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5 Organic Fertilizers That Will Make Your Garden Bloom

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Whether traditional or organic, all products labeled as “fertilizer” must be labeled with their content of the three major plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (N-P-K). While the N-P-K percentages of organic fertilizers tend to be lower, since they stay longer in the ground and contribute to soil as well as plant health, organic fertilizers are much more effective and beneficial in the long run. In fact, organic matter has been proven to improve soil structure, moisture retention, drainage, and microbial life. Here are some of the most effective organic fertilizers out there and some tips on the best ways to use them.

  1. Fish and seaweed emulsions: If you need to improve the nutrient base in your soil and give your plants a good feeding, then fish and seaweed emulsions are a great option. Fish and seaweed emulsions have a little bit of everything and thus are ideal for general fertilizing purposes. One benefit of these fertilizers is that their nitrogen is quickly available to plants, making them a perfect pick-me-up for stressed plants. These organic fertilizers come in a liquid form and are mixed with water before being used to water plants, so the nutrients are taken in through the leaves as well as the roots.
  2. Animal-based fertilizers: One of the most popular types of animal-based fertilizers is blood meal, which is one of the richest sources of nitrogen out there. Bonemeal also provides some nitrogen and is a rich source of phosphorous and calcium. When both fertilizers are used in conjunction with the other, they are highly effective in nourishing plants while building a healthy root system.
  3. Plant-based fertilizers: Plant based fertilizers such as alfalfa meal, corn gluten, soybean meal, and cottonseed meal are usually high in nitrogen as sometimes also potassium. Cottonseed meal is considered the second best source of organic nitrogen after blood meal and also works to acidify the soil. Alfalfa meal offers the benefit of encouraging soil microbial activity, which makes nutrients more readily available to sensitive plants like roses.
  4. Compost: Interestingly, compost is by far the most widely used fertilizer and soil amendment used in vegetable gardens today. Not only does compost make an excellent fertilizer, but it’s virtually free: made from yard refuge and vegetable peelings. Compost offers a wide range of benefits to your garden, as it increases beneficial microorganisms, greatly improves soil health, and increases earthworm activity in the soil. In its traditional form, compost is usually worked into the soil before planting and then added as a side dressing after the plants have become established.
  5. Earthworm castings and bat guano: Earthworm castings make a great organic fertilizers for both flowers and edible gardens. Not only do the casting s provide valuable nutrients to the soil, but they also contain beneficial microorganisms from the earthworm’s digestive system that are vital for breaking down organic matter into a form that plant roots can intake. Bat guano is high in phosphorus and thus essential for vegetable plants.

 

Before adding any type of fertilizer or amendment to your garden, it’s recommended that you first do a soil test. This will help ensure that your soil has the right mix and balance of nutrients to maximize plant health.

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