Best organic gardening fertilizer

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In the recent past, veganism and organic living have become the new normal here in the US and around the globe. Everyone strives at purchasing and consuming organic fruits and vegetables. Along with purchasing most people have also started growing their vegetables. Let us check the best organic gardening fertilizer to use while organic gardening.

best organic gardening fertilizer
best organic gardening fertilizer

So, what is organic gardening and how is it done? This blog will take you through organic gardening and all you need to know about it. It focuses on the fertilizers to use for organic gardens and how to care for plants.

What is meant by organic gardening?

Before checking out the best organic gardening fertilizer, let us check out the what is an organic garden.

Organic lifestyle, organic this and organic that – we are bombarded by these terms’ day in and day out. But what does it mean to be organic while gardening?

In a broader sense, organic gardening is the one where the use of synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, and compost is avoided. Gardeners prefer to use more natural ingredients to increase the nutritive value of the soil and at the same time preserving the ecosystem. Right from fertilizers to use while organic gardening, to insecticides and pesticides, organic farmers try hard not to alter the natural components of the soil and leave helpful microbes and insects unharmed.

When synthetic fertilizers are added to the soil, they tend to shock the natural components and leave the soil temporarily rich in nutrients but in the long run, ruins its quality. As the soil is the backbone of a garden so to say, the foundation of a garden lies in the quality of the soil the plants are in. Hence to have a healthy garden it is important to have a soil of high-grade.

Maintaining the quality of the soil is easier as compared to pest control as this is something most gardeners need to do regularly to safeguard their crop. But while gardening organically gardeners use more nature-friendly techniques for example instead of spraying insecticides over the entire garden drenching plants and the soil with chemicals they opt for a more natural solution.

Like the worms infesting a cabbage crop can be controlled by getting rid of the affected leaves or the worms off a few plants can be washed away using a gardening hose. These solutions are more hands-on and require more attention and early detection.

Apart from the solutions mentioned above gardeners also choose organic pest control solutions that can be made at home or found at garden centers. These are effective on most insects and do not harm the plants and the soil but unlike synthetic variants these trends to break down easily and require frequent reapplication.

In a nutshell, organic gardening is a more natural way to grow and protect your greens without harming the ecosystem. This being said what are the benefits of organic gardening? 

Benefits of organic gardening on health

There has been a lot of hue and cry about chemical fertilizers ruining the lives of American families and how our children need to eat organic. It’s all over the media and a lot of research costing millions of dollars have gone into proving and listing out the harmful effects of chemically fertilized food.

Research done in this field has stated that synthetic fertilizers have a detrimental effect on our health. There is enough proof that neurological disorders, childhood leukaemia, lymphoma, Parkinson’s disease and few others are common in those exposed to chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This is the major reason why one should switch to organic foods and better so grow necessary vegetables at home using organic farming methods.

Foods grown organically, on the other hand, are known to have far more vitamins, minerals and overall nutrients to build immunities and protect you from chronic illnesses.

So, the bottom line is that the time to switch is now. Here is how you can start organic gardening and the fertilizers to use while organic gardening.

How to start organic gardening ?

Now that we have coved the reasons why organically grown foods are better let’s see how you can start an organic garden in the space that you have. May it be a balcony garden or in your backyard, you can start an organic garden anywhere. Here are steps by which you can start an organic garden.

Step 1

Getting started is simple. All you need are a few tools and space when you would like to start. Tools can be bought as your garden grows but, in the beginning, it is important to have a clipper to prune your plants, if you are working in outdoors you will need digging tools to easy the process. If you are working indoors you will need to invest in planters or pots. A pair of gloves and a watering can.

Tip: instead of purchasing a watering can you can upscale jugs or bottles.

Step 2

Organic gardening focuses on eating healthy and keeping the environment safe. Hence, it is important to keep the soil you are planting it safe. Chemical fertilizers not only seep into the vegetables you grow but also harms useful bacteria, microbes, and worms in the soil.

You can start by testing the soil to check its quality and then decide what needs to be added. These tests can be purchased on amazon for $11 – $35. If you decide to skip the testing part, you can always add a lot of humus (this is the organic matter available and not the famous dip)

Step 3

There are many benefits of compost it acts as plant food, helps conserve water, and keeps away weeds. This black gold can be prepared in your garden free of cost here is how

  1. If you are planning to start an organic garden outdoors dig a pit that’s about three feet deep. If you are planning an organic garden at home a planter works just fine.
  2. Once you have the pit or planter ready start piling it with kitchen waste, weeds and dry leaves the trick is to get layers of carbon (garden waste leaves and trimmings) and nitrogen (kitchen waste)
  3. Top the pile off with soil
  4. Turn the pile as layers are added
  5. Water it moderately to promote bacterial growth

Tip: Good compost will not smell.

