Gardening With Organic Fertilizer
Use organic fertilizer and compost to improve your soil so it becomes rich
and fertile. The basis of organic gardening is to feed the soil rather than the
plants growing in it. Organically-fed soil becomes airy and moist, full of
nutrients and soil organisms, which in turn means healthy plant root growth.
This is quite different from gardening with chemicals and artificial
fertilizers, which simply feed the plants. The soil is merely the vehicle that
holds the roots, and true organic matter is not replaced.
The result of using chemical fertilizer, rather than organic fertilizer and
compost, is soil that becomes an inert habitat, and the lost nutrients must be
chemically replaced every year.
Organic Fertilizer The Basics
Three compounds are needed to promote healthy soil: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and
Potash. Also key are the trace elements which are needed in very small
quantities but vital to plant growth.
Organic garden fertilizers are made from a variety of natural materials, and
can be purchased from organic gardening and traditional gardening stores alike.
The most common natural fertilizers are listed below.
|% Nitrogen/ Phosphorus/ Potassium/
|Blood, Fish and Bone Meal
|4 / 8 / 0.5
|A general compound fertilizer.
|12 / 0 / 0
|A very fast-acting nitrogen
|6 / 12 / 0
|A slow-acting organic fertilizer that
releases phosphorus gradually; often used for activating root growth. Great for
bulbs and alkaline-loving plants.
|9 / 2 / 7
|A good source of trace elements; they also
contain growth hormones and are a valuable means of correcting deficiencies
quickly. Excellent for lawn care.
|Hoof and Horn
|13 / 2 / 0
|One of the best sources of slow-release
|9 / 2.5 / 0
|A useful organic fertilizer that contains
nitrogen and phosphate.
|0 / 0 / 10.5
|Invaluable source of potassium the element
missing from many organic fertilizers.
|A good source of potassium and a small
amount of phosphate; Nutrient content varies according to material burned. Put
twigs and prunings, which contain useful amounts of minerals, through a shredder
and use the chippings as a mulch. Or put the ashes on the compost
|Dried Animal Manures
|1 / 1 / 1.5
|These contain only small amounts of the
major nutrients but are rich in valuable trace elements. The nutrient content
will vary depending on the animal source. Manures are very beneficial to overall
Plan Ahead With
Organic Compost and Fertilizers
fertilizer is the heart of organic gardening. Use organic compost and
fertilizer together. Remember that the organic materials in natural fertilizer
and compost work slowly. They need warm soil to help release their
With compost, clumps of organic materials that have not completely decomposed
can hamper the seeding process and possibly result in a lack of nutrients.
Simply mix your organic compost into the soil a few weeks ahead of planting