Jan 062020
Best Organic Fertilizer – How To Grow Healthier Food At Home

With the onset of climate change, global warming, and all environmental related issues over the past decades, there has been an increased clamor of environmentalists to “go back to the basics”.

The consumer market now pushes for organic produce for a healthier food choice. In turn, farmers responded by slowly shifting to organic farming if they wanted to reach the desired market size with their produce.

But with thousands of organic fertilizers in the market, which is the best organic fertilizer for your plants?

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Which-Is-The-Best

I listed the pros and cons of these fertilizers so you can decide which is the best for your garden’s needs… Please be reminded that soil structure and profile are different from one place to another.

As such, it is best to have your soil analyzed before adding any fertilizer. If you skip this method, you might be applying fertilizer that is no longer needed by your soil.

If you want a more scientific approach to farming without hiring a soil scientist or technician, you can always get a soil testing kit that you can use to test your soil on your own.

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Soil

Here’s a list of the 10 best organic fertilizers in the market. They have been chosen according to their specific purpose in different garden conditions and targeted plants.

Click the product title for the prevailing price of these fertilizers on the online market. Happy farming!

Best Organic Fertilizer (Foliar): Liquid Kelp Organic Seaweed Extract Fertilizer Concentrate

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Liquid-Kelp

Kelp is a brown algae that thrives in temperate seas.

This is a fast-growing seaweed that almost triples its mass in less than a week, making it very sustainable, growing at a rate of up to 12 inches per day in ideal conditions.

Kelp is known to have 70 micronutrients that are readily available for the plants to use.

Liquid kelp fertilizer is very effective in strengthening the plants against stresses.

It can do this during drought and pest infestation by helping it grow sturdier roots and stems to maintain an efficient nutrient and water movement inside the plant.

Pros

  • Improves plant vitality
  • Stimulates faster growth of the plants
  • Produces higher yield with better quality
  • Improves fruit development
  • Helps in photosynthetic activities by providing more chlorophyll
  • Increases resistance from pests and diseases

 

Cons

  • Low in NPK content
  • Does not stay long in the soil as opposed to kelp meal

 

Best Organic Fertilizer as Soil Conditioner: Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Wiggle-Worm

Earthworm castings are among the best organic fertilizers even before the hype of organic farming started. It works manifold and targets a wide number of soil problems as listed below.

Unco Industries prides itself on the production of high-quality organic fertilizers that are available for consumers all over the world.

The company also offers to consult and training for those who want to venture into vermiculture. Established in 1977, they have decades of experience and training to assure that they only produce the best organic fertilizer.

The company is also listed by the Organic Materials Research Institute, Inc (OMRI) and CDFA Organic Input Material, proving the truth in their claims of producing organic fertilizers.

Pros

  • All-natural
  • Non-toxic
  • Easy to store
  • Ready to apply, no need to mix with water, no special gears needed
  • Can be used as an organic pesticide/fungicide
  • Improves soil aeration
  • Increases water retention of the soil
  • Slow use; one application goes a long way
  • Easily improves soil makeup
  • Readily used by the plants
  • Soil conditioner from the microbes from the earthworm

Cons

  • Low in NPK compared to synthetic fertilizers
  • No specific NPK levels you can choose from
  • Performance is slow for first-time use

 

Best Organic Fertilizer for Indoor Plants: Earth Pods Indoor Plant Food 

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Earth-Pods

Revitalize your plants with this plant food specially designed for indoor plants although it can also be used for outdoor plants.

If you are potting a new plant or repotting an old one, this fertilizer is very effective to use as it reduces plant stress brought about by the transfer from one medium to another.

It also helps improve the soil structure, turning it into the water- and plant-friendly loam.

In turn, it enhances plant vigor by building on the root system of the plants. It also gives plants the needed nutrients while indoors so it stays green and healthy.

With the soil turned into the loamy structure, water is retained but does not log the plants, meaning less watering needed.

