NPK ratios will be represented on the label. For the organic growers, take note of the NPK ratios but do not get hung up on their value. Instead, feed your plants a balanced diet and rely on the microorganisms to regulate the NPK ratio for your plants. A grower using chemical fertilizers should take note of the NPK ratio but should really focus on how the NPK values change in relationship to each other when additional fertilizers are added. The larger the number does not necessarily mean the better the fertilizer. Some fertilizers contain such high amounts of NPK that a plant couldn’t possibly use it all. Take strict notes on the ratios of NPK and how they correspond with different stages of growth. Most importantly, do a lot of experimentation and observation to find the best NPK ratio for your particular medical marijuana garden.
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Monday, 30 April 2012
Article by Lee G. Leissett, on May. 1st 2012