Best Organic Fertilizer To Use Without A Garden Soil Test

Next on my list before I start preparing my
bed is to think about organic fertilizing. If you are interested in growing the healthiest
possible food and flowers and other plants you’re going to probably want to do some
fertilizing to get things in the balance in the soil, and then in the long run we try
to create a system that’s more self-sustaining where we don’t have to bring in too many
external inputs. But early on we want to fertilize and in order
to do that we want to take a soil test. A good quality soil test so we know what to
put in. Obviously today I can’t do that because
I only am doing this in one sort of afternoon here. So obviously today I can’t add much
in the way of organic fertilizers because I don’t add hardly anything just for good
measure. In terms of specific nutrients, I don’t
want to just go and add nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium because it could be the wrong thing
and it could put things in the opposite direction that they’re supposed to go. That’s why soil testing is so important. But there are two that I will add without
a soil test and the main one is rock dust and this particular brand here comes in a
very nondescript bag. I actually paid fifty dollars for this fifty pound bag and that
was too much. I did that this spring because I was doing
a lot of teaching with it and so I wanted to have it but normally I’d hope to pay
twenty to forty dollars. Forty dollars max for a fifty pound bag. And if I were doing a bigger property I would
go to a quarry and try to find some rock dust from them and then you’d get it a hundred
times cheaper but you’d have to do a little testing with that to see if it’s a good
dust. So that’s why, if you get something that’s
a good brand, then you’re good. So what rock dust is, sometimes it comes from
volcanic sources but often it’s from a glacial source. So when the glaciers moved, they brought
a bunch of different rocks together. Then what a rock dust is, is it’s that stuff
pulverized and I’ll show you a little bit of it here. Even if it’s not that windy,
the wind often takes it away because it’s, it just looks like that. So what that is, is it’s really a broad
spectrum organic fertilizer. It’s not just nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium. It has dozens
of nutrients in there that come from all these different rocks that have been ground up together
and it really is my most, one of the best organic fertilizers and it’s something you
can use anywhere without having a soil test. So, I might put fifty pounds of this down
on a thousand square feet. This bag is pretty expensive to do that. That’s why I normally
wouldn’t pay that much. And it’s just something I’ll do when I’m
building an organic garden and then I usually don’t think about it too much anymore. It’s
something I want to get in the soil right from the beginning. So I just love rock dust I use it all the
time. Now, there’s one more that I will use only
a tiny little bit of. And that is, I’ve put it in this little jar here. That’s calcitic lime and it looks very similar
to rock dust because this particular one has been ground up, it’s white. You know, calcium,
white. It’s a limestone. And, I’ll use a very, very, very tiny amount
of this, maybe five pounds per thousand square feet which is miniscule. The reason I’ll
do that, it kind of just gets that calcium energy into the soil. I may use a lot more of it if I did a soil
test that told me that I needed it but without a soil test I don’t want to use much but
I will use a little just because it’s very rare that a soil won’t benefit from this
tiny amount of calcium just to get some energy going. Calcium is so important in the soil. So that’s
calcitic lime, not dolomite lime. Calcitic lime. So those are the two that use without a soil
test. Now in the Smiling Gardener Academy I get into the soil testing in detail, how
to take it, how to interpret it all that and then into all the organic fertilizers that
I would use based on a soil test if it told me I needed them. And I guess I haven’t talked much about
what the Smiling Gardener Academy is. So what I did this year is I put together an exclusive
membership website I called it the Smiling Gardener academy. And it’s for, it’s really is for people
who are excited to learn about how to really make their soil amazing and how to, you know
I go into soil I go into the soil food web, composting, microbial inoculants, all this
soil testing stuff, design and I get into food plants and how to plant them and how
to plant a tree and all kinds of stuff like that. Like really detailed – people who really want
to really make an amazing vegetable garden, so it’s not for everyone. It’s people
who are excited by this stuff like I am, really passionate about learning about it and willing
to put in a little bit of work up front. It’s not a lot of work, just a little bit
of work to really take your organic garden to the next level. And so what it is, is this
year, this whole garden here I started from scratch. I put in this garden and I tried
to pull on everything I’ve been learning for the last fifteen years about gardening. And just every little thing I can think of
to make the garden really great, to make the soil really great and it’s worked out really
well this year. So what I did is I’ve filmed over 250 videos
so far. That’s kind of what I could get done in this one year. Just these short videos
talking about all this stuff, and really just the A-Z from beginning to end about how to
put in an amazing organic garden. And, if you join the Academy you get access
to a new module every month of 35 videos or so, sometimes a little more and accompanying
text with it. And we go into a topic in detail, like one
month we might do composting, like really learning how to make compost. Another time
we might do soil testing. And what you get to learn is how to make an amazing vegetable
garden like I have going here. I had a really good year, it’s going to
get better every year because it takes a few years when you’re starting from scratch
to really build up your soil and do well, but I was really impressed with how it worked
out this year. So if you want to learn about food gardening
or even if you’re more interested in ornamental gardens or flowers, it’s all the same kind
of process. And so, so ya that’s a little bit on what it’s about. I’ll talk a little
more about it next time. What I wanted to go into today is rock dust
and calcitic lime. You could use those two. Now the other thing is, we used to use more
plant based organic fertilizers like from canola and cotton seed. A lot of seed meals.
What else did we use? We used corn gluten, soy, a lot of these things that are now being
genetically modified and we really don’t want to bring genetically modified stuff into
our organic gardens. So we can’t use that any more in my opinion.
I’m pretty strict about the GMO thing. We can still use one really good one is alfalfa.
Another broad spectrum organic fertilizer basically. But it’s been approved for genetic
modification, too. So, I still want to support the people who
are doing it organically but there’s going to be, alfalfa is a grass that’s wind pollinated
so there’s going to be contamination I’m sure. It’s going to start happening. So
that’s going to be something we can’t use either. So I just wanted to mention that as well,
that we can’t use those as much anymore so that’s why the rock dust is making a
lot of sense, plus some of the biostimulants that I’ve talked about before. But those are the ones for the soil improvement.
Rock dust and calcitic lime that I get really excited about using still. And then a lot
of other ones after I’ve done a soil test. So hopefully that’s been really helpful
for you for how to see how to start making your soil able to support really abundant,
healthy plant growth.

9 thoughts on “Best Organic Fertilizer To Use Without A Garden Soil Test

  1. Not Dolomite? I heard… Actually I have a new bed and haven't started yet. I'm going to borrow your ideas (thank you). Is Acidic Lime going to lower my PH? What about using Dolomite for a PH buffer? After a soil test of course!

  2. @RandyMarshjs To my knowledge, lime only can raise pH (make it more alkaline), not acidify it. If not, what I've been learned from college thus far would be incorrect. I agree with Smiling Gardener… the small amount will neutralize in time, and the calcium helps plants.

  3. @RandyMarshjs Haha, yeah I get what you're saying. Logic would say lime is acidic… it's just that agricultural lime is totally different. Yes, I suppose it would be an oxymoron if you were talking about lime incorporated into the soil.

  4. Thanks Randy, I'm so glad I saw your video, I will definitely be joining and I'm eager to learn about how to better provide for my fruits and veggies. This  is perfect I was inquiring about soil and fertilizer for a new first time Gardner.  Look forward to learning:)

  5. Phil—Curious about your thoughts on charcoal dust from grill. I noticed before my sister dumping the dust on one area of her garden. I noticed by tilling in that area that crops grew taller and the soil was easier to till in that area, also seemed more loamy.

  6. Is there any scientific facts about rock dust I have heard that it is a waste of money and now I dont know what is fact or fiction

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