In about 2 months you will have compost ready to use.

The USDA has specified hardiness zones and getting a proper idea of your zone is important to choose plants. This will help reduce stress about plants not growing well. saplings can be purchased from local farmer stores or off the internet. Seeds and saplings bought off the internet are available in combination with others of the same type – this will help save money and time.

After the soil and location is ready you can plant the crops. Be sure to water them regularly and in a few months, you will be able to harvest organic vegetables from your very own garden. During the growing process, it is important to feed the plants well and hence it is knowledge about Fertilizers to use while organic gardening becomes essential.

If you are wondering there are two types of fertilizers chemical or synthetic fertilizers and organic fertilizers.

What is the difference between chemical fertilizers and organic fertilizers?

I know you are wondering the best organic gardening fertilizer, let us check what is the difference between chemical fertilizers and organic fertilizers?

The key difference between chemical fertilizers and organic fertilizers is the composition. Organic fertilizers, unlike their synthetic counterparts, typically use single ingredients to match the specific requirements of the soil they are added to. These come from plant, animal, and mineral sources depending on the composition required. Chemical fertilizers have a broader spectrum of nutrients and are made to infuse a large number of components in a single go. 

Like chemical fertilizers, organic fertilizers are not instant fixed and you need to let them it in the soil for a bit and let the organisms work on the content to actually see a difference. To grow well plants, require Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in large quantities. These are also known as primary nutrients.

Most chemical fertilizers provide these when added to the soil but also harm the microbes present. Organic fertilizers provide these in a low to moderate quantity per application but work in tandem with microbes and other living beings in the soil.

There are often questions asked about the components of fertilizers to use while organic gardening.

What are the components of organic fertilizer?

Organic fertilizers are formulated from minerals found in mined rocks and natural animal and plant materials. They include dried and powdered blood of slaughtered animals, guano, manure, bones ground, crushed shells or powdered fish, phosphate rock, and wood.

Synthetic fertilizers may most often have the same ingredients but they also have a number of chemicals added. These chemicals make them work faster at fertilizing the soil but are detrimental to the overall health of the soil.

Organic fertilizers on the other hand feed the plants without hampering soil health. They act as conditioners to the soil they are added to.

What are the different types of organic fertilizers?

Organic fertilisers come in different variants to choose from. Different types of fertilizers add specific nutrients or minerals to the soil. this way they can treat a specific deficiency. The type of organic fertilizers required depends on the type of soil (there are home testing kits available over the internet) and the vegetables you are planning to grow. 

Organic fertilizers are broadly divided into 3 categories: Plant-based Ones, those that are animal-based and those that are mineral-based. There are also combinations available depending on the nutritive value of the soil. 

These fertilizers are available in powder, liquid or solid form which can be easily added to the soil. 

So here is all you need to know about fertilizers to use while organic gardening.  

Plant-based Fertilizers

Now, let us check the best organic gardening fertilizer for plants.

Of all the three types plant-based fertilizers are faster at breaking down when added to the soil. more than fertilizing the soil these are known to condition and better the soil quality. The most common plant-based fertilizer contains the following: 

Alfalfa meal

This is a component derived from the Alfalfa plant and compressed into pallets. This product

adds 2 per cent each of nitrogen and potassium to the soil it is added to. Apart from these it also adds trace minerals and growth stimulants. 

Tip: add compost to the mix to speed up the decomposition and activation process

Cottonseed meal

Cottonseed meal is a granular fertilizer that is derived from the seeds of the cotton plant. It supplies about 6 per cent nitrogen and 1.5 per cent potassium to the soil it is added to. 

Tip: fertilizers made from organic cotton is better as the cotton crop is normally sprayed with pesticides which tend to remain on the seeds and penetrate the oil.  

Corn gluten meal

Corn gluten meal is found in the powdered form and contains about 10 per cent nitrogen. This fertilizer needs to be added while to plant is growing as adding it to the soil while sowing the seeds will hamper its growth. 

Tip: Use this fertilizer 3 to 4 months after seeds are planted. 