Pros

  • Increases plant vitality and productivity
  • No messy application
  • Convenient
  • Easy to store; not bulky
  • Also available in plant-specific variants
  • Can be used in outdoor plants
  • Pre-measured doses
  • Earth-friendly packaging

Cons

  • Low in NPK content
  • Does not stay long in the soil as opposed to kelp meal

 

Best Organic Fertilizer (Slow-Release): Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Osmocote

Encapsulated in a special resin, this organic fertilizer is one of the best for potted plants with its smart-release scheme.

The resin “perceives’ that the soil needs fertilization and releases it into the soil. Slightly mixed with potting soil, it is a convenient fertilizer for the busy gardener that all you have to is to water in the next 6 months.

While other granular fertilizers cause leaf and root “burn” when the fertilizer is applied directly on it, this is mild enough not to cause such burns on the leaves and roots.

Root and leaf burn is characterized by browning, crinkling and becoming brittle of the leaf edges. The burnt roots have hardened and darkened tips that are easily broken.

This results in a lessening of the surface area of the roots, thereby affecting the efficiency of the roots and the leaves system during photosynthesis.

Burnt edges of the leaves are also easily broken off and maybe an avenue for the entry of fungal and bacterial diseases.

Pros

  • Convenient; one application lasts up to 6 months
  • Easy to store in the resealable bag
  • Economical; 3 tbsps covers two 2sq. ft of garden area
  • Works for both indoor and outdoor potted plants
  • Does not burn the leaves and roots even when applied directly to the plant

Cons

  • Low NPK content
  • Not readily available unless on online stores

 

Best Organic Fertilizer for Increasing Soil Water-Efficiency: Joyful Dirt Premium Concentrated All-Purpose Organic Plant Food and Fertilizer

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Joyful-Dirt

Armed with Mycorrhizae are known to amend the soil structure, this fertilizer and plant food gives new life to your plants.

Amended soil also means you no longer have to fear of water-logged potted plants or plants in low drainage areas.

Containing just the right amount of nutrients, it increases plant resistance to pests and diseases. It also protects the plants from leaf and root burn so it can be applied directly to the plants.

It can be added to potting soil to reduce plant stress and hasten the plant to adapt to the new planting medium.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Convenient to store
  • Revives plant vitality and vigor
  • Contains just the right amount of nutrients
  • May be used directly for potted plants or mixed with water for outdoor plants/lawn grass
  • Less frequent applications; maybe once a month for healthy plants

Cons

  • More expensive than similar plant foods/fertilizers
  • Needs to be more concentrated to be efficient

 

Best Organic Fertilizer for Hydroponics/Aquaponics System: SEA-90 Organic Fertilizer for Hydroponics and Soil

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-SEA-90

Hydroponics is a soil-less garden system designed for urban gardening where there is limited garden space. Incorporate a few fishes and this becomes an aquaponics system.

Plants that may be grown in hydroponics/aquaponics systems are greens like lettuce and kale, herbs like parsley and oregano, as well as tomatoes, strawberries, and hot peppers.

Fish usually added is tilapia because it has been proven to be sturdy and leads to low maintenance. Other fish such as carp, trout, koi, and catfish are among the possible choices.

Because the system does not have soil to sustain the nutrient needs of the plants, it depends on the nutrients in the water. That is why a good organic fertilizer is the best option to have a sustainable hydroponics garden that will provide you with fresh food.

Pros

  • Made from sea minerals
  • Increases productivity in the water to support both fish and plants in a hydroponics/aquaponics system
  • May be used on land-based plants
  • OMRI-listed
  • No bad fumes so it’s safe for everyone
  • Can be used as a foliar fertilizer
  • Economical

Cons

  • Slower response time compared to synthetic fertilizers
  • Lower NPK content

Best Organic Fertilizer for Large Garden Areas: Organic Plant Magic 100% Organic Fertilizer

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Plant-Magic

The makers of this wonderful organic fertilizer claim to give a new life to a soil that had been deadened by the continued use of synthetic fertilizer.

While the plants respond faster to synthetic fertilizers, the result of which is a soil that is less recipient to fertilization that is why the farmers are forced to add more each time.

However, with time, the soil structure has been so changed that the soil is no longer supporting the plants without fertilization.

The makers of this organic fertilizer desire to restore the soil into its pristine quality so it can provide much-needed food for the growing population.

