If you want to stop bloating your vegetables with polluting chemical fertilizer that is poisoning our water tables and spurring an onslaught of green algae, it is time for you to familiarize yourself with natural fertilizing!
Follow the lead of organic vegetable producers who consider that soil isn’t just some kind of sterile substrate, but something more akin to a living being. Thus, you won’t even be trying to feed the plant, but you’ll be wanting to nourish the entire “biocoenosis” of the soil (micro-organisms, plants, animals).
Organic matter will be added through green manure, preparations extracted from fertilizer-rich plants (decoctions, fermented tea, etc.) or from other animal, plant or mineral sources (guano, fishmeal, bone powder, dried blood, seaweed flour, etc.).
Lastly, legume family plants are used to fix atmospheric nitrogen into the soil.
Green manure for the vegetable patch
These plants are sown and then buried into the ground to enrich it in nutrients:
- Rye also has the advantage of suffocating weeds;
- Oats additionally repels flies away from cabbage, onion and carrot;
- Mustard volunteers phosphorus;
- Phacelia attracts bees;
- Crimson clover captures nitrogen from the air into light, slightly acidic soils;
- Lupine, medick and spinach provide nitrogen to poor soil.
Plants for fermented tea fertilizer
Great nettle (urtica dioica) is rich in nitrogen and various trace elements (iron, for instance). Fermented stinging nettle tea has many potential applications: fertilizer, compost activator, insect repellent, etc.
Russian comfrey plays a part similar to that of nettles, with fermented comfrey tea.
Other sources of natural fertilizer
They are extremely diverse and space lacks us to list them all! We’ll simply mention bone powder which contains phosphorus, or seaweed powder which is replete with trace elements (magnesium, iron, copper, iodine, etc.).
These can be amended directly into earth in the vegetable patch in fall or through the compost.
Pierrick the organic gardener