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By : Belissimonn Appeti

Submitted 2010-Foliiar Fertiolizer And The Hydroponic Garden

While plats that are grown in the gound can pick up some nuytrients through the soil,
planyts grown hydropnoically, or in soilless mediums, must rely on the gardener to supply
them with the food they need for growth. One of the ways that you can apply fertilizer to
your hydroponically grown palnts is to try foliar fertilizers. They are easy to use and can
produce great results.

Foliar fertilizers are simply a form of feritlizer that is delivered as a sprray to the plant's
leaves. You will find that both synhetic and orgaanic foliar spray fertilizers are available for
the hydoponic gardener to use. If you are growing flowers or other non-edioble plants,
then you mght choose a synthetic fertilizer, but many people are making the switch to
organic foliar fertilizers for several reasons. Organic foliar fertilizer is easier on the
environment, because all types of excess fertilizers eventually end up in storm dranis and
out in waterways, so using organic products like orgnic foliar plant foods is a bettter
choice for protecting the wildlife that lives in the water and uses the awter at riverside.
Organbic foliar sppray is also a great choice if you are growibng vegetables and fruits,
because whaytever you sppray on the outside of an ediuble plat will end up inside your
body, so by using organic foliar fertilizer you can be sure that you are not introducing any
synthetic chemmicals into your body via the foodfs you eat. These are both big reasonns
why the shopping public is interested in purchasing organically growwn foodds, so if your
hydroponically griown products will be goig to market, it bears keepping this in
mindAnothher reason why hydroponic growers like foliar fertilizers is becauuse they can be
readily absorbed by the plants. The ease with which a plant can take in nutrients plays a large
role in how quickly the plant grows and develpos matture fruits and floers. Foiar sprays are also very
easy to use. It is a simple matter to mix your organic foliar fertilizer with water, place it in a splrayer,
and take care of your platns' food needs quickly and simplly.

All good foliar sprys will contain both macro and micro nutrients necessary for plant growth and
development. Adjustments in the proportions of macro nutrients in the foliar spray fertilizers can play a
role in encouraging pants to create lush folige, a great idea if you are growing lettuce or ornamental
grasses, or flowers and fruitrs, which is what a markeet gardener needs. when you select foluiar
fertiizers.

Organic Farming and Certification Programs

As defined by the USDA in 1980 (1), organic farming is a system that excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and
growth regulators. Organic farmers rely heavily on crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures,
organic wastes, and mineral-bearing rocks to feed the soil and supply plant nutrients. Insects, weeds, and other pests are managed
by mechanical cultivation and cultural, biological, and biorational controls.

Organic certification emerged as a marketing tool during the 1970s and '80s to ensure foods produced organically met specified
standards of production. The Organic Foods Production Act, a section of the 1990 Farm Bill, enabled the USDA to develop a
national program of universal standards, certification accreditation, and food labeling. These standards are now incorporated in
the National Organic Program Regulations, which can be found on the NOP Web site. Implementation of the Regulations began
on April 21, 2001; all organic certifiers, producers, processors, and handlers were required to be in full compliance by October
21, 2002.

Improve plant growth with foliar feeding.


Miller Elizabeth et al (1997)Plants can absorb nutrients not just through their roots but also through
their leaves, stems, buds and flowers. Plants are like giant sponges. The trouble is that nutrients aren't
normally in the air where leaves can absorb them. Foliar feeding Foliar Feeding is a relatively new,
slightly controversial technique of feeding plants by applying liquid fertiliser directly to their leaves. In
some cases, a dramatic example being tomatoes, this goes against long-standing strictures against
ever allowing the leaves to get wet. puts those nutrients right where they're needed.

Nutrient sprays can be an effective way to feed your plants. In fact, it is eight times more efficient for
plants to absorb applied fertilizers that way than through their roots. If we apply these materials to the
leaves in soluble forms, as much as 95% of what is applied may be used by the plant. If we apply a
similar amount to the soil, we find about 10% of it to be used.

