The food markets of today are quickly capitalizing on the growing demand for organically grown food. Organically grown food is produced without the use of commercially produced chemical fertilizers. People are just feeling better about consuming food without the dangers introduced by chemical fertilizers.
Fertilizers are extremely important for both farmers and gardeners in producing vibrant, healthy and high-yielding plants. A farmer’s livelihood depends upon producing a this type of crop. The use of fertilizers helps plants withstand both crop diseases and pests by restoring nutrients that have been depleted from the soil.
Organic fertilizers are naturally occurring compounds in the environment, posing no threat of pollution to water, air or soil. Naturally occurring compounds have been proven safer and better for our environment. There are many factors to take into consideration before deciding which organic fertilizer is right for your crop or garden including rainfall amounts, the climate in your area and the types of plants you will be growing.
Prior to World War II, manure was the most commonly used fertilizer on crops and gardens. Since that time, we have discovered some other very effective organic fertilizers including mowed grass clippings, compost and decayed leaves. One excellent organic fertilizer mixes organic seaweed and hydrolyzed fishmeal. Some gardeners have also found success with alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, blood and bone meal, worm castings and wood ash.
For the best results in using organic fertilizers, you should know the proper time for applying fertilizers. The best time to apply fertilizers is during the growth stage, normally occurring during the spring. At this time, the plant will need extra nutrients to thrive and develop into a healthy plant. For new plants, no fertilizer is required until the plant develops the second set of leaves. Cotyledons, the plant’s first set of leaves, contain all the nutrients necessary for the first set of leaves. Once a plant begins to flower and produce fruit, it will need a heavier dose of organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer works best when it is spread out into the soil where the nutrients are released and absorbed by the plants.
Gardenline: Fertlizer: Application (Organic vs. Inorganic)
Rainbow Plant Food: Fertlizer Use…A Historical Perspective
Extension News: What is Organic Farming?
Why Organic Fertilizers and Organic Gardening Are Darn Good Ideas