Healthy gardens are built on healthy soil, which contains a variety of beneficial microorganisms and nutrients that help plants thrive. To improve soil health, organic gardeners can use a range of natural fertilizers, including manure, compost, bat guano, worm castings, rock phosphate, bone meal and algae. Although effective, these fertilizers can be slow to release the nutrients plants need. In recent years, liquid fertilizers have gained popularity partly because plants can absorb nutrients in liquid form more quickly. Additionally, liquid fertilizers can increase crop yields and can be applied directly to plant leaves, facilitating rapid absorption.
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Liquid Fertilizers for Organic Gardeners
These fertilizers are a great option for trees, shrubs, lawns, flower beds and vegetables.
Packaged Liquid Fertilizers for Home Gardens
Some of the more popular organic liquid fertilizers include fish emulsion And seaweed fertilizer, which are diluted and used to irrigate plants or spray leaves. Some liquid fertilizer manufacturers offer products for specific applications, such as lawn care products that can be attached to the garden hose or tomato formulas rich in the nutrients they need to produce a bountiful yield.
DIY liquid fertilizers for vegetable gardens
Some organic gardeners make homemade liquid fertilizers using ingredients like finished compost, animal manure, seaweed, and even garden weeds. The exact approach often depends on locally available ingredients. These products usually take anywhere from a few days to a month to make and involve adding water and solid ingredients to a bucket or container, stirring it regularly, and straining the liquid. Dilute final product before applying to gardens.
DIY homemade liquid fertilizers include compost tea, manure tea, liquid weed fertilizer, liquid seaweed fertilizer, and even human urine. However, beware of applying manure fertilizers in a way that can spread pathogens to edible crops.
Benefits of Liquid Fertilizers
Although liquid fertilizers have some benefits, they are not intended to replace other types of garden amendments, such as compost and powdered fertilizers.
Faster nutrient availability
The nutrients in liquid fertilizers tend to break down easily, making them available to the plant more quickly than solid fertilizers. This is particularly useful if you want to stimulate stressed or diseased plants that need nutrients immediately.
You can apply liquid fertilizers to the soil so that the plants can absorb nutrients through their roots. But some gardeners swear by foliar feeding, which allows plants to take up nutrients through the leaves instead of the roots. For foliar-fed plants, apply a mist of diluted organic liquid fertilizer to the leaves of the plant—especially the undersides of the leaves—using a spray bottle or garden sprayer. The ideal time is early in the morning when the temperatures are still low. Many gardening experts recommend feeding leaf plants every two to three weeks.
Foliar feeding can supplement healthy soil
Foliar feeding can be a great approach to providing nutrients to your plants. But don’t overlook the importance of healthy soil – it’s the foundation of a vibrant garden. Feed the soil with compost, mulch, granular fertilizers and even cover crops to create a healthy balance of microorganisms. Adding organic liquid fertilizers during the growing season will give your garden a boost.
Using liquid fertilizers is similar to taking high quality dietary supplements for optimal health. Although supplements are helpful, they should fortify a nutritious diet, not replace it.