Article by: By Steve Solomon with Erica Reinheimer from Urban Farm Online
For urban farmers, who generally have a small growing space, it’s very much possible to give your crops a balanced nutritional boost with a homemade complete organic fertilizer.
The major concern when designing a complete organic fertilizer is achieving as much balance as possible without creating excess nutrients. Deficiencies are easy to remedy; excesses … well, as Hugh Lovel once joked, “It’s easy enough to resolve soil nutrient excesses, no more difficult than getting too much salt out of the soup.”
My complete organic fertilizer is designed to, above all, avoid creating excess; therefore, it cannot completely ensure there are no minor nutrient or trace element deficiencies. There’s no way out of this problem except to custom-design a new complete organic fertilizer every year or two based on soil test results.
Making a complete organic fertilizer yourself requires that you first obtain up to 10 ingredients. (Sourcing them might take some clever shopping because garden centers don’t expect home gardeners to request some of these substances. I hope that will change.) Making complete organic fertilizer will involve nearly the same effort and expense as getting a soil test and formulating something perfectly suited to your land. And no complete organic fertilizer can possibly grow food to the degree of nutrient-density that can be achieved from remineralization according to a soil test result.
Making complete organic fertilizer requires measuring ingredients by volume using ordinary kitchen equipment and then thoroughly blending and uniformly distributing the fertilizer in your garden. I measure out fertilizers with a worn-out quart-sized, Teflon-coated saucepan and a cheap, plastic liquid measuring cup. For trace elements, I measure accurately using a kitchen measuring-spoon set. Perfect accuracy is not required; plus or minus 10 percent is good enough.
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