At the recent Northeast Organic Farming Association OrganiConn conference, great information was abundant in regards to helping home and property owners reap the benefits of lush lawns, marvelous mulch, bountiful blooms and generous gardens.
Switching to organic fertilizers, it appears, is becoming quite a thing. And luckily, there are loads of qualified resources and advice on how to switch, or simply start fertilizing the way your property was intended to be.
Oregon State University Extension’s Ross Penhallegon explains that organic fertilizers usually contain plant nutrients in low concentrations. Since many of these nutrients have to be converted into inorganic forms before plants can use them, they typically release more slowly, especially during cold weather when soil microbes are not as active.
But advantages of organic fertilizers don’t make a crust on the soil as inorganic fertilizers sometimes do, and they improve water movement into the soil, in time, building soil structure.
The OSU horticulturist says organics also feed beneficial microbes, making soil easier to work. But they may cost more than chemical, or inorganic fertilizers, because they are less concentrated, supplying fewer nutrients pound for pound.
Connecticut’s state environmental protection agency is big on promoting how conventional lawn chemicals pollute water, harm wildlife, and have adverse health effects on people and pets.
Using pesticides to tackle weeds and pests can actually damage lawns, too, by killing good organisms that help produce nutrients plants need, weakening your grass, fostering thatch, and encouraging diseases.
Bottom line: An organic lawn will actually cost less money because once established, organic lawns use less water and fertilizers, and require less mowing and maintenance CT DEEP says.
The UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment recommends that anybody poised to go organic with their lawn and/or garden should first get a soil test to measure the organic matter content impacting your soil’s physical and biological quality.
Soil tests also measure chemical nutrients in the soil, a key factor in the health and quality of your lawn, garden and landscape plants.
John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia.