Organic vs. Synthetic Fertilizers

Could it be so simple that the difference between organic and synthetic fertilizers comes down to gardener’s preference? Interestingly enough, plants can’t tell the difference; as long as they get the nutrients they need, the source doesn’t matter. But the two types of fertilizers do provide those nutrients in different ways.



Could it be so simple that the difference between organic and synthetic fertilizers comes down to gardener’s preference? Interestingly enough, plants can’t tell the difference; as long as they get the nutrients they need, the source doesn’t matter. But the two types of fertilizers do provide those nutrients in different ways.

Gardeners have their personal reasons for choosing organic or synthetic fertilizers for their gardening needs. Here are some benefits of each so you can make the decision that best suits your gardening style.

Synthetic fertilizers:

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  • Odorless. Especially when compared to the smellier organic options like cow manure or fish emulsion.
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  • Consistent. A synthetic 5-7-5 NPK fertilizer blend will always have a 5-7-5 ratio because it’s commercially processed to be that way. The instance of certain minerals in organic fertilizers, like compost or manure, can vary based on a number of conditions.
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  • Fast-acting. Synthetic fertilizers and soil amendments start leeching into the soil as soon as you add water.
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  • Easy to apply. Synthetics are made strong enough to break into the soil with water instead of the manual tilling and turning often required to mix in organics.

Organic fertilizers:

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  • Slow release. Organic fertilizers continue releasing nutrients all season.
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  • Good for the soil. Organics add microorganisms and nutrients to feed the soil and boost its long-term fertility.
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  • Improved drainage. Reduces soil erosion and run off.
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  • Natural. This is usually the biggie for gardeners that choose to go organic. Synthetic fertilizers are often made from petroleum or natural gas byproducts, while organic fertilizers come from plant or animal materials.

The choice to use organic or synthetic fertilizers is personal and often practical. When it’s time to grow, use what you need to effectively feed your soil and plants. It’s fine to use all organic, all synthetic or a combination of both. What’s your preference?

 

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