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Gardening with Laurie: Organic products put back into soil what man has taken out

By By Laurie Garretson
June 27, 2013 at 1:27 a.m.


Having a beautiful, healthy, productive landscape all boils down to one thing - the abundance of life in your soil. That's the whole key to organic gardening.

That's how nature started everything from the beginning of time, and that's how those of us that care about our environment and having a balanced ecosystem chose to garden. We simply respect nature.

Overuse of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and so many years of overtilling have killed off the beneficial life that we all once had in our soils.

To bring your soil back to life and to have a healthy, productive landscape, you will need to add organic matter back to the soil. Organic fertilizers are made from ingredients that are made by nature in lower concentrations than any of the synthetic chemical fertilizers.

Organic products break down slowly and allow plants to only take the amount of nutrients they require at that specific time. Chemical products contain high amounts of nitrogen, which result in instant greening that doesn't last long.

High concentrations of nutrients in chemical fertilizers are produced by synthetic means. Chemical fertilizers do not feed the soil. Years of using chemical fertilizers will work as deterrents to the healthy microbial life that nature provides us with.

You will find that all fertilizers have an analysis of three numbers on the labels. These numbers tell you what percentage, by volume, of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are in the blend.

Although the numbers are low on organic fertilizers, 6-8-2 for example, their potency is high. Plus there is no fear of burning or other harmful effects with organic versus synthetic chemical products.

Chemical fertilizers can contain salts, don't have carbon energy, often contain high amounts of nitrogen and very few trace minerals. The result of fast growth from synthetic chemical fertilizers can cause weak watery plant cells. This type of growth can then lead to diseases and pest problems.

Synthetic chemical fertilizers force feed plants and are then leached out of the soil into our streams, rivers and eventually into the oceans. In the end, your soil and plants' health are no better off than before you applied the synthetic stuff.

Synthetic fertilizers can cause salt build up in your soil. This is many times noticeable as a white film on plant leaves or on the soil. Excess salt will damage soil life and plant roots.

Simply stated, organic fertilizers naturally help to put back into the soil what man has taken out.

Until next time, let's try to garden with nature, not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.

Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to laurie@vicad.com or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.

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