The name may sound a little odd or complicated, but foliar fertilization is actually a quick and simple way to deliver nutrients to every plant in the garden. It’s efficient, easy to apply, and fast acting, so any gardener can take advantage of this great fertilization technique.
In short, foliar fertilization is the process of feeding plants through their leaves rather than going the slower route of delivering nutrients through the soil for absorption by the root system. Plant leaves are very effective at absorbing nutrients and making them available for plant growth.
Using Foliar Fertilizers in the Organic Garden
While it’s not a substitute for building a healthy, fertile, garden soil; foliar fertilization is a great supplement for providing an extra boost to your plants in the midst of the growing season. Or to provide specific nutrients such as phosphorous at the time needed to promote flowering and fruiting.
In addition to supplying nutrients and trace elements, foliar fertilizers are considered to be beneficial in easing drought stresses, and in keeping plants strong and healthy enough to help resist insect infestations.
Organic fertilizers are typically mixed with water to form a very dilute solution that is then applied with a garden sprayer, or even a misting bottle depending on the size of your garden. You have many options to explore when it comes to choosing the organic fertilizer to be used in your foliar fertilization program.
Popular Choices for Foliar Fertilization
Here are some of the organic fertilizers and plant growth enhancers that can be applied as a foliar spray in the garden. They can be used individually or combined to create your own custom blends.
- Kelp Seaweed Extracts
- Fish Emulsion
- Compost Tea
- Organic Bloom Formulas
- Fish & Seaweed Mixtures
- Worm Castings Tea
- Liquid Organic Fertilizers
Gardening Tips for Making the Best of Foliar Fertilizers
Because they are intended as a supplement and very diluted, foliars can be applied a couple of times a month during the growing season, or whenever signs indicate the need to address issues with poor growth, plant stresses, or insect pressures. Mix your foliar fertilizer with water in accordance with the product’s labeled instructions.
The best time to apply a foliar fertilizer is during the early morning or late evening hours when the plant’s leaf pores are open and more receptive to taking in nutrients. And of course you wouldn’t want to apply a foliar immediately before a rain storm.
Set your sprayer to deliver the smallest sized droplets of fertilizer solution that the nozzle will allow. It’s also a good idea to add a few drops of a spreader/sticker or wetting agent (such as Coco-Wet or Yucca Extract) before spraying to help break the surface tension and provide for better adhesion of your foliar fertilizers.
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