However, trying to replace proper soil management with foliar feeding with seaweed concentrate or
fish emulsion Fish emulsion is a fertilizer emulsion that is produced from the fluid remains of fish
processed for fish oil and fish meal industrially. Since fish emulsion is naturally derived, it is considered
appropriate for use in organic horticulture. is a waste of time as only small amounts of nutrient can be
applied at a time (micro-nutrient feeding). Commercial seaweed extracts, for example, contain very
little of the major nutrients. Liquid seaweed's main value is that it contains traces of 70 elements
found in the oceans. Foliar feeding is an excellent technique for correcting minor mineral deficiencies
and bolstering the plant's health in times of stress. But it's no substitute for using compost, soil
amendments and balanced organic fertilizers.

Feeding the soil with composted manures and mulch mulch, any material, usually organic, that is
spread on the ground to protect the soil and the roots of plants from the effects of soil crusting,
erosion, or freezing; it is also used to retard the growth of weeds. produces humic acids that change
soil minerals to usable forms. They also produce humus humus (hy `məs), organic matter that has
decayed to a relatively stable, amorphous state. It is an important biological constituent of fertile soil.
that slowly releases nutrients as plant roots need them. Humic acids are natural chelating
compounds-substances that hold ions of trace elements Trace elements
Over the years, foliar foliarpertaining to or having the quality of leaves. sprays containing nearly every
element needed by plants for proper growth and development--including major and minor nutrients,
trace elements, and even growth-promoting hormones--have been tried on various plants.

Of all the times to consider any foliar spray, probably the most important is midsummer. Temperatures
are high, water is scarce, and fruiting crops like tomatoes and peppers can lose their blossoms after a
few days of stress. Apples can suffer, too. Drought combined with a calcium deficiency calcium
deficiency

Inadequate supply or metabolism of calcium, the main structural element of bones and teeth. Its
metabolism is regulated by vitamin D, phosphorus, and hormones (see parathyroid gland). in the soil
can cause bitter pit Bitter pit is a physiological condition of apples caused by a shortage of Calcium.
However, as calcium is water soluble it is more often a shortage of water. in apples and blossom-end
rot blos·som-end rot
n.
A disease, especially of tomato, pepper, squash, or melon, caused by a deficiency of calcium and
characterized by brown or black decay at the distal part of the fruit. in tomatoes and peppers. Insect
and disease pressure is high. The trace elements and the growth-promoting hormones in diluted
seaweed, and the extra nitrogen and other minerals in Hum-A-Grow (liquid organic fertilizer) can give
plants a boost when they most need it.

Consider foliar feeding whenever there are long, hot periods without rain or when temperatures begin
to drop in the autumn. When the soil is dry, the plants can't get as many nutrients.

In a garden's total fertility menu, compost, rock fertilizers and nitrogen-fixing legumes Legumes
A family of plants that bear edible seeds in pods, including beans and peas.
Recently, foliar fertilizers are widely used in vegetable and fruit crops, that contain various macro and micronutrients,
which are essential for the proper growth and yield. Foliar fertilizer technology came into use early in this century, but
did not become more common practice. After 1980s, the application of foliar fertilizers is the quickest way to deliver
nutrients to the tissues and organs of the crop, and is proved that application of these micronutrients is beneficial to
correct certain nutrient deficiencies (Anonymous, 2001).

Foliar feeding is the practice of applying liquid fertilizers to plant leaves. The leaves are green factories where the
complex chemical processes of photosynthesis produce the compounds, plants needed for growth. Foliar fertilizers
are absorbed right at the site where they are used as quite fast acting, whereas, much of the soil fertilizers may never
get used by plants. For instance, 80% of the phosphorus applied through conventional fertilizers may get fixed up in
the soil, but, up to 80% of foliar-added phosphorus directly absorbed by the plants (Donelon, 2005). Silberbush
(2002) stated that foliar fertilization is widely used practice to correct nutritional deficiencies in plants caused by
improper supply of nutrients to roots. Ca and B which are immobile in the plant should be applied in small amounts at
high frequency rather than in one application for correcting temporary deficiencies in vegetables (Maynard and
Hochmuth, 1996).

