Chemical Fertilizer vs Organic Fertilizer
While both organic and chemical fertilizer supply the essential elements of plant nutrition, the similarities end there. Here's why.
Healthy plants grow in healthy soil. When you use organic fertilizer which is made from natural animal and plant materials, you end up feeding the plant and the microorganisms in the soil simultaneously. Thus creating a healthy soil structure that over time will require less fertilizer use, being easily maintained with mulches and compost.
The use of chemical fertilizers will feed your plants and you can get some amazing results. However, being synthetically made from non renewable resources such as natural gas and coal, the mineral salts in these fertilizers feed the plant but starve the soil.
So over time with the continued use of chemicals your soil structure breaks down by the depletion of the worms and microorganisms required for healthy soil. This in turn makes your plants become dependent on synthetic fertilizers requiring heavier applications.
Fertilizer And The Enviromental Effects
Nutrient depleted soils in commercial farming require a tremendous amount of fertilizer use. We are currently using over a billion tonnes of nitrogen enriched synthetic fertilizer, which is having an environmental impact on our oceans lakes and streams.
Fertilizer runoff from large farms that use chemical fertilizer have high amounts of nitrogen and ammonium nitrate.
High concentrations of nitrogen deplete water sources of the needed oxygen to support life. This is primary cause of oceanic dead zones in coastal regions, and algae infested lakes that aren't able to support the fish that live in them.
Switching From Chemicals To Organics
Make the switch, the health benefits of organics far outweigh the limited increase in yields that chemical fertilizers may deliver. Your plants may go through a period of withdrawal while being weaned off the use of chemicals, but be patient, over time they will recover.
And with the rise in popularity of organic growing, fertilizer companies have made it easier to switch over with some terrific organic fertilizer blends. Before organic blends, farmers had to use a custom plant feeding method which required using individual NPK compounds at different stages of growth.
I still use this method for my vegetables as it was how I was taught. However, for general feeding of all our other plants, I use a good quality fertilizer blend.
One important thing when buying an organic fertilizer, a true organic fertilizers NPK ratio (Those three fertilizer numbers) will not add up to a total of more than 15. Keep that in mind.
Even though I personally use organics in my farming and gardening, the choice is yours. I don't frown upon people who use chemicals, I myself used a super phosphate just last year to help jump start a troubled lilac that was not responding well to my natural methods. The important thing is understanding the differences between the two, so you know what your feeding your plants and yourself.
Jay- The Impatient Farmer