The Many Types of Fertilizers Specific to Your Gardening Needs

Fertilizer Types and Applications


Fertilizers are key to promoting plant growth and enhancing the fertility of the soil. They can be classified into several types based on different criteria, such as their composition, form, and application method. In this article we will only be going over Organic Fertilizers and Pesticides.


The use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides, such as glyptosate (round- up), contain chemicals that are linked to cancer, dementia, alzhiemiers, and Autism, These pesticides and fertilizers are extremely dangerous for your health and would not be recommended for any at home garden for physical and mental health.


Do Not Use: ammonium nitrate, superphosphate, potassium sulfate, glyphosate

Organic Fertilizers Types


DIY Make Your Own From Organic Plants and Animals



Compost is a nutrient-rich soil amendment made from decomposed organic matter such as kitchen scraps, yard waste, and plant materials.

  • Collect kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, and tea bags. Combine them with yard waste such as grass clippings, leaves, and small branches in a compost bin or pile. Turn the compost regularly to aerate it and promote decomposition. Over time, the organic matter will break down into nutrient-rich compost that can be used to fertilize garden beds and potted plants.
  • I take my coffee grounds every morning and sprinkle them right in top of my garden bed instead of throwing it out or combining it into a compost


Manure Tea:

Manure tea is a liquid fertilizer made from aged animal manure that provides a concentrated source of nutrients for plants.

  • Place aged animal manure (such as cow, horse, or chicken manure) in a permeable bag or container and steep it in water for several days to several weeks. Dilute the resulting liquid with water (usually at a ratio of 10 parts water to 1 part manure tea) before applying it to plants. Manure tea can be used as a foliar spray or soil drench to provide essential nutrients and improve soil fertility.


Worm Castings:

Worm castings, also known as vermicompost, are nutrient-rich organic fertilizers produced by earthworms as they digest organic matter.

  • Check to see if you have a lot of earthworms in your soil. This is extremely important for the health of your soil because you may not need earthworm castings if your soil is already rich in earthworms!
  • An abundance of Earthworms provides natural tilling to your soil, this means it is always turning over under the ground, nutrients are always being moved, and nutrients remain abundant within the soil.
  • Start a vermicomposting bin using a container filled with bedding material such as shredded newspaper or cardboard. Add kitchen scraps such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells to the bin, along with a population of composting worms (e.g., red wigglers). Allow the worms to process the organic matter, and periodically harvest the nutrient-rich castings that accumulate at the bottom of the bin. Use worm castings as a soil amendment or top dressing to provide plants with a steady supply of nutrients.


Plant-Based Compost Tea:

Plant-based compost tea is a liquid fertilizer made from steeping nutrient-rich plants and herbs in water to extract their beneficial compounds.

-Collect nutrient-rich plants and herbs such as comfrey, nettles, alfalfa, or seaweed. Place the plant material in a permeable bag or container and steep it in water for several days to several weeks. Dilute the resulting liquid with water (usually at a ratio of 10 parts water to 1 part compost tea) before applying it to plants. Plant-based compost tea provides plants with essential nutrients, promotes healthy growth, and enhances soil fertility.


These organic fertilizers made from kitchen scraps or plants are excellent options for enriching soil, promoting plant growth, and reducing waste in an environmentally friendly manner.


   - Examples include manure, dead leaves, mushroom compost, compost, bone meal, powdered eggshells, nutrient rich plants, banana peels, seaweed, and more.

   - Release nutrients slowly and improve soil structure. Improving the structure of the soil will improve soil health over time so fertilizers will become less necessary.

Building a Nutrient-Dense Garden Bed with Organic Fertilizers


Building a nutrient-dense garden bed with organic fertilizers is a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to promote healthy plant growth while enriching the soil. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create a thriving garden bed:


Choose a Location


Select a location for your garden bed that receives ample sunlight (at least 6-8 hours per day) and has good drainage. Avoid areas prone to flooding or where water tends to collect.


Determine the Size and Shape


Decide on the size and shape of your garden bed based on available space, accessibility, and aesthetic preferences. Consider raised beds for better soil control and to minimize weed growth.

Prepare the Soil


- Remove any existing grass, weeds, or debris from the area.

- Loosen the soil to a depth of at least 8-12 inches using a shovel or garden fork.

- Incorporate organic matter such as compost, aged manure, or leaf mold to improve soil structure and fertility.


Choosing The Right Organic Fertilizer


Select organic fertilizers based on the nutrient needs of your plants and the composition of your soil.


Root Vegetables

  • When fertilizing root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, radish, kohlrabi, turnips, etc, choose balanced organic fertilizers or those rich in phosphorus to promote healthy root development. Compost is a valuable source of nutrients and organic matter, enhancing soil fertility and water retention. Fish emulsion and seaweed extract provide additional nutrients and beneficial compounds that support root growth when applied as soil drenches or foliar sprays. Root crop-specific fertilizers are available and offer an optimized nutrient blend for root vegetables. It's crucial to apply fertilizers judiciously, following package instructions to avoid over-fertilization and monitoring crop health throughout the growing season.

