Organic Fertilizer Options

Hear from “The Dirt Doctor” about some of his top choices for organic fertilizer, and how they provide vital nutrients for your plants.

| Spring 2019

Photo by Getty Images/MarioGuti.


What are some recommended organic fertilizers that I can use for my garden?


Organic fertilizers, whether they’re meals, manures, or composted plant material, contain N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium), trace minerals, enzymes, vitamins, and lots of organic matter. Of those ingredients, 100 percent are useful to the soil and plants. In contrast, synthetic fertilizers contain no organic matter. Soil microorganisms must have this carbon energy source, and, if it isn’t provided, the microbes will take it from the soil. That drains soil health with every fertilizer application.

The most important material in an organic garden is organic matter that becomes humus during the decomposition process. Humus becomes humic acid, other benefi cial acids, and mineral nutrients. Organic fertilizers are better than artificial products, because they’re the derivatives of plants and animals and therefore contain most or all the trace elements that exist in growing plants and animals. In addition, organic fertilizers are naturally slow-releasing and provide nutrients to plants when they need it. Synthetic fertilizers glut the plants with nutrients immediately after application, which is usually at the wrong time.

Here are some of my recommendations for natural, organic fertilizers to boost your garden’s production and build soil health:

Alfalfa meal.

This fertilizer provides many nutritional benefits for plant use and soil organisms. One very important ingredient is triacontanol, a powerful plant-growth regulator. Alfalfa is very high in vitamins, plus N-P-K, calcium, magnesium, and other valuable minerals; sugars and starches; proteins; and fiber. Use at 10 to 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet.



September 12-13, 2019
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