Exploring Organic Fertilizer
Growing Organic Garlic
"Plants require 17 essential elements for growth: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), boron (B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni), and zinc (Zn)".
What are Organic Fertilizers?
Organic fertilizer is a type of fertilizer that is made from natural materials, such as manure, compost, and plant waste. It is a good choice for gardeners and farmers who want to avoid using synthetic fertilizers, which can be harmful to the environment. Organic fertilizers provide a number of benefits to plants. They help to improve soil structure and fertility, and they also help to suppress weeds and pests. Organic fertilizers are also a good source of nutrients for plants, and they can help to improve the taste and quality of fruits and vegetables.
There are a number of different ways to use organic fertilizer. It can be applied to the soil before planting, or it can be added to the soil as a side dressing. Organic fertilizer can also be used to make compost, which is a valuable soil amendment. When using organic fertilizer, it is important to follow the instructions on the label. Too much organic fertilizer can damage plants, so it is important to use it in moderation.
Organic fertilizer is a good choice for gardeners and farmers who want to avoid using synthetic fertilizers. It provides a number of benefits to plants, and it is a safe and environmentally friendly way to fertilize your plants.
Here are some of the benefits of using organic fertilizer:
Improved soil health. Organic fertilizers help to improve soil structure and fertility. This makes it easier for plants to grow and absorb nutrients.
Reduced weed growth. Organic fertilizers can help to suppress weeds. This makes it easier to keep your garden or farm clean and free of weeds.
Improved crop yields. Organic fertilizers can help to improve crop yields. This is because they provide plants with the nutrients they need to grow and produce fruit or vegetables.
Safe for the environment. Organic fertilizers are safe for the environment. They do not contain any harmful chemicals that can pollute the soil or water.
Good for the soil. Organic fertilizers are good for the soil. They help to improve soil structure and fertility, and they also help to suppress weeds and pests.
If you are looking for a safe and environmentally friendly way to fertilize your plants, organic fertilizer is a good option. Examples of naturally occurring organic fertilizers include worm castings, peat, manure, slurry, seaweed, and bat guano. Naturally occurring minerals such as mine rock phosphate, sulfate of potash, and limestone are also considered Organic Fertilizers. Green manure crops are also grown to add nutrients to the soil. Green manures are crops grown specifically for building and maintaining soil fertility and structure, though they may also have other functions. They are normally incorporated back into the soil, either directly, or after removal and composting. Green manures include legumes such as peas, grasses, beans, clover, oats, rapeseed, beans, winter rye, oats, buckwheat and vetch.
Organic fertilizers gradually release nutrients into the soil and maintain a nutrient balance for the healthy growth of crop plants. Organic fertilizers and minerals can also help improve soil structure and crop growth by helping to maintain healthy soil microbes which feast on organic components in the soil. Most organic fertilizers are considered to be slow-releasing fertilizers and contain many trace elements that most plants demand. Organic fertilizers are a safer choice as compared to chemical fertilizers. One of the big benefits of using organic fertilizers is that it has the potential to help create a living soil rich in humus and nutrients Instead of a quick fix of using synthetic fertilizers, the use of organic fertilizers helps increase fertility and viability of the soil over time.
The application of organic fertilizers promotes an increase in the very important bacterial biomass in the soil, which stimulates other secondary productivity and mineralizes nutrients to help plants grow well. Heterotrophic bacteria, a group of organisms in the soil, process organic material and other components in the soil, including organic carbon, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P).
What are Inorganic, Synthetic, and Non-Organic Fertilizers?
Inorganic fertilizer is synthetic, comprised of minerals and synthetic chemicals. Inorganic nitrogen (Urea) is commonly made from petroleum or natural gas. The term "inorganic" refers to compounds that do not contain both carbon and hydrogen. Synthetic or non-organic fertilizers are often referred to as inorganic fertilizers. Examples of manufactured or chemically synthesized inorganic fertilizers include ammonium nitrate, potassium sulfate, superphosphate, or triple superphosphate. In general, there are four groups of inorganic compound types. They are divided into bases, acids, salts, and water.
What Is The Difference Between Organic and Non-Organic Fertilizers?
