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Safe Fertilisers

By: Joy Rothke - Updated: 8 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Safe Fertilisers

Toxic commercial fertilisers, with their toxic chemical ingredients, can frequently be replaced by easier and safer organic methods. You can eliminate the use of most commercial chemical fertilisers, weed killers and pesticides and still grow healthy and flourishing gardens.

Do a Soil Test

To determine the right sort of fertiliser for your garden, do a soil test. They're available for purchase at nurseries and garden centres. A soil test also measures the levels of acidity and alkalinity in your soil, and tells you which nutrients are needed.

Don't Use Too Much Fertiliser

Over-application of fertiliser is a mistake many home gardeners make. Too much product applied faster than the plant can absorb it wastes fertiliser and harms the plant.

Always apply fertiliser at the proper time in. For example, do not apply slow-release fertiliser late in the growing season. You don't want to boost foliage growth with nitrogen-heavy fertilisers prior to the dormant season.

Fertilisation

Proper fertilisation is another important key to successful vegetable gardening. The amount of fertiliser needed depends upon your soil and what you plan to grow.

Heavier clay soils can absorb three to four times the rate fertiliser application than thin sandy soil. Thin soils require lighter and more frequent applications.

Going Organic

If you decide to go the organic route, you have a number of choices when it comes to fertilisers. Depending on what you choose, organic products may have to be applied more often because they lack some added ingredients commercial/synthetic fertilisers contain to slow the nutrient release, these products may have to be applied more frequently. Some of the most popular are:

Fish Emulsion: this fish processing byproduct is mild and a good choice for delicate plants. (Note: it does have a distinct fishy smell.)

Cottonseed Meal: a cotton processing byproduct, and good source of nitrogen.

Blood Meal: a meat packing byproduct, and good source of phosphorous.

Super Phosphate: rock phosphate combined with sulfuric acid to produce phosphorus. Plants can absorb it easily in this form.

Compost: one of the best all around garden materials for soil improvement. You make this yourself in bins, by recycling garden and other household waste.

Manure: used primarily for soil conditioning. . "Cold" manure from cattle, sheep and rabbits can be added directly to the soil. "Hot" manure from horses, pigs and poultry are high in nitrogen and will burn plants if applied directly. They require composting before use.

Green Sand: from sedimentary marine deposits is high in potassium and iron.

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