Nitrogen is one of the most vital chemical compounds in garden soil. Improper nitrogen levels can impact the health of your plants. The best results demand attention to nitrogen deficiency in plants. Thankfully, it is easy to add nitrogen to soil. Here's a quick guide.
Why Do Plants Need Nitrogen?
There are many people who grow plants without giving a second thought to nitrogen. The truth is that nitrogen is a core nutrient that affects many elements of plant growth. Just like amino acids are essential to human health, nitrogen is a building block of plant life.
What does nitrogen do for your garden? Nitrogen helps to facilitate photosynthesis. It also helps to form chlorophyll and protein. Because nitrogen exists naturally in the earth's atmosphere, it tends to be overlooked. There are those who struggle to understand why their plants won't thrive, and the answer may be as simple as low-nitrogen soil.
What Is the Main Source of Nitrogen in Soil?
For humans, getting the nitrogen we need is not a problem. About 78% of the air we breathe is composed of nitrogen. Plants have a tougher time. They need nitrogen in the soil they inhabit so they can convert it for important processes.
Common sources of nitrogen in soil include animal manure. Organic waste is generally the nitrogen source for plants in areas of wild growth. Nature does a pretty good job of taking care of its own in this regard, but a little help can work wonders in your own garden.
What Does Adding Nitrogen to Soil Do?
When you add nitrogen to garden soil, the nitrogen ions are increased. This makes nitrogen accessible in a form that plants can use. Plants cannot breathe nitrogen the way that we do.
Once nitrogen is present in the soil, your plants will absorb it and convert it into a form that helps to promote all those important plant processes.
How to Add Nitrogen to Soil
Managing the chemical composition of garden soil can be a little bit intimidating. The good news is that you don't need a college education in chemistry to boost nitrogen levels in your garden. The process has become much easier over the years with the development of nitrogen-rich fertilizers.
There are multiple ways to raise nitrogen levels. Most experts agree that raising the level of nitrogen in garden soil organically is the best practice. It takes longer, but the process is more thorough.
If you choose to use a high-nitrogen fertilizer, there is a chance that nitrogen levels can be raised too high. This can cause plants to "burn" or become damaged. This is a faster process, but the risks are greater.
How do you increase nitrogen in soil organically? It's a good question. Your best bet is to add composted manure. Before you simply spread chicken or rabbit droppings on your garden, there are a few things you need to know.
Composted Manure as a Source of Organic Nitrogen
What Is the Fastest Way to Add Nitrogen to Soil?
Other Questions to Consider
When Should I Add Nitrogen to My Garden?
What Garden Vegetables Need Nitrogen?
For more information on soil preparation, read the following articles:
How to Compact Soil Using Water
How to Reduce Acidity in Your Garden Soil
Making Your Garden Soil More Acidic
Best Practices for Tilling Garden Soil