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Q.Other Than The Physical Differences, What Distinguishes Liquid And Granular Fertiliser?

AT_2002 added on July 1, 2020 | Answered

I am running an experiment to test the difference between synthetic and organic fertiliser in regards to resulting plant growth rate and due to time constraints, have to use liquid fertiliser (I’m told it works much faster than granular fertiliser because it does not need to be dissolved). I have done my research for the literature review of my experimental report on the basis that I had originally planned to use solid fertiliser, but now, I am using liquid. I need to know if there are any integral differences in the chemical compositions of liquid and solid fertiliser to make sure I can still use the sources that I have researched.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on July 2, 2020

If you are going to experiment with organic versus non-organic you need to make sure that all factors outside of that are the same. Comparing granular to liquid will be unfair, since liquid results will be seen MUCH faster.

Also, spoiler alert, depending on your source, raw synthetic chemicals (that are purified down to 1 micron) far outperform any organic source. These are called "Pharmaceutical Grade Nutrients" and are the purest forms of the nutrient salts available.

The difference between consumer level organics versus consumer level synthetics will be vast, however.

Though a potassium molecule is a potassium molecule, no matter what source it comes from (The plant cannot tell the difference), the purity and separation of elements makes all the difference.

For example, if you are comparing the cheapest, one-part synthetic nutrients to an organic source, the organic source will win out every time, due to impurities, metals, and locked out salts from too many salts being mixed into one source in the synthetic blend.

If you are using a 12- 16 part pharmaceutical nutrient system... there is no comparison. These kits range in at about $300 USD, and will be the purest, cleanest, most readily available nutrients that you can give your plant.

So, unfortunately, testing nutrients against each other is not straightforward. Luckily, these tests have already been carried out time and time again (including my own extensive testing) and the results are consistent.

In short, cheap synthetic nutrients should be avoided if you plan on consuming the plants that you are growing in any form. Organic will outperform those, any day, due to the unavailability of the locked out salts and low quality of cheap salt sources of synthetic lines. However, pharmaceutical nutrient that are split into individual elements and salts will outperform anything on the market.

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