Common Ground stocks the best variety of natural and organic fertilizers:
|Gardener & Bloome Potting Soil – super premium potting soil||2 cu. ft|
|Gardener & Bloome Garden Soil – loaded with beneficial microbes||2 cu. ft|
|Chicken Manure Compost||1.5 cu. ft.|
|Cocoa Bean Hulls- great chocolate smelling mulch, repels snails and slugs||2 cu. ft|
|Soil Building Compost||1.5 cu. ft.|
|Organic Worm Compost – high microbial activity with lots of humic substances||12 qt. bags|
|Red Worms for Composting – shipped to you||1 lb.|
Boxed and Bagged Fertilizers
|Alfalfa Meal Pellets – Seasonal||50 lb|
|Alfalfa Meal – good balanced fertilizer||25 lb|
|Azomite – good source of minerals and trace elements||Boxed and 50 lb|
|Bat Guano – high in phosphorus||25 lb|
|Citrus and Avocado – slow release||Boxed|
|Corn Weed Blocker – pre-emergent weed blocker and fertilizer||Boxed and 25 lb|
|Cotton Seed Meal||Boxed and 20 lb|
|Dolomite Lime – great source of calcium and magnesium||Boxed|
|Feather Meal – high slow-release nitrogen source||Boxed and 20 lb|
|Fish Meal – great source of nitrogen||20lb and 50 lb|
|Fish Bone Meal – good phosphorus source||Boxed and 25 lb|
|Greensand – potash and breaks up heavy soil||25 lb|
|Granular sulfur – helps reduce soil alkalinity||Boxed|
|Humic Acids – ideal for vegetable gardens and turf||Boxed|
|Kelp Meal – potash and minerals.||20 lb|
|Langbeinite – source of potassium, magnesium and sulfur||Boxed|
|Oyster Shell Meal – calcium source||25 lb|
|Seabird Guano||20 lb|
|Soft Rock Phosphate||50 lb|
|Organic Soy Meal – great source of nitrogen||Boxed and 20 lb|
|Acid Mix – great for blueberries & rhubarb||Boxed and 25 lb|
|All-Purpose||Boxed and 25 lb|
|Bio-Turf – Customer Favorite!||25 lb|
|Rose and Flower – promotes flowering||Boxed and 25 lb|
|Tree & Shrub – with mycorrhizal root growth enhancer||Boxed and 25 lb|
|Vegan Mix – balance all purpose for vegetables and ornamentals||Boxed and 25 lb|
Pound Bulk Fertilizers
|Alfalfa meal – a great source of nitrogen|
|Bat guano – high in phosphorus|
|Fish Meal – a great source nitrogen|
|Greensand – for potash and breaking up heavy soil|
|Kelp meal – for potash|
|Oyster shell meal – calcium source|
|Soft rock phosphate|
|Maxicrop liquid seaweed|
|Fox Farm Big Bloom – promotes flowering|
|Soluble Root Zone – with beneficial bacteria||4 oz|
|Granular Root Growth Enchancer||2 oz|
|Soluble Root Growth Enchancer||1 lb|
|Bu’s Brew Biodynamic – compost tea bags||16 oz|
Soil Tests: What does your soil need? What does it already have?
If you use a LaMotte soil test kit to test your soil, you should use the amendment recommendations for N, P, and K on p. 45 of How To Grow More Vegetables.
Especially for a garden of 500 sq ft or more, it is best to have a professional soil test performed. A very good soil testing service is:
Timberleaf Soil Testing
Murrieta CA 92563
Phone/Fax (951) 677-7510
As a first step, write for free information and a sampling kit. You should have their basic and trace mineral tests performed. These will include pH, organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and trace minerals. The cost for both will be about $55.00. In addition to the results, you will receive an easy-to-understand interpretation and specific recommendations for correcting deficiencies. If you are mini-farming or gardening 500 sq ft or more, the soil test should more than pay for itself due to increased yields and reduced fertilizer expenses.
A pH reading tells you the relative acidity/alkalinity of the soil. Most vegetables will grow well in a range from 6.0 to 7.0. In extremely acid or extremely alkaline soils, valuable nutrients are tied up and thus unavailable to the plants. An acid soil can be sweetened by the addition of dolomite lime.
Organic sources of N,P, and K
N, P, and K refer to the three main nutrients plants need: NITROGEN for green growth and in compost piles to speed decomposition; PHOSPHORUS for energy, root growth, disease resistance, and production of good fruits, vegetables, flowers and seeds; and POTASH for strong stems, vigorous roots and increased disease resistance.
|Source||Nitrogen (N)||Phosphorus (P)||Potassium (K)||How Long does it last?||Comments|
|Alfalfa Meal||2-3%||0.7%||2.25%||3-4 months||A quick-acting source of nitrogen and some potash.Use up to 19 lb (163/4 qt) / 100 sq ft.|
|Phosphate Rock||—||33%||—||3-5 years||Very slow-releasing Use up to 6 lb (22/3 qt) / 100 sq ft.|
|Soft Phosphate (Colloidal)||—||18%||—||2-3 years||Clay base makes this phosphorus more available to plants than the phosphorus in phosphate rock, though the two are used interchangeably.Use up to 6 lb (22/3 qt) / 100 sq ft.|
|Kelp Meal||1%||—||12%||6-12 months||Excellent source of potash, iron and other minerals. Kelp meal is also a natural fungicide. Cold-water kelp is preferable; warm-water kelp may contain toxic amounts of mercury and is not recommended. Use sparingly (1 lb [2/3 qt] / 100 sq ft) because it contains growth hormones.|
|Wood Ash||—||—||1-10%||6 months||Ashes from wood are high in potash and help repel root maggots. Ashes also have an alkaline effect on the soil, so use them with care if your soil pH is above 6.5. Black wood ash is best. See p. 48 in How To Grow More Vegetables for more information on wood ashes.Use up to 1.5 lb (13/4 qt) / 100 sq ft.|
|Crushed Granite||—||—||3-5%||Up to 10 years||Slow-releasing source of potash and trace minerals.Use up to 8.5 lb (31/2 qt) / 100 sq ft.|
Organic sources of calcium
Calcium helps break up clay and release nutrients tied up in alkaline soils. It is especially good for cabbage family crops (and can help keep your tomatoes from getting blossom end rot).
|Eggshells||High in calcium.|
|High-Calcium Lime (Calcite)||A good source of calcium when magnesium levels are too high for dolomitic lime. Oyster shell flour is a good substitute. 1 qt = about 1 lb 14 oz.|
|Dolomitic Lime||A good source of calcium and magnesium to be used for acid soils. In a clay soil, 8.75 lb of lime per 100 sq ft raises the pH one point. In a light sandy soil, 2.5 lb per 100 sq ft raises the pH one point. Do not use in soil with a sufficient or high magnesium level. Do not use lime to “sweeten” the compost pile as doing so will result in a serious loss of nitrogen. A layer of soil will discourage flies and reduce odors. 1 qt = about 3 lb 8 oz.|
Organic soil modifiers (compost and such)
Plants also need HUMUS (with its organic matter and minerals) which is produced by decaying organic matter such as compost, manure, rice hulls and cover crops (compost crops). An alkaline soil can be brought closer to neutral by compost or manure. Compost has a buffering effect on soil, correcting both acid and alkaline conditions.
|Compost||Good compost is the most important part of the garden. It aerates the soil, breaks up clay, improves drainage, prevents erosion, neutralizes toxins, holds precious moisture, releases essential nutrients, and feeds the microbiotic life of the soil, creating healthy conditions for natural antibiotics, worms and beneficial fungi. Use up to one inch of compost which includes 50% soil by volume (8 cu ft [12 five-gallon buckets] / 100 sq ft) per four-month growing season, or up to 1/2 inch of compost (4 cu ft [6 five-gallon buckets] / 100 sq ft) if compost is made without soil.|
|Manure Solids||Horse||0.7% N||0.2% P||0.7% K||Age 2-3 months|
|Rabbit||2.4% N||1.4% P||0.6% K||Age 2 months|
|Chicken, Fresh||1.5% N||1.0% P||0.5% K||Age 2 months|
|Chicken, Dry||4.5% N||3.5% P||2.0% K||Age 2 months|
|Sheep||1.4% N||0.5% P||1.2% K|
|Pig, Fresh||0.5% N||0.3% P||0.5% K|
|Dairy Cow||0.6% N||0.2% P||0.6% K|
|Steer||0.7% N||0.5% P||0.7% K||Age 2 years|
|Manure is a source of organic matter in the garden. Nutrient levels depend on proper handling and the amount of straw or sawdust present. Large amounts of bedding may add up to 2 years to the decomposition time. Fifty pounds of manure dry weight (approx. 2 cubic feet [3 five-gallon buckets]) applied per 100 sq ft can lower the pH one point.|
|Gypsum||Gypsum is not needed by organic gardeners and should be used only with the recommendation of an expert. It is normally used commercially in soils made impermeable by excess exchangeable sodium. 1 qt = abo|
Our just go straight to our recommended General Fertilizer Program
|Functions||Sources Choose one for each function.||1st & 2nd Yr Assuming
|3rd & 4th Yr or 1st & 2nd yr
in average soil
|5th Yr or 1st yr
in good soil
|Maintenance every year
|Nitrogen (2)||Alfalfa meal (2.5% N)||16 lb||10.5 lb||5 lb|
|6 lb||3 lb||2 lb|
|Soft phosphate||6 lb||3 lb||2 lb|
|Potash & Trace Minerals||Kelp meal (3)
|1 lb||1 lb||1 lb||0.25 lb|
|Wood ash (4)
|2 lb||1 lb||1 lb||1 lb|
|Granite||8.5 lb||4 lb||2.5 lb|
|Microbiotic Life, Humus, Multiple Nutrients||Compost
|up to 8 cu ft
|up to 8 cu ft
|up to 8 cu ft
|up to 8 cu ft
|up to 1/2 lb||up to 1/2 lb|
|Oyster shell||2 lb||
|up to 1/2 lb||up to 1/2 lb|
Add all amendments after double-digging. For the first double-dig, compost may be added before double-digging; see How To Grow More Vegetables, pp. 10-12, 14).(1) Beginning with the 6th year, your legumes, compost crops and recycled plant material (in the form of compost) can provide most of your nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. Double-check this periodically with a soil test.
(2) Nitrogen Å (% of protein) / 6.25. The 1st & 2nd Yr amounts will provide 0.4 lb pure N / 100 sq ft.
(3) For trace minerals: kelp meal is up to 33% trace minerals. Be sure to use cold-water kelp.
(4) Save your own.
(5) Top priority in typical adobe soil. Breaks up clay, improves drainage, releases nutrients and lowers pH.
(6) This amount of compost assumes a compost recipe that results in cured compost which contains 50% soil by volume. Eight cubic feet (12 five-gallon buckets) of cured compost will provide one inch of compost for 100 sq ft. Two cubic feet will provide 1/4 inch of compost for 100 sq ft. You can substitute aged manure for compost the first year if you do not have a ready source of compost; use half the amount recommended above.
Special Tips for Lawn and Fruit Trees
Fruit trees: Use 2 heaping tablespoons alfalfa meal per foot of height, up to 4 lb soft phosphate per full-grown tree, and a light sprinkling of kelp meal (up to 1/4 lb per full-grown tree) around the drip line. Apply in spring when leaves first start to appear, and water in well. Growing compost crops around full-grown trees (keeping the crops 2 ft away from the trunk) is beneficial. Make compost without soil for fruit trees and other perennials, and use half the recommendation given in the General Fertilizer Program above.
Citrus trees: Same as fruit trees with the addition of 5 to 8 lb phosphate rock to full-grown trees once every 3 to 5 years. Line the planting hole with crushed red rock for a long-lasting source of iron.