If your plants are failing to thrive, dropping leaves, turning yellow, or diseased, it could be an imbalance in your soil nutrients that’s killing your plants.
These are the best organic fertilizer for vegetables, indoor plant, fruit trees, flowers and many more.
let’s look into a list of the 15 most useful and powerful organic or natural fertilizers with their NPK ratio that can bring a revolution in organic gardening if used properly.
Welcome to the farming ocean, Let’s talk about the top 15 organic fertilizer.
We will also learn how to use these and also show you some organic fertilizers you have never heard of before.
And finally, we will show you how to make a cocktail mixture out of these for ease of application and calculate the final NPK value of this powder.
All that’s Coming up! Let’s start with a brief introduction and basic concepts before we list out the fertilizers. Please do not skip this information.
Well, We all know that the Major plant nutrients or Macronutrients found in fertilizer are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium(K) – that’s NPK and each fertilizer has a ratio of these nutrients mentioned on the labels.
This NPK ratio is very important to decide what you want to achieve from your plants.
People also read: Organic manures
Nitrogen (N) is required for the growth of foliage, that’s the leaves of the plant.
Phosphorus (P) is important for strong root growth and flowering and fruiting.
Potassium (K) helps regulate important functional processes in a plant and make the plant healthy.
The Minor trace elements or Micronutrients are also important and include iron (Fe), boron (B), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), sulphur and many more. Here is about the best organic fertilizer in India.
We also know that the use of Chemical or Synthetic fertilizers are harmful and hazardous to all living organisms on earth. On the other hand, we also know the benefits of using organic fertilizers.
Having said that, Now let’s list them one by one with few important points on each of them. These fertilizers are also good for lawn and indoor plants.
And by the end of this blog, I bet, you will be really amazed to know so many organic options for fertilizers and many non-animal substitutes for vegan gardeners.
List of organic fertilizers
1. Cow Dung Manure also called cow manure
Cow Dung Manure: This has been the universal fertilizer for ages. Not only cow dung, but you can also use horse dung, goat dung and so on.
But remember, it has to be fully decomposed to be used as a fertilizer. we will also talk about cattle manure nutrient content.
How to make cow due manure?
- Fresh desi cow dung and urine should be mixed well with 10 parts of water in the barrel and allowed to ferment for a day.
- Add one kg of jaggery for the next day along with decomposed fruits, vegetables or practically any vegetative matter available on the farm.
Cow dung manure nutrients content-
- Generally, It has an NPK ratio of 2:1:1 +/-0.5 and this has a decent amount of all three major nutrients, as well as many essential nutrients such as Ca, Mg, S, Zn, B, Cu, Mn etc.
How to use cow dung manure?
- Apart from mixing it in your potting mix in about 30% proportion, generally a handful of cow dung once every month or twice a month is good enough for most flowering and fruiting plants.
Vermicompost: This is nothing but earthworm poop or earthworm castings.
How to make vermicompost?
- Step 1: Assemble Composting Bins
- Step 2: Add Spacers to Bottom
- Step 3: Make Lid
- Step 4: Get Some Starter Material
- Step 5: Add Worms
- Step 6: Keep Feeding Em
- Step 7: Use Your Compost
Vermicompost nutrients content-
- Generally, It has an NPK ratio of 2:1:1 +/-0.5 and can be used in place of cow dung manure or a mixture of both.
- Vermicompost is rich in NKP (nitrogen 2-3%, potassium 1.85-2.25% and phosphorus 1.55-2.25%), micronutrients, beneficial soil microbes and also contain ‘plant growth hormones & enzymes’.
- 500 gm = about 2 to 3$
How to use vermicompost?
- Apart from mixing it in your potting mix in about 30% proportion, generally a handful of vermicompost once in a month or twice a month is good enough for most flowering and fruiting plants.
3. Blood Meal
Blood Meal: This fertilizer is created using powdered animal blood.
How to make a blood meal?
- In order to make a blood meal using the solar method, blood should be collected from abattoirs.
- It is then boiled while stirring constantly, and when moisture has considerably reduced to between 10 per cent and 12 per cent, it should be spread on a clean surface and allowed to sun-dry or oven-dry.
