If you’re planning to turn your garden fully organic and you’re not sure how to do so, then you’ve come to the right place! Going organic would mean making ends meet with your plants with giving them carefully formulated organic soil and nutrients. Not only is this very possible, it’s also quite easy as well!
So far, there is no fertilizer, both synthetic and organic, that can give ALL the things that your plant needs. Every single one does not contain the proper amount of micro and macronutrients for each type of plant. Some soils or fertilizer does not even come with the properly balanced pH! Therefore, to achieve the best results possible, you will have to tailor or design your own fertilizer mix based on the needs of your plant. Don’t worry! Like we said, it’s pretty easy to do so! Just follow these steps and you should be good to go!
- Test your Soil
Testing your soil is an EXTREMELY important step in making an organic garden (or even a synthetic one for that matter). The good thing about testing your soil is that it’s not rocket science. It’s easy enough that you can do it yourself but if you’re not that confident you can always have a lab do it for you. With that said, a lot of growers opt to do both which can help you learn more about your garden. If you want to do it yourself, there are test kits around the market that can help you with your testing. Directions are usually present so all you have to do is to follow it and test your own garden soil. On the other hand, sending your sample to the lab can be cost-effective as it can save more time and can give you better results. All you have to do is to collect a good sample of your soil and send it to the lab for testing. To collect samples, all you need is a clean cloth and a clean container. Then you have to get soil from random spots in your garden, not just in one place. The reason for this is that the garden has a lot of different kinds of soil which means getting a wider area for testing is better. Another good thing about lab testing is that it can give you your results and can give you a “plain-English” analysis and recommendations.
- Choose between Organic and Synthetic
Once the results come in, you will have to choose which type of nutrients and fertilizers you will use. Synthetic fertilizers are often made by chemicals extracted from organic substances together with other chemicals such as petroleum. In general, synthetic fertilizers are easily spread, uniform in size (with each particle) and is relatively cheap. However, plants can only take so much and the excess fertilizer will be wasted. Additionally, some growers say that synthetic nutrient fed plants tend to have a different taste (a chemical taste) compared to organic ones. Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, are made from organic substances (from either animal, plant or mineral sources) which contain no artificial additives. They’re a bit more expensive than synthetic ones and contains a lower nutritional value for the plant. This, however, does not mean that it’s not just as effective as synthetic ones. Additionally, some organic matter is not easily soluble which means that the plant will need some time to break it down for it to be used. With those said, organic fertilizer gives a lot of benefits to the plant in the long run as they can feed your plants longer than synthetic ones. Since this is an article about organic fertilizers, we will focus on that area.
The next step is to determine where to get your macronutrients. Potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen and are the macronutrients that your plants really need while calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are a little less important. Corn gluten meal, soybean meal, cottonseed meal, blood meal, guano, feather meal and fertilizers from marine life are good sources of nitrogen. Organic phosphorus can be derived from bone meal, rock phosphate, and bat guano. For potassium, most of these mentioned sources except for corn gluten, blood and bone meals contain a good amount of potassium which means it no longer needs any extra sources. For calcium, magnesium and sulfur, lime and magnesium sulfate are good sources.
Micronutrients are also essential to your plants but in lower amounts. Healthy soil will most probably contain these micronutrients and if not, it can be supplemented with products. The most important ones are chlorine, iron, boron, manganese, copper, zinc and molybdenum. These micronutrients help the plant to photosynthesize and help the plant bear fully fruits. Most of these micronutrients can be derived from seaweed and kelp (either in powder, liquid or meal form).
- Combining them
Now that you have the results from the lab and their recommendation for your intended crop, you can now create your own organic garden. You will have to calculate how many pounds of each nutrient based on the area where you will work on (most recommendation come in ‘pound of nutrient per acre). You can either apply the nutrients one by one or make a blend out of them, just be sure to not make any excess nutrient or overlap any as that will be wasteful of both your time and the actual organic materials.As stated above, organic gardens are typically slower than synthetic ones, so don’t be alarmed or saddened if it grows slowly. The organic material in the soil takes more time to be absorbed but it would mean that it will be there longer to take care of your plants. To get more out of your garden, just test your soil once every season to see how your soil is doing as the pH level and nutrient level will differ from time to time.