Although Spring is yet to arrive in Northern Illinois, I’m ready to get back into offering up some advice for your landscaping. The main ingredient of our landscape gardening is organic fertilizer. Fortunately, most of the best sources of organic fertilizer are available for free or for a very low cost. Most of them can be found in our kitchen. Let’s see what are organic gardening fertilizers, how to make them and more importantly how to use organic fertilizer in a proper way.
You could measure the success of gardening by looking at the soil. Successful organic gardening begins and ends with good soil. The organic gardener works with the soil at the beginning and the end of every growing season to make sure it has enough organic organisms that works continuously and enrich the soil. The gardener adds organic garden fertilizer at least two times a year to enhance productivity of the soil and to replace the nutrients required by plants.
Organic garden fertilizers are made from live materials. There aren’t any chemicals involved in that. However, organic gardeners may add various organic or inorganic soil additives, such as Epsom salt and or potash, to control the pH or to add micronutrients to the soil. When talking about organic fertilizers one cannot forget below two types;
1. Organic Gardening Compost
2. Organic Plant Food
The properties of organic garden fertilizer and soil additives are similar to that of nutrients and vitamins in our food. Organic garden fertilizer improves the properties of the soil while the soil additives improve its consistency providing micronutrients.
Animal-based Organic Garden Fertilizer
The substance we call manure are organic garden fertilizer that are mostly animal-based. There is also other animal-based organic garden fertilizers, such as fish emulsion, however manure such as chicken manure, bat guano, and cow manure are the most commonly used as manure. You can also use horse or rabbit manure or even composted human manure can be used in some places, just not your lawn (think of your neighbor’s.)
However, you cannot use manure from predator animals, such as cats, since their digestive system contains bacteria that are pathogenic to humans. These bacteria can get into food if grown on soils that were fertilized with their feces. Manure should be decomposed and or aged before using it as an organic garden fertilizer. This is to remove E coil and such other potentially dangerous pathogens. Manure should be added to soil at least several weeks before planting. It could be added in either solid or liquid form. Anyway it should be mixed well with the soil and or allow it to age and mix with the soil.
Plant-based Organic Garden Fertilizer
The most common plant-based organic garden fertilizers are seaweed, compost, worm casting, and also “green manure”. Seaweed and kelp are available as dries and processed organic garden fertilizer for you to buy in the Chicago area.
Making compost for organic garden fertilizer is a continuing process. You can get involved with it every day if you want, and it’ll be a pleasant task. Importantly it’s an excellent way to recycle your vegetable waste such as peelings and scraps.
Worm casting, or worm composting, is an interesting process. They are very rich in nutrients and you can also buy it in ready-made form. You need right kind of worms to create a worm casting. Worms you can get from any organic gardening store or source. For preparation you need a covered tub of some kind and some slightly damp vegetable matter. You can use old newspaper as an alternative. The worms will carry out the production process for you and in the process you will get rich organic garden fertilizer almost at no cost.
“Green manure” is planted as a cover crop. This is done usually in the fall after harvest. Nitrogen-fixing crops, such as soybeans, are planted for this purpose and when the cover crop emerges in the spring you dig it into the ground allowing them to decompose and enrich the soil.
Gardening with organic garden fertilizer, purchased or made by you, will add natural living matter to soil enriching it and at the same time you contribute to prevent the chemical runoff that happens with chemical-based fertilizer.Return to the Chicago Lawn Care Home