One of the most important aspects of organic farming is building up the fertility of the soil. This can be done either by using synthetic or organic types of fertilizers. For years, many farmers used only synthetic fertilizers on their farm. The Synthetic types are manufactured products, while organic fertilizers are obtained from animal manure, plants or naturally occurring minerals.
Like our bodies, plants also need nutrients to function and grow properly. The soil contains many of the essential nutrients needed by plants. There are 16 nutrient elements needed by plants to grow and most soils contain large reserves of 13 nutrients. The constant use of the soil and constant erosion by wind and rain will eventually deplete the nutrients.
The advantage of this form of fertilization is not only that they contain unprocessed nutrients mentioned above but also organic matter and humus which serves as soil conditioning. As compared to the processed synthetic fertilizers, organic fertilizers gives out the nutrients slowly so that plant roots are less likely to be burnt due to high dose of chemicals. Organic matter improves soil structure, drainage, and retains the moisture and microbial life of the soil. Sufficient amount of this can help ensure that nutrients are available to plants on a steady basis and that the soil structure enhances the root to grow.
There are several types of organic fertilizers. The Plant Based which are high in nitrogen and potassium, like Soybean Meals which has 7% nitrogen, Corn Gluten with 10% nitrogen that is quick to breakdown, Alfalfa Meal with a moderate 2% -3% Nitrogen and some traces of minerals. Another type is the Animal Based which is actually by-products of meat and dairy processing like Blood Meals from the slaughtering industry which contain 14% nitrogen, Bone Meal with 11% phosphorous and 22% calcium, Fish Meal with 10% nitrogen and Animal Manure whose nutrient composition varies based on the animal and the method of storage. Lastly, there is Composting Method which is considered as the best organic fertilizer. They are made from plant, animal, and mineral based materials. It has a low but good balance of nutrients and high on organic matters that help feed the soil’s microorganisms. The nicest thing about composting is that no matter what material you start with, the end products will be fairly similar.
Indeed! The secret to growing nutritious fruits and vegetables, abundant flowers, trees and shrubs is by creating a living soil using organic fertilizers – Cheap, Effective and Eco-friendly.