For organic farmers, making a living soil that is rich in nutrients and humus- the trick to growing great vegetables, fruits, numerous flowers and long lived shrubs and ornamental trees. The general viability and fertility of the soil, rather than the use of fertilizers as a quick way of farming, is at the very core of organic farming.
But like all farmers, organic farmers have to begin somewhere. You soil may lack certain nutrients. It may not have perfect structure of the soil. Unless you get a perfect soil, you are going to work hard to make it viable for farming.
Chemical fertilizer verses organic fertilizer
Many organic matters work as soil conditioner and fertilizers. This is one of the major differences between an organic approach and chemical approach towards fertilizing and soil care. Chemical fertilizers have mineral salts that the roots of the plant can absorb. However, these soils don’t have a source of food for the microorganisms that live in the soil as well as earthworms, and they will even push earthworms because they increase the acidity of the soil.
Soil that is treated with synthetic chemical fertilizer destroys the organic matter and all the imperative microorganisms that increase the quality of the soil. As the water holding capacity reduces and the structure of the solid diminishes, more and more of the fertilizers applied will leak through the soil. On the hand, it will take time and very high amounts of chemical to stimulate growth. When you use organic fertilizers, you save your soil from such as situation.
The manufacturing process of chemical fertilizers relies on non-renewable resources such as natural gas and coal. Other chemicals are made from treating minerals from rocks with acids so as to make them more soluble
The good news is that there are many organic fertilizers that are currently sold in the market. Organic fertilizers are extracted from animal materials and natural plants or from mineral rocks. However, there is no international standard that define and shows the difference between organic fertilizers and chemical fertilizer. Therefore, it is very hard to tell a commercial product that is labeled ORGANIC, honestly contains natural ingredients or are safe.
Look for products that have the NATURAL ORGANIC low analysis and slow release. Be careful about of products that that have nitrogen phosphorus – potassium ratio that has a total of 15.
Using organic fertilizer
If you are a farmer who is trying to switch from chemical fertilizer to organic fertilizer, you may be afraid that if you use organic fertilizers thing won’t work for you, or they are not that convenient as the chemical fertilizer.
Organic fertilizers can be as convenient as the other synthetic fertilizers. Also, you do not need to feed your plants organically, unless it’s something that you really enjoy. So, while some farmers will apply a small blood meal around the tomatoes while planting, there are those who will wait until blossoms are about to pour out. Most farmers will be okay to make at least 2 applications of organic fertilizer throughout the farm.
Reliable products such as liquid seaweed and dehydrated and organic cow manure, makes it easy to fertilize crops
You can also use plant specific approach to fertilizing. These fertilizers are normally sold in garden centers or crop centers. You can find everything in these centers such as rose fertilizer and organic tomato. Rose fertilizers are specially created for lawns, heavy bloom production and containers as well.
You can make custom made mixes to cater for the special needs. For instance, bird guano and bat bleed meal, chicken manure, fish meal or chicken feather meal as nitrogenous sources.
Bone meal is also great source for phosphorus; greensand and kelp are rich organic sources.
Dry organic fertilizers
Dry organic fertilizers usually comprise of one material such as kelp or rock phosphate, or they can be a hotchpotch of ingredients. Almost every organic fertilizer has a wide range of nutrients. However, blends are usually made to provide balance for potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus and also micronutrients. There are a number of commercial blends, but is easy to make your own all-purpose fertilizers by mixing different amendments
Applying dry fertilizers
The most popular way of applying dry fertilizers is to broadcast the fertilizer and then rake it up into the top 6 inches of the soil. You can add small amounts of the fertilizer to the planting row or hole as you plant your seeds. Unlike dry synthetic fertilizers, organic fertilizers do not burn and harm the seedling roots.
In the growing season, you can boost you’re the growth of your plant by using dry fertilizers around the drip lines of shrubs or trees.
Make use of liquid organic fertilizers to give the plants a light nutrient boost. You can also snack every two weeks or every month during the growing season. All you have to do is to mix the foliar spray in a sprayer tank and spray all the plants simultaneously.
Plants are capable of absorbing liquid fertilizers using their roots and leaf pores. Foliar feeding can supply the plant with nutrients when they don’t have or when they are not available in the soil or if the roots are stressed. These fertilizers are responsible for fast growth in vegetables
Fertilizers such as kelp are rich in growth hormones and micronutrients. They also act as catalysts, by stimulating the increase in nutrients up take by plants. Seaweed extract and compost teat are some of the mostly used organic foliar fertilizers.
Applying liquid fertilizers
With fruiting and flowering plants, liquid fertilizers are usually effective in crucial periods such as during fruit set or after planting, or period of extreme temperatures. For leaf crops some experts recommend biweekly spraying.
When you are using fertilizers make sure that you follow the instructions that are on label. Ensure you go through the application procedures as well as proper dilution. You can also use a surfacnt like a mild soap and coconut to make sure the leaves are covered well. Otherwise the spray may not spread on the foliage and thus you will not enjoy the maximum benefit. Ensure that you measure the surfactant keenly. If you use excess fertilizers you may end up damaging the plants. A small acid spray mixture is very effective, so ensure that the PH is correct before spraying the fertilizers. To lower the PH, you can use very small amounts of vinegar. You can use soda to raise the PH. Make sure the PH lies between 6 and 6.5
Any mister or sprayer will work perfectly, from knapsack to hand trigger sprayers. Adjust your sprayer to release fine spray. Do not use sprayer that has previously been used to apply herbicides.
The best time to spray your organic fertilizer is in the early morning and evening, when the fertilizer will be absorbed quickly and will not burn the foliage. Spray only when there is no rain and the temperatures are not high.
Make sure that you spray until the liquid starts to drop from the leaves, focus on the underside of the leaf, where most of the leaf pores are more likely to be open. You can also spray your fertilizer around the root zone. You can use the drip irrigation system to carry out fertilizers to your plants. You can use Kelp for this matter. Do not use fish emulsion because they can clog the irrigation emitters?
Using growth enhancers
The function of growth enhancers is to help the plants absorb nutrients easily from the soil. Kelp is one of the most common growth enhancers that have been used by farmers for many years.
Kelp can be sold either as an extract in liquid form, as a dried meal or in powdered form. It is extremely safe and offers sixty trace elements that are crucial for the growth of plants. It also has enzymes and growth promoting hormones. These compounds have not been researched upon and no one understands them fully but helps the plants to growth effectively.
Applying growth enhancers
Make sure that you follow all the directions for spraying liquid fertilizers when you are applying enhancers as a foliar spray. Also, you can use kelp extract or kelp meal into the soil. This will stimulate the bacteria that live in the soil. Consequently, it increases the level of fertility via the formation of humus, moisture retention as well as aeration.
Use about 1 to 2 pounds of kelp extract or kelp meal in every 100 square feet of your farm each spring. You can also apply the kelp extract only once in a month for the first five months of the growing season.
If you can afford to get fresh seaweed, clean it to get rid of the sea salt and pour it on the surface of the soil in your farm as mulch. You can also choose to compost it.
Seaweed usually decays faster because it does not have enough cellulose components.