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My favorite liquid organic fertilizer is called Sea-Crop.
When choosing which organic garden fertilizer to use, sometimes you’ll be choosing organic fertilizers to improve the soil, while sometimes you’ll be feeding plants directly.
When feeding plants, I especially use liquid fertilizers such as my 3 favorites – kelp fertilizer, fish and sea minerals – for the broad array of nutrients and other important substances they provide.
This article is about feeding plants, and more specifically, it’s about something interesting I’ve learned from various research that’s been done over the years. It turns out that it’s more important for plants to have consistent “nutrient access” to even just a small amount of fertilizer than to apply that fertilizer all at once.
I use almost all organic garden fertilizer – which means it’s either derived from something that was once alive or from naturally-mined rocks, and that it doesn’t contain GMOs or toxic additives – but this “nutrient access” rule applies to non-organic fertilizers, too.
What This Means For You
Studies have shown that if you can give your plant doses of nutrients more often, even at much more diluted ratios (i.e. less fertilizer/more water), your plants will probably be happier than if you gave them a full dose less often.
In fact, in one study by Ana Primavesi, plants given 1/50th the regular dose every 2 days grew better than plants given the regular dose every 4 days. They didn’t do as well when given the regular dose every 2 days, nor when given more than the regular dose.
I don’t recall if they were using organic fertilizer or chemical fertilizer in that particular test, but the results are useful to us organic gardeners nonetheless.
It doesn’t mean you have to fertilize every 2 days, but if you can do it every 2 weeks or even every month, using the lowest dilution rate on the label, that’s going to be better than applying a higher dose every spring and fall.
Organic Garden Fertilizer Example
For example, my favorite liquid organic garden fertilizer is sea minerals. It’s just concentrated ocean water, full of over 80 minerals and other bioactive substances.
The label says to apply 2-4 gallons/acre for the year. You could probably do this in just 1 application, but more often would be better.
I like to do it monthly, at least a few times throughout the year. But in the spring, I’ll even do it weekly when I have time. That will give my plants more consistent access to the nutrients in the fertilizer.
Other Ways To Improve Nutrient Access
Another way you can ensure your plants have more consistent access to nutrients is to improve the organic matter content of your soil with compost and mulches that will be slowly broken down by microbes.
Organic matter holds onto nutrients and is composed of nutrients, and through the process of breakdown, these nutrients slowly and consistently become available to plants. It’s the ultimate organic garden fertilizer.
Yet another way to ensure consistent access to your organic fertilizer is to improve the health and diversity of your soil food web. Microbes make nutrients more available to plants, so they’re needed for nutrient cycling to work. Compost improves the soil food web, and so do microbial inoculants.
Update: About 3 years after I wrote this, I started selling my favorite microbial inoculants and organic fertilizers. You can read more here.
What’s your favorite organic garden fertilizer? How often do you apply it? Let me know below.