Walking through the local supermarket can seem more like taking a chemistry class than shopping for food when you start to read the labels. Today, in order to mass produce food for consumers, companies add chemicals and preservatives to their foods to improve the shelf life and stability of their products. Animals are fed growth hormones and antibiotics in order to get them ready for slaughter sooner. Even produce is sprayed with dangerous chemicals and genetically altered in order to increase yield and speed of growth. These chemicals eventually find their way into our bodies when we eat any of these manipulated foods. Also, these dangerous chemicals can enter our water supply through run off and waste water from factories and industrial farms.
Health and environmentally conscious people are now turning to organic gardening to help combat the situation. After all, as the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” By growing your own vegetables, you have complete control. You can select different variety of vegetables that are not commercially available and you can pick the vegetables at their peak of ripeness. Most importantly, you can control what kind of chemicals, if any, go into your fruits and vegetables. Making your own organic gardening fertilizer at home is easy, inexpensive, healthy, and environmentally friendly.
Often, there is a lot of confusion about what exactly an organic gardening fertilizer is. An organic fertilizer is a substance or mixture of substances that is derived from organic material and is used to help promote healthy and strong plant growth. These are natural products that don’t contain any artificial chemicals. Generally, organic fertilizers deliver nutrients to a plant in a roundabout way. Chemical fertilizers deliver nutrients to a plant in a form that they can metabolize almost instantly. Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, need to be broken down by bacteria in the soil to convert them into nutrients that a plant can use. At first glance, chemical fertilizers may seem better since the plant gets fertilized immediately, but it is easy to overdo using chemical fertilizers. In contrast, it is almost impossible to fertilize too much with organic fertilizers. Also, organic fertilizers are less apt to dissolve and leach away with heavy watering.
There are several ways to make organic fertilizers at home. Here are a few of the most popular varieties of homemade, organic gardening fertilizer:
Composting is a great way to get rid of your organic trash and to help your organic garden reach its maximum potential. To make compost, you’ll need a large bin, several feet wide and long. You can construct your own compost bin or buy one from the local hardware store. The two components of any compost project are green materials, such as grass clippings or branches, and brown materials, derived from dead leaves. You can also throw in scraps of vegetables and biodegradable paper products into your compost bin. To get the process started, add a few shovels full of dirt to the mix and a few live earth worms. This will introduce bacteria into the compost bin which will get the process started. Use a shovel to mix the material inside the compost bin once a week. In about two months, the compost will be ready for use as fertilizer. To tell if it is ready for use, check to see if any of the original matter is discernible. The compost should also be dark brown in color.
2. Fertilizer Mix
You can make a great, all purpose, organic gardening fertilizer by combining seed meal, lime, and trace minerals together in the correct proportion. Seed meal is the leftovers from the manufacture of vegetable oils. Lime is a mineral that changes the pH of the soil, made from crushed rocks like limestone, gypsum, and dolomite. Another important mineral to add to the fertilizer is phosphate, which can be found in bone meal or guano. Combine all of the ingredients in the following proportions:
- 1 part seed meal;
- 1/4 part bone meal;
- 3/4 part lime (an equal mixture of dolomite and gypsum);
- All of these components can be found in a garden supply center or on the internet.
3. Manure Fertilizer
Manure can provide many nutrients to plants. A quick fertilizer can be made from manure by mixing one part of manure to two parts of water. This mixture can be sprayed onto plays or poured onto the soil around the plants. Because manure can contain dangerous bacteria, it is important to wash the vegetables, fruits, or herbs that are sprayed with this mixture thoroughly before eating.
If you grow your own fruits and vegetables, consider making your own organic gardening fertilizer at home. It’s quick, easy, inexpensive, and good for the environment. What more can you ask for?