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Organic Fertilizer | Definition,Types, Benefits

Organic fertilizer is an essential source of plant nutrients and soil. Organic fertilizers differ from chemical fertilizers in that they provide nutrients for your plants while creating healthy soil. They are considered a greener option.

Soils with large amounts of the organic matter remain loose and light, retain more water and nutrients and promote the growth of soil microorganisms, thereby improving plant health and root development.

Organic fertilizers are widely used for vegetables (tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber), fruits (strawberries, grapes, citrus), Cash crops (grass, flowers, cannabis)

organic fertilizer for plants

Organic fertilizer is also called “organic manure.” The definition of organic fertilizer is simple. Mostly, it refers to compost made from animal waste or animal and plant residues that are rich in natural by-products. For example, guano, dried and powdered blood, ground bone, crushed shells, finely pulverized fish, phosphate rock, and wood. 

The nutrient elements contained in organic fertilizer are mostly inorganic state, so it is difficult for crops to use them directly. Through the action of microorganisms, a variety of nutrient elements are released slowly to provide nutrients to plants continuously.

Significance of Organic Fertilizer

With the continuous development of modern agriculture, the role of organic fertilizers in agricultural production is becoming more and more important. Agricultural products grown with organic fertilizers have good taste and can effectively maintain the unique nutrition and flavor of fruits and vegetables, and also play a pivotal role in the protection and improvement of the soil environment. Therefore, it is necessary for us to apply and understand organic fertilizers.

Nowadays, there is a phenomenon in agricultural production that on one side, excessive use of chemical fertilizers brings soil acidification and eutrophication of water bodies, and on the other side, improper accumulation of livestock and poultry manure causes pollution. We replace chemical fertilizers through organic fertilizers, so that the combination of agriculture and animal husbandry more closely, the use of livestock and poultry manure, but also to improve the quality of agricultural products, which is a multi-benefit good.

organic fertilizer definition

Type of Organic Fertilizer

Organic Fertilizers are different types of fertilizers derived from vegetable matter, mineral matter, animal matter, etc. Here are some of the most common kinds: 

Type of organic fertilizer

Animal-Based Fertilizers

1. Bone Meal 
Bone meal is made from crushed animal bones. It’s rich in phosphorus and calcium and supplies some nitrogen. It can promote plant seedling growth, help flowers grow, and increase yield.

2. Blood meal
A blood meal is a dried form of animal blood. It can increase the nitrogen content in the soil and makes the plants denser. Release nitrogen quickly promotes flowering and acts as a natural pest repellent.

But usage and application should be made sparingly, as over-application can contribute to the burning of the plant root.

3. Animal Manure
It can come from a variety of animals. For example, cow manure can control weeds and increases the moisture-holding capacity of the soil and increases air penetration in the soil. 
Seabird guano is an organic fertilizer for lawns. It can act as a natural fungicide and control nematodes in the soil.

4. Fish meal
Fish meal is a fast-release fertilizer that is a rich source of organic nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium. It can improve soil health, increase fertility, and make plants thrive. (Fish Fertilizer)

5. Fish Emulsion 
This blend of finely ground, decomposed fish delivers a big dose of nitrogen. Acts as a soil conditioner. But be careful. Fish Emulsion is highly acidic, and overuse can burn plants.

6. Shellfish 
Shellfish are made from the broken shells or bones of shellfish and crabs.
Shellfish organic fertilizers are rich in calcium and also contain significant amounts of phosphorus and other trace minerals.
That means it can help spur flowering and robust root growth. Also, it has chitin, which inhibits the growth of some pests. (Chitosan Products)

Plant-Based Fertilizers

1. Compost
Compost is rich in nutrients and can be used as an excellent soil improver to promote organic matter and soil fertility.
It provides rich growth nutrition for plants, which can retain water in the soil for a long time.

2. Cottonseed Meal
Cottonseed Meal is a rich source of nitrogen and a small amount of phosphorus and potassium. It can be an excellent organic fertilizer grass.
It is mainly used to cover the garden soil to regulate the soil environment.

3. Alfalfa and Soybean meal
It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and neutral pH.
Soybean meal is a functional additive for longer-lasting results during soil maintenance.

4. Seaweed
Seaweed is an immediate-release fertilizer and an excellent source of zinc and iron. It goes well with the high-potash crop. (Seaweed Fertilizer)

Mineral Fertilizers

1. Greensand
Greensand is an olive-green sandstone containing glauconite. It is a rich source of iron, potassium, and magnesium.
It aids in the stimulation of flowering and fruition in fruit trees. And loosen the soil, increase the water content in the soil to improve the rhizosphere.

2. Rock Phosphate
Phosphate is extracted from mineral rocks and clay.
It has over 30% phosphate, together with high concentrations of trace micronutrients. It can be used to increase soil acidity and promote plant seedling growth.

Pros & Cons Organic Fertilizer

1. Pros

A. Boost both nutrient efficiency and organic matter content in the soil
It improves water movement into the soil and, in time, add structure to the soil. Organics feed beneficial microbes, making the soil more comfortable to work.

B. Enhanced soil fertility and improved soil texture, drainage, and aeration.
It can help the soil continuously condition and rejuvenated, thereby improving soil texture, drainage, and aeration.

C. Enhance the quality attributes of produce as well as yield
It contains a large number of nutrients needed by plants, which provide relatively smooth and lasting nutrients to plants and have a long aftereffect.

D. Total Environmentally friendly
They are renewable, biodegradable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
It does not contain the harmful chemicals that contribute to the pollution and contamination of water and land.

2. Cons

Before nutrients can be released into the soil, microorganisms need to break down the organic components. As organisms need suitable temperature and sufficient water to do their jobs, the effectiveness of organic fertilizers is limited by these factors.
So organic fertilizers may take much longer to take effect than chemical fertilizers.
But please be patient, when microbial populations re-establish themselves, organic fertilizers will be faster and more efficient.


Organic gardening emphasizes cultivating your garden to maintain fertile soil, plants, and beneficial insects.

This is achieved by avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and by using products that nurture the garden soil and the organic matter in it.

Proper use of organic fertilizers can give you a bumper crop of vegetables or flowers that will be the envy of your neighbors.

When you adopt the concept of organic fertilizer, your plants and crops will experience a balanced, nutrient-rich ecosystem that can work according to natural expectations.

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