Organic Fertilizers are derived from organic sources including minerals, dead and decayed plants, animals, and animal parts. Non-Organic fertilizers are derived from other sources such as mined minerals or are processed and produced in a factory. Each year, the fertilizer industry transforms millions of tons of air, natural gas, and minerals extracted from the earth, into products based on the three essential plant nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).
Nitrogen-based fertilizers, the largest product group, the process starts by mixing nitrogen from the air with hydrogen, from natural gas, at high temperatures and pressure to create ammonia. Urea is commonly used as nitrogen on crops such as corn and soybeans. Urea is manufactured synthetically by reacting natural gas, atmospheric nitrogen, and water together at high temperatures and pressure to produce ammonia and carbon dioxide. These gases are then reacted at high temperatures and pressure to produce molten (liquid) urea. Approximately 60% of the natural gas is used as raw material, with the remainder employed to power the synthesis process. The ammonia is used to make nitric acid, which is then mixed to produce nitrate fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate (AN). Ammonia may also be mixed with liquid carbon dioxide to create urea. Both these products can be further mixed together with water to form UAN (urea ammonium nitrate) solution.
Phosphorus-based fertilizers are produced from mined ores. Phosphate rock is primarily treated with sulphuric acid to produce phosphoric acid, which is either concentrated or mixed with ammonia to make a range of phosphate (P2O5) fertilizers. Potassium is the third major plant and crop nutrient. Potassium-based fertilizers are also produced from mined ores. Several chemical processes can be used to convert the potash rock into plant food, including potassium chloride, sulfate, and nitrate.
Potassium sulfate can be extracted from the mineral langbeinite or it can be synthesized by treating potassium chloride with sulfuric acid at high temperatures. By adding magnesium salts to potassium sulfate, a granular potassium-magnesium compound fertilizer can also be produced.
Synthetic fertilizers such as ammonium phosphate and ammonium sulfate are often referred to as synthetic fertilizers due to the high-energy manufacturing process. Synthetic urea for example is created from synthetic ammonia and carbon dioxide and can be produced as a liquid or a solid. Urea is naturally produced by our bodies as urine or pee when the liver breaks down protein or amino acids, and ammonia. The kidneys then transfer the urea from the blood to the urine. Synthetic fertilizers contain only a few select nutrients; Typically Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). For example, a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 12-10-8, means 12 percent is nitrogen, 10 percent is phosphorus and 8 percent is potassium. In simple terms, this means each 100-pound bag of the fertilizer would contain 12 pounds of nitrogen, 10 pounds of phosphorus, and 8 pounds of potassium. In addition to NPK, there are 14 = (17-3) other nutrients essential for plant growth and crop production, and a deficiency of any can have an adverse effect on plant growth, maturity, and yield. These secondary nutrients include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur; and the micronutrients include boron, chloride, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, and nickel. Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen are obtained from air and water.
What Are The Advantages Of Using Organic Fertilizer?
The advantages of using organic fertilizers include healthier, more productive soils. Components of organic fertilizer have the potential to be available to crops for longer periods of time. Organic fertilizers are environmentally friendly and easy to use. Regarding soil structure, organic matter present in organic fertilizer helps soil structure and helps soil’s ability to hold onto water and nutrients. Microbes typically thrive in soil complimented with organic fertilizer. Most synthetic fertilizer consists of chemical molecules without carbon. These molecules can sometimes be disruptive and are not accessible to microbes. On the other hand, organic fertilizer is rich in organic matter, which helps microbes thrive. Organic fertilizer contains carbon as part of its chemical makeup; and it is the carbon, along with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that feeds microbes and enables them to make nutrients available for plants in a naturally occurring biological process.
Organic fertilizers have a dual purpose. Not only does organic fertilizer provide nutrients for plants, it also is a soil conditioner. In other words, they feed plants, soils, and the microbes and worms that live in the soil. Some synthetic and chemical fertilizers contain mineral salts that can repel earthworms and other life forms in the soil because they acidify the soil. Over time, soils treated only with synthetic fertilizers lose organic matter which helps keep microorganisms and quality soil alive. Healthy soil leads to healthy plants.
Growing Garlic Using Organic Fertilizer.
