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Eating Dirt: Successful Ingredients Recipe for Organic Gardening

Organic growing allows you to employ a variety of products. Organic growing allows you to employ a variety of products.

 

For the organic purist, soil is much more than plain dirt. Soil is the life-sustaining substance that is instrumental in stimulating growth and promoting abundant yields. Many outdoor organic growers have a heightened knowledge of individual organic substances, which allows them to tailor their soils to the specific needs of their high-value crops.

In order to build that perfect balance of essential elements, plant hormones, vitamins and beneficial microorganisms, a grower must understand each individual ingredient, its nutritional value and how it affects the composition of the soil. Some of these ingredients provide similar nutritional value but may release at a different speed. A soil with a good balance of organic ingredients will provide sustained nutrition for high-value crops throughout the entire growing season.

BENEFICIAL MICROORGANISMS

It has become second nature for modern organic growers to supplement beneficial microorganisms in their soils. The benefits are multifaceted, but to put it simply, sufficient amounts of microorganisms ensure nutrient uptake happens at the fastest rate possible. The three most common beneficial microorganisms used by horticulturalists are trichoderma, mycorrhiza and bacteria.

WORM CASTINGS

This wouldn’t be much of an organic ingredients article if there were no mention of worm castings. Worm castings, or vermicompost, contain a significant amount of nutrients and beneficial microorganisms. Hailed by many organic growers as the best soil additive available, worm castings are known to enrich soil and improve disease resistance in crops.

ORGANIC NITROGEN (N) INGREDIENTS

Organic ingredients rich in nitrogen are commonly associated with vigorous, green growth. Plants generally consume the greatest concentration of nitrogen during the vegetative stage.

BLOOD MEAL

Blood meal is a very rich, fast-releasing nitrogen source. It is great for plant varieties that require high amounts of nitrogen, especially in the initial stages of vegetative growth.

FISH MEAL

Fish meal is also a fast-releasing nitrogen source. Fish meal is a great nitrogen additive that enhances microbial life in the soil. Some of the fish meal available also contains a significant amount of phosphorus, which helps trigger root development.

FEATHER MEAL

Feather meal is a slow-releasing nitrogen source. It’s a great additive for plant varieties that require high amounts of nitrogen over a three-to-four-month period.

SOYBEAN MEAL

Soybean meal is another slow-releasing nitrogen source, but not quite as slow as feather meal. This additive is becoming the slow-release nitrogen source of choice for growers of high-value crops. Soybean meal also contains a little phosphorus boost to help promote the initial stages of flowering.

BAT GUANO (HIGH-NITROGEN)

Bat guano comes in a variety of compositions, including high-nitrogen bat guano, which also contains micronutrients and beneficial microbes. Many growers choose this type of bat guano as their primary nitrogen source because of its multiple benefits.

ORGANIC PHOSPHORUS (P) INGREDIENTS

Ingredients rich in phosphorus are known to promote root growth, trigger particular flowering hormones within the plant and directly influence flower size.

BAT GUANO (HIGH-PHOSPHORUS)

High-phosphorus bat guano is known to not only increase the amount of flower sets but also their size, aroma and flavor. Most varieties of high phosphorus bat guano also contain calcium, which makes this additive doubly advantageous.

BONE MEAL

Bone meal is primarily a phosphorus source but also contains a significant amount of calcium. This additive is revered for its ability to promote strong root development and large flowers.

FISH BONE MEAL

Fish bone meal is also a great source of both phosphorus and calcium. Like bone meal, fish bone meal is known to promote large blooms and root development.

SEABIRD GUANO

Seabird guano is an excellent source of phosphorus and micronutrients known to increase the amount of flower sets and their size.

ROCK PHOSPHATE

Rock phosphate is a slow-releasing phosphorus source. This additive is best for plants that need a slow and constant release of phosphorus. Some longer-blooming varieties respond well to rock phosphate.

ORGANIC POTASSIUM (K) INGREDIENTS

Sufficient potassium is needed throughout the plant’s entire life and is crucial to healthy flower development.

KELP MEAL

Kelp meal is a good source of potassium and also provides a variety of micronutrients and plant hormones. Kelp meal’s unique plant hormones have been shown to promote vigorous growth.

GREENSAND

Greensand is a very slow-releasing potassium source. Unless it’s being used in an outdoor environment where the growing season is especially long, greensand is used to improve a soil’s condition rather than boost potassium content.

LANGBEINITE

Langbeinite is a water-soluble naturally occurring mineral rich in potassium, sulfur and magnesium.

ORGANIC CALCIUM, MAGNESIUM AND TRACE ELEMENTS

Secondary minerals and trace elements are just as important to optimizing plant performance as NPK. Growers use additives with secondary minerals and trace elements in their soil mixes to complete the necessary diversity found in healthy soil in nature.

OYSTER SHELL

Oyster shell is an excellent source of calcium that will accelerate root development and, in turn, improve nutrient uptake. Oyster shell also works as a natural pH buffer, helping to keep the soil from becoming too acidic.

DOLOMITE LIME (SWEET LIME)

Dolomite lime is a great pH buffer for any soil composition and, as with oyster shell, acts as a pH buffer ensuring that the soil’s pH doesn’t turn too acidic. Dolomite lime also contains calcium and magnesium.

GLACIER ROCK DUST

Glacier rock dust revitalizes trace elements and provides a foundation of minerals for healthy plant growth.

ALFALFA MEAL

Alfalfa meal is rich in trace elements, but it’s the abundance of natural growth stimulators that has gained recognition among organic horticulturalists. Alfalfa meal will accelerate growth rates while promoting abundant fruit or flowers.

By combining the proper organic ingredients, growers can create a balanced soil suited for their particular variety. Organic gardening is as old as gardening itself. Modern organic gardening is combining the ancient wisdom of horticulture with today’s increased knowledge of plant physiology. With this combined knowledge and through a little experimentation, the organic purist can achieve optimal results for his or her crop.

© Copyright RosebudMag.com, 2013



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Last modified on Monday, 10 June 2013 22:27

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