If you’re used to using chemicals on your lawn and plants, switching to organic fertilizer may require some adjustments to your routine. The good news is that experienced gardeners have figured out and are willing to share tips about the different types of fertilizer and the best application methods.
Determine the Needs of Your Plants
The most common nutrients your plants need are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Many fertilizer mixes consist of varying amounts of the first three. Bags of fertilizer are labeled with three numbers in this order: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K). There are two steps to determining the best N-P-K ratio for your lawn and gardens. The first step is researching the needs of the plants in the yard. Most lawn ratios are high in nitrogen and potassium and lower in phosphorus. Flowers often require a very high amount of nitrogen with lower levels of phosphorus and potassium.
Research Your Options
You don’t have to rely on labeled chemicals for boosting the health and growth of your landscaping. Organic fertilizer comes in many varieties, including blood meal, compost, cottonseed, fish emulsion, manure, and seaweed. These fertilizers are available for purchase and can be made at home if you have access to the various ingredients.
If your soil is low on nitrogen, fish emulsion and blood meal are good options. Manure and cottonseed meal are both balanced fertilizers, but manure doesn’t have a high load of nutrients, so other fertilizers are often preferred. Dried seaweed can be mixed with water and then fed to the garden like other liquid fertilizers. It is rich in nutrients and won’t burn your plants.
Add Fertilizer to a Compost Mix
One of the most effective tips recommended by experienced users of organic fertilizer is starting with a compost base. Again, you can buy a compost mix from the store, or you can prepare your own blend. If you want your mix to be effective, make sure you know the balance of nutrients in the compost.