Backed with years of research and development, this product has truly regenerated the soil where it was applied.

Pros

  • Contains microorganisms that convert the soil as plant food
  • Better root structure for more efficient uptake of the nutrients
  • Convenient to use
  • Can be used as organic fungicide/insecticide when mixed with tobacco ash or cayenne pepper and other herbs and spices
  • Economical; the high cost-benefit ratio in terms of efficiency

Cons

  • Lower in NPK compared to synthetic fertilizers
  • Relatively expensive at first glance
  • Slow effect on first applications

Best Organic Fertilizer for Small Garden Plants: Dr. Earth Home-Grown Organic Fertilizer

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Dr.-Earth

The Bacillus in this organic fertilizer helps in the transition of the soil from the use of synthetic to organic fertilizer.

It also increases the vitality of the plants by providing metabolites that hasten plant growth and prevent disease infestation.

This also increases plant productivity even during droughts by regulating water transport, increase photosynthetic activity by aiding inefficient nutrient transport, and helps the plants to be stress-resistant.

Pros

  • Increased productivity
  • The perfect combination of nutrients for small plants
  • Can be used as a compost starter
  • Listed and certified in organic certifying bodies such as OMRI and OIM, and Non-GMO certified
  • Relatively cheaper than other similar products

Cons

  • Some people are not aware of the good Bacillus and maybe a bit apprehensive of its presence in the fertilizer

 

Best Organic Fertilizer (High in Specific Nutrient – Phosphorus and Calcium): Down to Earth Organic Fish Bone Meal

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Down-to-Earth

Calcium is one of the nutrients that help plants in the growth of new parts like the buds and flowers.

Calcium deficiency is characterized by discoloration of leaves and bottom rot in the fruits.

The primary source of calcium in the water, therefore it is also natural for fish bones, which is the main ingredient of this fertilizer, to be high in calcium.

Phosphorus deficiency, on the other hand, causes the stunted growth of plants since it is one of the main building blocks for photosynthetic activities of plants.

Phosphorus helps the plant to have a sturdier root system so it can absorb nutrients from the soil better. For soils with low organic matter, fertilizers high in phosphorus is recommended.

Pros

  • Biodegradable packaging
  • High in Phosphorus and Calcium
  • Increases plant vitality
  • Maintains good root and leaf health for better food production

Cons

  • Vegans may veer away from this because of the use of fishbone meal

 

Best Organic Fertilizer for Flowering Plants: Jobe’s Organics Rose & Flower Fertilizer Spikes

Best-Organic-Fertilizer-Jobes

Any flower gardener will surely love this fertilizer spikes. It effectively delivers the correct amount of fertilizer to the plants just when they are needed.

The presence of microorganisms in the spikes helps promote better growth by increasing root mass, thereby increasing the surface area and increasing the nutrient uptake.

It also breaks down the organic matter in the soil, making it more efficient for use by the plants.

Pros

  • Convenient
  • Increases the plant’s resilience against drought
  • OMRI listed for organic gardening
  • Each spike is good up to 14 days before changing
  • Measured doses, no more guessing
  • Protects the plants from disease and pest infestation
  • Safe to use

Cons

  • Must be stocked in bulk as it is easily consumed
  • Relatively expensive

The Verdict

These organic fertilizers are a league of their own, so it is relatively hard to choose.

But as an avid but busy gardener and an environmentalist, I would prefer a product that has strong environmental support and is convenient to use.

 

A Few Final Thoughts

If you ever need a helping hand or have any questions on this product or want to leave a comment or a review of your own, please do so in the space provided below.

I will be more than happy to answer them as best to my knowledge and would enjoy hearing from you.

Click here to receive my free ebook – ‘How to Take the First Step: Understanding of Impact’.

If you want to join me on this journey, please use the social links below.

All the best,

Eco_Catherine

ecocatherine@about-going-green.com

 

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Reader Comments

  1. I really needed this. I have a small garden which I use to produce the food for me and my family. Most of the food in my garden are potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and spinach. I also have some fruit plants.

    I must turn to organic fertilizer since the other kind did not give the results I expected. I will check these products and make sure I pick the right organic fertilizer for my garden.

