Information on Organic Fertilizer

Overview

Fertilizers condition the soil and build plant hardiness and resistance to drought, pests and disease. They also encourage root growth in seedlings and transplants and promote large blooms and fruits. Organic fertilizers perform these tasks without adding harmful toxins to the environment.

Significance

Natural and organic fertilizers differ from chemical fertilizers in that they build the soil as they feed your plants. Soils with an abundance of organic material remain loose and airy, enabling them to retain greater moisture and nutrients.

Function

Fertilizing organically provides a carbon source for the soil. According to branch manager Rick Geise of Nature Safe Manufacturers, this is the key food for soil microorganisms. "By creating an available carbon source for the soil, the microorganism populations increase, transpiring a fertilizer factory effect." ( Irrigation and Green Magazine, June 2000). .

Identification

Organic fertilizers have three main compounds for promoting healthy plant growth. Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash (N-P-K) work together to create a product that is nutritious for plants and safe for the environment.

Types

Organic fertilizers are made from a huge variety of naturally occurring elements. Bat guano, bone meal and fish meal are some of the most common material used in the mix.

Considerations

Adding organic compost to the soil prior to using organic fertilizers is one of the best ways to improve the health of your plants. Compost may help reduce the amount of fertilizer treatments needed. It will also add nutrients to the soil, improve soil drainage and strengthen your plants' immune systems.

Expert Insight

Testing garden soil with an electronic soil tester can help determine the quality of the soil. With this knowledge you can decide the best fertilizer to meet your plants' needs.

References

  • Clean Air Gardening: Organic Fertalizer Guide
  • Basic Info:Basics of Organic Fertilizers
  • Natural Environmental Systems: Organic Fertilizers

Who Can Help

  • National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
  • Organics: An Alternative to Synthetic Fertilizers
  • Go Organic Gardening
Keywords: organic fertilizers, organic composting, organic nutrients, carbon for the soil

About this Author

Loraine Degraff has been a writer and educator since 1999. She recently began focusing on topics pertaining to health and environmental issues. She is published in "Healthy Life Place" and "Humdinger" and also writes for Suite101. Degraff holds a Master's degree in Communications Design from Pratt Institute.