Mad Science? Nah, Just Organic Fertilizer!
I've pondered the "magic" of fertilizer over the years I've been gardening, always mystified by the numbers, pretty packages, NPK, price, and advice from the sages. While the "blue stuff" seems so easy to use, my gut told me that this wasn't the way. How can something that color be good for my soil and my plants? I knew there was a better way, more in tune with Mother Nature, but it all seemed so complicated. I didn't know where to start and felt overwhelmed.
I've been using aged horse manure for the past 4 years. It's been great to keep the soil fluffy and more workable, but my plants seemed to need a little more out of life. I've used my own homemade compost in the veggie patch, but this year encountered a HUGE problem with forget-me-nots and tomato volunteers. Of course, this will not stop me from composting, I'll just be more careful in "cooking" it better. The organic fish compost I used this year has been by far the best for the plants, but it's really expensive and won't last all gardening season.
So, what's an organic girl to do? Enter "Gardening When it Counts", by Steve Solomon. He presents a formula for a "Complete Organic Fertilizer" which seemed fairly simple. I found all the ingredients at our local feed supply store, a short bike ride away, measured it out, mixed it up, and Bob's your uncle, it worked! My hops were looking a little sad but after the application of the COF, it perked right up. This is the first time I've tried this kind of fertilizer and it seems to make sense for organic gardening. I think Mother Nature would approve.
Here's the version of the COF mix I used:
4 parts of canola meal
1/4 part agricultural lime
1/4 part gypsum
1/2 part dolomite lime
1 part rock phosphate
I think I need to research the canola meal though, to make sure it's not genetically modified or I'll move to using kelp meal or guano. I'd love to hear from anyone else that uses this formula or variations of.
Next year I think I'll use a combination of horse manure, compost, fish compost, seaweed, COF. I want fluffy, happy, safe, and productive soil for my green lovelies! It's all about balance and long term care for the soil....