Garlic plant growth characteristics can vary tremendously from one location to another. Over the years we have observed significant variations in garlic characteristics such as the relative growth rate, plant height, number of leaves, leaf area, and leaf size. Unfortunately, synthetic and chemical fertilizers have become widely used in garlic production in many areas, as it is well known that the use of fertilizer helps in the production and is somewhat of a quick method for achieving maximum yield. Nitrogen is generally deficient in most soils around the world, particularly in the areas where farmers practice intensive cultivation and grow high-yielding varieties. The availability of nitrogen is of prime importance for growing garlic as it is an integral part of chlorophyll molecules, which are responsible for photosynthesis.
If you’re a garlic grower who’s making the switch from synthetic to organic fertilizers, you may be worried that using organic materials will be difficult, more expensive, and more complicated than using premixed chemical fertilizers. Organic fertilizer blends can be just as convenient and effective as blended synthetic fertilizers. There are so many options for incorporating organic fertilizer into your precious soil. Convenient products like liquid seaweed, and fish emulsion make it easy to fertilize plants. Dehydrated organic cow manure pellets are easy to apply. Note: if you live near wild animals, don’t use fish emulsion or blood meal, as the strong odor can attract animals who will dig up your garden, wherever that liquid is applied.
If possible, don't use Urea in your garden. Urea is a synthetic form of nitrogen, manufactured synthetically by reacting natural gas, atmospheric nitrogen, and water together at high temperatures and pressure to produce ammonia and carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, long-term use of Urea can result in not-so-good bacteria, which then increases the amount of ammonia in the soil. Urea degrades quickly in the soil. As a result, plants are damaged due to a lack of necessary nutrients and the toxicity of ammonia and carbon dioxide released from urea degradation. According to a research paper at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, urea has adverse effects on seed germination, seedling growth, and early plant growth in soil. Because there is evidence that these adverse effects are caused largely, if not entirely, by ammonia produced through hydrolysis of urea fertilizer by soil urease.
Ideally, organic fertilizers should be used in garlic production. In addition to releasing nutrients, as organic fertilizers break down, they improve the structure of the soil and increase its ability to hold water and nutrients. Over time, organic fertilizers will make your soil–and plants–healthy and strong. Because of the organic matter present in organic fertilizer, soil structure is improved, and as a result, the soil’s ability to hold onto water and nutrients increases. Synthetic fertilizer consists of chemical molecules without carbon. These molecules can sometimes be disruptive and are not accessible to microbes. On the other hand, organic fertilizer is rich in organic matter, which helps microbes thrive. Organic fertilizer contains carbon as part of its chemical makeup; and it is the carbon, along with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that feeds microbes and enables them to make nutrients available for plants in a naturally occurring biological process. Synthetic fertilizers run off into our waterways harming marine life and water quality. Organic fertilizers do not run off as easily (if at all) and are associated with soil structure. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic fertilizer also increases species biodiversity by 30% compared with synthetic fertilizer. Although organic fertilizer can be more costly than synthetic, it can reduce the need for pesticides and the overall nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium requirements. Because of the reductions, organic fertilizer can be cost-neutral and sometimes cost savings. Some synthetic fertilizers can cause plant damage to leaves and roots. This is less likely with organic fertilizers.
Many of us are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of the foods we are buying at the grocery store, including garlic. Apparently, the majority of the world’s garlic is grown in China and is sprayed with chemicals and bleached white with chlorine during importation quarantine processes. Not to mention the thousands of food miles clocked up traveling long distances in storage. Health concerns over the use of pesticides and genetically modified products have led many people to consider growing their own vegetables. The benefits of growing organic garlic include Easy access to fresh produce, Improved taste due to freshness and lack of chemicals, Improved nutrition, No harmful pesticide residue, Reduction in exposure to harmful chemicals, Keeping the groundwater safe, Protect the environment and the creatures who call it their home, and Improves biodiversity.
Garlic is easy to grow, though one of the biggest mistakes growers make is not providing enough fertility to their soil, or adding too much nitrogen. The garlic plant is a 'heavy feeder,' so it will not grow to its full potential if nutrients are not present in the soil. If the soil’s fertility is too nitrogen-rich, however, garlic will focus on vegetative growth, resulting in large, lush-green leaves above small bulbs. Excess nitrogen also decreases storage life. Incorporating rich, well-balanced compost into the soil including organic slow-release fertilizer, can ensure a successful garlic crop.