Blood meal nutrients content-
- Generally, This has an NPK ration of 12:1.5:0.5. This means it is high in nitrogen and low in other elements.
- It is one of the highest non-synthetic sources of nitrogen. It usually comes from cattle or hogs as a slaughterhouse by-product.
How to use a blood meal?
- One important point to remember while using blood meal is it is highly acidic and overdose can cause fertilizer burn which usually happens with chemical fertilizers.
- But the advantage of using blood meal is its highly fast-acting like the chemical fertilizers and can be used to quickly heal ailing plants with nitrogen deficiency.
- Add half to 1 teaspoon near the roots of the plant and water the plant and You should see the results within 2 weeks.
4. Fish Meal Organic Manure
Fish Meal: as the name suggests, its made from fish and fish bones.
How to make a fish meal fertilizer?
- Fishmeal is made by cooking, pressing, drying, and grinding fish or fish waste into a solid.
- Most of the water and some or all of the oil is removed. Four or five tonnes of fish are needed to manufacture one tonne of dry fishmeal.
Fish meal nutrients content-
- Generally, It has an NPK ratio of 5:2:2 or may be different depending on the company label.
How to use a fish meal fertilizer?
- Fish meal is primarily used as a protein supplement in compound feed. As of 2010, about 56% of fish meal was used to feed farmed fish, about 20% was used in pig feed, about 12% in poultry feed, and about 12% in other uses, which included fertilizer.
This too is a fairly fast-acting fertilizer similar to a blood meal and apart from nitrogen, It has decent amounts of phosphorus and calcium well.
5. Chicken or Poultry Manure
How to make chicken manure?
Step 1: Collect Materials – Think of bedding material, such as rice hulls and wood shavings, and put it in a composting bin.
You’re aiming for approximately 25 per cent manure and 75 per cent other materials, which can include the aforementioned bedding material, leaves, plant material or kitchen scraps, and lawn clippings.
You should have at least 1 cubic foot of material to allow the composting process to heat the pile up to an internal temperature of 140 to 160 degrees F, which will kill pathogenic bacteria.
Step 2: Add Water – You’re looking for the pile to match the texture of a wet sponge.
Step 3: Monitor Temperature – Do this daily with a composting thermometer, which you can find online or at a home-improvement store, and keep a temperature log to refer to.
Your goal is to reach a temperature between 140 to 160 degrees F and maintain that temperature for three days.
The temperature is key: Submitting compost samples to a lab for detection of pathogens is not practical or effective.
However, temperatures of 160 degrees F or higher will kill salmonella and common bacterial pathogens found in poultry manure.
If you don’t achieve that temperature, the chances of pathogen survival for an extended period of time will increase.
Step 4: Repeat – While the internal part of your pile is treated, the outside is not. Therefore, repeat the process at least two more times to make sure all parts of the pile have been treated.
Step 5: Cure – Put the compost in a covered pile for at least 80 days. This waiting period helps to ensure that the pathogenic bacteria have been killed.
Chicken or Poultry Manure nutrients content-
- This generally has an NPK of 4:3:3 +/-1 and has more nitrogen content than cow dung. This is also fast-acting and hence overdose can burn your plants. Use very little dosage, similar to a blood meal.
How to use chicken or Poultry manure?
- The Best way to use these 3 fertilizers – that’s blood meal, fish meal and chicken manure, is to add a small amount to the soil before planting or to quickly heal a plant with nutrient deficiencies.
6. Bone Meal
Bone Meal: This needs no introduction. This is made from powdered animal bones which is available either as fine steamed bone meal powder or coarse powder for slower release, which’s for the entire growth cycle of a plant.
How to make bone meal organic fertilizer?
- Start off by collecting bones. Normally, I’ll save bones in the freezer until I have a sufficient amount.
- The next step is to clean and sterilize the bones for use. Since I like to get the most out of my bones, I’ll normally make broth to clean and sterilize them. To do this, spread the bones on a baking sheet and place them under the broiler for 10-15 minutes. Next, let the bones gently simmer with just enough water to cover them, for 5-8 hours. By the end of this time, the bones will easily strip clean of any fat or meat tissue still stuck to them.
