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What is Organic Fertilizer?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated: May 17, 2024

Organic fertilizers are fertilizer compounds that contain one or more kinds of organic matter. The ingredients may be animal or vegetable matter or a combination of the two. It is possible to purchase commercial brands of organic rich fertilizer as well as prepare organic fertilizer at home by building a compost heap.

When describing fertilizer, it is important to remember that the working definition of organic is the same as that applied to organic foods. That is, the fertilizer is composed of elements that are produced in a completely natural manner, without the aid of any synthetically manufactured components or additives.

Many different natural elements can go into the creation of organic fertilizer. Animal manure is a common ingredient in both commercial and home prepared blends. Rotten produce, bone meal, and the decomposing plants removed at the end of the season can also be chopped or ground in to small particles for inclusion in the fertilizer. Essentially, any matter that is of natural origin and subject to decomposition is a good candidate for inclusion in the product.

Organically prepared fertilizing agents can be used to grow vegetables, raise flowers, and even to produce a lush green lawn. As with any type of fertilizing product, the organic grass fertilizer is spread evenly across the expanse of the yard. Often, the fertilization process takes place before the grass seeds are sown. Once the soil is properly tilled and mixed with the organic lawn fertilizer, the seeds are distributed and the area is watered. The presence of the natural materials helps the seeds to spout and take root, eventually producing a beautiful carpet of grass across the lawn.

In like manner organic fertilizer can be used in vegetable gardens to replenish the nutrient content in the soil. This is often done prior to planing the next round of crops in the garden. Preparing the soil in advance provides the ideal setting for the newly planted seeds or young plants to take root and grow rapidly.

Even flower gardens can benefit from the use of organic fertilizer. As with lawns and vegetable gardens, the fertilizer is added to the soil prior to planting. Depending on the climate and the types of flowers in the garden, the use of organic liquid fertilizer may also be recommended as the plants mature. An organic nitrogen fertilizer may also be helpful during the growth process for both flowers and lawns.

Organic fertilizer can be purchased in most farmers’ exchange stores, along with many home and garden shops. Since the natural fertilizer is usually sold alongside brands that contain synthetic elements, it is important to read the contents listed on the bag of fertilizer before making the purchase.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon934195 — On Feb 19, 2014

Ever hear of mealworm castings? They are totally pure, 100 percent organic with an NPK of 4-3-2- and higher from a single source. They have no blends of other elements because they need none. There is a wonderful liquid version and foliar spray as well (not a tea).

By mekashaw — On Aug 29, 2013

What are the raw materials that can be used to prepare organic fertilizer?

By DentalFloss — On Mar 27, 2011

Some organic fertilizers, like other "organic" things, are not really any better for you or the environment than the alternative, they just follow the "organic" requirements drawn up by the government.

My family typically avoids purchasing fertilizer at all, and instead uses things like mulch to help the soil, as well as utilizing shredded leaves. It can promote plants' health just as much, and is less expensive, too.

By behaviourism — On Mar 26, 2011

My family tries whenever possible to use organic fertilizer for vegetables instead of other types. It tends to work at least as well, although it can be more expensive. I think the chance to use less waste and harsh chemicals can be worth it, though.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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