Selecting the Best Organic Fertilizer

People love to go organic, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the information about organic fertilizers is not always correct or complete. Here are some real important things you need to know about organic fertilizer.

Limitations of Organic Fertilizer
Limitations of Organic Fertilizer

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Herbicide Contaminated Compost, Straw and Organic Fertilizer

Over the last 20 years there have been a number of news reports about herbicide contaminated manure, compost, straw and organic fertilizer. This is a real problem for gardeners because such products will harm and even kill your plants. The danger is real!

  • How can this happen?
  • How common is this problem?
  • Should you be concerned?

I’ll answer all of these questions in this post. Every gardener should read it

Herbicide Contaminated Compost, Straw and Organic Fertilizer
Herbicide Contaminated Compost, Straw and Organic Fertilizer

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Is Fish Fertilizer Better Than Compost?

Fish fertilizer is a common organic fertilizer that is recommended for both houseplants and the garden. It has a strong following and its proponents feel that it is better than any other type of fertilizer, but how does it really stack up against the most common organic fertilizer; compost?

Fish fertilizer – are the accolades true, or a bit fishy?

Compost vs Fish Fertilizer, by Garden Fundamentals
Compost vs Fish Fertilizer, by Garden Fundamentals

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Does Composting Contribute to Climate Change?

There is concern that composting produces carbon dioxide and we all know that CO2 contributes to climate change. Does this mean that backyard composting by gardeners is contributing to climate change? Is this a practice we should stop in an effort to control rising temperatures?

It is a real dilemma for gardeners and especially organic gardeners. Just when you thought you were doing something good for the planet you find out that you may be causing harm.

Does composting contribute to climate change, and is there something gardeners should do different?

Does Composting Contribute to Climate Change?
Does Composting Contribute to Climate Change?

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Fertilizer Garden Myths

A lot of the stuff on the internet is garbage when it comes to gardening advice. I am not surprised about that since many people just repeat what they have heard and give it very little thought. Some garden writers don’t actually do much gardening – they are writers, not gardeners. I rarely believe information unless it comes from experts in a field, government sites or published research articles.

This post is about an information guideline on fertilizers and soil amendments which is published by a government source – one you should be able to trust. Unfortunately it is full of incorrect or misleading advice. Let’s have a look at some fertilizer gardening myths.

fertilizer garden myths; Lobelia cardinalis X Lobelia siphilitica, by Robert Pavlis
Lobelia cardinalis X Lobelia siphilitica, grows just fine without added fertilizer, by Robert Pavlis

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Eggshells – Do They Decompose in the Garden – 5 Year Study

The advice to add egg shells to the garden or compost pile is very common. In my last post I looked at some evidence that suggested eggshells do not break down in a compost pile or in soil – at least not very quickly. The one exception where eggshells do break down is very finely ground eggshells added to acidic soil .

How quickly do eggshells break down in soil? Is it 6 months or 5 years? Maybe it’s 100 years? No one seems to know. In this post I will describe a 6 year study that has been started to find out if eggshells decompose in that period of time.

Eggshells - Do They Decompose In The Garden 1
Eggshells – Do They Decompose In The Garden – supplies, by Robert Pavlis

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Eggshells – Do They Decompose In The Garden?

Lots of people add eggshells to the garden or compost pile. It is claimed that they add important calcium to the soil for plants. Is this true? How well do they decompose? What happens to them in a compost pile? Do they add any value to the garden?

Eggshells - Do They Decompose In The Garden
Eggshells that have been sitting in the garden for more than 3 years, by Robert Pavlis

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Composting – The Cut and Drop Method

Last week in, Composting – Which Method is Best, I discussed various methods of composting. In my experience each of these methods works to some degree, but it takes too much effort to make them work. Today I will introduce you to my Cut and Drop Composting Method. It is by far the easiest and best composting method of any that I have tried.

Composting - cut and drop method
The cut and drop composting bin

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Composting – Which Method is Best?

In the last couple of months I have been talking about traditional composting which is also called hot composting. For this method, you pile up the ingredients and keep turning them so the pile gets hot. There are several other types of composting such as bokashi composting, cold composting, vermicomposting, compost tea and making leaf mold. How do these methods compare to traditional composting and do they offer any advantages? In this post I will look at some other options you might want to consider.

Vermicomposting
Vermicomposting

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Compost Tumblers – Do They Work?

Manufacturers of compost tumblers claim that you can make compost in 2 weeks. This sounds like a really good idea. Instead of waiting for months, you have almost instant compost. Are the claims really true? How labor intensive is the process? Is it worth using a compost tumbler?

Compost Tumbler
Compost Tumblers

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The Full Scoop on Composting Poop

Human and animal waste is considered to be a good garden fertilizer in much of the world. In more civilized countries we call it ‘icky’. Can you compost urine and poop? Are there disease issues? Does it need to be composted differently than other organic ingredients? Read on to get the full scoop on poop.

urine and straw equals compost
Urine and straw equals compost

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What Can You Compost?

Composting is the process of degrading organic matter. So any organic matter should be good for the compost bin—right? Maybe. You will find lots of lists showing you what you can and can’t compost. Are the lists correct? Why can’t you not compost everything that is organic? Let’s look at this closer.

Composting meat and cheese
Composting meat and cheese

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