- Dry the bones. Once stripped clean, I just spread the bones on a plate and place them in a well-ventilated area to dry. Normally, I’ll wait about a month for the bones to dry completely. This makes it easy to turn into a powder.
- Once the bones are brittle and dry, crush them into a fine powder. The best way to achieve this is with some muscle and a mortar and pestle. Work small batches at a time to create an evenly fine powder.
- Once ground up, the homemade bone meal for plants is now ready to use.
Bone meal nutrient content-
- This generally has an NPK of 4:20:0.
- In addition to the protein (amino acids), meat and bone meal is an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus and some other minerals (K, Mg, Na, etc.).
- The ash content of the meat and bone meal normally ranges from 28 to 36 %; calcium is 7 to 10 % and phosphorus 4.5 to 6 %.
How to use a bone meal?
- Add bone meal to the soil at the rate of 10 pounds to 100 square feet. The phosphorous releases slowly for up to 4 months.
- Adding bonemeal to your garden is easy.
- Add it to the soil before planting anything to help to nourish the plant.
- Add a few tablespoons into the bottom of the planting hole when planting.
- Apply bone meal to the compost pile – follow the fertilizer label
This is high in phosphorous content and very important for strong roots and healthy flowering and fruiting. Adding one tablespoon per medium-sized container mixed into the potting soil is sufficient for the entire growth cycle.
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7. Rock Phosphate
How to make Rock phosphate organic fertilizer?
- Phosphate rock is a naturally-occurring fertilizer. In most cases, it reacts with sulfuric acid to make phosphoric acid (P2O5) before it can be used.
- The acid is added to pulverized phosphate rock. Phosphoric acid is then processed further to create good fertilizers for gardens, trees, flowers, and vegetables.
When sulphuric acid is used, the resulting chemical, which is called ‘Normal or single phosphate (SSP),’ is made, which contains 16-21% of phosphorus content.
- The production of SSP starts by mixing the phosphate rock and sulphuric acid in a reactor. After that, the mixture is transferred to a slow-moving conveyor.
- It is then cured for at least 4-6 weeks before it is packaged and shipped as a fertilizer. All phosphate fertilizer plants have phosphoric and sulfuric acid production facilities.
Rock phosphate nutrient content-
- Rock Phosphate: This is a vegan alternative to a bone meal with high phosphorous content with NPK of about 0:20:0.
How to use Rock phosphate fertilizer?
You can either add this while you are preparing potting mix – 1 tablespoon mixed with a potting mix volume of a 12 to a 15-inch container or use 1 to 2 teaspoons of once in about 3 months per plant of it already in soil or potted.
How to make seaweed organic fertilizer?
- There is disagreement amongst gardeners about soaking or rinsing fresh seaweed to remove sea salt. Some experts suggest soaking the seaweed for about an hour and/or rinsing it.
- Other experts argue that the salt is minimal and rinsing removes valuable nutrients. Either way, fresh seaweed is generally dried before being tilled into the garden, mixed into compost bins, laid as mulch, or made into DIY seaweed fertilizer tea or powder.
- Once dried, seaweed can be used immediately in the garden or chopped up, mulched, or ground.
- DIY seaweed fertilizers can be made by simply grinding or pulverizing dried seaweed and sprinkling it around plants.
- DIY seaweed fertilizer teas are made by soaking dried seaweed in a pail or barrel of water with a partially closed lid. Infuse the seaweed for several weeks then strain.
- Seaweed fertilizer tea can be watered in at the root zone or used as a foliar spray.
- The strained remains of the seaweed can be mixed into compost bins or gardens.
Seaweed organic fertilizer nutrient content-
- This fast-acting fertilizer is available for free along most coastlines. Its NPK is about 2:1:4. It’s high in potassium as well. It also has plenty of micronutrients like zinc and iron. Seaweed is considered highly beneficial to plants that need high levels of potassium.
- Commercially it’s available as either Zyme Granules or Seaweed liquid extract which also contains humic acid, fulvic acids and other useful amino acids.
How to use Seaweed organic fertilizer?
- You can add half to one teaspoon per plant once a month to nourish them with seaweed nutrients.
