Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plant growth, can be found in several organic forms. You can find plenty of natural options at a garden center or feed store; in many cases, you can find them in your own backyard.
Horse and cow manure make excellent sources of organic nitrogen and are frequently sold in bagged form. Smaller animals, like chickens, turkeys, rabbits, worms and even crickets, also contribute useful fertilizer.
Several of the "meals"---blood, soybean and alfalfa---contain high amounts of nitrogen. Other good sources include feather, hoof and cotton-seed meal.
Freshly mowed grass makes an excellent source of nitrogen that can do double duty as mulch. Weeds and plant clippings, which have not yet gone to seed, also add nitrogen.
Fish emulsion and kelp emulsion contain high amounts of all-natural fertilizer high in nitrogen.
Slow Release vs. Fast Release
In general, solid nitrogen sources such as manure and soybean meal are slow-release fertilizers. They can be added to the soil at planting time or during the growing season to provide a slow, steady release of nitrogen. For drooping, stressed plants that need fast nutrition, watering the plants' leaves with liquid fish or kelp emulsion is akin to a fast vitamin shot. Manure and compost can be made into a kind of "tea" for a similar quick-release effect.
- University of Georgia Cooperative Extension
- The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand
organic nitrogen, all-natural fertilizer, manure nitrogen, compost tea
About this Author
Melissa Jordan-Reilly has been a writer for 20 years, both as a newspaper reporter and as an editor of nonprofit newsletters. Among the publications in which she has published are, "The Winsted Journal," "Taconic" and "Compass Magazine." A graduate of the University of Connecticut, Jordan-Reilly also pursues sustainable agriculture techniques and tends a market garden at her Northwestern Connecticut home.