What are the differences between nitrogen, phosphate and potassium mineral fertilizers?

A mineral fertilizer is a product of natural mineral origin. It is made up of sedimentary rocks, which may be saline, eruptive or from a deposit. Industrial transformations or chemical synthesis may be necessary. It may contain either nitrogen, phosphate, potassium or a combination of these elements. It contributes to the vitality of plants, and its composition targets the specific needs to be met by providing essential nutrients.

Mineral nitrogen fertilizer

Nitrogen gives the foliage of the plants a bright colour. For the vegetable garden, it has a considerable effect on leafy vegetables such as spinach, chard or lettuce. It encourages the growth of new plants or the departure of existing ones, while stimulating plant growth. However, it is not suitable for young plants that still lack strength. It can also be recognized that a plant needs nitrogen when the foliage is pale and its development is slow. This type of fertilizer is easily assimilated by plants, but is just as easily carried away by water. This is why it is most effective in the spring. It is also interesting as a background fertilizer. It does not burn the roots even at high doses.

Mineral phosphate fertilizer

Phosphorus speeds up seed formation. In a vegetable garden, it is used to boost the growth of fruit vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplants. It is also beneficial for fruit trees. It also contributes to the blooming of flowers, and increases plant resistance to various diseases. However, if the plants are already sick, they should not be used. Its use will have better results in autumn or winter, preferably in the morning or evening. On dry or desiccated soil, the soil should be watered thoroughly a few hours before application. If the underside of the leaves is purple in colour, or if the flower is a little shy, or if the fruit is slow to ripen, you will know that there is a deficiency of this type of fertilizer.

Potassium mineral fertilizer

Potassium strengthens the plant at the root level, stimulating the growth of bulbs and roots. This is why in the vegetable garden, it acts primarily on tubers and root vegetables. These include carrots, potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes. In addition, it enhances the fragrance of flowers and improves the taste of fruit because it provides sugar, cellulose and starch. It acts more effectively in winter or autumn, if you avoid applying it in the middle of the day. It should also be avoided when it is too hot, or in periods of frost. If a plant has brown necrosis at the tip of the leaves or between the veins, it needs this type of fertilizer.
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