Mix It Up: Homemade Organic Fertilizer Recipe

Grow big, healthy edibles with this affordable, easy-to-make garden fertilizer.

  • Before planting each crop, spread about a quart of fertilizer mix and 1/4 inch of finished compost evently atop each 20 square feet of raised bed or planting row.
    Photo By Matthew Stallbaumer
  • Writer Steve Solomon developed his organic fertilizer mix after 30 years of research in his own superproductive gardens.
    Photo By Muriel Brown (Chen)

My garden supplies about half of my family’s yearly food intake, so I do all I can to maximize my vegetables’ nutritional quality. Based on considerable research and more than 30 years of growing vegetables, I have formulated a homemade fertilizing mix that is beneficial for almost any food garden. This potent, correctly balanced fertilizing mix composed entirely of natural substances is less expensive than store-bought organic fertilizers, and it’s much better for your soil than harsh synthetic chemical mixes.

In my gardens, I use only this mix and regular additions of compost. Together they produce incredible results. I’ve recommended this system in the gardening books I’ve written over 20 years. Many readers have written me saying things like, “My garden has never grown so well; the plants have never been so large and healthy; the food never tasted so good.”

Why Not Cheap Chemicals? 

Nonorganic synthetic fertilizers should come with labels warning against giving plants too much. One reason I don’t recommend the use of chemical fertilizers is that it’s too easy for inexperienced gardeners to cross the line between just enough and too much.

The nutrients in chemical fertilizers are too specific. This is particularly true of inexpensive chemical blends—even so-called “complete” chemical fertilizers are entirely incomplete. They supply only nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Especially troublesome is that chemical fertilizers rarely contain calcium or magnesium, which plants need in large amounts along with traces of several other minerals. Plants lacking essential nutrients are more easily attacked by insects and diseases, contain less nourishment and often don’t grow as well as they could.

Inexpensive chemical fertilizers have yet another drawback: They dissolve quickly. This usually results in a rapid burst of plant growth, followed by a big sag five or six weeks later, requiring another fertilizer application. Should it rain hard enough for a fair amount of water to pass through the soil, the chemicals dissolved in the soil water will leach, meaning they are transported as deeply into the earth as the water penetrates, so deep that the plant roots can’t reach them. With one heavy rain or one too-heavy watering, your fertile topsoil becomes infertile. The chemicals also can pollute groundwater. The risk of leaching is especially great in soils that contain little or no clay.

7/27/2016 10:00:58 PM

You can make your own bone meal by boiling clean chicken bones for two days (off at night) until soft, then grind with water in a blender. This is added to the soil under planting. Especially great for tomatoes.

2/18/2014 4:59:55 AM

Organic gardens are quite common to find these days. And people are now finding out different ways to grow up a organic garden. As we know there is a huge requirement of fertilizer in our garden to save the garden from pests. So it becomes highly essential to use fertilizer but not the synthetic fertilizer rather the organic fertilizer would be more helpful for us. These http://gsplantfoods7.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/the-hazardous-effect-of-chemical-fertilizer-organic-fertilizer-is-the-only-solution/ don't contain any harmful chemicals and thus are more helpful.

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