    1. I am pleased that you are making green choices for you and your family. We are what we eat so growing organic would be the next best option for certain. I am pleased that this was helpful to you and if you need any assistance picking the correct fertilizer for your garden, please do not hesitate to ask me.

  2. I think we are going back into self-grown food as environmental and health awareness increases. My parents have always grown their own potatoes, beans, peas, apples etc. in their average-sized backyard in the suburbs of a small city.

    I know how important nutrients are for good crops and if you use a small patch of land to grow your food, they will deplete very fast.

    I like your recommendation here but what do you think of the classic and very organic fertilizers dung and ash? Especially horse manure is great for home gardens as it doesn’t have as foul odor as many others and it’s biologically relatively safe. Ashes are a great source of minerals and can be used to adjust the pH of the soils. Just a tip!

    1. It all depends on the time you have and how you go about using them. Horse manure can act as a supercharger for your compost but should not be put directly onto plants. It needs to be broken down first otherwise it will burn the roots of the plants. In an ideal situation, we would all have space and time to be making our own compost.

      It is a similar case with ash. Ash has high levels of lime and potassium which is fantastic for your garden. Different types of ask have different levels of nutrients. If you are going to use ash directly on your soil, be sure to scatter lightly or mix in well with the soil. For safe measures, you can compost it first too.

      Making great compost takes practice and dedication. I am sure it comes naturally for the seasoned gardener. However, for people living in cities with limited garden space, or people who don’t have the time to make their own compost, I would recommend purchasing a pre-made fertilizer.

      All gardeners should be testing their soil first to discover what their soil needs more before purchasing fertilizer. I hope this helps.

  3. Thanks for providing such a detailed review of the best organic fertilizers. I don’t have a green thumb, so I need all the help I can get. I do have an indoor plant that I desperately need to re-pot, so I’m going to look into the Earth Pods Indoor Plant Food.

    I’d like to hear your thoughts on composting. I guess that is considered organic? My Dad had a compost when I was young and he grew tomatoes around it. They were the best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten. My only concern though is that I live in the country and we have a lot of critters. I’d have to figure out how to keep them at bay.

    1. You are more than welcome. Composting is fantastic if you have the time and space to do so. It will save you a lot of money in the long run and ensures your waste products are being put to good use. The type of composter you will need will vary depending on where you live and the environment.

      There are many definitions of the argument of organic. Some people say that if you are creating compost and growing food then that is organic. Other people would criticize that and say that if any of the components to the compost are not organic they will contain trace elements of pesticides etc. This, in turn, can then be found growing in your food because the plants absorb many of them from the soil.

      I agree with the science behind these claims. However, my opinion is it is so hard to make 100% organic compost so why stress about it. I try my best to eat organic but sometimes it cant be done and therefore inorganic green waste ends up in my compost. To me there are more important factors at bay, the enjoyment I get from growing my own food and the money I save in the long run from doing so.

      It all comes down to personal preference anyway, so just do what you think is the best option for you. Whatever you decide will certainly be better than eating fast food every day…

  4. You have put together a very helpful article for growing the perfect farm produce. However, like you said it is very important to test the soil before knowing the right kind of fertilizer to use. In my opinion, you must take this step to arrive at the most favorable conditions for your crops.
    How do you determine the right quantity to apply to different kinds of crops in the garden? Also, is it advisable to mix the fertilizer with manure?

    1. Most fertilizers will have direction on the back and explain the amount needed. I answered the question about manure in a previous thread but the short answer is no, you will burn the roots of the plant. I hope this helps!

  5. This is exactly what I was looking for! We plan on putting in a large garden this year, strictly organic. Our last home had almost a clay-like dirt, so we didn’t even try to garden. I will be saving this post for quick reference when we are closer to gardening time! (still winter here) Thanks

  6. Thanks this is a great comparison and review of organic fertilizers. With so many on the market this really helps clarify which one is best for my gardening needs. I especially like the Pros and Cons; they make it easy to evaluate and make a decision. I don’t have a full-blown garden but we are going to start a small patch garden in our backyard and this post will really help to pick the fertilizer.

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