It’s a question that’s bound to split a room full of gardeners right down the middle: “What’s better, organic or non-organic fertilizers?”
Before we get buried in angry letters from both sides of the aisle, let’s talk about the definition of what makes a fertilizer organic or not, and the pros.
Right, so in the mind of the layman, the word “organic” means ‘natural’. But in this case, it actually means ‘minimally processed’, so the natural nutrients remain in Mother Nature’s packaging, or close to it.
Also, it’s not defined as closely as in the food industry.
In South Africa, we are blessed to have access to multiple organic fertilizers.
“SHH! We have our favourites!” shouts the Zootly botanist!
As the nation of Rooibos, we have access to Rooibos mulch, which is a fantastic natural fertilizer, and you can read more about its benefits in our Zootly’s nest booklet pack.
Also, alfalfa meal and insect frass are fantastic fertilizers, which we stock in the Zootly store.
“What, you surprised we’re giving our products a punt on our site!? Come-on!” shouts Zootly’s botanist who is being dragged out of the blog now…
The benefits of organic fertilizers are:
- Natural fertilizers breakdown over time and most will improve the structure of the soil. This means better water and nutrient retention. In turn, this will make your plants healthier and stronger.
- Organic fertilizers are slow releasing. This means it is very difficult to overdo it.
- No toxic build-up of chemicals, and by chemicals we mean salt.
So on the other side of the coin are chemical fertilizers. These fertilizers have been highly refined and created with specific ratios, as well as other chemical fillers.
These fertilizers may be made from compounds such as petroleum products. Technically speaking, some of the ingredients in these fertilizers can be naturally occurring, but they are so heavily stripped-down that they can’t be deemed natural. This chemical streamlining of the fertiliser does mean that results are almost immediate.
Also, it’s worth noting that these types of nutrients are preferred by hydroponic growers.
But what is the benefit of using inorganic? Well:
- Faster nutrient absorption and plants react in a matter of days.
- Highly processed fertilizers mean exact ratios of nutrients.
At the end of the gardening day, it’s all about personal preferences, and what you need. If you’re working with an organic indoor unit, like with our Zootly’s Nest all-in-one kit, you’ll want to keep on Mother Nature’s good side.
Pretty sure you can tell, we’re team organic – because we love nature.
Zootly says: “We’re not biased, but organic is always the correct answer!”
Words By: Andrew Macfarlane, budding horticulturist and organic fertilizer fan.