Do you use organic or chemical fertilizers?

I use chemical fertilizers
64%
9
I use organic fertilizers
36%
5
 
Total votes: 14
The Helpful Gardener
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Fertilization

"Organic fertilizer is better than chemical fertilizer because chemical fertilizer will often result in poor soil condition and is very dangerous if not applied correctly. Cotton seed meal, blood meal, bone meal, fish meal or animal and fowl manure is recommended."

John Naka
Bonsai Techniques I

Let the discussion begin...

HG
Scott Reil

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hendi_alex
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As per previous discussion, am currently using both. Main gardening area will only get organic fertilizer in the future. Depending upon the outcome of that experiment, will decide which direction to go. Maybe I should vote twice, once for the chemical use and once for the organic use. :?
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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IndorBonsai
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This is kinda a hard question. I use both.
Since most my Bonsai are tropical/sub tropical grown indoors, and grow fast. The brand of fertilizer I use on them is chemical mixed to 1/3rd the recommended usage. Fast growing Bonsai need re-potting every 1 - 2 years so they get new soil every 1 - 2 years.

But my outdoor plants I use a organic fertilizer mix.

I think chemical fertilizers are easier to use, easier to dilute the recommended dosage(so no root burn) and they smell better( good for indoor use )
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

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Re: Fertilization

'Organic fertilizer is better than chemical fertilizer because chemical fertilizer will often result in poor soil condition and is very dangerous if not applied correctly. Cotton seed meal, blood meal, bone meal, fish meal or animal and fowl manure is recommended."

John Naka

The above statement is true, but only if you're growing, as Naka did, in at least 50% organic soil. He used soil, mulch, and leaf mold to build a good micro-organism base and create a living soil.

The micro-organisms in the organics break down the organic fertilizer to basic components that the plant can readily take up.

If you're growing in inorganic media you are essentially growing the plant hydroponically. Not much miro-organism activity going on in the media. So organic fertilizers are next to worthless or at best take a very long time to break down to the point that the plant can use it.

As for myself, I use chemical fertilizers indoors because of the smell of organics. I also grow in 50% organic soil. When the plants are outside I will go with organics.

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Scott,

I too use use both types of fertilizer, relying primarily upon synthetics. I use dissolved organics (similar to manure tea) to supplement. I like to think that by varying products I cover all my bases.

arboricola wrote:
The above statement is true, but only if you're growing, as Naka did, in at least 50% organic soil. He used soil, mulch, and leaf mold to build a good micro-organism base and create a living soil.

The micro-organisms in the organics break down the organic fertilizer to basic components that the plant can readily take up.

If you're growing in inorganic media you are essentially growing the plant hydroponically. Not much miro-organism activity going on in the media.
This is a good point, modern bonsai 'soils' are very lean, often bordering upon completely inorganic. In my climate, I use about 15% bark, at the most, for deciduous species, no other organics. Others, Pine and Juniper, are in 100% inorganic For my trees in such a medium I avoid solid organic fertilizer. I have experimented with solid organics in the past and found that they break down and clog my substrate.

I even went to the trouble, and expense, to manufacture my own fertilizer cakes as seen in many books. I was pleased with my efforts until I began to use the cakes. They became soggy almost immediately, collapsed into ugly lumps, began to clog the soil and attracted fungus gnats. After that I broke the cakes back down to a dry powder and found that I had all of the same issues except they were not so unsightly. Now I dissolve it, along with some compost, and use this as a tea, excluding the solids, in addition to the synthetics.

I don't use synthetics in the garden or landscape, because it is not necessary, but have no qualms about using it in pots.

Norm

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Yeah, compost tea. That is an excellent idea for bonsai Norm; the mechanical distribution and gas exchange of liquid with an organic fertilizer component and the innoculation of compost. And no smell...

I figured everyone would be chems indoors, and glad to hear everyone is diluting well below manufaturers rates (usually double what is safe), and very pleased to hear most everyone is organic outside, where the off target fert is really doing damage. I quite frankly don't buy bonsai soils as I don't like them and they don't suit how I grow really; I too uses a much more nutritious mix as I don't fertilize much at all. I use teas, compost, and some light organic fertilizers and microbial boosters. I can still manage growth rates and keep trees healthy, and no poisoning anyone along the trophic chain...

HG
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For myself, I only grow indoors (currently at least), in our garden window, in our kitchen. As you can imagine, the use of organic fertilizers, and resulting smells, in such an enclosed and relatively small space, would not be appreciated. So, I use only inorganic (chemical) fertilizers.

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I have tried in the past to use my own homemade organic fertilizers, made mostly of pond sludge. They didn't work to well, so I switched over to chemical fertilizers. To me, the only real difference between organic and inorganic is organic promotes microorganism growth, which is either good or bad. I grow cycads, which are very prone to all sorts of root damage. I therefore find fertilizing them with chemical fertilizers to be much better.
הדמיון הוא יותר חשוב מאשר ידע

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Yeah pond sludge brings some interesting things to the mix, some really good, some real bad... tends to be anaerobic, so some volatility with alcohols and acids. Maybe as an addition to compost...