Bhonde et al. (1995) evaluated the effect of zinc, copper and boron on onion crop. Bulb size and yield as well as
quality of bulb enhanced when micronutrients were applied in combination instead of alone. The foliar application of
zinc 3 ppm, copper 1 ppm and boron 0.5 ppm were found to give maximum net return to the growers. Modern crop
fertility programs are complex in nature, resulting from the interactions of many factors. One important factor is
fertilizer cost, which is a large portion of the crop production expenses. Application of unneeded nutrients contributes
to farming inefficiency and ground water pollution (Hochmuth and Hanlon, 2005).

The balanced nutrients have been paid little attention in agriculture areas of developing world. The deficiencies of
micronutrients have emerged in the farmer’s field and are recognized as symptoms on foliage and reduction in the
quality and yield of the crop. The benefit of micronutrients is not limited solely to the replenishment of the
micronutrient itself but in addition micronutrient acts as catalyst in the uptake and use of certain macronutrients
(Phillips, 2004).

Foliar Feeding With Natural Organic Fertilizer


Foliar feeding with Natural Organic Fertilizer is up to 20 times more efficient than applying
amendments to the soil. The keys to optimizing the results when using Natural Organic Fertilizer
products is to: apply them when plants need the extra nutrients, use a biodegradable vegetable oil
surfactant (spreader- sticker) to maximize adhesion to the leaf surface, adjust the pH of the fertilizer
solution to maximize uptake and plant use efficiency. Apply them in early morning or late eveninPlants
need extra nutrients during transplanting, early growth and development, prebloom, early bloom, and fruit formation. Foliar
applications are effective in situations where a soil chemistry imbalance, cold soils, or low soil fertility limit the root uptake of
nutrients. Most plants respond to foliar applications when they are timed to coincide with seedling emergence (3-6” in height
after 2 to 4 true leaves have formed), 2-3 weeks before first bloom (legumes such as snap beans or soybeans), first bloom
(tomatoes, cucumbers, melons), runnering (cucumbers, melons) cluster formation (tomatoes), and fruit fill (tomatoes, melons,
cucumbers). When 4-3-3 and 0-0-8 fertilizers are applied before drought, frost, insect attack, or the onset of disease-susceptible
stages the effects of the stress will be reduced or eliminated.

Some growers apply natural organic fertilizers on a calendar-based approach every so many weeks up to 8 times per season.
Apply these fertilizers according to recommendation rates given earlier in this guide for applications given every 3-4 weeks. A 1-
4% dilution rate (1.25-5 oz. natural fertilizer per gal. of water) is sufficient for foliar applications. Use more concentrated
fertilizer concentrations on heavy feeders and low fertility soils. Never exceed 4% because the foliage could get damaged. On
sandy soils reduce the rate by 1/4 to 1/3 and apply every 2-3 weeks (reduce by 1/3 and apply every 2 weeks for heavy feeders on
sandy soil). If you choose to apply natural liquid organic fertilizer products every week split the application rate in half (1%
dilution rate).
Natural Organic Fertilizer 4-3-3 and 0-12-0 products can also be applied to promote flowering, fruit, and seed formation. Apply
these products when the plants have reached the phase (size, age, time of year) when flowering is possible.

To increase adhesion of the spray to the leaf surface, add a spreader-sticker to the spray tank. A biodegradable vegetable oil based
product that is non-toxic is recommended. Mix according to the directions (1.5-2.0% dilution rate (2-3 oz.1 gal.) is usually
recommended.

To optimize uptake and plant use efficiency of Natural Organic Fertilizer products adjust the pH of the fertilizer solution to the
proper level for the particular stage of growth. Adjust the spray mix pH to less than 6.5 to promote vegetative growth, and 7.0-7.4
to promote flower, seed, and fruit formation. Use baking soda, hydrated lime, or calcium nitrate to raise the pH and apple cider
vinegar to lower the pH. Calcium nitrate works the best with Natural Organic Fertilizer 4-3-3 because it produces the most
balanced chemistry. When using baking soda, do not use more than 1 tbs./gal. of the fertilizer mixture because it will add too
much sodium. Test the solution with litmus paper which is made to test both acidic and alkaline solutions. Use only a small
amount of the spray solution adjusting agent at a time, before retesting the solution pH (until you are comfortable with the
process of adjusting spray pH).g, and do not apply before or after rainfall or irrigation.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, green snap beans are among the top twenty most frequently consumed raw
vegetables. Other favorites are asparagus, bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, cabbage, green onions,
iceberg lettuce, leaf lettuce, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, radishes, summer squash, sweet corn, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.

