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Natural Fertilizer and Plant Foods

Here is the start of a list of natural fertilizer and amendments which you will find useful for your garden and plants. This page is under construction but I wanted to go ahead and get this partial list out (since I have been getting so much traffic and interest in this subject).

Common Animal based

  • Cow Manure N-P-K = .25 .15 .25.  A very good all around and fairly available manure. Dairy manure is preferable to steer due to lower salt and urine content.
  • Horse Manure N-P-K = .70 .30 .60. Readily available as there are many stables around. Richer in nitrogen than cow but it is a good idea to use in initially in a ‘hot’ composting method due to it’s higher weed seed content.
  • Chicken Manure N-P-K = 1.1 .80 .50.  Because of it’s being a very high N-P-K, it needs to be composted first to prevent it from burning plants.
  • Rabbit Manure N-P-K = 2.4 1.4 .60. About the highest nitrogen content and also very rich in phosphorus, which is needed in flower and fruit production. It is considered one of the best manures because it can be used fresh and won’t burn plants!
  • Sheep Manure N-P-K = .70 .30 .90. Is also considered a ‘hot’ manure and it is very dry and rich. Hay and grain fed sheep will be more potent than open pasture etc.
  • Fish Emulsion N-P-K = 5,1.5,1.5. Is a partially decomposed blend of finely pulverized fish and is an excellent organic fertilizer and is high in nitrogen and other trace elements. Here is a product you might want to consider: FISH EMULSION CONCENTRATE
  • Blood Meal N-P-K = 13.5,1,.6. It is a slow release form of nitrogen and trace minerals and is one of the richest forms of nitrogen available organically. It is a dried powdered blood (completely soluble) and should not be used excessively because it might burn plants due to high ammonia content. Bone meal is different in that it contains more phosphorus and less nitrogen. Here is a product that you might want to consider: Blood Meal / 12-1-1, 5 lb. and also: Bone Meal 6 – 12 – 0 5 lb.
  • Urine Yes, human urine is a very safe and effective fertilizer! It has a very high nitrogen content that is readily bio available, and is rich source of potassium and other trace elements. It can be diluted approximately 10:1 for application. It’s high nitrogen content is also very useful to help speed up a composting pile (especially one with more ‘browns’). Washington Post Article 

Common Plant Based

  • Kelp is a term to describe a number of large, brown, seaweeds and is technically classified as an algae. It is found often as a liquid, powder, or palletized form and is found many times combined with a liquid fish fertilizer. Though it is low in NPK, it adds valuable micronutrients and growth hormones to plants. Here is a product that you might want to consider: Seaweed Extract Liquified Organic Kelp – 1 Quart Bottle
  • Alfalfa Meal Derived from alfalfa plants and pressed into a pellet form, alfalfa meal is beneficial for adding nitrogen and potassium (about 2 percent each), as well as trace minerals and growth stimulants. Roses, in particular, seem to like this fertilizer and benefit from up to 5 cups of alfalfa meal per plant every ten weeks, worked into the soil. Here is a product that you might want to consider: Down to Earth Alfalfa Meal 5 lbs. 
  • Compost Though not technically a plant based fertilizer,  it is included here because compost causes the nutrients (and water) in the soil to be released slowly and in a bio available form (especially vermicompost).  Compost also increases the healthy microbial and fungal activity of the soil which aids in nutrient availability and disease resistance – through the development of humus.  Also, “what goes into the compost, is what comes out,” and this means that whatever minerals, trace elements, and other plant nutrients that originally comprised the compost materials, will make a huge difference in the final compost product.

Common Mineral based Addititives

  • Rock Phosphate Used to slowly increase the phosphorus content of you soil and it also contains some micronutrients.
  • Limestone  Commonly used to increase the ph of soils but it also contains calcium and some magnesium. A soil ph test should be performed before trying to adjust the ph with these substances.  The addition of Gypsum would be a good way to increase calcium if one did not want to raise the ph.
  • Epsom Salt A fast acting magnesium supplement for the soil (it also contains some sulfur). Tomatoes, peppers, and roses seem to love it!