A Complete Guide To Organic Fertilizer

You’ve probably heard a lot about organic fertilizer in the past, and you may be wondering whether or not it’s worth using. Well, the answer is yes.

Organic fertilizer is a great choice for the environmentally conscious homeowner. It is made of natural ingredients, so it is safer for both plants and pets. In addition, organic fertilizer helps to build up the soil over time, which means that you won’t have to fertilize as often.

In this complete guide to organic fertilizer, we’ll explain everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision. We’ll cover what organic fertilizer is, how it works, and the many benefits that come with using it. So, if you’re ready to say goodbye to chemical fertilizers for good, keep reading!

What is Fertilizer?

Any substance, whether organic or synthetically manufactured, that is put into the soil or plant tissue to supply nutrients to the plants is referred to as a fertilizer. The most efficient fertilizers will give your grass and garden the vital minerals they need in order to create thriving plants. There are several sorts of fertilizer available, and they are utilized in a variety of applications.

Fertilizers have typically comprised organic components such as manure, both animal and human, as well as compost, mined minerals, and crop rotations. Synthetic fertilizers have been utilized for the past several centuries and mainly deliver nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

How Does Fertilizer Work?

Fertilizers promote plant development. They achieve this in two ways. The first method is to provide the plants with the nutrients they require and can use to grow. Fertilizers are most likely to contain: nitrogen, which fosters leaf growth, phosphorus, which promotes root formation and fruit and seed production, and potassium, which promotes stem growth, flowering, producing fruit, and water movement within the plant.

Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are the three secondary macronutrients, and that’s in addition to numerous micronutrients such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and boron.

There is a second function of fertilizers, which is to improve the capacity of soil to retain moisture and support aeration. Although this is uncommon and insignificant in comparison with the nutrient production fertilizers do.

NPK Ratio

The nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (N-P-K) ratio is one of the most crucial elements to consider while selecting fertilizer since it determines plant growth. Your objective when selecting a fertilizer should be to find a ratio that is appropriate for your plant’s species type based on its specific demands.

It’s usually a good idea to test the soil before applying fertilizer to determine your garden soil’s natural fertility and its pH levels. To get a soil sample for testing, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service. The findings will indicate which nutrients your soil may need, so you can apply them in the form of fertilizer.

Fertilizer products generally list the NPK components in ratio form, such as 10-10-10 or 4-3-4. The sequence is always Nitrogen (N) first, then Phosphorus (P) and then Potassium (K).

The primary essential nutrient for plant and blade growth is nitrogen. The roots, flowers, seeds, and fruit are all developed with phosphorus. And potassium is needed for stem development, water movement throughout the plants, and bloom and fruit formation.

Different Types of Fertilizer

There are multiple ways fertilizer can be categorized, including organic vs. inorganic. You can have dry fertilizer in the form of granules or liquid fertilizer that you spray. Fertilizer can also be either in a quick-release formula or a slow-release formula.

Granular vs. Liquid

You may apply liquid fertilizers in the form of dry pellet or liquid concentrate. Both sorts are mixed and diluted with water before being sprayed on your grass and plants. They can be either natural or manufactured.

Overwatering destroys or withers seeds, and applying liquid fertilizer to leaves rather than soaking the roots is more likely to be effective in many situations. This type of fertilizer works quickly, however it must be reapplied every few weeks.

On the other hand, there’s granular fertilizer. These fertilizers are often sold as tiny pellets in a large fertilizer bag, and they may be spread on top of the soil and either raked into the soil or mixed in by hand.

Slow-release granular fertilizers are available, as is quick-release granular fertilizer. Slow-release granular fertilizers release nutrients over time in what are known as “monthly feedings.” Quick-release granular fertilizers give more nutrients more quickly – all within a few weeks – but provide less overall.

Slow vs. Quick Release

Slow-release fertilizer should keep plants fed throughout the course of a growth season if it is applied correctly. Although this fertilizer may be either organic or inorganic, it is more commonly organic. The soil microbiota break down organic slow-release fertilizers and deliver them to the plants.

Slow-release inorganic fertilizer pellets are designed to dissolve gradually as water passes through the soil. Because these fertilizers take time to work and are slow-releasing, they should be used in the fall and worked back into the soil once more in the spring.

Inorganic fertilizers, on the other hand, may also be fast-releasing. This kind of fertilizer permeates the soil fully in a few weeks and delivers to your plants a rapid supply of nutrients. Quick release fertilizers can be used up to twice a month during the grass and plants’ growing seasons.

How Is Organic Fertilizer Different To Synthetic?

Regardless of the type of fertilizer you use, it will either be inorganic or organic. Different components and methods for delivering nutrients to the plants distinguish these two categories of fertilizer.

