Natural Plant Fertilizer Overview
| Print |
Our world has been growing, lush and green, for thousands of years. Mother Nature has done a fine job tending the forests and meadows and wildflowers without the need for chemical fertilizers, and we can too.
Natural plant fertilizer has been the preferred choice of farmers for thousands of years. These organic fertilizers improve the nutrient-holding capacity of soil, helping plants grow strong and healthy. Natural plant fertilizer promotes the health of your plants and the naturally occurring microorganisms that thrive in healthy soil.
There is a co-dependant relationship that exists between plants and microorganisms. Without naturally occurring microorganisms, plants are not able to derive nutrients from the soil. Microorganisms, on the other hand, feed on the decomposed dead leaves that fall off plants, so they in turn depend on plants for their source of food.
Farmers, growers, botanists and hobby gardeners around the world prefer natural plant fertilizer to chemical compounds, simply because they realize the importance of microorganisms. Chemical treatments can damage these important allies to our healthy gardens, where natural fertilizers are not harmful. Natural plant fertilizers are also slow-release in nature, meaning they release their nutrients in gentle trickles rather than extreme bursts. The slower effect creates a lasting, healthier source of nutrition for your plants and soil.
You can always make your own natural plant fertilizer from compost, but sometimes even that is not good enough. Compost can be very messy and time consuming. Other considerations that come into play are factors like where to keep your compost pit, which materials to use, and whether you actually have the time to dig the pit, layer the compost and turn the pile.
Cheap fertilizer is not good. Good fertilizer is not cheap
This is probably why so many well-intentioned gardeners are tempted to purchase chemical fertilizers that promise fast results with little effort. Smart gardeners, however, know that they can get the same results with natural fertilizers. When you're shopping for natural plant fertilizers, don't settle for the cheap stuff. You might get lucky and find a bargain, but good quality natural plant fertilizers are usually expensive.
The most expensive natural plant fertilizers are typically the ones with the highest plant food value. That's because they contain more nutrients and less filler, accounting for their relatively high price. The more nutrients your natural plant fertilizer holds, the better it will be for your plants. Additionally, many of the better quality natural plant fertilizers are time- released formulations that feed your plants over a span of 60-120 days, rather than washing away after one or two rains.
In the end, the price that you pay for a bag of natural plant fertilizer will likely be worth it. Most hobby gardeners will take a few years to completely use up a whole bag of natural plant fertilizer, especially if you don't fertilize often.
Forget the Formula
Unless you hold a degree in botanical science, don't bother trying to figure out the formulae on fertilizer bags. Some people make the mistake of guessing that a natural plant fertilizer bag that says "20-20-20" is ten times better than a bag labeled "2-2-2". That's not so. The three numbers refer to a complicated mixture of components and nutrients, and it really can get quite confusing. Unless you're planning to use natural plant fertilizer on lawn grass, you won't need anything other than a standard 20-20-20 mixture.
The healthiest gardens are fertilized often, but not too often. You should never fertilize less than once per year. If you're able to fertilize more often, go ahead and do it. If you're just not sure what to do, visit a garden center that understands and appreciates natural plant fertilizer, pick up an organic gardening guide, or search "natural plant fertilizers" online.
Forget those dreadful chemical compounds that burn plants and kill the soil. Use natural fertilizers to garden the way the world intended. After all, if it's good enough for Mother Nature, it's certainly good enough for you.