Soybean meal

These fertilizers are available in pallet form and have about 7 per cent nitrogen to 2 per cent phosphorous. 

Seaweed or Kelp

These fertilizers come in liquid form as well as in pallets. They contain only a minimal amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium but add value to the soil by infusing growth hormones, micronutrients and vitamins. When added to the soil it helps increase yield it also increases plant tolerance and immunity. 

Apart from these most fertilizers recommended using while organic gardening also contains

Molasses, Green manure cover crops, Legume cover crops, and compost tea.

Animal-based Fertilizers

Animals, birds and fish provide organic fertilizers that are rich in all the primary nutrients. These fertilizers have proven to be good for leafy vegetables and promote growth, especially in the early weeks. The most common animal-based fertilizers contain the following

Manures

Animals provide manure which is commonly used as fertilizers. These do not have a high nutritive value but act as a conditioner to the soil. 

Tip: Do not use fresh manure as it may cause harm to the roots. Use manure which is composted. 

Bat or sea bird guano

Guano is basically the droppings of bats and seabirds. These come in the form of pellets or powder and can be added to the soil as they contain about 10 to 12 per cent nitrogen. 

Blood meal 

Yes, you read it right! Blood meal is actually made using the blood of slaughtered animals. It contains about 14 to 15 per cent nitrogen and many other nutrients that aid in the growth of vegetables. 

Bone meal

Like blood meal, bone meal is made from the bones of animals or fish. It contains about 10 to 11 per cent phosphorous, 2 per cent nitrogen and 22 per cent calcium. it also contains several micronutrients that are beneficial for plants. It is available in the powdered form and used for root crops and bulbs. 

Fish products

As compared to other animals’ fish and fish products make excellent fertilizers. These are available in many forms. 

Fish emulsion derived from remains of fish (fermented). This type is available in liquid form and is complete 5-2-2 fertilizer. It has a fishy smell but works wonders on the soil. 

Hydrolyzed fish powder which has a high nitrogen value of around 12 per cent. It is generally mixed in water and sprayed on plants. 

Fish meal which is applied to the soil and is high in nitrogen and phosphorous. 

Apart from these animal-based fertilizers that contain crab meal, dried whey, leather meal, feather meal and earthworm casting. 

Mineral-based fertilizers

Mineral-based fertilizers are used to increase the mineral content of the soil in terms of specific deficiencies. They are also used to balance the PH level of the soil which is integral to proper plant growth. 

Calcium

Calcium is not only necessary for proper growth and development in humans it is also necessary for the growth of plants. This can be added to the soil by crushing eggs shells and adding them to the soil or in the liquid form. 

Magnesium and sulphur

Epsom salt is rich in magnesium and sulphur which is good for plants. This is available in powder form and can be added to the soil directly. 

These are the fertilizers to use while organic gardening but how do you buy them?

These can be used directly by procuring raw ingredients or by buying ones that are pre-mixed and commercially sold. Either wat it depends on the needs of the soil and the crop to be planted.

This being said when getting organic fertilizers commercially here is what you need to look for,

What should you look for on organic fertilizer labels? 

While buying organic fertilizers it is important to check the label. Most labels will read “made with organic materials”, but to your surprise, this may not be the case. To be sure you are buying the right product look for labels that say – “Slow-release”, “Natural organic”, “Low analysis”.

Tip: You also need to look for labels whose Nitrogen -Phosphorous -Potassium (N-P-K) values add up to 15 or more.

There are often questions asked about the components of fertilizers to use while organic gardening.

On labels, we also come across a number of symbols and value percentages. Here is what they mean and what you need to look for

What do the numbers on labels of organic fertilizers mean?

All over the globe and particularly in the US labels of organic fertilizers need to be marked with the names of as well as the percentage of concentration of nutrients. Most organic fertilizers have a combination of the three main components Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). the numbers indicate the percentage of these components. 

For example, if the label reads 6-10-0 it means that the fertilizer has 6% Nitrogen 10% Phosphorous and 0% Potassium. 

Tip: Before investing in fertilizers your soil tested to be sure of the number of nutrients it requires. This will reduce the risk of overfeeding. 

After looking at the label for the ingredients and the composition it is important to pay attention to the form of fertilizers to use while organic gardening. Which basically means you need to know if the fertilizer is liquid, pallets or powdered. 

What are the different forms of organic fertilizers? 

