Natural fertilizer is synonymous with organic fertilizer. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Organic Program defines organic fertilizer has having no chemical additives and that its production methods enhance the ecological balance of natural systems. The USDA "100 Percent Organic" label assures these qualities. There are many ways to understand the benefits of using natural fertilizers in a garden.
Natural fertilizer in the garden creates healthier plants and reduces the health problems that come from chemical residue. The warning labels on chemical fertilizer tell the story about the possible danger of unwanted exposure to harmful chemicals. Overuse of nitrogen fertilizer contributes to global pollution problems, according to an Environmental Protection Agency report on environmental pollutants.
Natural organic fertilizers are also called compost. They contain micro and macronutrients absent from chemical fertilizers, according to a Washington State University report on the benefits of compost. The micronutrients in natural fertilizer help create healthy plants that are disease resistant. Natural fertilizers can easily be made at home by starting a compost pile or purchasing a compost bin from a garden center.
Flower and vegetable gardens need regular fertilizing in the form of compost. Compost as a fertilizer can be added at the beginning of the growing season and after harvest when the soil is depleted. Flowers, such as roses, are heavy feeders and thrive with a regular schedule of fertilizing from spring to fall. Used as mulch, natural compost helps control weeds and conserves water.
Garden soil accustomed to chemical fertilizers can easily be transitioned to natural fertilizers. Simply begin to use compost and the organic products available at garden centers. The EPA has determined that compost is able to transmute many harmful chemicals already in the soil. Soil returns to natural health when the microorganisms in the form of compost are added.
Natural fertilizer made at home as compost is nutrient balanced and provides a slow release of microorganisms to garden soil. Compost is easily made from kitchen scraps, yard clippings, paper scraps and dry leaves; along with water and air. Many local recycling programs offer free workshops and compost bins to help the home gardener get started. Garden centers also make specialty organic fertilizers available. There are blends made for vegetables, roses, citrus trees and flowers.