When buying fertilizer for plant use, you will be confronted with many kinds. Those are just labels because soil enhancers can just be grouped into two – organic and chemical. What you had been familiar with is the traditional fertilizer that is chemically laden. Today, many gardeners give preference to organic compost which can be made at home or bought in gardening shops.
Some may not be familiar yet with organic fertilizers although the use of this kind had been going on for several decades. As the name implies, this is devoid of any chemical constituent thus making it less harmful or offensive. Chemical fertilizer is not totally eliminated because not all agricultural produce are organic.
Making a choice – organic compost or chemical fertilizer?
People who are afraid of the effects of chemicals in their health had been patronizing the organic products albeit these are more expensive. Does this mean that the natural compost used in the growing of the vegetables and fruits cost more? Absolutely not, some kinds of natural compost are even cheaper.
If you will conduct a survey on whether organic compost is preferred over chemical fertilizer, if is very likely that you will get differing opinions. If plants are able to respond, surely they will not be able to pinpoint the difference. If you are the consumer, you may not also be able to find the organically raised veggies from the shelf if they are not labeled as such. This is because, the products look the same. Even so, there are a number of pros and cons for each fertilizer type.
Organic fertilizer – pros and cons
Organic compost is natural fertilizer. This is made from organic materials such as plants and animal manure, wastes and other materials that would otherwise go to the landfills. Some brands merely label this as soil conditioner or soil enhancer and not soil fertilizer. Organic composts today can be processed in factories or they can be produced in farms. It can also be made at home in a small scale use.
Organic compost boasts of its biggest advantage which is less risk to toxins that are present in chemicals. It enhances the soil by supplying the ground with the necessary nutrients for plant growth. It is renewable, biodegradable and sustainable. It is environment friendly since it does not produce toxic substances. Furthermore, it reduces the need for landfills as wastes are made into natural compost.
The biggest disadvantage of organic or natural compost is the long wait before it becomes available to use. The materials had to break down naturally such that nutrients are not released instantly or in a short period of time. The exact percentage of nutrients is not accurate and in most cases is lower than the chemical fertilizer. It is the micro-organisms that are responsible to break down and release the nutrients and this is the reason for the slow processing.
Chemical fertilizer – pros and cons
Contrary to the natural organic compost, the chemical fertilizers are said to be artificial, synthetic or inorganic. The source of materials is petroleum products, rocks and some organic sources. The nutrients are refined and in specific ratios.
The big advantage of the chemical fertilizer is the immediate availability such that plant growth or improvement is fast. The effect is measured as the ratio or proportions of the nutrients are exact. The label in the bag or pack is standardized so you can easily evaluate its nutrient content.
The major disadvantage is in the presence of toxic substances that can be harmful to human health. This kind of fertilizer is non-renewable and it contains fossil fuels. This fertilizer can grow the plants but are not retained in the soil such that you cannot expect soil health from it. Since the nutrients are easily available for plant use, there is a tendency for over fertilization. This fertilizer has the tendency to leach so it can go far from the plant necessitating reapplication. Its continuous use for a long period can adversely affect the pH level of the soil.
As for the price, you cannot say which is more expensive. If commercially produced, the cost of organic compost is higher. But this can go inexpensive or even cost-free if it is personally made by the user.