Organic Fertilizers

by April Reinhardt
(last updated July 2, 2013)

Comprised of the remains of plants and animals, organic fertilizer is free of chemical pesticides and, thus, more healthful than using man-made fertilizers. There are two classifications of organic fertilizers; natural and manufactured. Naturally occurring organic fertilizers include:

  • Seaweed. A wonderful component to add to a compost heap, seaweed helps bind soil. Beware of salt contained in seaweed, however, because worms do not like it, and won't live around it.
  • Manure. Green manure is composed of rotting vegetation, and animal manure is animal feces. Both contribute important nutrients to fertilizer.
  • Guano. Rich in phosphorus, guano is the droppings of seals, seabirds, and bats. Organic-deficient gardens are made more productive with the addition of guano.
  • Peat. Found in wetlands and bogs, peat is a buildup of decaying vegetation, full of nutrients and moisture.
  • Worm castings. Also called worm compost, worm castings are the end-product of red worms that breakdown organic matter.

Manufactured organic fertilizers include:

  • Bone meal. High in phosphorus content, bone meal is comprised of crushed and ground animal bones.
  • Bloodmeal. Mixed with water, bloodmeal is a highly concentrated form of nitrogen. It is animal blood that has been dried.
  • Fishmeal. Made by compressing fish parts and fish bones to extract the fish oil, fishmeal is packaged as a dry cake or brown powder. It is rich in phosphorus.

Use of heavy artificial fertilizers causes many problems that can be avoided with the use of organic fertilizing methods. Some of the benefits of using organic fertilizers are:

  • Chemical fertilizers are costly. In most instances, you can make your own organic fertilizer for very little money.
  • Organic fertilizers are environmentally friendly.
  • Inexperienced gardeners burn their plants when they use chemical fertilizers. Even if you are a novice, organic fertilizers supply the perfect combination of exactly what your plants need, without the possibility of burning them.
  • Plants acclimate to chemical fertilizers, and you have to increase the amount you give them with each application.
  • Chemical fertilizers negatively change the health of soil, decreasing its ability to retain moisture, inflicting color changes, and extracting composition.

It is fairly uncomplicated to transition from chemical to organic fertilizers. Simply sprinkle bloodmeal or bonemeal on the dirt around your plants, or work a few handfuls of guano into the dirt. Also good for plant growth is the layering of compost or manure a few inches deep around your plant base. Manure aids the decomposition of soil, thus giving plants more nutrients.

Whatever type or combination of organic fertilizers you use, remember to water the soil thoroughly after each application to help the decomposition process.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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