May 2012Happy Earth Day!
Today I will give the terrace its first dose of organic seaweed emulsion (peugh!), in celebration. Fortunately, the smell dissipates in 24 hours.
I am increasingly mindful of the difference between organic fertilizers and synthetic chemical fertilizers. Recently I have been shocked (naively?) to the roots of my red hairs to learn that there are still serious gardeners and garden writers who see nothing wrong with using all-synthetic fertilizers on their gardens. Such willful ignorance of how gardens are tied to our environment floors me. The information is there at the click of a mouse, now. Not looking for it is like closing your eyes and saying, If I don't see it, it can't be happening.
There are chemicals in both organic and synthetic plant foods. But, very broadly speaking, synthetic chemical fertilizers feed the plant alone, and organics feed the soil, replenishing it and keeping minute soil life alive. The soil feeds the plant.
Organics also do not pollute our waterways and air in the way that synthetic fertilizers do, in terms of run off and emissions. Those dead zones in the ocean, near river mouths? That's upstream runoff, often from farmland. Gardens and golf courses contribute to this water pollution (which is now thought to be killing manatees, as their sea grass diet is threatened by algal bloom in the Gulf of Mexico). The process of manufacturing synthetic fertilizers is also very different, in terms raw materials used, and of the poisonous and greenhouse emissions that result.
Earth Day, 2013
In the beginning, I needed to exercise patience - always hard for me. But now my plants are rocking along. All you need to do is look at those yearlong strawberries and reblooming roses. Of course, my little garden makes no difference to the world. But if my little garden and the others like it are joined by your gardens, and your friends' gardens, then we have the beginning of the normalization of healthy living. So far, chemicals have been normal; I grew up with them.
We have begun to stop putting artificial ingredients in our bodies. Why? Because they can make us sick. Now our gardens must follow suit.
Earth Friendly Fertilizers:
The key is to read: Ingredients, labels, and what you can about the source of ingredients.
Regarding brands, Espoma, (so far)
Compost - compost is the best thing you can do for your garden. Mix it with top soil and potting soil, and use it as a mulch.
Aged manure - check source. You do not want sludge, which is treated sewage (think heavy metals and tarces of antibiotics)
Guano - bird poo. Wonderful stuff. Check source, if you can.
Please add your suggestions in the comments.
And what are you doing, this Earth Day?