- Liquid seaweed extract can be used to quickly revive an ailing plant of nutrient deficiencies by spraying it on the leaves – that’s called foliar feeding and also by watering the plant.
The dosage is 10 ml per litre of water. Make sure you spray more on the underside of the leaves because the stomata or the openings are more in number on the underside.
9. Humic Acid and Fulvic Acid
These are rather growth enhancers and final break-down constituents of the natural decay of plant and animal materials.
Humic acids are an excellent natural and organic way to provide plants and soil with a concentrated dose of essential nutrients, vitamins and trace elements.
Humic acids chelate complex nutrient compounds in the soil to convert them to a form suitable for plant absorption. This reduces fertilizer usage by up to 30% and increases flowering and fruiting by up to 70%.
So, How to use this? The Dosage is 1 teaspoon per litre of water. Mix it well and water 1 cup, that’s about250 ml of it per plant.
If you are using liquid add 3 ml per litre and water your plants. You should see results within 2 weeks.
10. Organic Micronutrient Granules
Organic Micronutrient Granules: This type of fertilizers contains both major NPK nutrients and micronutrients like Calcium, Sulphur, Zinc, Copper, Iron, Boron, Molybdenum, Manganese, Chlorine, etc.
You can add about 1 teaspoon of it per plant once in a month. You can watch a detailed video on various micronutrient deficiency patterns from a link in the description below.
11. Neem Cake and Neem Cake Powder
Neem Cake and Neem Cake Powder: This is both a good fertilizer as well as a good soil pesticide. It’s actually the leftover product after neem oil extraction, any cake for that matter is a leftover product.
Neem Cake and Neem Cake Powder nutrient content-
- Neem cake has an adequate quantity of npk in organic form for plant growth. Being a totally botanical product it contains 100% natural neem NPK content and other essential micro nutrients as N (Nitrogen 2.0% to 5.0%), P (Phosphorus 0.5% to 1.0%), K (Potassium 1.0% to 2.0%), Ca (Calcium 0.5% to 3.0%), Mg (Magnesium 0.3% to 1.0%), S (Sulphur 0.2% to 3.0%), Zn (Zinc 15 ppm to 60 ppm), Cu (Copper 4 ppm to 20 ppm), Fe (Iron 500 ppm to 1200 ppm), Mn (Manganese 20 ppm to 60 ppm). It is rich in both sulphur compounds
How to use Neem Cake and Neem Cake Powder?
- You can mix about 10% of it while preparing your potting mix to avoid soil pests. You can also sprinkle it around your existing plants.
- You can also make a liquid fertilizer or neem cake tea by adding one handful per litre of water and allow it to brew for at least 24hours and then water your plant directly or by further diluting in water.
12. Mustard Cake and Powder
Mustard Cake and Powder: Typical NPK ratio of Mustard oil cake stands at 4-1-1.
This is another natural source of NPK and increases flowering in plants. The use is similar to how we discussed Neem cake powder.
13. Epsom Salt
Epsom Salt: This is the best source of magnesium for plants. It’s chemically magnesium sulfate. Magnesium is the central most atom of the chlorophyll molecule.
You all know chlorophyll is very essential for photosynthesis – that’s plant food production.
You can watch a detailed video on the uses of Epsom salt and how to use it from the link in the description.
14. Soyabean Meal
Soybean Meal: This also needs a special mention, especially for vegans who can use this as a substitute for a bone meal for phosphorous supply.
15. OTHER ORGANIC FERTILIZERS
OTHER ORGANIC FERTILIZERS: that need a mention, like Alfalfa Meal, Azomite, Cottonseed meal, Feather meal, Green Sand and so on.
Well, Now let’s see how to prepare the cocktail fertilizer mix. With so many Organic Fertilizers in hand, using them all one by one is a tough task.
So what I always do is mix them all and total the NPK value approximately and use them with a certain dosage per plant.
This time I decided to mix only the dry stuff excluding vermicompost and cow dung manure.
Let’s mix all the other ingredients and make a cocktail mix and total the NPK value and use accordingly.
Do not worry too much about overdosage, because most are organic fertilizers and will not harm your plant. To get a better idea on making the NPK and making this cocktail universal fertilizer.