Good compost doesn't smell like anything but soil; if you are smelling sulfur, things have gone wrong and I wouldn't use it on plants...

HG
Scott Reil

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Yeah, but who wants a kitchen that smells like a yard of soil's been dumped in it? ;)

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That foresty smell of fresh humus, kdodds? If there was a cologne that smell I would wear it. If they had air-freshener that scent my whole house would smell like it, not just the kitchen. That smell is the smell of the planet getting clean, not dirty...

Might I suggest a quick reading of This Compost by Walt Whitman?

[url]https://www.daypoems.net/poems/2069.html[/url]

Soil is where EVERYTHING gets cleaned up; air, water, it all funnels back to the earth and the earth makes everything right. It is only we who make that process dirty with our thinking. I love everything about it, as did Walt (and Henry David, and Aldo and Rachel, etc.) I like my planet and how it works and looks and smells (that said, I too can pass on mudflats or sulfur springs in the house; this is a personal choice to be sure). :wink:

HG
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IndorBonsai
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Here is something to think about.

If your thinking about large scale. Organic fertilizers take longer to break down. There for being less likely to be diluted by the time the run off reaches a river or stream and eventually the ocean, where excess organic matter is killing off coral riefs at increasing rates. I know its not all from fertilizers. A cattle farm on the bank of a river is a bad thing.

When a chemical fertilizer can be diluted to unharmful amounts rather quickly with just rain water.
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

kdodds
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ROFL, Scott, yeah, personal choice to be sure. I like the smell of verdant growth, just not in my kitchen. ;) Then again, I also like the smell of skunk (our resident female just had her litter for spring a week ago). I actually don't mind the "marshy" smells either, nothing like hunting for killies and hermits and glass shrimp in the salt marshes. ;) But again, not scents I'd choose for the kitchen. :lol:

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IB, it's a theory, but a really bad one...

Organic fertilizers are for the most part non-soluble. Indeed the most prevalent form of nitrogen in any organic system is bacteria, which actually secrete polysaccharides, a complex sugar that glues them to theior chosen structures. It's actually one of the factors for microaggregation, or how soil holds together. We also find our phosphorus in our biology of the organic system, as phospholipids, or the fats in cell walls, in plants and animals, even microscopic ones...

If there is excess water soluble nitrogen in a natural system, it is either from an outside source, like a CAFO or farm field or front lawn, or something is killing the biology and it is releasing it's inherent nitrogen to a compromised system that cannot uptake it. In the latter case the nitrogen is not solubilized, but gassed off in the form of ammonia, as the anaroebic organisms (tougher crowd than our sisy aerobic bacteria) digest it. Organic fertilizers are for the most part (with the exceptions of factory produced ureas and some forms of fish) NOT WATER SOLUBLE. They are carbon based; try and dissolve a charcoal briquette and get back to me when it is gone. I recommend plant based fertilizers as they ALWAYS stay put in the soil...

It is NOT organic material that is the initial issue for dead zones, it is the excess WATER SOLUBLE nitrogen that creates a phytoplanktonic bloom in marine environments (freshwater blooms are phosphorus driven). Once the overbloom uses available nutrients and exhausts the excess supply, it crashes and dies and the resultant organic decay flocculates to the bottom. We still don't have an issue UNTIL the depth of decaying material (far more than natural systems can accomodate) goes anaerobic and NOW we have a dead zone...

Organic systems are by nature nitrogen stingy as bacteria have low C:N ratios (5:1). Chemical systems both add water soluble nitrogen AND kill biology including, but not limited to, bacteria, so it's a double whammy... I taught a course for the Northeast Organic Farmers Associations Landcare Accreditation on just this topic this past winter and had to do a lot of reading on organic chemistry, so we can go deeper here if you'd like, but just know that your theory is not supported by the science... A cattle farm on the bank of the river is only a bad thing if they are NOT composting their waste stream and lagooning it, which is NOT organic practice, it is just another stupid human impact. Standard farming utilizing CAFO's and chemical fertilization are responsible for some damage, but non-point source pollution passed agriculture and industry as the leading water pollution source years ago, and that is you me and everybody else. Do not fool yourself that it is somebody else's business...we have met the enemy and he is us...

kdodds, I would have to agree with you...

HG
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IndorBonsai
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Ok ,, ok ,, LOL
I just had to put it out there to see if it was important or not when choosing your fertilizer preference.

One of these days I will be smarter than you
:roll: ooh yes you just wait ,, fear me!!! hehe
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

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Hey Jason; I welcome the day you surpass me, because once you are so smart you will be able to come up with that Holy Grail of organics, the selective organic weed control (I maintain that adjusting soil biology already does that, but not as fast as people like. You tell them they have to wait a few years, and folks get ugly.)

That said I know a fellah out Cape Cod way who says just wait, he's almost there with the Grail, but proof is in the pudding (and by pudding I mean clinical trial). Here's hopin'! :)

HG
Scott Reil

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