How and When To Use Organic Fertilizers

A few years ago when I joined the community garden I was introduced to organic gardening. I had no idea where to start. Luckily there were kind and patient people who answered all my questions. Besides compost I did not know what to buy or when to apply it.

I have put together a list of organic fertilizers to use in your garden. What I love about organic gardening is that it is so simple and I never burn any plants because of fertilizer.

Composted Manure: Composted or aged cattle, horse, swine and poultry manure. Fresh manure, which can be applied as a top dressing to planting beds in the fall, should never be used in direct contact with plants. Composted manure can be added as a mulch throughout the growing season.

Compost: Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. It can be worked in the soil during fall, spring and as a mulch throughout the growing season.

Earthworm Castings: Fertilizer high in useful minerals and bacteria. The n-p-k is high and has over 60 trace minerals, almost an ideal additive to soil.

Fish Emulsion: Fish emulsion is a fertilizer emulsion that is produced from the fluid remains of fish processed for fish oil and fish meal industrially. In addition to having a typical N-P-K analysis of 5-2-2, fish emulsion adds micro nutrients.

Seaweed: Has been shown to be valuable additions to the organic garden and can be abundantly available free for those living near the coast. Seaweed has an NPK rating of about 2-3-1.

Greensand: It is a common ingredient as a source of potassium in garden fertilizers, such as in organic gardening and organic farming. Greensand may not look like much of a fertilizer, with an N-P-K rating of only 0-0-0.1 to 0-0-3. But it is the trace minerals present in greensand that prove its worth.

Epsom Salt: Epsom salts help certain plants grow stronger and produce better, like roses.

Guano: Guano is collected from natural deposits of seabirds and bat droppings in areas where favorable climatic conditions insured a minimal loss of nutrients through leaching. exceptionally rich source of natural nutrients that supplies many beneficial enzymes and bacteria, large amounts of minor and trace minerals as well as being high in nitrogen and phosphorus. Typical guano contains somewhere an N-P-K rating of about  9-6-2.

Blood Meal: Blood meal is a dry, inert powder made from blood used as a high-nitrogen fertilizer and a high protein animal feed. It is one of the highest non-synthetic sources of nitrogen and it’s fast acting. Blood meal has an N-K-P rating of 12-0-0.

Bone Meal: Bone meal is a mixture of crushed and coarsely ground bones that is used as an organic fertilizer for plants and formerly in animal feed. As a slow-release fertilizer, bone meal is primarily used as a source of phosphorus. Bone meal has a recorded NPK around 0-11-0.

Teas: Compost tea is a liquid solution or suspension made by steeping compost in water. It is used as both a fertilizer and in attempts to prevent plant diseases. The liquid is applied as a spray to non-edible plant parts such as seedlings, or as a soil-drench (root dip), or as a surface spray. N-P-K rating varies depending what the tea is made of and it’s concentration.

Commercial Organic Preparations: Nurseries and gardening centers have a whole slew of multi-purpose, concentrated liquid and powder fertilizer for optimum garden health.

So the best way to provide a complete diet for your plants is to vary and combine different fertilizers as no one fertilizer is complete.

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