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Is chemical fertilizer bad?

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  • Is chemical fertilizer bad?

    Ok, I know this may raise a few eyebrows but it is very difficult and expensive to get organic fertilizer. I know all the benefits of organic fertiliser to the soil and it is natural way.

    The food we eat is organic as it is not processed and no chemicals sprayed on it. So, as long as we ensure the chemical fertilizers are fully used up, is it not ok to use chemicals?

    And moreover, is it not the same product? Nitrates are nitrates.

  • #2
    I use both and totally agree with what you say. A nitrate is a nitrate.

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    • #3
      I use blood, fish and bone, but who knows if the blood , fish or bone came from an organic source. I don't always buy organic seeds either, I just try to cut down on chemicals if I can.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Selymbria View Post

        The food we eat is organic as it is not processed and no chemicals sprayed on it. So, as long as we ensure the chemical fertilizers are fully used up, is it not ok to use chemicals?
        The plants would be fed by the "chemicals" so they are no longer "organic", in my view.

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        • #5
          I use muck, hay and chemical fertilisers in small quantities. I add hardwood ash for P, K and calcium to my tomato, pepper and aubergine beds (the calcium helps to counter any tendency to blossom end rot). I add ash to onions as it seems to help with fungal problems, as well as adding chemical nutrients. And I add granular feed to many of my plants, including those mentioned. My brassicas particularly like a little boron boost, which comes in many granular fertilisers as one of the trace elements.

          To put this in context, I rarely use pesticides or fungicides and even then only those approved for organic methods. And I haven't used a herbicide since my very first year (not sure I'd use it now, given what we know about glyphosate today).
          Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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          • #6
            I use chemical fertilisers no problem, if I think there's a need for them - the main reason I also make my own from stuff like comfrey is meanness :-)

            Having said that obviously there is no substitute for manure or other organic matter, because it doesn't just contain plant food but also helps with the structure of the soil. Being a good gardener is more like being a chef, than it is like being a manager of a chemical factory .

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            • #7
              There is a lot of work and effort to grow own food at the end I want to be rewarded .I am going touse not organic fertilizer along with chcicken pellets,bonemeal ,nettle tea etc.

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              • #8
                Chemical fertilizer is derived from fossil fuel and rocks so the source is natural and organic.
                Once the nitrate is taken by the plant and processed, there is absolutely no difference whatsoever if it is coming from chemical or organic fertilizer. I am an industrial engineer but my wife is scientist (chemistry), she agrees. So, from my perspective, as long as I dont use pesticides etc which are harmful for consumption, I am ok!

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                • #9
                  Chemical fertilizers would generally be non renewable and will eventually become scarce. Their use should really be minimised and organic substitutes used where ever possible. As much home produced organic matter should be used in the garden.
                  A lot depends on your circumstances what you can do. If your garden is big enough, you can have a comfrey patch. I haven't used chemical fertilizer on the garden for may be 20 years but I do buy 1 pack of miracle grow a year that I use with comfrey in the greenhouse for tomatoes. I also start off plants in fresh, bought in compost each year. Last year was a bumper year for tomatoes harvesting 242lb from 20 plants. Really, I need to plant a bit more comfrey - or make the effort to harvest some I have seen down a nearby footpath. Maybe this year, I'll do without the pack of miracle grow and see if I can have another bumper year.

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                  • #10
                    I agree Mark but I have no place to grow comfrew or greEn manure, I even have the seeds. There is wast unused space outside the borders of allotment site, can I just spread seeds and harvest with a push mower?

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                    • #11
                      If there is unused ground in borders or under hedges, I would be tempted to put in some comfrey roots there. It is a perennial that can be cut 3 or 4 times a year, I cut it with shears. It doesn't spread if you get the variety called bocking 14 I have a 200L water butt that I stuff full and then top up with water, after a few weeks, I start using it. It smells a bit but seems as good as any chemical. Other allotmenteers may try to harvest it also.
                      a brief description is here: https://www.organiccatalogue.com/pla...plants-x-5.htm

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                      • #12
                        IIRC, Selymbria, you collected a load of chicken bedding/manure. I'd use that in preference to something that comes out of a factory.
                        Also, since you have an allotment, set some space aside to grow comfrey and green manures and have a compost bin.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mark_Riga View Post
                          If there is unused ground in borders or under hedges, I would be tempted to put in some comfrey roots there. It is a perennial that can be cut 3 or 4 times a year, I cut it with shears. It doesn't spread if you get the variety called bocking 14 I have a 200L water butt that I stuff full and then top up with water, after a few weeks, I start using it. It smells a bit but seems as good as any chemical. Other allotmenteers may try to harvest it also.
                          a brief description is here: https://www.organiccatalogue.com/pla...plants-x-5.htm
                          my favourite is a 50/50 w/w of comfrey and nettles, works fantastically well
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            I would regard Miracle Grow as chemical fertiliser, to be honest. And probably there's chemical fertiliser in bought-in compost. Not trying to be argumentative, just trying to be clear what we're talking about.
                            Location: north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep. Last frost: usually mid-April, sometimes first week in May. First frost: mid-October.

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                            • #15
                              Each to their own. I try to use organic stuff and would only buy organic stuff or make it myself.
                              I would not look down my nose at anyone for using artificial fertiliser though. After all the Dig For Victory campaign of WW2 was when National Growmore a balanced 7-7-7 artificial fertiliser was invented to help feed the nation.
                              We now live in more enlightened times and I have personally reverted back to using BFB which was the organic predecessor to Growmore.
                              My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
                              to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

                              Diversify & prosper


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