How to Fertilize Vegetable Plants Organically


The demand for organic vegetables has grown in recent years as health concerns over the use of pesticides have increased. Organic vegetables are not only healthier, but taste better and pack more nutrients than their conventional counterparts. Using organic fertilizers keeps you and your family safe from harsh chemicals. They also contain microelements such as manganese in addition to nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. The only downside: Organic fertilizers can be stinky.

Step 1

Apply animal manure before planting. Mix evenly into topsoil 1 pound of manure for each square foot of garden soil. The exact amount of manure may vary depending on the type of animal manure and the current needs of your garden.

Step 2

Spread fresh compost. Decaying grass clippings, newspaper, kitchen scraps, leaves and straw can make healthy organic fertilizer for any garden. Evenly spread up to 2 pounds of compost on each square foot of soil before or after planting.

Step 3

Add natural deposits such as rocks, sands and shells. These can be purchased in powder form from a gardening center. They include rock phosphates, potash and lime that correct imbalances in the soil.

Step 4

Mix bone meal into topsoil. Spread course grade bone meal evenly on top soil for long-lasting fertilization. One-half ounce per square foot is more than enough. Bone meal adds phosphorous and aids in balancing acidic soils.

Step 5

Spread fish emulsion. This is a fast-acting fertilizer that releases nutrients directly to the roots of plants but does not last long. Follow the directions to dilute in water and spread evenly on garden soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your compost is made of mostly woody materials, be sure to mix it with manure or it may deplete the nitrogen in your soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Manure
  • Compost
  • Fish emulsion
  • Water
  • Bone meal


  • The Organic Gardener
  • University of Floridia
  • Fish Emulsion
Keywords: organic vegetables, organic fertilizer, fertilize organically

About this Author

Kelsey Erin Shipman has worked as a travel writer, poet, journalist and award-winning photographer since 2004. She is a featured poet on NYC public radio, is the winner of the San Jacinto & Alethean Literary Societies' Poetry Award, and has authored three collections of poetry including "cold days," "bastante" and "short poems." She earned a B.A. in philosophy from Southwestern University.