Here is an Article written by Wally Richards on 25th of September 2004.
When we buy plant foods or fertilisers for our gardens we see on the products the letters N:P:K followed by numbers which indicate the amounts of each of these elements. The NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.
Nitrogen provides growing power and helps make plant leaves and stems green.
Nitrogen is used to form basic proteins, chlorophyll, and enzymes for the plant cells. In short, a plant can't grow without it.
Phosphorus stimulates budding and blooming. Plants need phosphorus to produce fruits, flowers, and seeds. It also helps make your plants more resistant to disease. Phosphorus doesn't dissolve like nitrogen. The soil will hang onto phosphorus, not releasing it into water.
Potassium promotes strong vigorous roots and resistance to disease.
Potassium is a nutrient your plants need for good internal chemistry. Plants use potassium to produce the sugars, starches, proteins and enzymes they need to grow and thrive. Potassium also helps your plants regulate their water usage, and better withstand the cold.
I believe of the three elements its the phosphorus that is least understood by some gardeners.
In the distant past phosphorus was obtain from manures especially bird or bat droppings called guano. Phosphorus was also obtained from Reactive Rock Phosphate which is a hard phosphatic rock. In most soils it dissolves very slowly.
To make the rock phosphate more readily available to plants man discovered a process of using sulfuric acid, early in the 1900’s and a new agricultural fertiliser was created called Super or Super Phosphate.
It became a boon to agriculture and farming with tons of Super been spread to cause fast growth in fields and crops.
Unfortunately like a number of discoveries such as DDT and Asbestos, there was a hidden price to pay.
Superphosphate kills soil life and with their demise leads to unhealthy plants.
Not only that, it was also found that Super laden plants and grasses caused health problems in stock including cancers. I read a very interesting book recently called ‘Cancer, Cause and Cure’ written by an Australian farmer, Percy Weston.
Percy observed the results of the introduction of Super on his farm and the malays that occurred.
If you are interested the book can be obtained by mail order, phone 0800 140 141.
The book made me reconsider the use of Super in garden fertilisers.
Interestingly I have never been an advocate of Super and to the best of my knowledge have never purchased it as a stand alone fertiliser for my gardens. Though I have on odd occasions in the past used General Garden Fertilisers.
Fortunately I have always preferred Garden Galore or sheep manure pellets as my general plant food.
Now days I would never use a chemical fertiliser or chemical sprays including any herbicides anywhere on my property.
But I have noticed, that even though I obtain good healthy crops and plants, there is some factor that appears to be missing and the crops are not as lush as I feel they could be.
I have often thought that I am not getting sufficient phosphorus in my composts and mulches.
This caused me to do a bit of research on the Internet and found to my delight a company in New Zealand called Sieber Technologies Ltd who make a product called BioPhos. They take the rock phosphate and break it down naturally with micro organisms making it as readily available to plants as Super is.
The company sent me a email booklet and it showed trials that proved that not only did BioPhos work as well as Super, but actually better as it did not have a ‘peak’ growth on application and gave a much longer sustained release of phosphorus to plants.
Instead of killing soil life it actually supplies new micro organisms to the soil which carry on breaking the natural phosphorus down, meaning that only one application is needed per year unless you are cropping during the winter as well.
Some rose growers and rose societies recommend using BioPhos for better, healthier roses. BioPhos contains phosphate, potassium, sulphur and calcium at the rates of P10:K8:S7:Ca28.
BioPhos is Bio Certified for organic growing.
It is pH neutral and used at the following rates; New beds work in 100 grams per square metre, the same with lawns but water in to settle.
Side dressing plants; seedlings 8 grams (a teaspoon full) around base of the plant or in the planting hole.
Same for potatoes (which do well with phosphorus) Sowing beans peas etc sprinkle down row with seeds.
Roses and similar sized plants 18 grams or a tablespoon full around plant or in planting hole.
Established fruit trees etc, spread at the rate of 100 grams per square metre around drip line or where feeder roots are. Apply to vegetable gardens in spring and a further application in autumn if growing winter crops. Can be applied to container plants also.
When you obtain your BioPhos you will notice it consists of fine powder to granules with pellets of sulphur and odd splinters of wood.
These including the wood are all part of the product not messy packaging.
The lumps of granules actually contain 4,888,000 fungal colonies to aid the breakdown and enhance your garden soils.
Percy’s Book, showed in a practical and logical manner a obvious connection between arthritis, cancers plus other health problems and Super Phosphate, in animals, and later in his own health.
He was able to cure problems by stopping the use of Super, using other minerals to flush excess phosphates out, and to go onto diets that were low in phosphate. He cure himself and his wife of cancers, (twice each) along with others that sort his advise.
He lived to be over 100 years old and write this interesting book of his personal experiences.
Manufacturer’s of Super create a incredible pollution problem for the environment see http://www.fluoridealert.org/phosphate/overview.htm BioPhos is becoming available in more garden centres in 1300 gram and 3 Kg containers. Or by mail order through this web site at Mail Order
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