When and How to Use Organic Fertilizers.
To get the most out of any organic fertilizer, we need to pretend we are roots, growing in the soil. The bulk of a plant’s feeder roots lies just beneath the surface. Organic fertilizers need to reach the plant's roots so that the roots can absorb and use them. Initially, some of the nutrients in organic fertilizer may be insoluble and in a form that plants cannot use right away. Because soil microorganisms need time, warmth, and moisture to release nutrients from organic fertilizers, plants may have to wait a while. The easiest way to apply dry fertilizer is to broadcast it and then incorporate it into the top few inches of the soil. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, most organic fertilizers are nonburning and will not harm delicate seedling roots. During the growing season, side-dressing dry fertilizers in crop rows can boost plant growth.
The use of organic fertilizer is easy! and because organic fertilizer is comprised of only organic matter, it has the potential to greatly improve soil quality and fertility. Some other organic fertilizers are made of livestock manure, aged compost, or sludge/ biosolids. If you plan to use organic fertilizer, a really good first step would be to get your soil tested and make a nutrient management plan. The management plan should be focused on the crop or crops you plan to grow. These two steps will help you determine how much fertilizer you will need to use and will help you make sure you do not over-or underfeed your crops. Reviewing the results of the soil test reveals what your soil needs, and will help you amend those missing nutrients, making sure the nutrient needs of your plants are fully met.
How and When Should we use Organic Fertilizer? We must understand that crops have different nutritional needs. Corn has different nutritional needs than garden peas. And, depending on which stage of growth or blooming plants are in, they also have different nutritional needs. Remember that the nutrients in most organic fertilizers are initially insoluble and in forms that plants cannot use. Account for the time lag between application and nutrient release by spreading organic fertilizers a few weeks before planting. When applying fertilizer, one option is to make narrow furrows approximately 8 inches away from the plant's roots, two to three inches deep. Distribute the organic material evenly in the furrow and cover it with soil. Liquid and foliar fertilizer applications can be made with water-soluble products like fish emulsion, liquid worm castings, liquified bat guano, and seaweed extract. A full feeding, for a full season, some crops may need 5-6 applications per year. You want to feed your crop when it's growing most rapidly. However, you should base the frequency on your climate and the type of crop you are growing. Use liquid fertilizers to give plants a light nutrient boost every few weeks during the growing season. With flowering and fruiting plants, foliar sprays are most useful during critical periods. However, the improper use of organic fertilizers has the potential to result in overfertilization or nutrient deficiency in the soil.
The lab that tests your soil can make it easier for you as a grower, to plan your feeding schedules and make sure the plant's nutritional needs are met. Knowing when to use an organic fertilizer is somewhat difficult to determine and calculate. Dosing plants with organic fertilizer can be a little bit more complicated. Unlike synthetic fertilizer which is a quick fix, organic fertilizers are slow-release, and it takes more time for the nutrients to be taken in by the crops. It is important to keep in the back of our mind that organic fertilizer not only helps our crops thrive, and in the long term, the use of organic material in your garden will improve soil quality. Quality soil has the potential to help make crops stay healthy and strong.
Organic fertilizer is a great way to improve the health of your plants and the environment. It is made from natural materials, such as manure, compost, and plant waste. Organic fertilizer is slow-release, which means it releases nutrients over time, and it is also a good source of organic matter.
Summary on Organic Fertilizers
There are many different types of organic fertilizer available, so you can choose one that is right for your needs. Some common types of organic fertilizer include:
Compost: Compost is made from decomposed organic materials, such as plant waste, manure, and food scraps. It is a good source of nutrients and organic matter.
Manure: Manure is made from the waste of animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens. It is a good source of nutrients, but it can also contain harmful bacteria.
Fish emulsion: Fish emulsion is made from the waste of fish. It is a good source of nitrogen and phosphorus.
Bone meal: Bone meal is made from the bones of animals. It is a good source of calcium and phosphorus.
