- Fertilizing soil can be trace back as far as the Agrarian Age (8000 BC to 1700AD), when farmers realized that replenishing the nutrients in the ground would increase higher yields. In the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, there is evidence of manure being used in soil mixtures. Around the 17th century, organic chemists like Justus von Liebig proved that nutrients like potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus were vital in the growth of plants.
- Fertilizers are filled with an array of nutrients. Macronutrients like nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and sulfur promote the structure and development of the plant. Micronutrients like iron, zinc and copper are key to the formation of chlorophyll.
- Fertilizer come in two types--"granular" and "liquid." Liquid fertilizers are taken in quickly by plants and produce results quicker than granular varieties. Granular fertilizers are easier to track than liquids--liquids disappear into the soil when applied. Some granular fertilizer comes covered in a sulfur or polymer coat to prolong the release time of the fertilizer.
- Fertilizers have the potential to save whole countries. The gains made in fertilizing efficiency and yield rates will make it more possible for struggling countries to produce a solid agricultural sector, and build from there. With less than half of farms in third world countries not receiving proper fertilization, the agricultural sectors are shaky and don't realize their full potential.
- Study the area around where you will be applying the fertilizer. Nitrogen is one of the primary nutrients in fertilizers but the plant will only take in a small amount of the nitrogen, leaving the rest in soil. Excess nitrogen could be washed by the rain into a nearby water supply--like an underground spring or a creek. Nitrate saturated into a water drinking supply carries potential health risks for babies like methemoglobinemia--a condition where low blood oxygen levels create blue veins.