At the heart of all organic growing is the art and science of fertilizing organically. Healthy soil nurtures healthy plants which generally grow better, taste better, store longer and consequently have increased resistance to the stresses caused by heat, cold, drought, pests, diseases, rapid growth, etc. Fertile soil is not only the first step for increasing yields and quality but also for natural pest control and season extending. Healthy plants are much better equipped to resist insect damage and most insects actually prefer attacking weaker plants in the ecosystem. Your field or garden is a dynamic ecosystem, help to keep it that way by using natural fertilizers such as compost or Peruvian Seabird Guano to keep your soil healthy. The relationship between plants and living soil changes seasonally, monthly and daily. Heavy use of chemical fertilizers can damage the living organisms in the soil and damage the symbiotic relationship these organisms have with the plants. By using natural fertilizers this symbiotic relationship is enhanced and the long term health of the soil remains healthy.
LONG TERM SOIL HEALTH
A successful fertilizing program addresses the soil’s long-term needs by adjusting deficient nutrients with organic fertilizers and soil amendments. Use your soil test and/or the general guidelines given ahead to determine which fertilizers will be of most value to you. If your soil test indicates a lack of Nitrogen you have several natural fertilizers to improve the available nitrogen. Organic fertilizers such as Peruvian Seabird Guano or fish meal are a good choice. A lack of Phosphorus can be supplemented with Peruvian Seabird Guano, bone meal or a high phosphorus bat guano. A low potassium level can be improved with an application of wood ashes or greensand. An equally important aspect of soil building is adding a “green manure” cover crop to your crop rotation in order to build organic matter, nitrogen and biological life in your soil. Compost, leaves straw and tilled in cover crops are very beneficial to the health of your soil. Check out information on composting and cover crops to see how these practices can improve and maintain the health of your soil.
Virtually every soil will benefit from regular additions of organic matter and humus. We feel that compost (in combination with a good cover crop program) is the best material to handle this important task. By compost we mean a material completely broken down aerobically and based upon animal manures and plant residues rather than wood chips or other fresh organic matter which can actually take nitrogen from the soil in the process of breaking down. Partially composted leaves are a great material to use as a mulch for both weed control and to help preserve soil moisture. As the leaves complete their natural composting they release valuable trace elements and organic matter into the soil which causes soil life to flourish. Raw manures are not a substitute for compost. Raw manure breaks down in the soil, tying up water, nitrogen, and other vital resources in the process. While it is beneficial in the long term it often introduces weed seeds and pathogens and can burn tender plants if applied before composting it.. Raw manures definitely should not be used right before harvesting a crop.
Nitrogen is what plants need for vigorous vegetative growth.
If your crop needs additional Nitrogen see Peruvian Seabird Guano, Bloodmeal, Cottonseed Meal, PVFS Liquid Fish, Fish Meal, Pelleted Fertilizers, Feather Meal, and others.
Phosphorus is what plants need to flower, fruit, and for root development. T
To supply Phosphorus use Peruvian Seabird Guano, High Phosphorus bat guano or soft Rock Phosphate. Bone Meal can also be used. Both Peruvian Seabird Guano and the high phosphorus bat guano are very soluble and quick acting. Rock phosphate and bone meal are more slow acting and in the case of rock phosphate may take several seasons to be fully available.
Potassium is what plants need, among other things, to establish vigor and resistance through sugar formation.
To supply Potassium use Hardwood ash or Greensand certain seaweeds or kelp meal also feed the soil ecosystem and provide readily available potassium to the plants
Calcium builds sturdy cell walls in plants. Many soils need Calcium fertilization. In low pH soils, use Oyster Shell Lime or Mined Limestone which corrects not only calcium imbalances but also pH. In neutral or high pH soils, Gypsum is the material of choice, it also provides sulfur. Wood ashes also provide useful levels of easily available calcium. Calcium builds sturdy cell walls in plants.
Trace minerals are as essential to plants as vitamins are to people. Almost every field we test is low in Trace Minerals. We get excellent response from soil applications of Compost, Algit Kelp Meal or multiple trace minerals (Azomite or Nutra Min). In extreme cases specific trace mineral supplements may be needed.
Best Choice in Liquid Fish Enzymatically digested using a low pH, low heat process which insures that the natural organic compounds are left intact while eliminating bacterial breakdown. This method keeps this biologically active fertilizer stable. Produced on the Northern CA coast, recycling by-product fish waste into a rich fertilizer, which was once dumped into landfills. All-purpose, water-soluble, liquid concentrate fertilizer. which can be used as a soil amendment or foliar feed. Provides quick-acting Nitrogen (2%), Phosphorus (4%) and Potassium (0.2%). Fertigation and side-dress rates are 10-20 gal/acre. Foliar rates are 1-5 gal/acre or 4 tbs/gal. Multiple applications are recommended for long term crops and heavy Nitrogen users.
SEA BIRD GUANO
This is our favorite natural fertilizer here at Living Earth Farms. We use it anywhere additional nutrients would benefit plant growth. Organic, fast-acting, balanced source of nutrients from seabirds in easy to apply pellet form. Exceptionally high, immediately available, water-soluble N-P-K content also makes it an excellent fertilizer. This material will also help encourage the beneficial soil organisms which help transfer the nutrients in the soil to the plants root sydtem. Work or water it into the soil at 1-2 lb/100 sq ft. For containers & houseplants, mix 1 part seabird guano to 60 parts soil. For established plants, mix 1 Tbs per gallon of soil. Use it as a foliar spray or injectable solution by preparing a guano tea: steep 1 Tbs in a gal of water for 48 hours. Water plants or filter and apply as a foliar spray. Tea can be used in fertigation and drip systems, if filtered. use caution using this material as it can easily burn plants if you use too much.. Cannot be shipped to HI.
Water Soluble Kelp Extract World-famous as a root soak and a foliar-applied plant stimulant. Extracted from fresh Norwegian Ascophyllum kelp, using a process that concentrates all the goodness of the sea into a small amount of material. 1 lb of Maxicrop is created from over 200 lb of seaweed and contains more than 70 different growth hormones, cytokinins, auxins, vitamins, and enzymes. Maxicrop is sought after primarily for its trace elements but also has an analysis of 1% N, 0% P, 4% K. Often combined with fish products or other high-analysis foliars to create a cost-effective yield and quality-enhancer. Use at .25-.5 tsp/gal or 1-2 lb/acre. Inject at 1-5 lb/acre.
Slow Release N-P-K Feed grade cottonseed meal low in residues. Typical analysis is 5-2-1, and somewhat acidic so it can be used on plants that thrive in lower pH soil such as azaleas, blueberries, rhododendrons, potatoes, and roses. For years, organic growers have used cottonseed meal as an all-around source of slow-release nutrients for all crops, especially acid-tolerant plants. We like to mix the cottonseed meal in with our organic compost and use it on our blueberry plants. Pine needles are also very usefull for acid loving plants and at Living Earth Farms we try and seperate them from our collected leaves and save them for our blueberry plants.
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