Chemistry was my favorite subject in school and today paying attention all those years ago proved damn useful. It is critical when coffee farming to know that Potassium is symbolized by a K not a P. and that Phosphorous and Potassium always oxidize and so have formulas with lots of Os in them. We sacked a worker last week for repeatedly getting confused between K and P. Not knowing your Ks and Ps in coffee farming is very bad news. Let me explain:
Different fertilizers are needed for baby plants vs mature plants. Although there are lots of goodies in all types of fertilizer. There is one distinguishing difference:
- The baby plants need Phosphorous for the root growth and some other things the sides but Phosphorous is the key. Roots are the most important thing for these young plants. Strong roots developed during the rains ensure survival in the dry season in 5 months time.
- The adult plants need Potassium to develop the coffee cherries and some Nitrogen to green up the leaves that make the food for the cherries. We want a good yield on our mature coffee.
Both Phosphorous and Potassium begin with P but chemically speaking Phosphorous is P and Potassium is K. This is one of the many times a good basic education pays off, even out here up a mountain in the jungle farming coffee.