100 Day Challenge #93: Feed your plants with organic fertilizer
For many years we didn’t have a strong opinion about fertilizers nor gave them much thought, since we tried to add all the needed nutrients to our garden through compost and mulch. But the more we started learning about organic fertilizers and seeing their results, we became convinced there is only one way to go on the fertilizer path for us and that is organic.
We've been to a lot of gardens over the years with Yardspell (Gina's landscaping business), and we can honestly tell you that we have never seen a healthy, lush and thriving lawn and garden where synthetic fertilizers have been routinely and consistently applied. Synthetic or inorganic fertilizers are manufactured from man-made and petroleum based chemicals, where organic fertilizers are derived from animal and plant sources. Why would we want to put synthetic, petroleum-based products on our plants when nature has provided us with very effective and non-toxic fertilizers such as blood meal, bone meal, greensand, and kelp?
We understand why synthetic fertilizers were so popular for so many years. Pound for pound they are less expensive than organics, and short term they work quickly and effectively. But the long-term effects are not only detrimental to your garden and lawn but also the overall environment. The prolonged use of these chemicals degrades the health of your soil, and once they leach out of the ground and enter our waterways, they create algae blooms and dead zones in our streams, ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Organic fertilizers have many advantages over synthetic
You're adding natural and organic matter to the soil, which increases the health of your soil and helps build the microorganism populations; this is a foundation for good soil health. Healthy soil makes healthy food and plants!
Since you'll have healthier soil with abundant microorganisms, this leads to more movement of water through the soil and higher water retention capabilities, which means you'll have to water less often.
You don't have to worry about burning your plants with organic fertilizers like you do with synthetics. The fertilizer releases the nutrients at a slower rate, so the plants are able to better absorb what they need, and they don't leach out into the water system.
Even though organic fertilizers also contain nitrogen and phosphates (the culprits behind algae blooms), they have a balance of nutrients which means the plants are able to utilize more of the fertilizer and there is far less in excess that could lead to runoff. Additionally, as we mentioned above, organic fertilizers build up the health of your soil and aren't a temporary bandaid, so the area will contain lots of earthworms and other organisms that break down these nutrients and keep the soil more dense, which in turn leads to less runoff.
If you can’t tell we're sold on organic fertilizers! We of course give preference to adding our compost to the garden first, but when the plants need a little extra help or we don't have enough compost, then we turn to organic fertilizers. The results we've seen have blown us away, and we'll never use a synthetic fertilizer again. If you're looking for a great brand, we highly recommend MicroLife. We've been using it consistently for the past few years, and we've seen nothing but spectacular results!