Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Organic Fertilizers: Mix Your Own Special Blends

by Judith Schwader

Organic gardening involves a system that centers around healthy soil - a mixture of sand, clay, silt, and decomposed organic material (humus). But even when the soil is well-balanced and healthy, plants benefit from additions of specifically formulated organic fertilizers.


You can buy prepared organic fertilizers, or blend individual fertilizer ingredients for specific purposes, such has high nitrogen blends for leafy greens or high potassium blends for root crops.

Since the following organic fertilizer recipes all involve dry ingredients, they can be blended ahead of time and stored in labeled plastic containers with lids. Most gardening centers will have the individual ingredients, but if you can't buy them locally, they are available from online sources, such as Whitney Farms, which sells only organic products.

For all of the following recipes, make any amount using the volume ratios given. Use anything from a yogurt container to a lemonade pitcher as a scoop. Each full scoop equals one part.


An all-purpose, basic organic fertilizer recipe is useful to have on hand in a large quantity. If you're making a big batch, mix it up in a wheel barrow and stir to blend with a hoe. Then store in a labeled, plastic container with lid.


Basic Organic Fertilizer Mix:
~~For use as at planting time or side dressing for all types of plants~~
3 parts blood or fishmeal
3 parts steamed bone meal
1 part kelp meal
1 and 1/2 parts Sul-Po-Mag (a brand name for a sulfur, potassium, and magnesium source, but you can substitute any such mixture.)

The following specially formulated mixes are fast acting and work well when used at planting time and as side dressings. Although these balanced mixes will generally give desired results, soils do vary. You can experiment and find what works best for your soil.


Generally, the fertilizers are applied at the rate of: 1/2 cup per transplant, or 5 pounds per 100 square feet or 100 row feet.


High Nitrogen Mix
~~For plants that are grown with the leaf or follar structure as the edible part~~
4 parts blood meal
2 parts cottonseed meal
1 part steamed bone meal
1/2 part Sul-Po-Mag (a brand name source for sulfur, potassium, and magnesium)
1/2 part kelp meal


High Potassium Mix
~~For crops that are grown with the root or tuber as the edible part~~
2 parts cottonseed meal
2 and 1/2 parts Sul-Po-Mag
1 and 1/2 parts steamed bone meal
1 part greensand
1 part kelp meal


High Phosphorous Mix
~~For crops that are grown for the fruit or seed as the edible part~~
4 parts steamed bone meal
1 part fish meal
1 part meat and bone meal
1 part soft phosphate
1/2 part Sul-Po-Mag
1/2 part kelp meal


Additional ideas for organic fertilizers include an Acid Mix for plants that prefer lower pH, (blueberry, strawberry, potato, tomato and squash); or a Super Grow Mix that has two ingredients for each nutrient, releasing at different rates.

About the Author

Life-time gardener Judith Schwader specializes in organic gardening methods. She shares expertise, humor, and advice for your gardening success at A to Z Gardening. Also visit FB Home for additional home and garden information.

Fertilizer Guide

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