Anyone following the news over the past month may already notice a trend. Fertilizer, Fuel, and the components of making these two food essentials are becoming scarce, and scarce = expensive. If fertilizers are not used, then crop yields are lower and less healthy for the consumer. If these trends continue (very likely) then produce at the store is about to cost a LOT more money this Summer.
If you are like me, you saw some of this trouble brewing before 2022 arrived and you began planning ahead. It is one of the reasons that Grumpy's Garden Club will be emphisizing veggies, herbs, and other edibles at our Sale Events this Spring. I also chose the motto "Growing Gardeners" because it felt to me like we all could benefit from becoming a bit more in touch with where our food comes from. If you have not been much interested in gardening prior to this year, I'll bet things change by 2023.
However, how do we continue to grow & feed plants the nutrients they need if the cost of materials such as seed, soils, and fertilizer are on the rise? Well, we get back to nature.
Check out the cool, organic fertilizer formula I discovered last year later in this post. It was developed by an Organic Farmer and noteworthy author Steve Solomon, and this excerpt was originally published by Mother Earth News in 2020.
Organic Fertilizer Recipe
Measure all materials by volume — by the scoop, bucketful, jarful, or whatever container you want to use, as long as it’s the same for each ingredient. Proportions can vary 10 percent either way and still produce the desired results. Mix uniformly:
4 parts seed meal 1/3 part ordinary agricultural lime, best finely ground 1/3 part gypsum (or double the agricultural lime) 1/3 part dolomitic lime
Plus, for best results: 1 part bone meal, rock phosphate or high-phosphate guano 1/2 to 1 part kelp meal (or 1 part basalt dust) 1/2 level kitchen measuring teaspoonful (carefully measured) of ordinary washing borax per each four quarts of seed meal.**
**Overdoses of boron can poison soil. The acceptable range for boron is not very wide. Too little and you get hollow hearts and brown centers on brassicas and potatoes. Too much and everything is stunted or dies. Measure carefully! Blend this material carefully and thoroughly into your COF before spreading it. If this precision seems daunting just don’t bother.
How Much to Use
Once a year (usually in spring), before planting crops, spread and dig in the following materials.
Low-Demand Vegetables: 1/4 inch layer of steer manure or finished compost 4 quarts COF/100 square feet.
Medium-Demand Vegetables:1/4 inch layer of steer manure or finished compost 4 to 6 quarts COF/100 sq. ft.
High-Demand Vegetables: 1/2 inch layer of steer manure or finished compost 4 to 6 quarts organic fertilizer mix/100 sq. ft.
These recommendations will excellently grow almost any low-, medium- or high-demand vegetable on all soil types, except heavy clay in all humid climates. In addition to these initial applications, side-dress seed meal around medium- and high-demand crops every few weeks through the season; altogether, this extra fertilizer may equal the volume used in initial preparation. (Gardeners dealing with heavy clay soils should use the higher amounts of COF and in the first year, spread double the amount of organic matter — up to an inch-thick layer of compost or well decomposed manure — and dig it in to a shovel’s depth. In subsequent years, apply the same quantity of manure or compost and fertilizer mix as for any other kind of soil.)
COF is potent, so use no more than recommended.