Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Organic Vegan Fertilizer

Anyone who's ever read through the ingredients on store-bought garden fertilizer will know that it's like reading a horror story...fish meal, bone meal, blood meal....yuck! Not to mention that those things are totally not vegan. Being a good vegan, I never buy that stuff and prefer to put together a gentle fertilizer for my veggies.

Here's a fertilizer recipe as given by Steve Solomon in his book Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. The recipe is published online here, so I think I can safely list the ingredients on this blog without any copyright problems.

Mr. Solomon calls this formula a Complete Organic Fertilizer (COF) because it provides a balance of the macro-nutrients as well as micro-nutrients and trace minerals that plants need to grow, thrive, and be nutritious. It's a fairly slow-release formula--basically a function of how long it takes for the ingredients to be broken down by soil organisms. He developed this particular blend to bouy trace minerals, calcium, and magnesium and also provide good levels of both nitrogen and phosphorus. Here are the vegan ingredients...measures are by volume: cups/ jars/ sacks, what ever works for the quantity you need:

4 parts seed meal (cottonseed or canola meal, or other seed meal that is locally available in your area)
1/2 part lime ( equal mix of agricultural lime and dolomite lime)
1/2 part phosphate rock
1/2 part kelp meal

Mix all ingredienst together...it is stable and can be stored long-term tightly covered in a cool, dry place. You can work it into the soil before planting or as a side dressing for already established plants. Steve Solomon recommends 1 to 2 gallons per 100 square feet as a general rule, but of course this will vary depending on how fertile your soil is naturally, seasonal growth rates, plant nutrition needs, and so on. The NPK ratio is 5-5-1 (5% Nitrogen, 5% Phosphorus, 1% Potassium).

I should also mention that Mr Solomon formulated this blend for soils specifically in the Pacific Northwest region west of the Cascade Mountains, our soils tend to be deficient in many trace minerals, and they tend to be slightly acidic with lower levels of nitrogen and phosphorus.

If you have a well-stocked garden center, you should be able to find these in smaller amounts like the ones shown in the picture. For larger scale production, you'd probably want to source these in larger quantities.

Ciao for now :)

17 comments:

  1. Thanks Rose! I will definitely make use of this in the Spring. Assuming it ever gets here that is. ;)

    talk to you later,
    Alicia

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  2. I hope spring comes your way soon!

    Your soils might be naturally more fertile than ours...but no matter what, I recommend the sea kelp...it's full of trace minerals and other phyto-chemicals.

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  3. Rose,

    Now I need to find someplace that sells it. I am hoping one of the large local garden centers has what I need.

    Alicia

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  4. Sea kelp shouldn't be difficult to find...they should have it at a garden center.

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  5. I love the idea of kelp in my garden!

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  6. HayMarket8,

    I know isn't it cool? If you live by the sea, you can always bring a big bunch home and use it in your compost...but buying at the garden center is easier...:)

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  7. No wonder your garden is so beautiful. I just use compost. I also use coffee grounds on my blueberry bushes and other acid lovers. (Starbucks will give you their used grounds).

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  8. SV,

    I use compost too, and it is good for building soil...it just depends on what your soil is like to begin with...your soils may be naturally more fertile than the stuff I have to work with.

    Thanks for reminding me about the coffee grounds...they are good in compost too!

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  9. This looks great, thanks for sharing it. I am bookmarking it for this Spring.(Which I am really longing for!)

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  10. Janet,

    I hope spring comes your way soon, the soil type in your region might have different nutritional needs, but I recommend the sea kelp regardless...it really boosts trace minerals and other plant chemicals.

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  11. This is a brilliant idea for feeding your garden..I make my own as well.... I am glad I found your blog!!!! I am going to go add you right now!!!!

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  12. Vivacious Vegan,

    Thanks so much...I'd love to hear your fertilizer recipe...I'm going to check out your blog now...I'll link to you too!

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  13. Thanks, Rose, for the tip. We have a large veggie garden and fruit trees, as well as flowers, so this is good to know. :)

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  14. BlessedMama,

    Your garden sounds wonderful...you should post about it sometime; I'd love to see it.

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  15. You know, I should! I never thought of it before. We just planted a nectarine tree this morning, and it already has pink buds on it. Thanks for the idea. :)

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  16. thanks for sharing.

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