If you are a farmer or gardener who wants to grow organic produce, then to achieve good plant nutrition, you need to use organic fertilizers. Creating a living soil rich in organic matter and nutrients is the key to growing healthy and abundant fruit and vegetables, beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees. You can only harvest the best crops when you consider the overall fertility and viability of the soil. This is one element of farming that is vital to success. There are of course other ways to encourage plant growth and development, but and the end of the day, you will have to decide between organic or inorganic/synthetic fertilizers to maximize the output of your garden.
Maybe to some who have been blessed with good soil, the issue of fertilizing their plants may not be a problem. It is also possible that the common practice of using commercial synthetic fertilizers is giving some people good results. There is however a downside to this method, especially when indiscriminate use leads to detrimental effects to the soil, plants or even the environment. This is often one of the unseen and/or unknown costs of this practice.
A better and more sustainable alternative is the use of organic fertilizers. They generally come from plants, animals, or minerals that are the bi-products of nature through decomposition or may be produced by complex manufacturing processes either in large-scale or backyard operations. Fermented fruit juice and teas are examples of products that can be made at home. Some fertilizers contain significant amounts of only one of the major nutrients, such as phosphorous in bone meal, and may also contain various amounts of trace elements. Others contain balanced nutrition depending on different blends available. They often include the major elements and micronutrients that are essential for plant growth. There are even organic fertilizers that contain growth hormones, catalysts and enzymes.
If you are a farmer who is contemplating of changing your loyalty from inorganic/synthetic fertilizers to organic, you may be thinking that the latter will be more complicated and less convenient than using premixed chemical fertilizers. However you may be wrong in your conclusion. Organic fertilizers can be just as convenient and effective. You don’t need to custom feed your different garden plants unless it is something you really want and enjoy doing. While some gardeners may be more meticulous than others, generally two applications of fertilizer will do in most circumstances. Once your fertilizer is applied, the hassles of leaf burn, root burn and other adverse effects that accompany chemical compounds can be eliminated. Overall, you give good pampering for your plants and provide a nutritional boost that promotes growth. You even kill two birds with one stone with this method because when you apply natural fertilizers, it feeds the soil and beneficial microorganisms at the same time, providing even more nutrition for the plant.
There are different types of organic fertilizers available depending on your needs. Plant-based fertilizers are made from plants that generally have low to moderate nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content but are quickly absorbed by plants. Examples of these are alfalfa meal, organic compost, corn gluten meal, cottonseed meal, kelp, soybean meal, and humus. Animal-based fertilizer is the second type. They give lots of nitrogen needed for leafy growth. For example, animal manure such chicken dung and cow manure is nitrogen–rich and should be used sparingly and composted. Bat guano, blood meal, bone meal and fish meal are also excellent sources of nutrients.
Since organic fertilizers differ in their concentrations of available nutrients, when devising a nutritional program for your plants, you may wish to obtain a soil analysis. With this, it can serve to guide you in your choice on what specific types of fertilizers to use. In the absence of an analysis however, some would opt to use a fertilizer that has balance composition of nutrients, both in macro and micro elements. Even plants have preferences so it is wise to use fertilizers that are needed most by particular plants.
Fertilizing your organic gardening is important to get the most out of your garden, but not all fertilizers are the same. Check out some of our other posts on how to fertilize your garden.
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