Organic growers rely on the quality off soil and the natural organic matter within free from contamination. Nitrogen is naturally formed my the breaking down of organic matter and will be found in the soil naturally but to supplement this organic growers might add dry blood meal a rich source of nitrogen. Other important minerals including phosphorus are found in cottonseed meal. All these organic alternatives are natural and can be sourced locally; one of the most common ‘organic fertilisers’ is manure, animal waste, rich in nutrients and minerals.
The water source for the plants is usually left to the rain however during dry periods people will water the plants using a watering can or hose.
The light and C02 are also naturally sourced from sunlight and the open air.
A healthy plant grown organically in properly balanced soil resists most diseases and insect pests. There are many organic products otherwise to fight pests and diseases including a selection of sprays using natural ingredients..
Large-scale arable farming.
Large-scale arable farmers have different methods due to the scale and output of the farm. Plants are sprayed with fertilisers as part of large scale spraying; this provides the plant with all its nutrients and fertilisers.
As in small scale organic farming the water source is usually down to the rainfall or watering with sprinklers during dry periods. Light and C02 again are sourced naturally.
Pesticides and herbicides are all sprayed onto the plants to kill disease and pests
In hydroponics no soil is used instead water (or other mediums that resemble soil like characteristics). The main difference being that the nutrients and minerals are all found within the water. A soil system is difficult to keep in control due to the to poor soil structure or unfavourable soil pH value plants nutrients are frequently not presented. However a hydroponics grower has the freedom to regulate the nutrient solution. This gives the grower more control. Hydration systems within the green house can also control the amount of water given to the plants.
Artificial lighting ensures the perfect growing conditions.
How optimum levels of providing the plats with nutrients, sunlight, C02, minerals, water are achieved and how pesticides and diseases are kept at bay.
Arable farmers and some small-scale organic growers will use crop rotation to get the most out of the soil.
By using the same section of field to grow crops ear after year you exhaust the soil and the nutrient supply.
By rotating crops you help disrupt the life cycle of the pests and diseases that will in turn destroy them.
Organic and synthetic fertilisers
Compared to synthetic fertiliser combinations, organic fertilizers contain less nutrient values however perform important functions that the synthetic formulations do not.
They increase the organic content and consequently the water-holding capacity of the soil. They improve the physical structure of the soil that allows better drainage and ventilation allowing more air to reach the plant roots. Where organic sources are used bacterial and fungal activity increases in the soil breaking down waster material producing nutrients to enrich the soil.
By using synthetic fertilisers however you can control the amounts of nutrients you use knowing exactly what you’re adding to the plants.
Getting hold of synthetic is easy and most garden shops supply them however they are expensive and are not viable for small scale plots but better for large scale farms to achieve maximum output. Organic fertilisers on the other hand are inexpensive and therefore cost effective for small-scale growers.
Synthetic fertilizers consist of various combinations of minerals and nutrients. Most fertilizers concentrate on providing nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) and are called NPK fertilizers. They contain compounds such as ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3); ammonium sulphate ((NH4)2SO4); potassium sulphate (K2SO4); and ammonium phosphate ((NH4)3PO4).
Environmental issues concerning the different methods of farming.
Many farming methods particularly in large-scale production have environmental concequences. Here is a table to show advantages and disadvantages of different methods and their effects on the environment.