One benefit of using an organic “fert” is an increase in the biological activities in the soil.
In general and very basic terms, a chemical fertilizer is a compound (collection of ingredients) that has been chemically processed or refined to increase its potency.
Chemical products in general do not offer this benefit which is one of the complaints from the proponents of organic style gardening.
Always follow the directions for application of any gardening product and remember that too much fertilizer can ultimately burn part or all of your plants.
Most garden centers will have a huge array of fertilizers to choose from and all will have numbers on the packaging such as 4-10-5 or 15-15-15.
A Word on Plant Nutrients.
Most garden centers or nurseries will be happy to answer any questions you may have and will assist you in obtaining the right type and amount of fertilizer or other garden additives.
With the rise in popularity of organic style gardening there is a risk of misusing this class of fertilizer. To say that an organic product is completely safe and leave it at that is to not really understand the question of fertilizers in general.
What’s left over tends to travel into groundwater, streams, lakes and the ocean, due to rain or irrigation. This has and pollutes the natural environment caused a great number of problems.
The following is in no way intended to be the last word on the chemical-vs-organic debate, but rather a basic outline describing the pros and cons of each.
I strongly recommend learning more about the chemical vs organic issue, and deciding for yourself which type is best suited for your needs.
The main problem is the result of applying too much or an over-application of this class of fertilizers.
The home gardener needs to be aware and use any chemical in a responsible manner. This is one instance where “too little” is much better than “too much.”.
A 4-10-5 fertilizer indicates good leaves– big/many flowers or fruit– good roots. 4-10-5 = leaf-flower-root.
Chemical fertilizers have been popular for a long time, though because of over-application have caused many problems. If used correctly, they have also proven to be safe and beneficial for food crop production.
Animal manure (cow, chicken) can cause many problems if used improperly. Manure is a highly concentrated source of nitrogen, which is easily released when exposed to rain or other forms of irrigation.
You might well receive a hundred different points of view if you were to ask 100 people for their opinions on this subject. In my humble opinion, if used properly, both chemical and organic fertilizers can be safe. If used improperly, both can be, without question, unsafe.
The introduction of chemical fertilizers in the early to mid 20th century is in many ways responsible for the massive increase in food an individual farmer can produce.
Think of “10” as being the middle ground on a scale of one to twenty, one being the lowest, 20 being the highest.
The organic class of fertilizers (again, in very basic terms) tends to be less refined and involve little or no chemical processing. A few types can and do pollute ground water and other water systems.
An accurate and very simple way to understand the meaning of those numbers is to remember, leaf-flower-root.
When released into our waterways and other water sources, excess nitrogen and phosphorous have proven to be major problems.
The organic class of fertilizers (again, in very basic terms) tends to be less refined and involve little or no chemical processing. The natural environment tends to have an easier time of breaking down and absorbing them. A few types can and do pollute ground water and other water systems.
Fertilizers – Pro’s and Con’s.
If you were to ask 100 people for their opinions on this subject, you might well receive a hundred different points of view. In my humble opinion, if used properly, both chemical and organic fertilizers can be safe. If used improperly, both can be, without question, unsafe.
A set of equal numbers such as 10-10-10 or 5-5-5 indicates an all-purpose plant food and as the name implies should work well with most plants.
Any plant (wheat, corn, etc.), can only use so much food during its growth cycle.
Micro-organism’s within the soil help plants convert nutrients into food and help to break down old plant material which adds to the over all health of the soil and garden.
More recently most farmers and fertilizer manufacturers are well aware of these problems and work hard to use this class of fertilizers responsibly.
Gardening Tip: Length times Width will provide your total square footage for a planting bed. Example: 10 feet x 3 feet = 30 square feet.
Special thanks for all my references :