Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is Your Garden Addicted to Miracle-Gro?

Did you ever use it and have wonderful results, then the next year not use it and have terrible results?

Well, here's why...Miracle-Gro and other synthetic fertilizers strip the soil of nutrients. Wash them right out. It also salinates the soil (salts the earth) and makes it a very unfriendly place to nematodes, worms, and other critters that break down organic wastes and feed the soil and plant roots around them. The processes by which synthetic fertilizers are made is extremely hard on the environment. Those processes use incredible amounts of energy and create enormous amounts of waste.

Synthetic fertilizers only consider the three big nutrients for plants: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). Putting plants on a synthetic fertilizer diet is like putting a person on a diet that ONLY contains Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat --- no iron, vitamin C, magnesium, etc., just the big 3 macronutrients. Everyone knows we need more than just protein, carbs, and fat. So do plants. Calcium deficiency shows up in some plants as black roots, pale leaf margins and, in tomatoes, blossom-end rot.

Synthetic fertilizers are short acting and water soluble. Meaning only about 15% of what you add to your soil is used by the plants and the rest is rinsed away with the rain. Synthetic fertilizers are to blame for nitrates in our drinking water.

I suspect a lot of people think that synthetic fertilizers (like Miracle-Gro) are vitamins for plants. Since chemical fertilizers strip soils of the natural nutrients that plants need, soils and the plants grown in them become dependent upon those chemical fertilizers. That really makes synthetic fertilizers more like a drug than a vitamin and their relationship with soil and plants an addictive one. The synthetic fertilizers have to continually be added to the soil in order to feed the plants the nutrients they need. Why? because those fertilizers denude the soils their beneficial nutrients and organisms. It's kind of like a human taking speed to get a bit of oomph instead of eating a piece of fruit for the same oomph. Studies have also shown that synthetic fertilizers actually REDUCE the nutritional value of fruits and vegetable grown using them. How's that for a drug?!

What is preferable is organic fertilizer. There are about a million different kinds. Bacteria dwelling in the soil will fix nitrogen out of the air into the soil for plants to use. That bacteria will be present if it hasn't been killed off by synthetic fertilizer use. Certain plants are better at fixing nitrogen than others. Clovers and all legumes are nitrogen fixers. They suck enormous amounts of nitrogen from the air and store it in the soil for future plants to use. Phosphorous can be gotten from crushed phosphate rock, bone meal, dried blood, cottonseed meal and other sources. Potassium (potash) can be gotten from plant residues (in the form of wood ash), manures & compost and natural mineral sources such as granite dust, greensand and basalt rock. Seaweed and seaweed extract are also excellent sources of potash.

Soil really needs to be viewed as a living organism requiring a wide range of nutrients in order to support the many life forms within it-- from plants to worms and bacteria to fungus.




I use compost, manure, mulch, wood ash, nitrogen-fixing plants, seaweed extract and fish emulsions to feed my plants and nourish my soil. The great thing about any of these is that they can stay resident in the soil for future generations to use and do not convert to toxins in the soil or pollute our waters. That's conscientious gardening. I purchase my seaweed extract and fish emulsion from Stokes.

7 Comments:

Momtosweeties said...

That is very interesting. I did not know that.
I like (although the smell is horrid!) steeping weeds and grass in water. The green tea, or manure tea just makes the plants SO happy. And of course it is nice to have a use for all the weeding we do :)

Emmon said...

I did NOT know about Miracle-Gro at all. If you don't mind, I'm going to blog about it!

CannedAm said...

That's great, Emmon! I think so many people do not realize that Miracle Gro can be quite harmful in the long run.

Stephanie said...

i appreciate yr blog posting. It gave me some great insight into an article I am writing in regards to how describing plants treated with synthetic fertilzers as "drug addicts" as an inacurate as well as offensive anology.

Thanks again.

Stephanie said...

i appreciate yr blog posting. It gave me some great insight into an article I am writing in regards to how describing plants treated with synthetic fertilzers as "drug addicts" as an inacurate as well as offensive anology.

Thanks again.

Stephanie said...

i appreciate yr blog posting. It gave me some great insight into an article I am writing in regards to how describing plants treated with synthetic fertilzers as "drug addicts" as an inacurate as well as offensive anology.

Thanks again.

CannedAm said...

Send me a link to the article. I'm curious to see your reasoning.

blogger templates | Make Money Online