Ah yes, a New Year. A time for new beginnings, and of course, resolutions. Everybody makes them, but not everybody keeps them. You may have made your resolution to get outside more and practice outdoor lawn care. Maybe you have committed to starting a garden this year. Or maybe you have decided to start working with a lawn care company. When determining your resolutions pertaining to outdoor living space, there are a few things to keep in mind that make this year different.
Firstly, 2022 will ring in a rise in fertilizer prices. Global supply chain problems have contributed to a shortage of key raw materials in fertilizer production for all types of fertilizers. But in addition, as a result of the natural gas crisis (predominantly in Europe), although seemingly unrelated, fertilizer prices are projected to rise even further. Here’s why natural gas has further exacerbated the problem. Natural gas is a key input in nitrogen-based fertilizer production. Let me break it down. Urea (the solid-state of ammonia) relies on natural gas to exist. Thus, without natural gas, we have no urea and without urea, we have no nitrogen-based fertilizer. As the prices of urea and natural gas increase, as will the price of fertilizer, and subsequently the price of food (since fertilizer accounts for the second largest cost component of most agricultural production). Over the past year alone fertilizer prices have more than doubled, according to The Wall Street Journal. With fertilizer looking at a substantial price increase, it is important, and in the interest of your bank account, to pay for only what your plant needs. You can take a soil test (through SoilKit) to determine this amount.
COVID has drawn us all to the outdoors, spurring a profound appreciation of our planet for some, but little action has been taken to improve environmental conditions globally. We have experienced an unprecedentedly warm fall and winter season and this increase in global temperature has been largely the result of human consumption and pollution. It is now in the hands of the individual to protect our home and an environmentally-related resolution is a great place to start. One way you can help is by improving soil health and decreasing the overuse of fertilizers. Soil testing can show you how to improve soil health and decrease fertilizer use. Improved soil health will lead to an increase in soil organic matter which is a proxy for an increase in carbon capture (soil organic carbon).
Regardless of the goals, you have set for 2022 we all get a long-overdue, fresh start, just be sure to consider the factors that make outdoor living different this year. Remain cognizant of your impact on the environment this year. The time for action is now. Together we can make a difference.