Organic Fertilizer Facts

Organic Fertilizer Facts image by Microsoft Office Clip Art
Organic Fertilizer Facts image by Microsoft Office Clip Art


Organic produce is popular in the market but there are few standards to define what "organic" actually means. One of the components of produce is the nutrient mixture called fertilizer that is added to growing plants.

Fish provide many minerals to organic fertilizers


Organic fertilizer is a soil amendment made from animal or plant materials. Its primary function is to provide nitrogen to growing plants.

Bone meal added to fertilizer provides phosphate, calcium and magnesium


Organic fertilizers' slow-release of nutrients, leads to more efficient use. Proper application can also lead to less fertilizer run-off into local waterways and point pollution of water tables.

Manure from farm animals, poultry--even bat "guano" is used as fertilizer base


Animal manure and plant by-products comprise the bulk of organic fertilizers. Most are composted and dried before use. Application is made in dry or liquid form.

Soybeans, often used as "cover" crops, make "green fertilizer" when plowed under


Some prepared organic fertilizers are applied before seeding and some during plant growth. "Green manure" consists of cover crops or weeds repeatedly plowed under. This practice, called stale seedbed cultivation, provides nitrogen and controls the growth of weeds.

Peanut meal provides a complete range of nutrients


Organic nutrients are part of the practice of sustainable agriculture, the objective of which is to grow crops without the need for chemical controls. Inter-planting and use of disease-resistant and native varieties are companion strategies.

Organics sometimes need to be supplemented with synthetic nutrients


Not all organic fertilizers are completely natural; many contain synthetic or chemical ingredients approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Use of organic fertilizers must be designed to meet the needs of a specific soil; soil tests are recommended before use.


  • Organic Vegetable Gardening Techniques
  • Organic Dairy Manure
  • OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms

Who Can Help

  • Organic and Chemical Fertilizer Contents
  • The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances
Keywords: organic, fertilizer, plants, food, nutrient

About this Author

Laura Reynolds began writing professionally in 1974. She has worked as author and editor in nonfiction, professional journals and newspapers. Reynolds has also served in numerous appointed and elected local offices. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Northern Illinois University.

Photo by: Microsoft Office Clip Art