All-Natural Fertilizer Options for the Garden(Organic fertilizers can be just as effective as their chemical counterparts while providing health benefits chemical pesticides cannot.
Organic fertilizers are effective at strengthening the soil for both lawns and planting beds. There are a number of different materials the home gardener can try, some of which may already be around the house.
Compost: Compost is often called "black gold" because of its rich nutritional content and how it can quickly amend the quality of the soil. Compost heaps or bins can be set up in the yard so that individuals can manufacture their own compost from scraps of material used around the house. Discarded fruit peels, eggshells, leaves, and paper can be added to the compost pile. Over time, natural bacteria will break down the materials until they form an effective fertilizer.
Manure: Manure remains one of the best and most practical fertilizers out there. It's easy to find, and any animal that eats a plant-based diet will produce manure that will be acceptable for the garden or lawn. Avoid manure from animals that eat meat as the feces may contain harmful bacteria or parasites. Not only will manure add nutrients to the soil, it will also help with moisture retention.
Fish meal: Made from ground and dried fish scraps, this fertilizer is a good source of nitrogen. It can provide a boost to soil in the early spring that will last well through the growing season.
* Elemental sulfur: A lawn that has turned yellow may be lacking in the right levels of sulfur. Elemental sulfur, when used sparingly, can help boost levels and return the lawn to normal.
* Blood meal: This dried blood product is collected from slaughtered animals and can be another nitrogen booster for the soil. Vegetarian gardeners may avoid its use for this reason, however. Some gardening enthusiasts say that blood meal also may be a deterrent for deer and other animals who like to nibble on garden plants.
* Peat moss: Peat moss is a type of moss that grows on the top of peat bogs. Peat moss is able to hold large quantities of water in its cells, which makes it a good soil additive to help retain moisture at the roots of plants. This is handy when dealing with very sandy soil or plants that need an increased moisture content to grow well.
Natural fertilizers and soil ammendments can make the lawn and garden a safe place for pets, children and other animals to venture. They're also a good idea for those looking to preserve the health of the planet. GT114656
CAPTION: When shopping for fertilizers, select ones that are all-natural. Many organic fertilizers also can be made from materials at home.
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