Green in garden, fresh on table. welcome to Asiangarden2table. As the saying goes, farm manure is a treasure, from which the crops grow well. For a back yard gardener, what kind of organic fertilizers are available? 1. Commercial organic fertilizers. Made from different materials, you can buy plant compost, composted animal manures, bone meal, blood meal, see-weed manure, natural minerals etc. They are usually expensive but fertility is relatively low. 2. Home-made compost. Collect kitchen waste, garden waste and put them in composter. It is a great way to recycle your waste. After months’ decomposition, you can collect very good compost and compost tea, but it takes long time and also has low nutrients content. 3. Farm animal manure, the most effective one. Search online and look around. There are local farmers, horse riding clubs or farm animal lovers. They would love to give away the manures for free or sell them at very low price. I have been buying rabbit manure from a local farmer. It is better to compost manures before using in vegetable garden. To apply organic fertilizer, add as much as possible, evenly spread out, turn over the soil and bury the fertilizer deep underneath. There are reasons for doing this: 1. Some organic fertilizers especially manures, have high salt content. If contacted directly, young seedlings and vegetable plants will get dehydrated or burned; 2. Organic fertilizers contain very active bacteria and biota and may contaminate vegetables, especially leafy vegetables. Burying the fertilizer deep can minimize this risk; 3. The soil will provide good environment for bacteria and biota’s activities which will help to further decompose organic fertilizer and release the nutrients; 4. Prevent rain to flush fertilizer away. The best time to add organic fertilizers is before transplanting your seedlings. If your garden have a winter break because of cold weather, you can bury as much organic fertilizer
s as possible. in the soil and let them decompose over winter. I don’t suggest to use organic fertilizers for topdressing vegetables because: 1. Organic fertilizers work slowly and cannot supply nutrients peaks needed by vegetables for boosting, flowering and fruiting; 2. Burying organic fertilizer deep will damage vegetables’ leaves and roots; 3. Organic fertilizers may contaminate the vegetables which will get harvested in short time. Our garden is a dynamic ecosystem. A good soil is the strong foundation for this healthy system. Good soil takes years to build and continual work to maintain. Organic matters can improve soil’s physical and biological properties and at the same time, build up comprehensive fertility. This is chart of manure releasing nutrients by year. If we add the same amount of manure in garden every year, the nutrients available in the soil will increase year by year. But if we stop adding organic fertilizer, the soil will lose it fertility slowly. Because it takes long time to build fertility for a new garden, beginners who insist organic growing and refuse any supplement with inorganic fertilizer, are easily discouraged by unsuccessful result. Using inorganic fertilizers properly will make your vegetables grow more and better. How do you determine when and what inorganic fertilizer to add? First, you need to know your vegetables’ demand and read their signals. Here are pictures of tomatoes’ leaves when certain nutrients are deficient. This chart describes symptoms caused by nutrients deficiency. Read it carefully and check on you vegetables. The most common inorganic fertilizers usually contain Nitrogen, phosphorus and Potassium which are three primary nutrients. Usually their names indicate nutrients percentage. For example, 10-10-10 has 10% of Nitrogen, 10% phosphorus and 10% Potassium. There are also fertilizers that supplement other nutrients, such as Magnesium, Iron, Calcium etc.. Pay attention to the nutrients content, any brand should work similar. I understand that most people have concerns of using inorganic fertilizers. The fact is the harmful effects of inorganic fertilizers are due to excessive and extended usage usage in improper and incorrect way, as well as extremely lack of organic matters. The right way to use inorganic fertilizer in your back yard is 1. Only add it when your vegetables need; 2. Add small amount each time and well mix with top soil; 3. Avoid to add inorganic fertilizer before heavy storm or it will be flushed away; 4. Keep distance from the plants and water the soil after to avoid burning the plants. Fortunately for a healthy garden, we don’t have to deal with most of the nutrients deficiency problems mentioned above. Once soil’s fertility built-up, there are plenty of comprehensive nutrients available. Also vegetables’ diversity, mix cropping and rotation also help to balance nutrients structure. There are a lot of micronutrients and trace nutrients in the nature and they are too little to measure but very important to living creature. These nutrients are leached out due to vegetation destruction and are excessive consumed due to over farming. Some of them are deficient in our foods, including some organic foods. Deficiency of some micro and trace nutrients will cause immunity and health problem. Ocean is a great source for micro and trace nutrients. That is why sea foods and products usually contain more and better nutrients and good for our health. The same things for our vegetables, well balanced nutrients help them grow healthier and stronger. Sea minerals supplements are getting more attention and people realize its value. This is sea mineral fertilizer I am using, it is minerals left from sea salt extraction process and rich with micro and trace nutrients. I have been using it in my vegetable garden. You can add some to composter, feed through your drip line, dissolve it and spray with a hose sprayer. Continue to do that and you will see improvement in your garden. Thank you for watching. I wish the best growing year in your garden. Please subscribe and stay with me. See you next time.