If you’re looking for a fertilizer that maximizes your edible garden’s nutritional content, without the worry of harsh chemicals and synthesizers found in traditional fertilizers, perhaps making your own organic blend is a logical next step. Similar to cooking, controlling the ingredients in your own natural fertilizer can be a healthier and safer alternative to what we see packaged in stores. Initially, a DIY fertilizer may remind you of a high school chemistry class, and seem somewhat daunting. Yet, a little motivation to get you started (from us) and some further research (from you) has the potential to turn even a neophyte gardener into a fertilizer-blending dynamo! To get you started…
The Commercial Fertilizer Dilemma: Common chemical fertilizers like Ammonium Sulphate, Potassium Chloride, and Potash are non-synthetic (and not harmful to health), and directly supply the amount of Nitrogen and Potassium needed for plant vitality. However, these fertilizers purchased at your local gardening store are not only costly, but can eventually damage the soil’s physical, biological and chemical structure. Studies have shown that consistent and long-term use of chemical fertilizers change the soil’s alkalinity, salinity and sodium levels, while eventually depleting your plant’s root systems of oxygen. While synthetic fertilizers have the potential to infiltrate food and ultimately harm our health.
Furthermore, from an environmental perspective, chemical and synthetic fertilizers pose a real threat to the Mama Earth. There is growing concern that chemicals found in fertilizers coupled with excess run-off continues to damage natural eco-systems, lakes, rivers and oceans. It has become increasingly clear that long-term use has consequences not only for our home gardens, but on a larger scale as well.
A Few Rules Of Thumb: Before you begin, it is important to consider which blends will work best for your plants, and what is locally available to purchase. Many ingredients can be found at your local gardening center, and some may have to be purchased online. With a little research, you’ll become more familiar with both of these concepts. Also, keep in mind that a good fertilizer may only need to be applied once a year, ideally before you plant your first Spring crop. Generally, blending the fertilizer in with the soil before you plant works well. Therefore, be sure to mix the right amount for your own garden’s needs, and store the rest in an airtight container.
Ingredients To Consider:
*Seed meals are byproducts of vegetable oil and animal feeds. They contain highly nutritious seeds like flaxseeds, soybeans, cotton seeds and sunflower seeds. They are prized for their high Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium content.
*Heavy Nitrogen blends have natural amino acids and can yield vibrantly large vegetables, as Nitrogen is wonderful for the growth process.
*Adding ocean products like Kelp Meal can be quite beneficial for heavy feeders like squash, tomatoes, corn, broccoli and cabbage.
*Using rock phosphate has high doses of Phosphorous, which will provide vigorous growth for edible plants and flowers.
*Gypsum is a wonderful source for Calcium, and will not raise the soil’s Ph levels.
*Dolomite has a neutral Ph, and is a prized source of Calcium and Magnesium.
*Rock dusts are blends of several different types of rocks, and can revitalize over worked soil.
*Green Sand is harvested from the ocean, and is a natural source of Iron, Magnesium, Silica and minerals.
*Adding Lime with its Calcium and Magnesium will add strength to your garden. It can also raise Ph levels in the soil if needed.
Sample Fertilizer Recipe (1:5:2)
4 parts seed meal
2 parts Gypsum
1 part Rock Phosphate
1 part Green Sand
1 part Dolomite Lime
Method: Mix all ingredients well.
Would you consider making your own organic fertilizer? What is your favorite blend?