Organic gardening is method of growing vegetables and other plants using natural fertilizers to enrich the soil, instead of synthetic fertilizers. While both fertilizers supply plants with necessary nutrients, natural fertilizers contain no harmful chemicals or processing. Learning about natural fertilizers, including what they do, how and when to use them can help anyone grow an organic garden.
Not all organic fertilizers are the same. Some fertilizer products available are labeled as organic or natural, but a gardener must look at the ingredients to be sure. Look for fertilizer labels that list ground feathers, manure, or other natural products as the primary ingredients .
Natural fertilizers have an advantages over synthetic products. T hey feed plants more evenly and slowly. Most natural fertilizers increases a soil’s ability to retain essential water and nutrients. Nitrogen contained in these fertilizers is a slow-release form, so it feeds plants over time, which means plants do not need feeding as often as with synthetic fertilizers.
Gardeners can use natural fertilizers anytime without worrying about overfeeding. When using synthetic products, gardeners must read and follow label directions carefully to avoid overfeeding or burning plants. While you can apply natural fertilizers at any time, the ideal time is in spring, before sowing seeds or putting out transplants. This gives plants a good start, while also improving soil drainage. Gardeners can choose from a variety of natural fertilizers, such as blood meal, fish emulsion, kelp, composted manure, feather meal and bone meal.
- Blood meal is rich in nitrogen and beneficial to ground cover and annual plants.
- Fish emulsion is rich in both nitrogen and phosphoric acid, which is beneficial as a lawn fertilizer and for encouraging growth of rose bushes. It promotes more blooms or fruit.
- Kelp is dried seaweed that is high in nitrogen and phosphorous and ideal for fertilizing shrubs.
- Composted manure may be obtained from poultry or cows. Poultry manure is high in nitrogen and beneficial for annual flower beds. Cow manure adds nutrients to the soil and improves drainage; it is beneficial for vegetable gardens and annual flowerbeds.
- Feather meal is made from poultry feathers and a good source of slow-release nitrogen. It is a good fertilizer for shrubs and roses.
- Bone meal raises the soil pH and is rich in phosphorous, which encourages strong root development. It is beneficial for spring-blooming bulbs and shrubs.
Grass clipping are useful as an organic fertilizer. They provide continuous food for leafy plants that require a lot of nitrogen. Allow grass clipping to dry out before spreading them in thin layers around shrubs and trees. Gardeners must take care not to use fresh clippings or apply them in thick layers to prevent the clippings from forming a mat that prevents air and water from getting to the soil and plant roots.
Organic gardening is rewarding and beneficial. Mother Nature provides gardeners with some of the best materials to feed plants and increase soil health.