Organic Fertilizers and Plant Foods

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Many gardeners choose to improve their plants’ nutrition by using fertilizers.  However, if you’re going the organic route, many conventional fertilizers are a poor choice.  Many of these chemicals can have a negative effect on the world around us, as well as our health and that of our pets and loved one.  The good news is that you don’t have to give up fertilizing your garden just because you want to avoid chemicals.  There are plenty of organic choices available.  Here are a few, and how to use them to keep your garden healthy.

Compost - This is one of the best and easiest ways to improve plant health.  The use of compost can reduce the amount of fertilizer you need, and it’ll help you get rid of garden and kitchen waste.  If you’re not already composting, now’s the time to start.  Adding compost to the soil in your garden improves drainage, adds nutrients, and helps the plants immune systems thrive.

Bat Guano - An efficient and effective natural fertilizer, bat guano has been used for hundreds of years.  This natural product is high in phosphorus and other vital nutrients that your plants need.  However, the harvesting of natural bat guano can disturb bat colonies, causing them to starve to death.  Look for bat guano that’s been harvested in a sustainable way, and which is certified by a bat friendly organization.

Fish Meal - Another great natural fertilizer is fish meal.  It’s a fast working source or organic nitrogen and phosphorus, and contains important trace elements that can really help your garden.  Ethical vegetarians and other people opposed to fishing may object to the use of fish meal, however.

Kelp Meal - This fertilizer is produced from dried, ground brown seaweed, harvested from colder regions of the ocean.  It makes an excellent organic fertilizer, and helps your plants maintain a high level of essential minerals.  It also works as a soil conditioner.  Kelp meal is excellent for releasing nutrients slowly and in a sustained manner, and comes from renewable plant sources.

Manure - Another old traditional organic fertilizer, the manure from large herbivorous animals like horses, cows, and sheep, is good for your garden.  Manures should be old (composted), since fresh manure can damage your plants.  This substance is often inexpensive, and can even be free from the right source.  In no till gardens, it can be applied right on top of the soil.  In ordinary gardens, till manure into the soil before planting, the same way you’d use compost.

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