Organic Gardening Blog

Welcome to my organic gardening blog. At certain times of year I post gardening tips weekly and other times much less frequently. Sign up for my ebook over to the right if you want to get my best stuff :)

Is 10-10-10 Fertilizer Really The Best Garden Choice?

10-10-10 Fertilizer

10-10-10 fertilizer is certainly one of the most popular fertilizers. This week, I received a great question about the nutritional difference between it and compost:

Most bags of compost and manure say they have about .1-.1-.1 of the big 3. I have tested my own compost and it is somewhat higher but still not in the 10 10 10 range recommended for most plants. So, how do you get enough without using fertilizers? Is 10-10-10 the same as .1-.1-.1? Am I missing something?

I'm really glad you asked. There are 3 things I'd like to address...


Garden Fertilizer Tips - How And When To Fertilize

Garden Fertilizer Tips From The Sun

Today I continue with the garden fertilizer tips.

Last week, I outlined a basic fertilizer schedule and received a couple of comments from people who disagreed with my suggestions, so I thought I'd address their concerns here in more detail.

I always appreciate any feedback people have to give, even when it runs counter to my advice. Some great learning opportunities come when we have these discussions.


Fertilizer Schedule - When To Fertilize For Results

Soil Building Fertilizer Schedule

If you want a fertilizer schedule to follow, I have some tips for you.

Fertilizer companies often create a schedule for you that outlines exactly when to fertilize, but that's often done to maximize their revenue, not the health of your garden.

The thing is, there's no such thing as an off-the-shelf fertilizer schedule that is right for every garden. We can, however, follow some well-established guidelines.


Growing Nutrient Dense Food - 3 Tips For Organic Gardeners

Kelp for nutrient dense food
Kelp fertilizer helps grow nutrient dense food

I'm going to go beyond basic soil management, such as watering and mulching, to briefly cover what comes after that on the journey to nutrient dense food.

Here are 3 steps you might look into after having already become comfortable with the basics:


Should You Plant Early Or Wait With These High Temps?

Tulip Drawing

Two very cool things have happened this week, and I'm pretty much freaking out with excitement:

  1. Winter became spring for a few minutes and then turned into summer (we had picnics outside every day this week!)
  2. The Smiling Gardener Academy launched yesterday (more people have joined than I had anticipated and everything seems to be going great so far!)


How Vegetable Gardening Is Like Songwriting

Vegetable Gardening In Nepal
Growing food takes patience - I wonder how long this took (I believe this is Nepal)

Do you ever feel like you'll never grow a perfect 12 brix tomato, or have much success at nutrient-dense vegetable gardening at all?

It took me a long time to get past that feeling, and sometimes I still experience it even though I've been at it for a long time - and I would say I'm a pretty decent vegetable gardener.


Soil Nutrient Testing - 2 Ways To Approach It

Soil Nutrient Testing

My first year as an professional organic gardener wasn't always easy.

My mind was full of all this incredible information I had learned studying organic gardening the previous year, but I didn't yet have the experience, especially with more advanced things like soil nutrient testing and fixing problem lawns.

I had plenty of experience as more of a conventional gardener, but that is quite different. Now I had (and wanted) to do things without any chemicals.


Plant Diseases And Pests - A Lack Of Pesticides?

Plant Diseases And Pests
Plant diseases and human diseases have similar causes

When I first started teaching organic gardening, I was told not to draw parallels between plant diseases and pests in the garden and human diseases, for fear of offending people.

It was one thing to teach people that plant diseases attack only unhealthy plants, but to hear most human diseases attack unhealthy people can be just too much to take.

This is especially true since most of us have someone close who has had one of the major diseases, and it could come across that I was faulting them for getting the disease.


Pesticide Side Effects - An Insecticide Is Not Just That

There are many pesticide side effects, but an important one that a lot of people don't know about is the effect of pesticides on non-target organisms.


Sustainable Fertilizer - Should We Use Lime Deposits?

Is Lime Sustainable Fertilizer?

Mining limestone is big business, but does it give us a sustainable fertilizer?

The world's biggest limestone quarry is right near the top of the state of Michigan on Lake Huron. It's 7000 acres, roughly half the size of Manhattan.

I'm not sure how much of the material from this particular quarry goes toward agriculture, but lime is one of the most important fertilizers in organic gardening.


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"You have been a source of wisdom, humour, encouragement and influence" Marylin, B.C.