Real World Gardener, Inorganic Vs Organic Fertilisers in Soil Savvy

October 24th, 2016

REAL WORLD GARDENER Wed. 5pm 2RRR 88.5fm Sydney, streaming live at  and Across Australia on the Community Radio Network.

The complete CRN edition of RWG is available on , just click on 2RRR to find this week’s edition.


Fertiliser:Inorganic vs Organic

Did you know that farmers have used fertilisers on their crops for thousands of years?

In fact Egyptians, Romans, Babylonians, and early Germans are all recorded as using minerals and or manure to increase the productivity of their farms.


Organic Fertilisers photo M Cannon

But have you ever wondered how plants actually take up the fertiliser that you throw around on the soil?

After all the fertiliser is an actual solid mostly, so how does the plant use it?

Plus, is there a reason for being told to water in the fertiliser after you apply it?

Let’s find out . I'm talking with Penny Smith, horticultural scientist who specializes in soil science.

There are two groups of fertilisers: chemical based and organic based.

Organic fertilisers can be anything from processed green waste, to pelletised chicken manure and cow manure.

Pro's of organic fertilisers is that they contribute to a better soil structure in general.

Inorganic fertilisers are chemical based.


Inorganic fertilisers photo M Cannon

However, they need to be broken down by soil microbes before being available to the plant.

The pros of inorganics is that they are immediately available to the plant without the middle man soil microbes.

Fertilisers are after all minerals that must first dissolve in water so that the plant can absorb them through their roots.

So in effect, the plant has to be able to sort of drink up the fertiliser, before it gets transported up the stems and leaves.

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