The birth of the ALL-IN-ONE Fertilizer
The All-In-One Fertilizer took several years to develop. The initial goal wasn’t to develop a fertilizer. I simply had a keen interest in growing my own food, with lots of flavours and packed with nutrients. The research began with testing different custom soils but then narrowed to the development of the ultimate fertilizer for plants, vegetables and marijuana.
If you live in a cold climate with a short outdoor growing season, and you want to grow year-round vegetables, you’ll need an indoor grow room. In my case, I call it a “growing chamber”. It uses very bright, complete spectrum LED lights with automated water, light and fan systems.
As anyone who has gardened with soil can attest, there’s nothing tastier than garden fresh vegetables grown in fertile soil. The hydroponic vegetables that you get at the supermarket don’t even compare; the difference in taste is night and day. I can guarantee we’d triple the popularity of vegetables if they were grown in soil, rather than water (ie, hydroponically). That’s a future discussion! Needless to say, I use soil to grow my vegetables.
As my personal custom soils improved, I started testing them and making fertilizers in order to fill the Macro and Micronutrient gaps. Have a look at the report below. This is a detailed analysis of a common soil that you can buy at a greenhouse.
Without going into the finer details of the report, can you spot the problem with this soil?
The first three rows all rate as “deficient”. Surprisingly, these are the three most crucial elements required for healthy growth and development: Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium, better known as NPK. With this soil, although the texture and micronutrients were very good, any plant requiring of a lot of nutrients would not thrive very long. Seeing these poor results, a newcomer to gardening might assume they just don’t have a green thumb, but in fact, it could just have been the soil.
Deficiency testing to learn
After doing multiple tests on multiple soils, I quickly realized there were huge variances in nutrient content. For your everyday consumer, choosing a soil essentially becomes a crapshoot. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. To mitigate this problem, the birth of the All-In-One fertilizer began.
While testing is the ideal way to create a specific formulation, it is also time-consuming and expensive. In order to balance this out, I took sample testing from various sources and found consistent qualities and consistent deficiencies. I would then create the mix and observe the progress of my own plants and gather data from other third party growers using my mix.
Little by little, I tweaked and fine-tuned the recipe. There were some big fails, some moderate fails, some moderate outcomes and finally after a while, some continuous positive outcomes. One of the key tests that I do is to container grow a vegetable (eg., Tomatoes) to a substantial size with only the nutrients from the soil (tested soil with known nutrient values). This is an excellent way of narrowing down your variables such as lighting, temperature, watering because all those are already in check to grow the plant to a regular size. By reducing these parameters, you know it’s not those external variables causing the problem but what’s in the soil.
After a period, the plant starts showing noticeable signs of nutrient deficiencies: stunted growth, leaves changes colour, drooping, flowers dry up and fall off, tomatoes don’t ripen, wilting, molds may appear, etc. From there, you apply your fertilizer (top dressing) then wait and observe…this is where patience is of great value.
Leaning entirely on the organic side, I’ve toyed with a wide variety of fertilizers and soil amendment strategies geared towards increasing available plant nutrients and absorption. Some take more time than others to react, some don’t seem to react at all, some produce mold type reactions, some smell, some absorb quickly etc.
What to look for in a Fertilizer
The bottom line when using fertilizer is observing what happens to the plant. The first thing to look for is whether there is new growth and how long it took to start growing. The second is, how long that new growth lasts and how much fertilizer did you need to use?” Once these are successfully established on a consistent basis, you have an excellent base to work with and explore further. Below is the results of this type of testing:
Success- Single potted cherry tomato plant- eventually produced over 400 cherry tomatoes.
The example above was one of my controlled experiments. Grown in a 10-gallon container, the soil contained enough nutrients to be grown into a mid-sized cherry tomato plant. After 10 weeks, it completely absorbed all the available nutrients and started to dwindle. I revived it with my All-In-One, and it went on to produce enormously. The All-In-One takes exactly 10 days when top-dressed into the soil with (in this case) with 4 heaping tablespoons. It will last up to 4 weeks with one treatment, but we recommend a treatment every two weeks to keep the nutrient level high so that vigorous growth continues pace. Lastly, if you’re close to harvest time, reduce the amount or stop top dressing altogether 2-3 weeks before. If applied as directed, your last dose should be enough as the long-acting fertilizer would have accumulated during the grow and will have effect until the end. The key is observation.
I settled on seven organically sourced plants fertilizers. They vary from the old school types like fish bone meal, hen manure and kelp to the newer ones such as feather meal, mined potassium sulphate, mycorrhizal fungi and humic acids. These seven fertilizers cover the larger ranges of potential nutrient deficiencies and promote their release without risking burning the plants- the dreaded overfertilizing. Believe me, overfertilizing is a real thing and quite tricky to reverse. When it comes to overfertilization, soils are quite forgiving at buffering toxicity compared to hydroponics but like everything, it has a tipping point.
In conclusion, it’s my pleasure to introduce and share my All-In-One fertilizer with everyone. There have been countless hours of observation and testing on my end but I’d like to hear how it worked for you. It is a passion for me to see these wonderful plants grow and help those who are aspiring to do the same. Please add your name and email if you’re interested in hearing more about plants, growing and all the science and techniques behind it. I’ll be adding many more products soon, as my testing continues.