Why donĀ“t you choose an Organic Fertilizer?

Fertilizers typically provide, in varying proportions, the three major plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), the secondary plant nutrients (calcium,sulfur,magnesium), and sometimes trace elements (or micronutrients) with a role in plant nutrition: boron,chlorine,manganeso,iron,zinc ,etc).
In the past, both organic and inorganic fertilizers were called “manures” derived from the French expression for manual tillage, but this term is now mostly restricted to organic manure.

Advantage

  1. The possibility of “burning” plants with the concentrated chemicals (i.e. an over supply of some nutrients),
  2. the progressive decrease of real or perceived “soil health”, apparent in loss of structure, reduced ability to absorb precipitation, lightening of soil color,
  3. the necessity of reapplying artificial fertilizers regularly (and perhaps in increasing quantities) to maintain fertility,
  4. the cost (substantial and rising in recent years) and resulting lack of independence.

Disadvantages:

  1. As, typically, a dilute source of nutrients when compared to inorganic fertilizers, applying significant amounts of nutrients in a distant location from the source would incur increased costs for transportation,
  2. the composition of organic fertilizers tends to be more complex and variable than a standardized inorganic product,
  3. improperly-processed organic fertilizers may contain pathogens from plant or animal matter that are harmful to humans or plants. However, proper composting should remove them.

In non organic farming- a compromise between the use of artificial and organic fertilizers is common, often using inorganic fertilizers supplemented with the application of organics that are readily available such as the return of crop residues or the application of manure.

Organic Fertilizers vs Pesticides

Organic fertilizers are more complex chemical substances that take time to be broken down into forms usable by plants. They are slow-release type fertilizers, compared to the quick-release characteristics of most inorganic fertilizers. It is important to apply these organic fertilizers well before periods of rapid plant growth. Organic fertilizers usually have a low salt index, so larger amounts can be applied at one time without causing injury to plant roots. With organic nitrogen sources (except urea), one application can be made without having to be concerned about losing most of the nitrogen to leaching. However, even organic fertilizers applied at excessive rates can cause environmental degradation due to nitrate leaching or runoff of soluble organic compounds. The cost of organic fertilizers at garden centers on a per pound of nutrient basis is usually higher than quick-release inorganic fertilizers.
Manure, compost, and many other materials used as organic fertilizers add considerable quantities of organic matter to the soil. Organic matter can increase soil drainage, aeration, water holding capacity, and the ability of the soil to hold nutrients. The beneficial effects of organic matter on soil structure can have a greater effect on plant growth than the fertilizer value of some of these organic materials.
Organic fertilizers help you improve the soil of your lawn and garden. Healthy soil is the long term key to lawn and garden success. Without fertile soil, plants cannot thrive.
When used in reference to fertilizers, the word organic generally means that the nutrients contained in the product are derived solely from the remains or a by-product of an organism. Cottonseed meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, manure and sewage sludge are examples of organic fertilizers. Urea is a synthetic organic fertilizer, an organic substance manufactured from inorganic materials.
Organic fertilizers depend on soil organisms to break them down to release nutrients; therefore, most are effective only when soil is moist and warm enough for the microorganisms to be active. Nutrient release by microbial activity, in general, occurs over a fairly long time period. One potential drawback is that the organic fertilizer may not release enough of their principal nutrient when the plant needs it for growth.
Pesticides kill indiscriminately, killing pests along with their natural insect predators. This leads to the irony of pesticide use: once insect predators are eliminated, pest populations grow unchecked – leading to ever-greater pesticide applications.
The highest nutritional concentration is found in manure when it is fresh. As it is aged, exposed to weather, or composted, nutrient content is reduced. However, most gardeners prefer to use composted forms of manure to ensure lesser amounts of salts, thereby reducing the chance of burning plant roots. Because of its low concentration of plant nutrients, manure is best used as a soil conditioner instead of a fertilizer.

Do you realize how potentially harmful pesticides can be?

Children are particularly vulnerable to pesticides, and the most likely to be exposed to lawn pesticides. Children living in homes using pesticides (indoor or outdoor) are at higher risk for developing brain cancer, childhood leukemia, lymphoma, and asthma.
Everybody at our place is a perpetual grazer when easy-pick goodies are in season, but it’s especially heartening to see the kids go at it. Foraging gives them hours of amusement (much more harmonious than those spent fighting over toys) and the idea that fruits and vegetables are not something they are told to eat, but delicious prizes they go out and win, all by themselves
Lawn chemicals can harm pets. Dog owners who use the herbicide 2,4,-D four or more times per season, double their dog’s risk of developing lymphoma.

Compost

Considered the best organic fertilizer because it is high in microorganisms, humic acid, enzymes, vitamins, and humus..
Bacteria are found in all kinds of organic matter(compost). They do the primary breakdown of materials without having to put them to work. Naturally they live and reproduce on their own and flourish under the proper conditions. Nonbacteria workers- like worms, fungi, and many invertabrates will work in your compost pile for just food and board. Some will feed on the actual material and others will eat on the bacteria but the natural chain will work together and put out a finished product unmatched.You can even compost rotting apples, one of the uses for horse manure or even adding fresh grass clippings to manure compost.
The greens ingredients are green leaves, coffee grounds, plant trimmings, fresh grass clippings, and raw fruit and vegetable scraps are items to put in compost pile that will provide nitrogen and protein for the microbes hard at work in the pile.
The browns are dried grasses, straw, woodchips, twigs, branches, sawdust, shredded newpaper, corncobs, and cornstalks provide carbon and energy for the microbes. In addition since microbes are living things they need water and air. Turning your pile every 2 weeks will allow aeration to aid the decomposition. NOTE: I suggest that two smaller side by side bins be used in order to ease the task of turning. Turn from one to the other.

Sources: EXT VT, Wikipedia

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