When you hear compost and fertilizer, what comes to mind? It might be a whole new topic to some people, however, in this article, we’ll explain their differences.
The subject of fertilizer and compost frequently arises with the never-ending aim to enhance agricultural earnings, create better investments, larger harvests, and richer soil. However, there is a lot of misunderstanding about which product is best for a particular job and when one should be used over the other.
Here’s all you need to know about fertilizer versus compost to get you started. Is there a difference between fertilizer and compost? Is it possible for one to take the place of the other? Which one do you think you should go with?
What Is Fertilizer?
Fertilizer is a soil supplement that provides a variety of essential elements that plants require to thrive. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium are the three fundamental nutrients.
- Nitrogen promotes leaf growth.
- Phosphorus promotes healthy root, flower, seed, and fruit production.
- Potassium promotes robust stem growth and flowering.
But, if plants have thrived in our world for millennia without human interference, why do they now require fertilizer? The truth is that if we leave the plants alone, they won’t need us.
Plants (crops) are grown for a specific reason. Plants use nutrients from the soil to produce fruits, grains, and vegetables, among other things. We then eat the produce that has been harvested from the land.
Normally, produce would tumble to the ground, along with leaves, branches, and other debris. The nutrients would subsequently be returned to the ground. Without this (and with little organic manure and other supplements to keep it going), the soil gradually becomes nutrient-deficient.
This is when fertilizer comes in to help replenish those nutrients that have been lost. Fertilizer is a concentrated source of nutrients that are tailored to the demands of the plant. Because each plant species requires a highly specific composition of various nutrients, there are so many distinct fertilizer blends.
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What Is Compost?
Compost is the nutrient that has dropped to the ground. All of the fallen leaves, food debris, and branches that would otherwise find their way into the soil and replace the nutrients in the earth in a natural cycle.
Compost includes nutrients that are similar to those found in fertilizers but are kept in organic waste. When you put fertilizer in the ground, the nutrients are immediately necessary for plant growth. Compost, on the other hand, releases nutrients considerably more slowly, taking days, weeks, or months to entirely remove its contents.
Compost Vs Fertilizer
The following are various effects of fertilizer on the soil.
Fertilizer has a long-term environmental impact that compost applications do not have. Fertilizer is made up of “absorbable” nutrients that quickly saturate the soil and are absorbed by the plants.
This is an excellent feature of the supplement, but it also means that the nutrients are easily taken from the soil. When there is a lot of rain or a high water table, the nutrients in the soil can be lost very quickly.
Algal blooms in neighboring freshwater areas can be hazardous and environmentally damaging as a result of the increased nutrients. Furthermore, fertilizer-based chemicals were reported to find their way into drinking water, causing a slew of health issues in the surrounding communities.
Fertilizer also offers little to address soil health issues, such as water retention, drainage, erosion, or beavage.
Compost may discharge at a slower rate than other additives, necessitating a gradual shift to a compost-based additive technique. However, it yields superior quality, larger harvests, and more robust soil in the long run.
“Repeated [annual] applications of compost are a valuable means by which farmers can improve soil quality, potentially leading to increases in crop yields (through improved nutrient and water acquisition) and improved gross margins (from greater yields as well as less reliance on manufactured fertilizer and reduced energy costs through easier cultivation”), according to a WRAP study.