Generally speaking, organic fertilizers are available in dry and liquid forms. The primary difference between them is the dry fertilizers are slower to release as compare to their liquid counterpart. They are good for general plant maintenance and to add nutrients to the soil over a long period. 

Liquid fertilizers, on the other hand, are better for plants that need the nutritive boost right away. In summers when the plants are felling low and worn out and there is hardly life in them, you can put in a little liquid fertilizer to give them a nutritive and energy boost to last through the season.

Here are recommended organic fertilizers that gardeners swear by,

Best organic gardening fertilizer

There are several brands available in the market when it comes to fertilizers to use while organic gardening. Most of them are a combination of ingredients and are in different forms. Here is a list of 5 common organic fertilizers along with the pros and cons of using them.

Below are the best organic gardening fertilizer you can use in the organic garden.

Neptune’s Harvest Organic Hydrolized Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer

Neptune’s Harvest is available in almost all localities and off Amazon and eBay. This fertilizer combines fish and seaweed in a liquid easy to use form. Both ingredients are known to promote plant growth. They help plants become more weather resistant. Fruits that are grown using this combination are known to have a better shelf life. 

How to use

Dilute the product in water and use it to water plants. It can also be sprayed on the foliage. 

Pros

  • As it is a liquid fertilizer you can use it easily as compared to dry ones. 
  • Flowers and some vegetables love this fertilizer 

Cons

  • This combination is a hit and miss as some plants are not a fan of it
  • If not mixed properly it can get smelly 
  • Dogs and cats love the smell and you can have trouble keeping them away from your plants.

Fox Farm FX14049 Liquid Nutrient Trio Soil Formula

The Fox Farm fertilizer is a three-part formula to be used at different stages of plant growth. It comes in a combo pack with three bottles – the first is Grow Big Hydro a foliage growth stimulant, the second is Tiger Bloom when flowers and bloom start to appear and third, is Big Bloom that can be used through the growing cycle to strengthen roots.  

Pros

  • A three in one solution where you do not need to hunt for other products 
  • Easy to use liquid formula 
  • Comes with a detailed feeding schedule and guide to help you through the process

Cons

  • It can raise the PH of the soil – periodic tests will be required to keep the PH in check. 
  • The initial investment is high 
  • You cannot choose different bottle sizes 

Unco Industries Worm Castings Organic Fertilizer

This is among the finest fertilizers available in the market as it helps condition the soil, break down nutrients and also redeposit beneficial microbes. Worm Casting will attract more worms in your garden as the quality of soil improves. It is quick as well as long term feeding and conditioning option for your garden. All this without affecting the PH

 Pros

  • A cost-effective way to nourish your garden
  • Good for almost all types of plants 
  • Quick as well as long term feeding 
  • Non-toxic and odor-free formula
  • Excellent for most vegetables and flowers

Cons 

  • This product has a shelf life 

Humboldts Secret Golden Tree: Best Plant Food for Plants & Trees

The Humboldts Secret Golden Tree is a professional quality fertilizer that works on most plant variants. It works as an all-round plant food where it strengthens roots, improves photosynthesis, and also promotes growth. 

Pros

  • Cost-effective as a 2-ounce bottle makes about 28-gallons fertilizer. 
  • Easy to store
  • Suitable for almost all plant variant

Cons

  • May cause fertilizer burn so a patch test is necessary 

Jobe’s Organics Vegetable & Tomato Fertilizer Spikes

This is the most common brand among millennials as it is the easiest to use. Jobe’s Fertilizers come in the form of spikes that need to be buried in the ground near plant roots. Plants take in the nutrients when required.

Pros 

  • Active ingredients make it a fast-acting fertilizer
  • Easy to use and store 
  • OMRI Listed 

Cons

  • Animals love to dig these up and hence barricading the plants will become necessary.
  • If you have a large garden it can get expensive.

Apart from these there are fertilizers that are made for vegetable cultivation and benefit veggies more than other plants. Here are a few that we recommend.

What are the best organic fertilizers for vegetables?

If you are planning to grow vegetables in your garden either indoors or outdoors here are the fertilizers to use while organic gardening. 

Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Tomato Plant Food

Miricle-Gro is a well-known brand among organic gardeners. This is the best tomato plant food available but can also be used to feed other vegetables. This fertilizer can be used for seedlings and container plants as well. the NPK value of this fertilizer is 18-18-21 and a scoop full is more than enough for one application making this a one-time long-lasting buy. 

