Organic Fertilizers

What Are Organic Fertilizers?

Organic products are ideal for your landscape, because they feed the soil, creating a sustaining environment. Healthy soil leads to healthy plants.1 But when you garden organically, you do much more than nourish your plants.

As in nature, an organic soil alive with microbes and fungi releases nutrients slowly to plants. By enriching the soil with organic supplements and encouraging the growth of naturally occurring beneficial organisms, you give your plants the tools they need to access nutrients in the soil and the strength to protect themselves from harmful pathogens and pests. Made from natural sources, organic fertilizers provide garden plants with slow-release, consistent nourishment. Such a “health food" diet makes your plants strong and self-sustaining. Rather than depend on you for feeding them a steady supply of synthetic fertilizers, they find what they need in soil that has been fed with organic fertilizer.

Advantages Of Organic Fertilizers

  • Balances the soil ecosystem.
  • Boosts plant health naturally.
  • They’re all-natural.
  • The process of decomposition requires no chemical intervention.
  • Delivers nutrients in a slow, but sustainable rate.
  • Prevents over-fertilization.
  • Organic fertilizers don’t upset the balance in the soil because they don’t leave behind any artificial compounds.

Methods of application of Organic Fertilizers

Deep Soil Application

Organic manures are sometimes placed on the surface of soil and incorporated into the soil with a plough or rototiller before planting. Fertilizer can also be applied in bands at the bottom of plough furrows or broadcast or spread on top of ploughed soil that is then worked into the soil with a harrow before planting.

Broadcasting

You can use a walk-behind drop spreader or hand-held spreader with a crank to scatter granular or bulk fertilizer on the ground. This method, called broadcasting, is good for flowerbeds, lawns, trees and vegetable gardens. Fertilizer may be broadcast on of the ground before planting and then tilled or watered into the soil. If it is broadcast on growing plants and watered into the soil, it is called topdressing.

Banding

To fertilize a row of flowers or vegetables or to get plants started, place the fertilizer 2 inches to the side and 2 inches deeper than the seed furrow. This is called banding. When you irrigate with furrows, place the band of fertilizer between the irrigation furrow and the seed furrow. Place bands of fertilizer on each side of the furrow. When you irrigate with a drip hose, place the fertilizer under the emitter. You can also place the fertilizer on one side of a seedling or on one side of a plant mid-way through its growing period. This is called side dressing.

Liquid Application

Water-soluble fertilizer can be applied with spray cans or applied with sprinklers or furrow irrigation. Small amounts of liquid fertilizer applied to young vegetable plants at the time of transplanting is called a starter solution. Some plants require micronutrients such as zinc and iron that they cannot get through the soil, but their leaves can absorb them. Water-soluble fertilizer is usually sprayed on leaves when they first show signs of nutrient deficiency and in periods of drought when the soil is to dry to absorb the nutrients.