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