Organic gardening is a rewarding hobby anyone can do, whether you’d like a garden filled with beautiful flowers or one brimming with fruits and vegetables. But to have a thriving garden, you need healthy soil rich in plant nutrients to support root growth. And organic fertilizer may be just what you need to have the garden of your dreams.
In this guide, you’ll learn about organic fertilizer and how it can help your garden blossom. We’ll explore why it’s vital for soil quality, different organic fertilizers you can choose, and why organic fertilizer is a better choice than conventional fertilizer. Let’s get started!
What Is Organic Fertilizer?
Good soil quality is the foundation of a healthy garden. If you feel as though your plants could use a little help with growing their best, it might be worth adding organic fertilizer to the mix.
Organic fertilizer is made from organic matter, such as animal waste and other byproducts, plants, and beneficial microbes and bacteria. It’s filled with micronutrients your plants need to grow and thrive, and comes in both wet and dry formulas. Much like ourselves, plants do better when they have access to the vitamins and nutrients they need.
Chemical fertilizer, on the other hand, doesn’t typically include organic substances in its formulas. Instead of relying on ingredients from nature, much of what you’ll find inside is manufactured, like ammonium nitrate, which makes synthetic fertilizers far less friendly to the planet than organic varieties.
A quality organic fertilizer can improve soil structure, imparting vital trace elements that will enhance your soil quality over time — all without a chemical additive or risk to the environment.
Psst: Some plants have different fertilizer needs from others. Your tomatoes may need one kind of fertilizer, while roses need another. Ask an associate at your local Walmart Garden Center or Home Depot Garden Center for help on making the right choice for your garden.
How Organic Fertilizer Helps in Your Home Garden
Introducing organic fertilizer into your gardening toolbox can work wonders in every area of your home garden. Here are just a few ways it can lend a hand:
- Better Plant Growth: The ingredients in organic fertilizer support your plant’s growth from the very beginning. Those organic materials increase nitrogen content, creating a nourishing growing environment while feeding various microorganisms that deliver vital nutrients to plant roots.
- Improves Soil Conditions: Depending on which region of the country you live in, your gardening soil may be dense and full of clay or light and sandy. Suppose your gardening soil is less than ideal. In that case, organic fertilizer may help you get more out of your vegetable garden. Not only will your plants grow better, but you might be able to extend your growing season if they’re getting proper nutrition from the soil. Even better, as soil conditions improve in your garden, you’ll notice benefits such as better water retention, nutrient uptake, and soil aeration.
- Keeps Chemicals Out: If you steer clear of pesticides, you’ll want to keep the same philosophy in mind when choosing soil conditioners such as fertilizer — especially if you grow your own food. Remember, whatever you’re putting in the soil will be what your plants absorb as they grow and will eventually end up on your family’s dinner plates.
To keep your gardening super simple and low maintenance, you can’t go wrong with Back to the Roots growing kits. Whether you’d like to cheer up a windowsill with lavender or sunflower plants or want to introduce your kids to gardening with a microgreen terrarium, we can help.
All of our organic grow kits come with everything you need to start a garden, including organic fertilizer. They’re also backed by our 100% Guaranteed to Grow Promise, so you’ll always have a positive experience.
Psst: Organic fertilizer works well with mulch to improve soil quality, so you don’t have to pick between one or the other. Both are terrific, pesticide-free ways to keep your plants happy and healthy.
Different Kinds of Organic Fertilizer
Organic fertilizers come in different forms, so you have some flexibility with how you use them in your garden.
Dry fertilizers can be made from a single material, such as bone meal, or they can blend different substances that are perfectly balanced for your garden. They’re easy to use and spread quickly in your soil (and are how your plants will absorb the nutrients from the fertilizer).
On the flipside, liquid fertilizer helps plants absorb nourishment through their root structures and their leaves. Pretty nifty, huh? These are a great choice if your plant’s roots are stressed or you want to give them a mid-season pick-me-up.
It’s important to mention that while organic fertilizer is the safest option for your home garden, you’ll still want to measure the pH of your soil. That way, you’ll better understand what soil conditions your plants need to grow their best and keep them that way.
Here are some of the different fertilizers you can use in your garden:
- Plant-Based Fertilizer: Plant-based fertilizers are what they sound like — fertilizers made from plants. Kelp and other seaweeds, alfalfa meal, and compost are all fertilizers you can use in your veggie garden. While they aren’t as high in nutrients as other forms of garden fertilizer, they break down quickly and increase nitrogen in the soil. Without proper nitrogen levels, plants won’t have the energy they need to grow.
- Animal-Based Fertilizer: If you really want to give your plants a nutritional boost, look for organic fertilizer blends with ingredients such as blood meal, bone meal, bat guano, cow manure, or other animal waste. Even lowly earthworms help enrich the soil with their worm castings — after all, everyone poops. Don’t forget fish emulsion too. While you definitely won’t want to use it indoors (stinky!), it’s perfect for plants on your patio garden or raised garden bed.
- Mineral-Based Fertilizer: Not all mineral-based fertilizers are made with synthetic materials. Many use inorganic minerals that can add trace elements that contribute to a healthy soil profile. Calcium, magnesium, greensand, and rock phosphate are all beneficial nutrients your plants will enjoy. NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) fertilizers will work in an organic garden as long as the ratio of each doesn’t add up to more than 15. However, some do have synthetic ingredients, so you’ll want to take a close look at what’s inside before using it in your garden.
Psst: Some fertilizers are fast-acting while others are slow-release. Depending on which you use, you’ll be able to see results relatively soon after applying. Don’t forget to look at how many square feet your fertilizer will cover so you can buy the right amount.
Using Organic Fertilizer For a Healthy Garden
Even if you choose the best quality potting soil you can find, your plants may still benefit from organic fertilizer. It gives your plants the sustenance they need while improving soil health at the same time.
Feel free to experiment with different organic fertilizers too. Some plants might require extra nourishment from one type of fertilizer, or perhaps you find a blend that gives your garden everything it needs. A high-quality organic fertilizer will help your plants thrive and nourish you and your family season after season.
Be sure and check out our Back to the Roots blog for more gardening tips and helpful information.