Understanding The Function Of Nitrogen In Your Garden Soil

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When it comes to growing a successful garden, one of the things you need to consider is the nitrogen content in the soil. Nitrogen is a key part of the successful growth of your garden. Without it, you'll find that the plants brown and may not grow well. Before you plant, it's in your best interest to have a soil test done so that you know the general nitrogen content. Then, you can supplement if necessary to protect your plants and ensure a thriving garden.

Why Does Nitrogen Have To Be In The Soil?

Nitrogen is key for plants to develop their natural green color and leafy growth. In addition, the nitrogen also helps with the development of protein and chlorophyll. It is a standard element of the atmosphere, but it cannot be utilized by plants unless it is actually processed into soil, whether naturally or by the addition of fertilizer. The nitrogen must reach the plant through the roots, just like other nutrients and water.  To do this, the nitrogen breaks down into the organic matter of soil, releasing ammonium and nitrate.

Why Should You Test Before Adding Nitrogen To The Soil?

The nitrate that's produced by nitrogen breaking down must be used, because it will run off or leach out of the soil at the end of the growing season if there's any left. That makes it important that you balance the nitrogen content so that you're not overwhelming the waterways. Too much nitrate in the water can be concerning for the health of the marine life in the area, so don't discount this by just treating the soil without understanding what it really needs.

How Do You Find A Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizer?

If you're not familiar with buying fertilizer with nitrogen, you just need to look at the label to determine the level of nitrogen content. You'll find a series of numbers on the label, expressed as X-Y-Z. These numbers represent the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the fertilizer. In most cases, the numbers represent the nutrients in that order, so you know that something labeled 10-10-20 has ten percent of each of the first two and twenty percent of the last.

As you can see, nitrogen isn't something to be dismissed when you're trying to grow a thriving garden. With the information here, you can understand the importance of that nitrogen content as well as the reasons for being cautious about amending your soil if it doesn't need it.