Inorganic Fertilizer

Synthetic or commercial fertilizers are the most widely used type of inorganic fertilizer, and they are manufactured using chemical synthesis. They usually have nutrients obtained from naturally occurring mineral deposits, although they may also contain nutrients derived from other sources. These fertilizers are generally overly concentrated, and they target only what the plants require and nothing extra.

Inorganic fertilizers are mostly formed through chemical nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium compounds produced in industrial operations. These fertilizers then focus on delivering those three specific macronutrients to plants so that they may develop full and healthy.

Organic Fertilizer

Organic Fertilizers, like compost, manures, blood meal, alfalfa, kelp meal, and bone meal are all composed of plant and animal materials. The N, P, and K levels in these fertilizers are usually lower than those in inorganic fertilizers. Vital organic matter is added to the soil to assist with moisture movement and collaborate with living micro-organisms in the ground soil to feed the plants and their roots.

When comparing several kinds of fertilizers, keep in mind how they perform in rainy circumstances. The decomposition rate of a substance depends on its type. Synthetic chemicals break down more quickly than organic ones. If you don’t want the floor to become slippery after rainstorms and you have an area where water may pool following rainfall, choose synthetic, quick-release brands.

Why Is Organic Fertilizer Better?

Because organic fertilizers contain natural components instead of chemical-based options, they will always be superior in terms of health, lawn health, and environmental sustainability.

Organic fertilizer takes more time and effort to use, and it may be more expensive at checkout. Its impact may also take longer to notice, but organic fertilizers aid in the development of stronger soil as well as a greener, more environmentally-friendly yard in general. Some organic products can assist you lay the groundwork for a garden by extending your lawn into one, making future work a lot easier.

List of Organic Fertilizers

We have compiled a list of some of the best products on the market to use as organic fertilizer, in order to make your decision easier. This list includes products for new gardeners as well as experienced ones, and we have also included a range of different types of fertilizer so that you can find what will work best for you and your lawn.


Our number one most recommended organic fertilizer is manure, one of the oldest and most widely-used types of fertilizer in the world.

Manure is a type of organic matter that is generally used as a fertilizer, such as cow dung, compost, or green manuring. It may be spread over the soil either as a fertilizer or a mulch to enhance its fertility and structure. Manure is typically high in nutrients, which can assist with plant growth by increasing nutrient availability. It can also aid in the soil’s capacity to hold water, and reduce the amount of weeds your lawn gets.

Manure can come from a variety of animals, such as chickens, cattle, rabbits, and horses. It may also be manufactured from composted vegetable trimmings and other organic waste. It has a fairly high amount of nitrogen compared to other organic fertilizers, and therefore using it too much manure on your lawn and garden or using it before it has aged properly can end up burning your plants and grass.

When utilizing manure on edible plants or in general, it is essential to follow good sanitary procedures and wash your hands thoroughly after handling it.


One of the best ways to fertilize your garden is to use compost. Compost is made up of grass clippings, leaves, food waste, and other organic matter that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

By using compost, you can provide your plants with the nutrients they need to grow without resorting to synthetic fertilizers. In addition, compost helps to improve the structure of the soil, making it better able to retain water and resist pests.

Compost can be used before or after planting your plants and vegetation, either as a mulch or fertilizer mixed into the soil, and it can also be a useful soil refresher in between your grass’ growing seasons.

Best of all, it’s easy to make your own compost at home using materials that you would otherwise throw away. So why not give it a try? Your garden will thank you for it.


If you’re looking for a natural, organic fertilizer that will give your plants a boost, look no further than guano. Guano is the droppings of either bats or seabirds, and it is an excellent source of nitrogen and other nutrients.

Bat and seabird guano are some of the best organic fertilizers you can use. They’re high in nitrogen, which is essential for growing plants and tubular vegetables such as potatoes, and they’re also very fast-acting. That means your plants will get a quick boost of nutrients when you apply them.

Guano is also a great source of other essential nutrients like phosphorus and potassium. In addition, bat guano is rich in calcium, which helps to promote strong root growth. And seabird guano is an excellent source of trace minerals like iron and manganese.

Blood Meal

Looking for an organic fertilizer that will give your plants a quick boost of nutrients? Blood meal is a great option! Blood meal is made from dried, ground blood that is made from livestock waste. It is high in nitrogen, which helps encourage leafy growth, although it is moderately low in other macronutrients.

However, blood meal can also be very powerful, so it’s important to use it sparingly. Too much blood meal can burn your plants. It’s best to start with a small amount and then increase gradually as needed.

Blood meal is fast-acting, so you should see results within a few days. With proper care, blood meal can be a great way to give your plants the nutrients they need to thrive.

Bone Meal

Bone meal is a great organic fertilizer for your garden. It’s made from cow bones that are ground up into a powder, and it’s high in phosphorus. Phosphorus is essential for root growth and flowering; it is also high in calcium, making it a good amendment for garden soil.