This fertilizer is plant friendly and will not cause fertilizer burns even if it is used directly. It is fast-acting and will help vegetable grow bigger. 

Tip: Feed your vegetables once in one to two weeks for best results. 

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Flower & Vegetable

This is one of the best slow-release fertilizers available for organic gardeners. It is specially formulated for vegetables and perennials. The best part about this fertilizer is that one application can last for about four months, which makes it time-consuming in terms of application as well as cost-effective. 

It comes in an eight-pound bag which can last the entire growing season and more. This fertilizer works in a way as to strengthen the roots of the plant and promote growth. To apply all you need to do it sprinkle the fertilizer onto the soil and mix it with the top few inches and water regularly. 

JR Peters Jacks Classic All Purpose Fertilizer

The JP Peters Fertilizer is an all-purpose fertilizer that works from the roots to the leaves making it an excellent choice for vegetables. The composition is 20 – 20 – 20 NPK and comes in a 1.5-gallon reusable tub. 

This fertilizer goes on for a long time as u need to mix a teaspoon of fertilizer to 1 gallon of water for outdoor application. 

These are the most commonly used fertilizers for organic vegetable gardens, this in combination with compost will work wonders for your plants. There are newer brands that come up with fertilizers with different ingredients it is advisable to use them only after carefully reading the label and conducting a patch test.

How often should you fertilize a vegetable garden?

Sometimes we are not sure about how much is too much here are a few tips that will help understand how much fertilizers need to be added to the soil. 

The amount of fertilizers and the frequency depends on two major factors on the quality of your soil and two the number of plants you are planning to grow. 

If you are planning to grow seasonal plants it is advisable to use a slow-release fertilizer after harvesting and before planting the next crop. This will help restore the nutrients lost and help the soil recover. Work the fertilizer into the top layer of the soil. and let it work through winter. 

In spring add fertilizers at the beginning of the season, this can be skipped if the soil was already fertilized during winter. But it’s always a good idea to test the soil before adding fertilizers.

The number of fertilizers to be added in summer depends on the type of vegetables you are planning to grow. Pay attention to the climate if it is hot and dry your garden will require additional attention. 

Caution: be careful not to over-fertilize as this may kill plants. 

With all these questions about organic fertilizers and their components, there are speculations if all fertilizers can be used the same way.

Can all fertilizers be used the same way?

The answer to this is no 

All organic fertilizers need to be used differently. There are instructions about their use on the packet and it is important to follow them. Along with instructions on how to use the fertilizers there are details about when these fertilizers need to be used.

For example, some fertilizers act as conditioners and need to be added before seeds are sown. On the other hand, some variants are not good during the initial days or months of the plant. These things need to be considered before fertilizers are used while organic gardening. 

Can too much manure kill plants?

As discussed earlier Yes, too much manure can kill plants.

Finally, there comes a point when we wonder if fertilizers like other things available can be mixed to better the effect.

Can you mix organic and chemical fertilizers?

This blog has presented details about the components of both organic as well as chemical fertilizers. this being said there are a number of brands that use organic components to make fertilizers seem as thought the fertilizers available commercially have only natural and organic materials.

The entire reason gardeners choose the organic route is to protect the ecosystem and help live cleaner in terms of what they consume. When chemical fertilizers are mixed with organic ones it goes against this basic principle.

Hence mixing organic and synthetic fertilizers is not a good option.

With all these questions about organic fertilizers and their components there are speculations if all fertilizers can be used the same way.

Can all fertilizers be used the same way?

The answer to this is no

All organic fertilizers need to be used differently. There are instructions about their use on the packet and it is important to follow them. Along with instructions on how to use the fertilizers there are details about when these fertilizers need to be used.

For example, some fertilizers act as conditioners and need to be added before seeds are sown. On the other hand, some variants are not good during the initial days or months of the plant. These things need to be considered before fertilizers are used while organic gardening.

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In conclusion

This blog has presented details about the components of both organic as well as chemical fertilizers. This being said several brands use organic components to make fertilizers seem as though they are organic by adding a few well-known organic ingredients.

The bottom line is that it is ideal for gardeners to use organic fertilizers while gardening as it not only ensures a healthy and better crop but also keeps the soil and the microbes there is healthy. I hope you got an idea of organic gardening fertilizers, fertilizers to use while organic gardening, use the best fertilizers for organic garden.

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