When considering what type of fertilizer to use on your garden, Autumn Hill Nursery suggests always using organic fertilizers to create a sustainable environment and grow the best plants possible.

What is Fertilizer?

Anything added to the soil that promotes the growth of a plant or grass can be considered a fertilizer. Decomposed leaves, cow manure, kitchen compost, and chemical fertilizers all provide nutrients for plants. As you can imagine, some plants consume more nutrients than others. Annuals for example that flower during their entire life span require a constant supply of nutrients. Vegetables and fruit bearing plants are another example of heavy-feeders. In ideal conditions the surrounding soil provides a balanced supply of nutrients, but often this is not the case.

How Does the Soil Provide Nutrients?

To provide nutrients to its plants, microbiological activity needs to be present in the soil. Bacteria, microorganisms, and earthworms, along with air and water all work together to create a sustainable environment where nutrients are constantly being replenished. Often, our native clay soil does an inadequate job of providing this environment. Our clay is dense, with no pockets for air or water. Without these, worms don’t live, and microorganism activity is limited. A few years back, Autumn Hill Nursery gave a talk on basic gardening. To illustrate the idea of fertilized vs. non-fertilized clay soil we examined samples of untouched soil and soil from a nursery garden bed that had been amended with organic matter about eight years prior. In a sample of untouched soil, taken from just next to the amended bed, we found no worms; a sample taken just a few feet away from the garden bed was full of worms! This is a perfect example of how a soil becomes sustainable; creating an inviting environment for worms and microorganisms. In turn, these living creatures constantly provide nutrients to the soil with worm castings, and decaying microorganisms. This sustainable environment is what we strive for to keep our plants happy and healthy.

The Benefits of Using an Organic Fertilizer Over Synthetics

Organic fertilizers:

1. Do not pollute the soil or ground water with toxins, chemicals or salts

2. Provide a balanced supply of nutrients to your plants over a longer period of time

3. Naturally provide many trace elements that are often lacking in synthetic fertilizers

4. Help improve the soil over time aiding in achieving the sustainable environment for

plants and microorganisms

5. You cannot burn your plants or grass by over fertilizing

6. Will not harmful to your pets or wildlife

7. Contain no toxic fillers

Since organic fertilizers are relatively low in percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (the way nature intended) they can be applied most any time of the year. The optimum time to apply fertilizer is March/April, June/July and again in August/September to keep your plants happy and healthy! 

Autumn Hill Nursery has two locations, in Woodstock, GA and Canton, GA. We would love to help you turn your clay soil yard into rich, sustainable soil where both earth worms and your favorite roses feel at home. Come by either of our locations today or give us a call to get started!

Image from Flickr.

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