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Make Your Own Complete Organic Fertilizer

In the spring of 2012 I decided to experiment with making my own organic fertilizer after reading several “recipes” on the Internet.  I knew I could probably make my own organic fertilizer a little cheaper than store bought or pre-made fertilizers, but how well would it work.  Well, my own organic made fertilizer worked really well.  The key to making your own fertilizer (and making it cost effective) is to buy all of your ingredients in bulk.  The largest component of your own organic fertilizer is seed meal.  The most common seed meal ingredients are cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, or soybean meal.  Any one of these seed meals can be purchased in 50 lbs. bags from a local feed and seed store.  Other ingredients needed (at smaller quantities) include bone meal, kelp meal, and dolomite lime (if your soil’s pH is more acidic).  The kelp meal will probably be the most expensive component (per weight), but fortunately you will not use as much of this as the seed meal.  Important things to consider when purchasing these products is make sure you have a clean and dry place to store these products, especially the seed meal as you will have some extra left over (unless you have a a large garden).  I purchased a few large galvanized trash cans, one to hold the extra seed meal and one to hold the finished fertilizer.  Here is the recipe I used:

All measurements are in terms of volume, not weight.

  • 4 Parts Soybean Meal
  • 1 Part Dolomite Lime (use less if soil pH is alkaline, see below)
  • 1/2 Part Bone Meal
  • 1/2 Part Kelp Meal

I did not use the full amount of dolomite lime in my fertilizer (maybe 1/4 part lime) because my soil is on the alkaline side.  If your soil is pH neutral to acidic, dolomite lime should be used.  If in doubt, go ahead and use at least some lime (maybe 1/2 part).

Here are several good links about organic fertilizers and information about how to make your own complete organic fertilizer:

http://westsidegardener.com/howto/fertilizer.html
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/Gardennotes/234.html
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2006-06-01/A-Better-Way-to-Fertilize-Your-Garden.aspx#axzz2KWLELDuh

If you have already used your own organic fertilizer or plan to do so in the future, please let me know how it worked.

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