The gardener is not like the dormouse, he never goes into hibernation even though he probably has in common with that cute little animal the ability to snore loudly.
Although often somewhat undervalued, the winter activities of the garden are very important and contribute largely to the success of our seasonal work as a gardener.
One of the activities to be scheduled in winter is fertilization.
Winter is a special fertilizer; unlike the other fertilizers it is an operation that will bear fruit after many months.
The characteristic of this fertilization must be mainly the persistent action, the importance of pre-winter fertilization is the activation of biological mechanisms in synergy with ice, snow, rain and anaerobic and aerobic soil micro-organisms, which have the final aim of obtain a soil rich in mineral salts and organic substance.
Not all fertilizers have these characteristics, for example we think of liquid fertilizers called "quick effect" where nitrogen, potassium and other elements are in a soluble form and immediately available to plants; these preparations have their maximum yield in short times and are therefore not very useful during the vegetative rest of the plants.
In fact, do not think that this type of fertilizer remains forever in the soil, most of it is washed out or undergoes transformations, binding with other elements of the soil.
Synthetic slow release or controlled release fertilizers have a greater persistence than liquids, but are clearly more effective at vegetative growth or to support the plant during fruiting.
They have the function of enriching the soil with organic substance, which after complex transformations becomes the black gold of the gardener or the humus.
The humus in the ground has 2 functions:
- a physical-mechanical function = contributes to the formation of a stable structure that regulates gas exchange and forms organic colloids
- a chemical function = with the contribution of nutritive elements in a balanced and constant manner
The organic substance is not only in itself a fertilizer but it improves what is the capacity of absorption of nutritive elements, we could say simplifying tens of pages of agronomy books, which is a fertilizer that improves the effectiveness of subsequent fertilizations.
As we have learned, organic matter needs time and transformations that coincide perfectly with the long times of winter.
The best organic fertilizers
HUMIC ACIDS: they are an excellent soil conditioner for alkaline soils. They also improve the capture of cations in the form useful for absorption from the roots and for their maintenance in the circulating system of the plant.
Among the fertilizers rich in humic acids we recommend the Leonardite.
COMPOST ACID: a compost based on pine needles and barks, oak leaves, coffee grounds, has an acid reaction, suitable for very alkaline soils, or to fertilize acidophilic plants. (1kg per square meter)
LETAME: the best is that of horses and cattle. It is a complete and balanced fertilizer that is rather cheap (0.5kg per square meter)
ORGANIC PELLETTATI: special processing of manure and compost, the sales format in bags allows easy transport and use in the garden.
Available in different NPK combinations.
1 kg every 3 square meters (securities and dosages vary depending on the product).
COMPOST: fertilizer obtained from composting of food and green waste. There are various types of compost that differ in the different C / N ratio and the materials used in it.
Compost is certainly the best eco-sustainable fertilizer: it encourages recycling of on-site garden waste and allows us to produce an effective product at zero cost directly at home.
Getting a good compost is more difficult than it seems, but with the right suggestions and a lot of good will the results will be excellent. (1kg per square meter)
TEMPERATURE REGULATOR FOR COMPOST: The temperature of the compost must always be between 40/70 degrees, some materials are called hot (pollen, manure) and others cold (grass, kitchen waste, straw ...).
To increase the temperature of the heap in winter, we can use an aqueous solution.
We heat 10l of water in a pan and add 500g of sugar and 3 cubes of yeast, we water the mixture with this preparation.
TORBA: excellent soil conditioner for clay soils, it is a substance made of vegetable fibers, has good fertilizing qualities and also absorbs large amounts of water. However, it is an import product with a relatively high cost (5kg / sqm)
CORNUNGHIA: slow-release high nitrogen title (organic nitrogen), excellent soil conditioner.
Used in gardening for turf fertilization.
(200g / sqm).
Of course there are other organic fertilizers, but the list provided has selected those substances that satisfy the characteristics of good winter fertilization with an eye to our savings.