This is Jason Lamb with your Gardening Minute.
Natural and organic fertilizer differs from chemicals, in that they feed your plants while building the soil.
Animal manures contribute more to the soil than just nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Continued use of manures builds organic matter in soils and improves soil structure. In addition, many trace nutrients needed for optimum plant growth are available from manures. Plant nutrients are also released more slowly and over a longer period of time than from most commercial fertilizers.
Disadvantages of using manures are the handling and transportation problems. Fresh manure may also introduce new weeds, since certain weed seeds remain viable after passage through animals. Fresh manure can expose pathogens like E. coli to vegetables and are a primary safety concern. Manure should be composted or left alone for at least a year be for incorporating into the soil.
Natural fertilizers are good sources of nitrogen with sheep and poultry manure being the highest at 3.5 percent followed by horse at 2.3 and cattle at 1.3 percent. Fertilizers should be readily mixed into the soil prior to planting.
If you are interested in learning more about applying fertilizers or other topics in Agriculture please contact us at the Cooperative Extension Office at 461-0562. This has been your Gardening Minute with Jason Lamb your Quay County Ag. Extension Agent. Where are programs are open to everyone.
Adapted from University of Kentucky Brent Rowell, Extension Vegetable Specialist and Robert Hadad Organic Manures and Fertilizers for Vegetable Crops