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Dallas Morning News - October 1, 2020


 

Organic vs. Synthetic Fertilizer

 

Organic fertilizers are gentle-acting carbon and microbe containing materials from plant and animal residues. Examples include blood, bone, compost, manures, seaweed, sugars, grains, meals and worm castings. Synthetic fertilizers are harsh "man made" inorganic compounds - often derived from by-products of the petroleum industry.

 

Some gardening "gurus" preach that plants can't tell the difference – that all fertilizers enter in elemental form. It's an incorrect and incompetent argument. There are huge differences in the two fertilizing techniques.

 


Too much synthetic salt fertilizer will severely burn and kill

 

Synthetic fertilizers, contrary to marketing spiels, are not balanced. They are basically salts, have too much nitrogen, no carbon and very few trace minerals. They are also soluble and have a strong tendency to volatilize into the air and wash away or leach though the soil to end up in our waterways. Organic fertilizers behave themselves by staying in place and feeding soil microbes and plants in a more natural and nutritious way.

 


Synthetic fertilizers are basically salts. Normal amounts are destructive to soil microbes

 

Synthetic proponents base their recommendations on the theory that Justis von Liebig delivered to the British Association for the Advancement of Science where he said "plants find new nutritive materials only in inorganic substances." Later in 1843 the father of the N-P-K theory completely recanted and apologized for his error. Unfortunately, his gross mistake still lives today and is fraudulently used to justify the synthetic fertilizer industry.

 

Unacceptable fertilizers include the liquid blue green products. Some claim to do miracles. As with dry synthetic fertilizers, their salt indexes are too high, no carbon, a poor complement (if any) of trace minerals and some worrisome mystery fillers. If you have any of the suspect stuff still in the garage, here's a tip. For the liquids, add some liquid fish and/or seaweed, compost tea or the entire Garrett Juice mixture. For the dry products, add some dry molasses and/or humate. These additions will add carbon, low levels of major nutrients, a supply of trace minerals and a level of detoxifing help.

 


The Organic Method Primer - with details and photos of how plants naturally absorb nutrients

 

It's also argued that plants can only take in nutrients in elemental form. This inane concept is easily debunked by clear thinking and simple experiments showing that plants can and do "take in" various large molecules, bacteria and even chunks of things, not just elemental nutrients. Bargyla Raveater's book The Organic Method Primer shows microscope photos of this endocytosis process happening.

 


Organic fertilizers are gentle and provide carbon and trace minerals to feed beneficial life in the soil

 

I start and end my lectures with the instruction that the natural organic program has two basic steps – stop using the destructive products (synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides) and start using natural organic soil building products (compost, organic fertilizers, rock minerals and sugars). And - the most important one of the two negatives to eliminate is synthetic fertilizer. That's because the bad fertilizers are so destructive to the health of the soil. Natural organic fertilizers contain the energy (carbon) and trace minerals that build soil fertility, crumb structure, increased water holding capacity, and food for beneficial soil life.

 

 

 

 

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