It is beneficial to blooming plants, bulbs, and fruit trees because it encourages root development. It’s also relatively high in nitrogen, which can help to green up your lawn, although it is primarily used as a soil amendment for areas with high nitrogen levels where growing plants are constantly scorched. You can find bone meal at most garden centers, and it’s easy to use. Just sprinkle it around your plants and water it in.

Bone meal is a great way to give your garden a boost of nutrients, and it’s also good for the environment since it’s an organic fertilizer.

Shellfish Fertilizer a.k.a Shell Meal

If you’re looking for an organic fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen and potassium (NPK ratio of 5-2-5), shellfish fertilizer is a great option. Shell meal made from crushed up seafood byproducts is an excellent source of nitrogen, as well as other minerals like potassium and calcium.

When the shellfish meal is broken down, it releases these nutrients into the soil, providing a boost to plant growth. Shellfish fertilizer also has an ingredient called chitin, which helps prevent parasitic worms from living in your soil.

Shellfish fertilizer is also a good choice for people who are looking for an alternative to using synthetic nitrogen-based fertilizers. Although shellfish meal is more expensive than some other types of organic fertilizer, its long-lasting effect on plant growth makes it a worthwhile investment.

If you’re interested in using shellfish fertilizer in your garden, be sure to purchase it from a reputable supplier to ensure that you’re getting a quality product.


Alfalfa meal is a popular organic fertilizer that has a range of benefits for plants and gardens. Alfalfa is primarily used as a livestock feed, and the ground-up meal version can be a great additive to compost.

It is made from the dried and pulverized leaves of the alfalfa plant, which is a member of the pea family. Alfalfa meal is moderately rich in nitrogen, potash, and phosphorus, making it an ideal fertilizer for a variety of plants, but it’s not too strong that it can burn them.

It also contains good levels of other minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. Alfalfa meal also helps to aerate compacted soils and can be used as a top dressing to help improve the drainage of your soil.

In addition, alfalfa meal can help to moderate the pH levels in your soil, making it more hospitable for plants. As a result, this versatile fertilizer can be an excellent way to improve the health of your garden.

Rock Phosphate

Rocks. Yes, rocks! More specifically, rock phosphate. This relatively unknown organic fertilizer is rich in nutrients that are essential for plant growth, including phosphorus and calcium. These nutrients are not readily available in most soils, which is why they must be applied as fertilizer.

Rock phosphate is also not very soluble in water, so it needs to be ground up into a fine powder before it can be used, but it also will last for a very long time in your garden soil.

For both flowers and vegetables, the use of rock phosphate in gardens is a common procedure. Early applications of rock phosphate to flowers such as roses are beneficial to them as they produce larger, more vibrant blooms, as well as stronger and healthier root systems.

Fish Emulsion

Fish emulsion is an organic fertilizer made from fish that have been decomposed and then processed into a liquid form. It is high in nitrogen, which makes it great for promoting leaf growth. Fish emulsion is most effective when used as a foliar spray, so you’ll see results almost immediately after applying it to your plants.

If you’re looking for an organic fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen and won’t break the bank, fish emulsion is a great option. However, it can also be very smelly, so be sure to use it in well-ventilated areas. It also contains very low levels of calcium and potassium, and moderate levels of phosphorus, so if your lawn is in need of a more well-rounded fertilizer, it might not be your best option.

Commercial Organic Fertilizer

Finally, you can easily buy commercial organic fertilizer from your local home and garden center. You can find this fertilizer is both granule and spray form, and it is as effective as synthetic fertilizers, but healthier and better for your local environment.

A great option for granular organic fertilizer is Espoma EOFW30 Organic Fall Fertilizer. If you want to use a spray organic fertilizer, then the Simple Lawn Solutions Advanced 16-4-8 Spring & Summer Liquid Fertilizer is our recommendation.

Final Thoughts

Organic fertilizers are a great way to improve the quality of your soil while keeping your garden safe from harmful chemicals. They work by providing nutrients to the soil that help plants grow healthy and strong. There are many different types of organic fertilizer available, so it’s important to understand the differences between them before you make a purchase.

In this guide, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about organic fertilizer including what it is, how it works, and some popular types that you can use in your own garden. We also looked at the difference between organic and synthetic fertilizers and why many people are choosing to make the switch.

If you’re ready to start using organic fertilizers in your garden, be sure to check out our list of recommended products that will help you get started. So what are you waiting for? Get started growing beautiful plants and flowers with organic fertilizer today! And if you have any questions, leave us a comment below and we’ll be happy to help!

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Written by Linda Chan
Linda Chan is a passionate gardener and writer with a background in horticulture and landscape design. She has over 10 years of experience working in the lawn care industry and has a deep understanding of the science and art of keeping a lawn healthy and beautiful.