Adopting organic farming practices for your fields or garden means encouraging plant growth without using most synthetic chemical products. Based on respect for the universal life cycle, fertilisation in organic farming should help plants rather than act as a substitute for nature, and has emerged as a response to consumer trends towards sustainable farming.
Which organic fertilisers can be used?
Fertilisers “approved for use in organic agriculture”, according to EC regulations, are made from naturally-sourced organic or mineral raw materials that have not undergone chemical treatment. Whether in powder or granule form, various organic fertilisers like ground horn powder, guano, blood meal and minerals like lime, natural phosphorous and potassium sulphate are all included under this label. The challenge for organic farmers is NPK fertilisation for crops, and particularly nitrogen.
Which organic fertilisers provide nitrogen for plants?
As an essential nutrient, nitrogen is responsible for plant growth during the growth cycle. Yet bio-based fertilisers containing nitrogen are mainly organic.
Through the action of microorganisms present in the soil, this organic nitrogen is gradually transformed into plant-available nitrogen. It is therefore through a series of actions that supplement this organic nitrogen that plants assimilate the NPK nutrients and trace elements they need.
How to increase the effectiveness of organic fertilisers?
Below is a non-exhaustive list of actions to put in place to increase the effectiveness of organic fertilisers:
- Combat soil acidity through soil enrichers. Maintaining soil pH close to neutral will maintain the biological activity needed to make NPK nutrients available.
- Add leguminous plants to existing crops. The nodules of their roots capture nitrogen in the air for plant growth.
- Use an organic liquid fertiliser as a supplement made from natural compounds such as seaweeds, which are rich in trace elements. Plants with no deficiencies can more effectively combat pathogens and develop a larger root system for better hydro-mineral intake.
Organic fertilisers: a response to consumer demand
The use of natural fertilisers in organic farming and in all production systems – field crops, vegetables, flowers, citrus fruits, etc. – is a growing consumer trend. Whether in vegetable gardens, on lawns, to treat fruit trees or pot plants, the use of these organic fertilisers or natural minerals is in high demand. This agricultural transition to a soil richer in organic matter is possible by applying alternative production methods that are both productive and respectful of ecosystems.