To use organic fertilizer, simply apply it to the soil around your plants. You can apply it as a side dressing, which means you apply it to the soil next to the plant, or you can broadcast it, which means you spread it over the entire area of the garden.
When using organic fertilizer, be sure to follow the directions on the label. Too much organic fertilizer can damage your plants, so it is important to use it in moderation.
Organic fertilizer is a great way to improve the health of your plants and the environment. It is a safe and effective way to fertilize your plants, and it can help to reduce the amount of synthetic fertilizer you use.
Here are some tips for using organic fertilizer:
Use the right type of fertilizer for your plants. There are many different types of organic fertilizer available, so choose one that is right for your plants.
Follow the directions on the label. Too much organic fertilizer can damage your plants, so it is important to use it in moderation.
Apply organic fertilizer in the spring and fall. This will help to improve the health of your plants and the soil.
Water your plants after applying organic fertilizer. This will help to prevent the fertilizer from burning your plants' roots.
Mulch the soil around your plants. This will help to retain moisture and nutrients in the soil.
Test the soil regularly. This will help you to determine the nutrients your plants need.
A Happy Story About Using Organic Fertilizer
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Mary who loved to garden. She had a small garden in her backyard, and she loved to grow flowers and vegetables. Mary's parents were very supportive of her love of gardening. They bought her a set of gardening tools and helped her to build a raised bed for her garden. Her hometown was not far from East Palestine, Ohio USA.
When Mary was only eleven, Mary's parents took her to the doctor for a check-up. The doctor found a lump on Mary's neck. After some tests, the doctor told Mary's parents that Mary had cancer. Mary's parents were devastated. They didn't know what to do. But they knew that they had to be strong for Mary. They took Mary to see a specialist, who started her on chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Did the garden she was working in have contaminated soils? Did the synthetic fertilizers the previous owners used, cause the problem? They would never know for sure.
Mary was very brave. She never complained, even when she was feeling sick. She kept her smile on her face and her sense of humor. Mary's parents were so proud of her.
Mary and her Family moved to Bozeman, Montana. One day, Mary's mother told her that they were going to start using organic fertilizer in their garden. Mary was excited because she had heard that organic fertilizer was good for the environment. Mary helped her mother to spread the organic fertilizer in the garden. They worked together to dig it into the soil and then they planted their flowers and vegetables. Mary was so happy to see her plants growing so well. She knew that the organic fertilizer was helping them to grow healthy and strong. Mary's mother was also happy with the results of the organic fertilizer. She said that it was making the garden look beautiful and that the plants were thriving.
Mary spent hours every day in her new garden. She would water her plants, pull weeds, and talk to her flowers. She loved the feeling of the sun on her skin and the dirt under her fingernails. One day, Mary was in her garden when she saw a beautiful butterfly. She watched as the butterfly fluttered from flower to flower. Mary was so happy to see the butterfly. She knew that it was a sign that her garden was healthy and happy. Mary continued to tend to her garden every day during the summer and fall. She loved watching her plants grow and bloom. She also loved the feeling of accomplishment she got from taking care of her garden.
One day, Mary's parents told her that they were going to have a party in her garden. Mary was so excited! She helped her parents to decorate the garden with flowers. The party was a huge success. Everyone loved the garden and Mary was so proud of her work. She knew that she would always cherish the memories of that day.
After several months of treatment, Mary was cancer-free. She was so happy to be healthy again. She could finally go back to school and meet new friends. Mary's parents were so grateful to the doctors and nurses who had helped Mary through her illness. They knew that Mary was a miracle. Mary's story is a reminder that even when things are tough, there is always hope. Mary and her mother continued to use organic fertilizer in their garden. They were both happy with the results and they were both proud of their garden."
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Watch - Using Organic Fertilizer
Bone meal, bat guano, gypsum...what ARE all of these organic fertilizers and how do you actually know WHICH to use, and HOW to use them? Enjoy this long-overdue organic fertilizer breakdown video. Alfalfa Meal, Cottonseed Meal, Bat Guano, Kelp Meal, Rock Phosphate, Greensand, Gypsum, Garden Lime, Blood and Bone Meal, Cow Manure, Chicken Manure, Earthworm Castings, Fish Emulsion, Which to Use?