10 Natural Fertilizers to Boost Your Garden

Nitrogen is a crucial nutrient that plants require for healthy growth. While chemical fertilizers are readily available, natural sources are often more suitable, especially for vegetable gardens. Organic sources not only provide nitrogen but also other essential micronutrients and organic matter that benefit the soil. If you’re looking for the best nitrogen sources, consider the following options:

Bat Guano: Earth’s Natural Superfood

Bat guano is an incredible nitrogen source that works wonders when mixed with sawdust or other wood products. While the sawdust ties up nitrogen in the soil as microorganisms do their job, the guano releases nitrogen as the sawdust decomposes. It is highly concentrated, so you only need a small amount. However, it’s important to note that the sustainability of bat guano is a concern, as continued depletion of bat caves in Peru and other South American countries can harm these creatures.

Chicken Manure: Black Gold for Your Garden

The springtime cleaning of your chicken coop can yield a valuable nitrogen-rich fertilizer – chicken manure. Composted well with the deep litter of the chicken house, this is one of the best high-nitrogen fertilizers available. However, be cautious as the heat generated during the initial stages of decomposition can burn tender seedlings.

Blood Meal: Nature’s Red Powder

Derived from abattoirs, blood meal is a dark red powder that adds nitrogen to the soil. It is often used to enrich soil for crops that require a nutrient-rich environment. However, the strong smell of blood meal can attract wildlife, so take necessary precautions when using it.

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Alfalfa Meal: A Slow-Release Nutrient Booster

Alfalfa pellets or meal act as natural slow-release fertilizers, providing a steady supply of nutrients over time. They are particularly beneficial for plants that need an extra nutrient boost. Additionally, horses’ inability to completely digest hay and green fodder leaves behind valuable organic matter that can be used as a fertilizer. However, be aware that horse manure may contain weed seeds and should be composted properly before use.

Fish Fertilizer: Ancient Wisdom for Your Garden

Fish fertilizers, such as those made from whole fish, have been used for centuries. They are known for their strong smell and should be used with caution. Dilution is essential, as using too much can burn plants. Fish fertilizer is not suitable for leafy greens due to the risk of contamination.

Human Urine: Nature’s Liquid Gold

Believe it or not, human urine is a high source of urea, which breaks down into nitrogen. While large-scale harvesting of urine is not sustainable, if you live near the ocean, rinsed beachcombing finds can provide a valuable source of nitrogen. Just make sure to rinse well to remove any salt before applying it to your garden.

Water Weeds: Aquatic Nitrogen Boosters

Water weeds such as Eurasian Milfoil and Water Hyacinth, when properly managed, can serve as excellent sources of nitrogen. Cut them into small pieces for quick decomposition and use them as mulch or compost.

Snow: Nature’s Humble Fertilizer

Snow has long been considered the poor farmer’s fertilizer due to its high nitrogen content. While it may not be readily available for everyone, if you’re lucky enough to have access to snow, consider using it to naturally fertilize your garden.

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These are just a few options among the wide range of high-nitrogen natural fertilizers available. Experiment with one or two and observe the results in your organic garden. Remember, nature has provided us with abundant resources to nourish our plants sustainably. So why not take advantage of these natural fertilizers and give your garden the boost it deserves?

Ames Farm Center