Flowering/Fruiting Bodied Vegetables and Fruits

  • The fertilization recommendations provided for cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplants, melons, berries, fruit trees, grapes, and a variety of other vegetables and fruits emphasize the importance of balanced nutrition, including nitrogen for vegetative growth and phosphorus and potassium for flowering and fruit development, to promote healthy plant growth and maximize yield.


  • Balanced N-P-K Fertilizers:

    • Choose balanced organic or synthetic fertilizers with an equal or similar N-P-K ratio, such as 10-10-10 or 5-5-5. These provide a well-rounded nutrient profile to support overall plant health and fruit production.
  • Nitrogen-Rich Fertilizers:

    • Apply nitrogen-rich fertilizers, especially during the vegetative growth stage, to encourage lush foliage development and strong vine growth in cucumbers and robust foliage in tomatoes. However, be cautious not to over-fertilize with nitrogen, as excessive nitrogen can delay fruiting and lead to excessive vegetative growth.
  • Phosphorus-Boosting Fertilizers:

    • Phosphorus is crucial for flower and fruit formation. Choose fertilizers with a higher phosphorus content or incorporate phosphorus-rich amendments like bone meal or rock phosphate into the soil before planting to promote healthy fruit set and development in cucumbers and tomatoes.



Apply Organic Fertilizers


- Spread a layer of compost evenly over the soil surface, aiming for a thickness of 1-2 inches.

- Incorporate other organic fertilizers such as manure, bone meal, fish emulsion, or kelp meal according to package instructions or based on soil test recommendations.

- Mix the fertilizers into the top few inches of soil using a rake or garden fork, ensuring thorough incorporation.


Plant Your Garden


- After applying organic fertilizers, plant your desired vegetables, herbs, flowers, or other plants in the garden bed.

- Follow spacing and planting depth recommendations for each type of plant to ensure optimal growth.

- Water the newly planted garden bed thoroughly to help settle the soil and activate the organic fertilizers.


Mulch and Maintain


- Apply a layer of organic mulch such as straw, shredded leaves, or wood chips to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

- Water the garden bed regularly, keeping the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

- Monitor plant growth and health, and replenish organic matter and fertilizers as needed throughout the growing season.


Harvest and Enjoy


- As your plants grow and mature, harvest fruits, vegetables, and herbs regularly to enjoy fresh, nutritious produce from your nutrient-dense garden bed.

- Rotate crops annually to prevent nutrient depletion and minimize pest and disease problems.

- Continuously replenish organic matter and nutrients in the soil to maintain soil fertility and promote long-term garden health.




After harvest is when it's important to apply a cover crop. Cover Crops are used to bring nutrients back into the soil after crop rotation and harvesting.

This is done so the top layer of the soil does not get stripped of nutrients and become cracked and brittle. (Main reason the dust bowl happened!!!)

Once you are done planting in your garden bed, apply a cover crop such as buckwheat. This will help the soil improve over the fall and winter months, and the soil will not be stripped of its nutrients. It will also make the soil less reliant on fertilizer the following year.


By following these steps and using organic fertilizers, you can build a nutrient-dense garden bed that supports healthy plant growth, enhances soil fertility, and yields bountiful harvests of delicious, homegrown produce. Happy gardening!

Additional Fertilizer Information


Based on Nutrient Content


  1. Complete Fertilizers:

   - Contain all three primary nutrients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).

   - The nutrient ratio is displayed as N-P-K on packaging.

  1. Balanced Fertilizers:

   - Have equal or nearly equal amounts of N, P, and K.

   - Ideal for general garden use when specific deficiencies are not known.

  1. Incomplete Fertilizers:

   - Lack one or more of the primary nutrients.

   - Used to address specific nutrient deficiencies.


Based on Form


  1. Liquid Fertilizers:

   - Applied using a watering can or hose-end sprayer.

   - Acts quickly and is easy to apply evenly, but may require more frequent application.

  1. Granular Fertilizers:

   - Applied in solid form and typically worked into the soil.

   - Can be slow or fast-releasing.

  1. Powdered Fertilizers:

   - Dry, finely milled fertilizers that are mixed with water before application.

   - Acts quickly but can be more difficult to apply evenly.


Specialized Fertilizers


  1. Foliar Fertilizers:

   - Applied directly to plant leaves.

   - Used for quick fixes or when root uptake is impaired.

  1. Starter Fertilizers:

   - High in phosphorous content to promote root development in new plants.

   - Applied at planting time.

  1. Soil Conditioners:

   - While not fertilizers in the traditional sense, they improve soil health, making nutrients more available to plants.

   - Examples include lime (to raise pH) and gypsum (to add calcium and sulfur).


Each type of fertilizer has its specific uses, benefits, and considerations. The choice of fertilizer depends on the specific needs of the plants, the existing soil conditions, and the desired outcomes.