Chemical vs. Organic Fertilizer

Get the Best – the Natural Way

There are numerous reasons to utilize organic fertilizers over chemical fertilizers:

 

1. Your own health riskIngesting artificial chemical fertilizers cannot only create a harsh taste, but inhaling it can be dangerous to you or even lethal.  Some sites suggest flushing the growing_hemp_10_imagechemicals out of your plants two weeks prior to harvesting the plant.  However, there is still a risk that contaminants are retained within the plant and can be deadly.

  2. Environmental Issues:  The high solubility of chemical fertilizers also heighten their tendency to degrade ecosystems, particularly through leeching into the ground or water.  Beyond the issues of soil chemistry and nutrient uptake, there is little question that using organic substances are better for the environment, even when growing indoors.  The dumping of numerous chemicals can create an exponential problem as artificial chemicals are used.  One investigation of a Canadian grower found that their dump site into a pond was a combination of bleach, fertilizers and fuels.  At -30 C, the pond of the local grow-op still did not freeze due to the toxic cocktail that had been created over time.

In addition to negative chemical impacts, farmers also have a responsibility to utilize the fertilizer resource they encounter every day. Agriculture is reported to be the most common pollutant of rivers and streams. Farming practices that conserve soil and increase productivity while improving soil quality also increase the amount of carbon-rich organic matter in soils, thereby providing a global depository for carbon dioxide drawn from the atmosphere by growing plants. The same agriculture practices that promote soil conservation also decrease the amount of carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere and threatening global warming.

fertilizer tomatos

3. Burning your plants:  A properly composed organic soil greatly reduces the chance of burning (over fertilizing) your plants. With artificial fertilizers, usually mass quantities are applied and can result in the destruction of the plant as well as the accumulation of salts in the soil.  Chemical fertilizers are in a highly soluble form and are generally of a much higher concentration than organic fertilizers. Upon applying them to the soil, they are quickly taken up by the roots. Because they are so concentrated, this rapid action will cause the plant to take in toxic levels of nutrients if the fertilizer is over applied, leading to injury and even death if the levels are high enough.

With alpaca compost fertilizer, you will not over-fertilize or burn your plants, even if used every day, even if used directly as a potting soil or alpaca tea.  If a large amount of organic fertilizer is applied, their nutrient content, their solubility, and their release rates are typically much lower than chemical fertilizers. By their nature, most organic fertilizers also provide increased physical and biological storage mechanisms to soils, which tend to mitigate the risks of “burning” your plants.  When fed organic substances, plants will only take in the nutrients they need, leaving the rest in the soil. Additionally, organic fertilizers are broken down slowly in the soil by microorganisms, ensuring a steady supply of nutrients to your plants; also, lots of soil microorganisms are good for the soil and consequently, your plants as well.

4.  The Health of Your Plants: Do plants really care where they get their nutrients? Yes, because organic and synthetic fertilizers provide nutrients in different ways. Organic fertilizers are made from naturally occurring mineral deposits and organic material, such as bone or plant meal or composted manure. Synthetic fertilizers are made by chemically processing raw materials.

hydroponicsIn general, the nutrients in organic fertilizers are not water-soluble and are released to the plants slowly over a period of months or even years. Organic fertilizers stimulate beneficial soil microorganisms and improve the structure of the soil.

 

Soil microbes play an important role in converting organic fertilizers into soluble nutrients that can be absorbed by your plants. In most cases, organic fertilizers and compost will provide all the secondary and micronutrients your plants need. Synthetic fertilizers are water-soluble and can be taken up by the plant almost immediately. In fact applying too much synthetic fertilizer can “burn” foliage and damage your plants. Synthetic fertilizers give plants a quick boost but do little to improve soil texture, stimulate soil life, or improve your soil’s long term fertility. Because synthetic fertilizers are highly water soluble, they can also leach out into streams and ponds.

 

Experience has shown that low nitrogen formulas (1 to 2%) in compost produced as good results as the application of high nitrogen fertilizer formulas (6-16%) with one important difference. Highly soluble fertilizer elements produce a rapid but not lasting effect while composts produce a slower but longer lasting effect.  The effects of highly soluble and available fertilizer elements make the best showing during the first three to six weeks after application.  The elements in composts last for three to six months with a steady release, and if the soil is rich in organic matter, further beneficial effects can be seen in the second and even in the third year.

 

For the long-term health of your garden, feeding your plants by building the soil with natural fertilizers and compost is best. This will give you soil that is rich in organic matter and teeming with microbial life.