Organic fertilizer should be applied three times a year; late winter or early spring, early summer and fall. Apply an organic fertilizer to all turf and planting beds at 20 lbs/1000 sq. ft. Repeat every 60 to 90 days during the growing season if greater response is needed. Apply rock powders annually at about 40-80 lbs/1,000 sq. ft. The best choices include lava sand, basalt, and other volcanic materials. This is not necessary if you have volcanic soil. Add bat guano, fish meal, kelp meal or earthworm castings at 10-20 lbs/1,000 sq. ft. to annuals and perennials in the spring and every 60-90 days (if needed) during the growing season. Add a small handful of earthworm castings or soft rock phosphate to each hole when planting bulbs or small transplants. Mist or soak bulbs or seeds before planting in a 1%-5% solution of seaweed, Garrett Juice, aerated compost or some other natural biostimulant.
One of the many advantages of the natural organic program is that fertilizer can be applied any month of the year. One of the best choices is corn gluten meal. Cornmeal is primarily a fungal disease fighter although it has mild fertilizer value. Some of our recent evidence based results indicates that CGM also has disease control value. Use the CGM product at 20 lbs per 1000 sq ft and the cornmeal at least twice that rate.
What’s wrong with synthetic fertilizers?
There are all kinds of problems with synthetic, high-nitrogen salt fertilizers. Most importantly, they are basically salts. These salts build up and damage the soil and plant roots. High levels of nitrogen force fast growth that results in a very weak watery cell growth in plants. Plants grow and flower in the short run but the imbalance and the watery cells that are created bring on insects and diseases. Plant health is decreased long term. Nature’s job is to take out sick plants and to encourage the survival of the fittest. Synthetic nitrogen, even if attempts have been made to artificially slow its release, is soluble and doesn’t stay put in the soil. Rain and irrigation after application washes it away and leaches it through the soil into the water stream.
The worse possible choices? 1) Chemical weed and feed fertilizers
2) Nitrogen only fertilizers such as 24-0-0