Garden guru Steve Solomon likes to pamper his veggies. To make sure that they receive all the nutrients they need without the risk of leaching or or overloading the plants, Solomon uses his own home-made fertilizer in his garden. A result of over 30 years of experience, this mix is easy to make, affordable, and certain to raise an edible paradise. Unlike many store-bought formulas, this organic fertilizer is free of harmful chemicals, includes valuable trace minerals, naturally slow-release, and is slower to dissolve.
What You Will Need:
Seed Meals- One of the most important ingredients, the seed meals are the byproducts of vegetable oil production. Mainly used as feed for animals, they are labeled by protein content instead of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium composition like most fertilizers. Composed of flaxseeds, sunflowers, cotton seeds, canola, and a variety of other plants, seed meals should be purchased free of genetic modification and be certified organic whenever possible. Chemical-free grass clippings can be used as a substitute, although they will not stimulate the same growth as the meal.
Bone Meal, Guano, Phosphate Rock- All of these compounds help to add phosphorus. Bone meals are probably the easiest of the three to find in garden centers.
Kelp Meal- Seaweed provides a wide variety of trace minerals as well as hormones which act like vitamins that help a plant cope with environmental stresses. Farm supplies will sell sacks of the meal, but lucky residents of the coast may opt to take a shovel and flatbed truck to the beach.
Lime- This rock possesses huge levels of calcium and is available in three types. Agricultural lime is pure calcium carbonate, gypsum is calcium sulfate, and dolomite contains both calcium and magnesium carbonates. Dolomite is the most preferred, but a combination of all three will produce the best results. Make sure not to use chemically active “hot limes” which are sold as hydrated lime, quicklime, and burnt lime.
Measuring all ingredients by volume, mix uniformly:
– 4 parts seed meal
-1/4 part ordinary agricultural lime, finely ground
– 1/2 part agricultural lime (or 1/4 gypsum)
-1/2 part dolomitic lime
– 1 part bone meal, rock phosphate or guano
-1/2-1 part kelp meal (or basalt dust)
Before planting, or at least once yearly (usually in the spring) apply one quart of fertilizer evenly. Add a quarter inch of compost evenly on top of each 20 square feet of planting area. Blend the layers with a hoe or spade. For vegetables that demand more food like melons, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and spinach, sprinkle small quantities of fertilizer around the root systems every couple of weeks. Gardens with heavy clay soils should expect to use 50% more fertilizer.