Compost vs Fertilizer
I worked hard with my Mantis ComposT-Twin compost tumbler and made several batches of hot compost this winter, which I then dug into my gardens and my patio containers and pots this spring.
I can see that the compost helps dilute the clay, to add organic matter to help hold moisture, etc. But it seems to have little fertilizer value as compared to water-soluble fertilizer applied directly to the plants. When I mixed up and applied some fertilizer recently, you could see the flowers growing rapidly within days.
I have some bush beans that I planted in a 2-3 inch deep trench that I filled with pure, 100% compost over top of the seeds. They seem to be sprouting and growing fast. So I did not add more fertilizer to them.
Am I seeing and doing this right, or am I missing something somewhere or doing something wrong?0 thumbs up!Posted about 1 year ago
Beans normally grow like crazy, so you’re probably OK. I fertilize my bush beans once just when they start blossoming with a low-nitrogen (N) high P-K solution. Beans absorb Nitrogen directly from the air through the nodes on the roots. Actually adding liquid high-nitrogen fertilizer to beans can be counter-productive, because it can stress or even kill the Rhizobia or Nitrogen fixing bacteria. Nitrogen in compost is “slow absorbing” while liquid fertilizers are “fast acting”. Pure compost usually has a good balance of NPK. My compost was tested for Nutrient-Micronutrient levels, and it was pretty balanced.
2 thumbs up!Posted about 1 year ago
I prefer to garden organically, but my neighbor does not. As a result, I do see the fast acting nature of water-soluble fertilizer all the time. My neighbor’s grass is greener sooner than mine and his tomato plants shoot straight toward the sky every May.
But my grass does eventually green on its own once daily temperatures rise, and although my tomatoes grow slower but _we both get tomatoes around the same time":. The difference is …. I am not paying $$$ for bagged fertilizer to green up my lawn two or three times a year, I am not spending time spreading the fertilizer on my lawn and I don’t mow it five weeks earlier then I currently do or the several weeks later my neighbor does. More importantly, I can give my two girls cherry tomatoes right off the vine or salad green pick right from the plant without giving it a second thought.
Compost does not have the high NPK of chemical fertilizers but it has organic humus. Humus is the building block of incredible soil for whatever you want to grow long-term. I read your profile and it states you have lots of great Georgia clay. Well I had lots of great North Carolina clay when I moved in my house late 2002. However, after years of compost I have incredible soil I can plant anything in and it thrives. (See Photo of soil) I truly believe in the concept, Feed the soil, not the plants.
My suggestion is….. Continue to make as much compost as possible and just layer it thickly on top of your clay soil base. Double digging would help but is not necessary. Long-term your beds will grow everything incredible well, short-term, visit a site like GardensAlive.com and buy fully organic fertilizer from them. Once on their mailing list almost all of their catalogs include a 50% off coupon. The organic fertilizer will give you the boost you seek while you improve the soil in all of your beds.
Best of Luck….
0 thumbs up!Posted about 1 year ago | Last edited about 1 year ago
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