Introduction: How to Read a Fertilizer Label

Fertilizer labels contain a lot of information that may be unfamiliar.

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RoxanneNichols (author)2012-11-02

Thanks for you comment dchall8! Great knowledge and insight on fertilizer!

dchall8 (author)2012-10-31

But if you're looking for organic fertilizer, forget about NPK and focus on the ingredients which provide protein to the soil. In order of protein content, those are:

corn gluten meal
soy bean meal
alfalfa pellets or meal
corn meal (whole ground)

If you want to add blood meal, please mix it in with the grain type meals to dilute the blood.  Note that these ingredients may be purchased at any feed store (they are everywhere). 

The application rate for organic fertilizers is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet.  You can double or triple that with no harm, but you'll find it gets a little, uh, aromatic as the protein decomposes.  In smaller amounts the soil microbes can decompose it without the powerful smell. 

The time to apply organics is any time you want and just about as often as you want or can afford.  Even with soil temperatures lower than 50 degrees F, there are soil microbes still active and preparing for spring. 

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