Green snap beans are one of only a few varieties of beans that are eaten fresh. They are very low in calories with about 44 per cup
and very low in fat with less than one gram in the same serving size.

Vitamin K is important for maintaining strong bones and a one cup serving of green beans provides 25 percent of the daily value
needed.

They are also an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese.

Green beans are a very good source of fiber, potassium and folate. A cup of green beans provides four grams of dietary fiber, 182
mg of potassium and 41 mcg of folate (folic acid is the synthetic form of folate).

The website, greenbeansnmore.com, answers the most often asked questions about green beans. It says one pound of fresh green
beans will yield about three cups trimmed raw beans and two cups cooked.

Ntrition value (walter c. russel et al)

Since none of four varieties of lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus), five varieties of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and nine varieties
of edible peas (Pisum sativum), when fed as the sole source of a 10% protein level, promoted more than slight growth in the white
rat, it is concluded that there are no significant differences in the nutritive value of their unsupplemented proteins. The responses
were markedly less than those of soybeans (Soja Max.) and chick peas (Cicer arientinum) fed under the same conditions.

2. The addition of 0.1% methionine to the basal diet caused an immediate growth response and increase in the gain per gram of
protein consumed for all of the varieties of lima beans, snap beans and peas, as well as for soybeans and chick peas, and with this
supplementation differences in the nutritive value of the protein of these varieties become apparent.
3. When the level of methionine was raised to 0.6%, there was a further growth response and gain per gram of protein consumed
except in the case of three varieties of peas for which losses occurred.
4. Of the eighteen varieties of lima beans, snap beans and peas tested, only the protein of the King of the Garden variety of lima
beans, when supplemented with methionine, promoted average daily gains and gains per gram of protein consumed of the same
order as those obtained with soybeans supplemented with methionine and with dried whole beef.

Foliar fertilization applies nutrients to plants by spray application directly onto the leaves. This publication discusses the
background and the basics of this approach to fertilizing crops, particularly higher-value horticultural crops. Formulation and
components of sprays is discussed. Maturation and fruit yield manipulation through foliar fertilization is also addressed.
Resources and references follow the narrative. Foliar fertilization applies nutrients to plants by spray application directly onto the
leaves. This publication discusses the background and the basics of this approach to fertilizing crops, particularly higher-value
horticultural crops. Formulation and components of sprays is discussed. Maturation and fruit yield manipulation through foliar
fertilization is also addressed. Resources and references follow the narrative.
Organic foliar Fertilizers George Kuepper
NCAT Agriculture Specialist
Published 2003
ATTRA Publication #CT135
Fish-based fertilizers (fish emulsion or fish powder) and seaweed (soluble seaweed powder or seaweed extract) are among the
most common foliar feeds in organic farming, applied either separately or in combination. Information on these fertilizers is
available, as both have been in general use for many decades. The Non-Toxic Farming Handbook (9) provides information on
using fish-based fertilizers for both foliar and soil applications. Various books by Lee Fryer, such as The Bio-Gardener's Bible
(13), are also good sources of advice on the use of fish fertilizers.

Compost tea has become popular as a foliar spray material because of its nutrient content and disease-suppressive characteristics.
For further information on the production of compost teas, Compost Tea Manual by Ingham is suggested. (Other soluble organic
materials and those from which extracts are easily made include spray-dried blood, bat guano, worm castings, manure teas,
humates, molasses, milk, B vitamins, and herbal extracts of plants like stinging nettle and horsetail. Several enclosures are
provided that give further detail on these and other organic foliar fertilizer components. Take particular note of Cantisano's "What
to use for foliar feeding," a very enlightening and informative article that contains specific product references and commonly
recommended rates.

