Note from Michael: This article was contributed by Scott Gray, a consultant working with All Garden Planters.
Discovering organic fertilizers means that you have found the means of encouraging a lush growth of beautiful flowers and plants without contaminating the soil or the water systems.
When herbs, vegetables, and fruit grown for consumption are fertilized organically, you avoid introducing chemicals into the food, which is important to health-conscious consumers. Once you have chosen organic fertilizers, it is just another step to choosing organic insecticides and the total organic commitment.
Organic vs Chemical or Synthetic
Your plants won’t know whether they are receiving organic or synthetic fertilizers, and the bugs on them won’t care whether they are being sprayed with an organic or inorganic pesticide. Both work well to nurture or to kill; however, the similarity ends there.
1. Organic fertilizer:
* is a slow-release fertilizer without the hazards of over-fertilizing or root damage problems;
* doesn’t work as quickly as chemical fertilizers, but improves the quality of the soil over the growing season;
* doesn’t introduce toxic chemicals into the soil, which is then washed out by the rain and leaked into the water system;
* helps to maintain organic soil structures, and retains naturally occurring bacteria, fungi, and micro-organisms; and
* produces food that is higher in nutrients – vitamins and minerals – and retains its natural flavor.
2. Synthetic (chemical) fertilizer:
* has a destructive action on soil;
* works quickly but can burn out roots;
* ruins the natural soil structure;
* is absorbed into the food and then into animals and humans, with who-knows-what long-term effect; and
* requires careful handling using gloves, breathing filters, which is a clue as to how dangerous it is.
The Composition of Organic Fertilizers
1. The organic products are composed of only natural organic waste, rather than water-soluble ammonium salts, the basis of chemical fertilizers. Some examples are:
* Humus, or decayed kitchen and garden waste
* Fish blood and bone
* Bone meal
* Fish emulsion
2. If you want to make your own compost, save your kitchen waste and garden waste, and mix it with bonfire ash and a bit of wet newspaper in a little compost bin and wait for it to perform its magic. (It all turns into nutrient-rich soil in about a year – it really does!)
What Organic Fertilizers Should You Buy?
1. Fertilizers are mixtures of three components: nitrogen, potash, and phosphates, all of which are found in healthy soils. Specifically:
* leafy plants (e.g., lettuce) need a lot of nitrogen;
* root and tuberous plants like carrots and potatoes need more phosphates; and
* flowers and fruit need extra potash.
2. You can purchase organic fertilizers as liquid, pellets, or in a granular composition.
3. Many of these fertilizers are identified by name brands that evoke an image in nature (e.g., Earthworm or Lady Bug, or Earth Juice), and fertilizer producers make sure you know they have organic products like California Organic Inc.
While the impact of organic gardening on wildlife may not be a priority for you, many people are thrilled that so many birds and butterflies are attracted to their yards once they discard synthetic fertilizers and insecticides and use organic instead.
Studies have shown that organically farmed fields and farmlands have a much higher percentage of birds, butterflies, insects, wild flowers, weeds, and rodents living in, on, and around the land than farms and fields that are fertilized with chemicals. What more can we say? Even the birds and bees know what’s best. Keep chemicals off your land and out of your container gardens and enjoy the many rewards.
About the Author:
Scott Gray is a garden enthusiast and freelance writer, currently consulting for All Garden Planters – a company that provides large plastic planters , mexican ceramic planters – in fact, all types of garden pots and planters!