Whether you’re growing a floral extravaganza or planning the harvest of a lifetime, maintaining the fertility of your soil is essential. When it comes to finding the right fertilizer, there are various options on the market for you to choose from – some more beneficial than others.
In this blog, we’re going to talk about everything you need to know about organic fertilizer and its synthetic counterpart. As well as explaining the differences between them, we’ll also tell you why the natural option is always best.
Keep reading to brush up on your fertilizer knowledge!
What Is Organic Fertilizer?
Organic fertilizer is derived from natural resources, returning pre-existing nutrients to the soil in your garden. When used effectively, it’s a safe and efficient way of restoring goodness without adding any artificial chemicals or products to the environment.
They generally work by stimulating beneficial soil microorganisms and improving the overall structure of the soil. Microbes play a crucial part in converting organic fertilizer into soluble nutrients for plant absorption. They’re a long-term solution to deficiencies, feeding and nurturing over a more extended period than synthetic fertilizers.
What Is Synthetic Fertilizer?
Unlike organic fertilizers, the synthetic option is artificially produced using various chemical ingredients. They often contain nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium – three critical nutrients required for adequate plant growth. Best known for their fast-acting process, synthetic fertilizers come in several forms for use throughout your garden. This includes liquid, granule, pellet and spike varieties.
Since they’re water-soluble, plants can immediately absorb synthetic fertilizers for a quick nutrient hit. Most gardeners choose this option to achieve faster growth across lawns as they provide rapid development and super green results.
Why Is Organic Fertilizer the Better Option?
When choosing the right fertilizer for your garden, the organic option will always be at the top of our recommendation list. While synthetic fertilizers give plants an immediate boost, they actually do very little to achieve long-term results. Organic fertilizer stimulates soil life, improves soil texture and nurtures fertility for the long haul instead of providing a one-time solution.
Other benefits include:
- Releasing nutrients at a rate plants can use
- Offer a more controlled rate of growth that doesn’t overstimulate plants
- Promotes more robust root growth and builds disease resistance
- Promotes a healthy soil ecosystem for long-term gardening success
Synthetic fertilizers provide a cheap, easy and efficient option in comparison, but they’re not the best option for a deeply nourished garden. They’re much more likely to run off into waterways or onto other plants, often causing irreversible damage through chemical exposure. The organic option mitigates this risk while providing a long-term solution to better soil fertility.
How to Create Your Own Organic Fertilizer
Want to know another great advantage of using organic fertilizer? Gardeners can create their very own supply from the comfort of their own homes. While avoiding the costs of synthetic fertilizers, this can also be a gratifying process for the green-thumbed among us. Create your own circular garden ecosystem and watch the rewards unfold!
Here are some of the ways you can create your own organic fertilizer.
Create a Compost Pile
Our first and most well-known tip is to build yourself a compost bin. Depending on how much space you have access to, you can create this using a classic bin format or an open-air arrangement.
- If you’re opting for a pile, select a location in your garden that’s far away from your house (to keep the smell at bay) and out of sight if you’d prefer not to see it
- If you’re opting for a bin, purchase a large container or composter with a lid
- Enclose your pile with rocks or concrete chunks in a circular arrangement
- Only compost foods that can rot – see this list for a handy guide
- Maintain the nutrients level by layering your compost
Layer one: materials high in carbon such as hay, straw, leaves, sawdust or small twigs (bulkiest items at the bottom)
Layer two: materials high in nitrogen that kickstart the composting process, including manures, vegetable waste, grass clippings and garden debris
Layer three: topsoil to keep your compost contained (avoiding treated soil or sterile potting soil)
Recycle Your Food Scraps
If you’re short on garden space or want a better-smelling solution, food recycling is the perfect route for you. Devices like the FoodCycler are ideal for slotting into small kitchens and turning your food waste into a nourishing soil amendment.
- Order and install a FoodCycler into your kitchen
- Add in leftover vegetables or any other scraps on the list of accepted items
- Turn on and watch the magic happen
- Remove the byproduct and add to your soil for a nutrient-rich boost
Try Indoor Worm Composting
Indoor worm composting is an excellent way of creating organic fertilizer without compromising on space. You can build a hard-working ecosystem of hungry worms in your garage or kitchen while producing nourishing compost to level up your garden.
Often known as ‘vermicomposting’, worm composting involves:
- Filling a tall bin or ready-made worm composter with soil, leaves and paper
- Maintaining temperature and moisture conditions for optimum composting
- Buying a large number of worms to live (and work!) in your environment
- Collecting compost and liquid fertilizer for use in your garden
Not only is organic fertilizer a great option for your garden, but it’s also a much better option for the planet. By recycling your scraps and returning natural nutrients to the soil, you can combat the food waste crisis from your own backyard.
Learn more about the food waste crisis and how processing your leftovers could make a massive difference to your climate impact by reading our blog.