Gardeners have a choice between using a synthetic fertilizer and an organic fertilizer. Typically, an organic fertilizer is made of decaying plant material or natural waste materials, which can provide a safer fertilizer than synthetics. It may also be cheaper and some gardeners may be able to produce their own. If you decide to buy your own natural fertilizers, they are often available wherever garden supplies are sold.
Though synthetic fertilizers are often very good at promoting certain types of plant life, they may not be the best choice for use around the home. If an animal or child gets hold of a synthetic fertilizer, serious consequences could result, up to and including poisoning. This could prove to be fatal or very debilitating to the victim, leading to lifetime disability.
Though there is a chance a person could experience various adverse health effects from organic fertilizers, this is usually less of a concern. Due to the fact that organic fertilizers have no synthetic chemical component, the problem often shifts from a poisoning concern to a bacteria or pest concern. Still, such concerns are not as great of a danger as poisons. No fertilizer can be completely innocuous.
One of the key benefits of organic fertilizer is its availability, especially through compost material. Those who choose this route may find they have a constant supply of organic fertilizer by using decaying grass or other plant matter, wood shavings and even table scraps. Cities may even use sludge from a sewer treatment plant to create a constant and cheap source of organic fertilizer. New fertilizer is usually available monthly.
Organic fertilizers may be available through local stores as well. The cost of these fertilizers should be comparable to the cost of synthetics. Whether the product is an organic fertilizer or not is often clearly marked on the bag. Further, the availability of commercial organic fertilizers should also be on par with synthetics. Still, the main advantage in this case is making your own organic fertilizer through compost.
Synthetic fertilizers are often designed with the intention of being released over time. Therefore, a natural resistance to being broken down exists. In this situation, not only can synthetic fertilizers enter natural ecosystems, they can tip the balance by providing nutrients that were never supposed to be provided at such levels for such a long period of time. These fertilizers often promote rapid plant growth, but when those plants die, they decompose, taking valuable oxygen, which leads to dead zones.
Organic fertilizers may contribute to some of the problem, but they tend to break down much quicker in nature. For this reason, the environmental problems with organic fertilizers are not as prevalent or substantial. Still, all fertilizer products should be used in a responsible manner.