N:P:K and the rest

Iain Brodie of Falsyde auchgourishbotgard@falsyde.sol.co.uk
Thu, 08 May 2008 02:01:44 PDT
It is a relief to see Americans themselves ranting about the risible out of date and confusing terminologies in use in the USA. In Europe we scratch our heads in dismay but fear to tread for risk of upsetting sensibilities amongst our cousins on that side of the pond. There is here an absolute legal requirement for standardised clarity in all chemical marketing, whether for fertilisers or whatever. Artificial fertilisers are cited as being N:P:K: +Trace as appropriate. Currently I am trialling liquid fertiliser derived from sea weed and we are getting some seriously good results pro tem but it is early days yet. A good general all rounder is 10: 12: 10 ; 12:12:10, etc or variations around that theme depending on what the objective is, some of the figures quoted on this thread for N & especially P seem off the mark. For some time after the WWW2 our farmers were guilty of massive over use of Nitrates leading to huge problems in both fresh water bodies, rivers and ultimately the sea. That has now been reigned in not before time too. 

Drinking water from ground extraction in limestone areas and others such as Holland has become dangerously contaminated with Nitrates for human consumption. Out of sight out of mind has now come back to haunt many. Over fertilising is well known to create soft tissue, too much N equates to lots of foliage but poor flowering in many instances. I suggest folks pay close attention to Jim Shields as he clearly has a handle on the subject. As a former Forestry Consultant who still receives literature from the industry, "you can tak a forester oot o' the forest but you cannae tak the forest oot o' a forester", in which we read that the Canadians when shipping timber to the USA are required to change their dimensions and quotes back into imperial feet and inches from the world wide standard of metres and centimetres, the Canucks having joined the rest of the world years ago. WHY? 

We still use gallons in the UK however ever it is fading as there are 5 litres, more or less, per Imperial gallon whereas I think US gallons are around 4 litres. Our liquid fertiliser or soluble fertiliser is supplied with conversion and usage rates per litre, all nice and simple.

Being a basic Highland country boy for the likes of us potash = wood ash but then we don't have an over reliance on OIL for heating and everything else. Recently statistics [NEW SCIENTIST] shows that citizens of the USA require reliance on 7 metric tonnes of carbon per annum, whereas citizens of countries in Europe require reliance on 3 metric tonnes. I am not a total believer in man only induced global warming but those figures do say something. Our fire ash from the central heating and cooking stove here is taken out and spread on the garden, whence presumably ? the old saw, "ashes to ashes"


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