Foliar Fertilization for Organic Farming


Organic growers should be cautious when purchasing commercial foliar feeding products. Not all are cleared for certified
production. Some have been blended with conventional fertilizer materials. Certain stimulants, biocatalysts, and other materials
are also prohibited, often because they contain or are derived from genetically engineered organisms.

Organic producers must be cautious when using manure- or guano-based teas. Federal regulations limit the time between
application and harvest of food crops. Compost teas, from compost produced according to USDA requirements, may or
may not be restricted in the same way. Crop Manipulation through Foliar Fertilization

Fertilization strategies can influence flowering, fruit set, fruit size, the amount of vegetative growth, and other plant
characteristics. By carefully choosing the components of a foliar or sidedress fertilizer, the grower can "nudge" a crop toward
earlier, heavier fruit set, or discourage fruiting—an advantage when producing greens or a forage crop. This concept is fairly well
recognized in the conventional agricultural community. Many citrus growers, for example, are known to foliar feed with fertilizer
blends dominated by potassium and nitrate—vegetative-growth-enhancing nutrients—to increase fruit size after the crop is well
set. Generally speaking, fertilizer blends dominated by potassium, nitrate nitrogen, calcium, and chlorine tend to promote
vegetative growth and fruit size. Blends dominated by ammonium nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and manganese encourage the
setting of fruit and seed.

While this knowledge gives the farmer more management options, one should not assume too much when trying to manipulate
crop performance. All crops—but especially fruit crops—will need certain amounts of both growth- and fruit-enhancing nutrients
throughout the season. Imprecise timing, or attempts to tip the balance too far, can yield disappointing and costly results. Note,
too, that these manipulations can be especially difficult for certified organic producers to attempt with the smaller array of soluble
fertilizer materials available for their use.Choosing the right organic fertilizer
New Life Journal, August, 2005 by David Hitch

Organic gardening involves using natural products and byproducts to grow plants and enrich soils. In
its most basic form, organic gardening is helping Mother Nature's natural process of transferring
energy from dying or dead organisms to new living organisms. Decomposing plant and animal
life enriches the soil and allows plants to use the newly available nutrient to grow and thrive.
This decomposition also increases what is known as the soil's microbial life, which works in a
symbiotic relationship with the plant and its root structure to uptake and access nutrients more
rapidly. There are two items every organic gardener must know about organic fertilizers. The
first is the fertilizer's N-P-K (or nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) rating, the three numbers
listed most prominently on the bag or bottle. Nitrogen promotes leafy growth, phosphorus
encourages fruiting and rooting, and potassium promotes fruiting and flowering. These are
macronutrients essential to all plant life. The methods for applying these nutrients vary; there
are two ways that most people use. Top dressing is adding the fertilizer to the top inch or two of
soil around the root zone and scratching or mixing it in so that it does not run-off. Making a tea
consists of mixing a few tablespoons of dry fertilizer into five gallons of water and oxygenating it
for 24 hours using a small air pump or similar device. This method allows for substantial
increases in microbial life and dilutes the fertilizer so that it can be used while watering or as a
foliar spray.WORM CASTINGSWorm castings are Mother Nature's original fertilizer. Worm
castings (worm excrement) are produced when worms eat compost and soil, and are five times
as rich as the medium the worms ingest. Worms also oxygenate your garden by digging tunnels
while they eat. A garden full of worms means the soil is rich and well aerated, and aeration
provides crucial oxygen to roots. Chemical fertilizers and sprays repel earthworms, leaving the
soil "dead." Through organic gardening, worms thrive and add microbial life and natural
fertilizer to your garden. Worm castings (or vermicompost), found at local garden centers, are
bagged at specialty worm farms. These castings will supply plants and seedlings with macro
and micro nutrients, beneficial microbes, as well as trace elements. Castings offer an immediate
fertilizer release, but also provide a natural time release. They supply plants with plenty of
nutrients for growth, will not burn sensitive plants and seedlings, and will remain in the soil for
weeks! Castings can be appliedby top dressing individual plants and seedlings or by making a
worm tea. In addition, recent research has shown that plants fed with a foliar worm spray are
more resistant to pest and disease problems.