Top Natural Fertilizers for Lawn and Garden
Having a beautifully manicured lawn and garden is a tell-tale sign of a good gardener and a proud homeowner. A beautiful lawn and garden can also be the sign of an active and informed environmentalist who is using a great organic fertilizer. But what is more important than having a manicured lawn or garden is knowing that lawns and garden plants provide oxygen, cool the atmosphere, absorb water, prevent erosion, and act as a filter for rainwater contaminants such as dust, dirt and various types of pollen.
Because nothing grows wells without some form of topsoil, no amount of fertilizer will help a lawn or garden if the topsoil is insufficient. The addition of four to eight inches of topsoil to a yard or garden can turn around a non-productive space quickly. Plant roots need to be able to dig deep and find purchase in soil that is slightly acidic, with a pH of between 6.5 and 7.0. If the pH level is higher, tilling in a little sulfur will help. If the pH level is lower, or less acidic, add lime to correct the problem.
All plants are extremely dependant on the soil. But because certain crops require certain nutrients, it's important to have the soil tested to determine what nutrients may be missing. Generally speaking, all plants require some form of fertilizer. In years past, cow and pig manure was used extensively as an organic-based fertilizer. Today, however, due to overuse of animal antibiotics and other medications, farm manure is not always an ideal form of fertilizer. Green kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings and other green waste from the yard add plenty of needed nutrients when composted and added to the garden. To protect your family from pesticides, try to use only organic garden waste.
The best sources of fertilizer for the lawn and garden are actually the lawn and garden themselves. Grass clippings and garden plant materials are the best fertilizers on the planet. Lawn grasses have high nitrogen bases, and because both lawns and gardens require a high nitrogen based fertilizer, grass clippings are a wonderful way to fertilize both the lawn and the garden. Again, make sure the grass clippings are from a lawn that has not previously been fed with a commercial chemical fertilizer.
Another great way to fertilize lawns and gardens is to add crushed leaves to the compost pile and then sprinkle the compost liberally over the area that needs additional nutrients. The compost will attract earthworms, which will eat the decaying grass clippings and dried leaves as well as other organic materials, and then add their own fecal waste to the compost. Earthworms also aerate the soil by digging tunnels throughout the soil, which allows water and nutrients to get down into plant roots.