Do organic gardeners use fertilizer? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I would like to know if the organic gardeners out there use fertilizer, if so what kind? I have always tried to use just compost and manure, but this year Im having trouble with my plants, they just are not growing like they should. I have tomatoes, peppers squash okra, and pole beans. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Roxanne

-- Roxanne (, April 15, 2001


I am 100% organic. I use rabbit manure for my fertilizer Have you done a soil test? applying more fertilizer is not always the answer. You may need to add lime (100% organic) to much fertlizer can lower your Ph. Talk to your local Ag agent they can sell you a Ph kit or best of all point you in the direction of a local Master Gardener who might be able (or willing) to do it for free. Master Gardener Grant Eversoll

-- grant (, April 15, 2001.

You bet we do! I use compost, aged manure/manure tea, leguninous cover crops, sensible rotation (in fertile soil that would be heavy feeders followed by moderate feeders followed by light feeders followed by a legume of some kind) and occasionally bought organic fertlizers such as bone meal, kelp meal and many others. Once you've done a soil test and adjusted the pH, it depends on how fertile your soil is. If not very fertile, and you can't afford to buy organic fertilizers and soil amendments like peatmoss or topsoil, then I'd say go with cover crops. If you have or can find a good source of cheap manure, that's great, but make sure it isn't fresh and watch out for the salts that leach out of it. And it's very important to compost every bit of vegetable matter you don't consume. A lot of people consider organic gardening to be simply "not using chemicals", but that sort of thinking will doom your garden. Your plants need water and nutrients and a soil that is of decent tilth and pH balance in order to provide a good environment for the millions, or maybe billions, of microorganisms that will nourish and protect your crops. There are a whole host of good books on organic gardening that can provide essential and detailed information -I highly recommend investing in one, because organic gardening is really a very complicated subject. Anyway, good luck with yours, and have fun!

-- Leslie A. (, April 16, 2001.

I do if I need it, as far as organic gardening goes, I feel it is important to keep the soil healthy with good humus, tilth etc. but if I plant a crop on new ground that is low in nutrients, I will use commercial fertilizer, such as corn or cabbage. I have gone beyound my purist years, except in our raised beds.

-- Hendo (, April 16, 2001.

try look for organic gardening and vegetables and composting or soil, compost and mulch and regions and climates and......

I have goats, sheep, chickens, rabbits, scratching head.... thinking...geese, ducks compost piles (4 going right now) that are 10 feet in diameter and 5 feet tall! there ain't no turning them, just make new ones and let nature take its course, after shredding the stuff of course. If you can't have or don't want livestock, I want to suggest you look at vermi-composting for liquid fertilizer. The best system I have found is the Can-O-Worms system..but it is a bit expensive. If you take a look at it you could build your own. I used a 'tamale steamer' for my first one :) (also see archives here)take a look at and see what I mean. I have the can-o-worm system and really like the idea. I use the liquid that drains from the spout for everything. What do I use to feed my worms? everything organic, except meat.

-- ima gardener (, April 16, 2001.

This year its rabbit manure for me... and worm castings. But, my mother used to use Miracle-Gro, and I still use it once in a very rare while. Since its been used in my family - even by Gram - I would think it ok. But... If you are going for certification - forget it. Use rabbit doo!! It can go in straight from the cage as a top dressing.

Have you tried 'foliar feeding'?? Simply make compost tea, dilute half and half with water, and spray the leaves. Cheaper, healthier and simpler than using store-bought fertilizer. It will give a 'jump start' to ailing or weak plants.

-- Sue Diederich (, April 16, 2001.

Roxanne, Natural materials are best to keep the "organic" garden's soil amended. I use woodash, animal manures, green manures, compost made from leaves and waste from kitchen vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, and eggshells. Even though they are "natural" too, I do not use humanure, dog or cat manure. I do not use grease, meat scraps, or bone either. The humanure, dog and cat manure may contain diseases. The grease, meat scraps, and bones do not compost quick enough to be of any value to your garden's nutritional needs. Your "organic" garden will not produce as large of vegetables as "chemical" ladened gardens but, the produce will be better tasting and 300% healthier. Also, "organic" gardening may require more work. Especially in weed and pest control. But, you can minimize both of those with a good soil pH, mulching and companion gardening methods. Sincerely, Ernest

-- (, April 16, 2001.

Goat,rabbit and chicken manure, compost and sometimes fish emulsion.

-- kathy h (, April 16, 2001.

Do it easy here, and it sure works. I use a 4 wheeler right now, and an attachment. Just drive all over dragging the manure in the pasture from the poultry and large livestock. The critters are earning their keep!

-- ~Rogo (, April 17, 2001.

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