How to Choose a Safe, Earth-friendly Garden Fertilizer
May 16, 2016 13 Comments
This is a guest post by Josefine Schaefer of Fertiplus, a Dutch company manufacturing organic fertilizers. Although I have not used their products myself, I support the idea of non-toxic fertilizers made from natural materials. This is not a paid advertisement, and the article also includes advice on making your own organic fertilizers. Fertiplus products are available through their website and can be ordered by email or telephone.
Facing the variety of options available in the fertilizers section, it is definitely not easy to make the right choice. There are mineral fertilizers, liquid fertilizers, and organic fertilizers. The organic type are increasing in popularity, with good reason: Fertilizers based on natural resources are a healthy alternative to chemical fertilizers, improve the soil’s structure, and do not disrupt the natural mineral and trace element content, moisture, and density.
What are Organic Fertilizers?
As the name suggests, organic fertilizers are natural products that are generated from natural resources, such as chicken manure or compost. Due to the fact that it can be a little tricky to estimate the exact nutrient ratio, organic fertilizers are sometimes also sold as “soil improvers”. This might be one of the reasons why some still shy away from organic fertilizers; however, the lower or varying dosage is not a downside: Because organic fertilizers have a lower proportion of minerals, they are easier to apply, and the risk of over-fertilizing and harming the soil is much lower.
The activation of mineralization largely depends on weather and temperature changes. This is a reason why results might not be visible immediately but will be more effective and natural in the long run: The organic fertilizer components are activated when the temperature rises, and they slowly but steadily release the nutrients over a much longer period of time.
Patience will be rewarded.
These drawbacks aside, there are a lot of good reasons why an increasing number of gardeners and farmers opt for organic instead of mineral fertilizers. Organic products are environmentally friendly and sustainable, plants grown on organic soils do not contain traces of poisonous pesticides, and the quality of the crop increases as well.
Many assume that organic alternatives are a lot more expensive and time-consuming than mineral fertilizers. But with the increasing demand for natural products, the market is constantly expanding, so gardening enthusiasts do not have to sell their last shirt in order to be able to afford organic fertilizers.
It gets even more organic…
If you are not interested in buying ready-to-use off-the-shelf products, there are also a lot of organic fertilizers that you can easily make yourself. Many of the leftovers that would otherwise go to waste contain useful nutrients that make great DIY fertilizers that will gently help your plants and soil: Banana peels or dried coffee grounds, for example, contain a lot of nutrients that are ideal for roses; aquarium water has a high mineral level and can be used for watering plants; eggshells are full of trace elements, nitrogen, and calcium, which makes them a great soil improver, as well.