Choose the best one for your Organic Garden here...
Nitrogen is one of the most vital major nutrients that plants need. Sure, you can get a bag of chemical fertilize and throw that around, but in many cases a natural source is more suited to your needs - especially when growing vegetables.
Organic sources are more variable, but also include other micronutrients
that your plants require, and in some cases, organic matter which
benefits the soil.
Choose from the nitrogen sources listed below for your favorite:
Bat guano – one of the best sources of Nitrogen, quick to
Great for using mixed with
sawdust or other wood product, as the sawdust will tie up Nitrogen from the
soil as the microorganisms get to work.
This Nitrogen is released later, as the sawdust decomposes, but in the
meantime, without another source of N, your plants will suffer.
Advantages: you only need a bit as it’s so concentrated.
Cons: not sustainable if the bat caves of Peru and other
South American countries are depleted and the bats continue to suffer from
white nose syndrome, a fatal fungal infection.
Some experts fear that the fungus is spread by humans entering caves
that are used by bats.
Bat guano is also high in embodied energy – that intangible
measurement of the distance that ships and trucks have to travel to deliver it
from the source to you. The other options are a much friendlier alternative, such as:
The fact that horses only have one stomach
makes it impossible for them to completely digest the hay and green fodder,
leaving a good percentage of smaller particles that can add valuable organic
matter to the soil.
A disadvantage of this process is that they also don’t
digest seeds of the weeds that they eat, and those germinate and grow wherever
fresh horse manure is spread.
absolutely imperative to compost horse manure properly (ie: by allowing the
heat to build up and kill weed seeds) before use. The only time you don’t need to do this is
when using fresh horse manure in compost tea.
I make compost tea with anything available;
alfalfa pellets or meal, dried weeds, horse manure, or even compost.
Add a couple of shovels full of compost to a nylon stocking,
and immerse in a large trash can full of water, stir daily for a week or two
and dilute before using. Avoid using
compost tea on leafy green crops that you will eat raw, as it can be a source
of E. coli or other digestive problems.
Cottonseed meal – most commonly used in areas where cotton
is grown, as this is another product that really has high embodied energy.
Other aspects of using cottonseed meal are
that cotton traditionally has been the crop voted most chemically dependent.
If you’re concerned about exposure
to pesticides this might not be the most suitable natural fertilizer for your
organic gardening program.
Guaranteed that the source
will never run dry, and it can be used on most crops with the exception of
leafy greens, for a similar reason to compost tea, and also for the ‘yuck’
What is it? Human urine is a high source of urea, which
is broken down into nitrogen.
Seaweed and kelp are harvested from beaches after a storm,
and composted or dried and used as mulch.
Harvesting commercially in large quantities is not a sustainable
practice, but if you live near the ocean, take a couple of garbage bags with
you when you go beach combing. Rinse well to remove the salt before you put it on your garden. Other
sources of similarly valuable water weeds are Eurasian Milfoil, dredged from
lake bottoms or water hyacinth, a rampant grower in warmer areas.
Air – no kidding, you can get nitrogen from the air, as it
is gathered by rain and snow falling.
Snow is known as the poor farmer’s fertilizer due to this.
This list gives you plenty of options for high nitrogen
natural fertilizers to use on your organic garden. Choose one or two, and see the results.
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