Choosing and Using Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizers are becoming quite popular to today's gardeners. Many people have come to understand the detrimental effects of harsh chemical products that permeate the soil and remain for years. Farmers of yesteryear understood the importance of properly fertilizing their gardens with organic garden fertilizer. Now, we can return to times past and embrace the natural fertilizing methods of those knowledgeable farmers. There are many types of organic fertilizers to choose from. Here are some of the more commonly used options:

Cow Manure

Most everyone knows what cow manure is and how beneficial it is to gardens. It contains 1 percent potash, 1 percent phosphorous and 2 percent nitrogen. It is best to apply around 40 pounds per a 50 to 100 square foot area. Many farmers will gladly share manure with others, meaning this type of fertilizer is often obtainable at no cost. The only caveat to using cow manure is to make sure the manure is older and well-rotted. If manure is too fresh, it can burn plants.

Fish Emulsion and Fishmeal

This fertilizer dates back to the days in which Native Americans grew their corn alongside buried fish heads. They probably were unaware why this method helped their crop but understood that it did in fact make a difference. Fishmeal and fish emulsion contains from 5 to 8 percent nitrogen, up to 1 percent potash and from 4 to 6 percent phosphorus. The best application percentage is applying 5 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square foot of land.

Cottonseed Meal

Cottonseed meal contains 1 percent potash, 1 percent phosphorus and 2 percent nitrogen. It is perfect for use around plants that need more acidity. Plants that thrive with a more acidic pH level include blueberries and hydrangea, just to name a couple. Once applied, this fertilizer will typically remain in the soil from four to six months.


Bonemeal is a mixture of 24 to 30 percent calcium, 20 percent phosphorus and 3 percent nitrogen. Many gardeners use bonemeal to add into the holes of their flowers, bulbs and planting fruits because of its propensity to raise the pH level of the soil. Use bonemeal using the ratio of 5 pounds per 100 square foot.

How to Make Organic Fertilizer

In some cases, gardeners wish to make their own fertilizers, and it is sometimes considered the best organic fertilizer around. The following are some easy-to-follow guidelines for creating organic fertilizer.

Use the ratios below to create mixture:

  • Four parts seed meal.
  • Half part gypsum or finely ground natural lime rock.
  • One part bone meal, kelp meal or bat guano.

The ingredients above represent the three basic ingredients of fertilizer, which are potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. Most of the items listed above are obtainable at local garden centers, meaning anyone can try their hand at making fertilizer if they so desire.

Having the right kind of fertilizer can make the difference between an okay garden and a bountiful one. Fertilizer works by making the soil in which the plants reside the correct pH thus creating ideal growing conditions. Organic fertilizers are available in stores, but it can also be made at home.


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