With the ever increasing demand for organic food production it is quite natural that we look for organic plant food to replace the chemical fertilizers that are commonly used in commercial production of fruit and vegetables.
What is organic plant food?
The first thing that springs to mind is animal manure, and still today this is the number one most common source of organic plant food. Animal manure provides active nutrients, fungi and the bacteria necessary for the development of fertile soils. Today, manures are available in several forms and grades. Although horse and cow dung is well known for its use as organic plant food, other animals such as hogs and sheep manure is also available. Chicken manure requires processing before it is applied to the garden..
Another form of organic plant food is derived from green manures that are basically special crops cultivated for the express purpose of plowing them back into the ground to provide nutrients such as nitrogen and a host for bacteria. Composting of grass and plant cuttings and vegetable scraps are also a form of organic plant food and may also be mixed with animal manures. Composts are not defined as manure but they are a very practical source of organic plant food and are easily accessible.
Under modern intensive agriculture it is normal for producers to use chemically based fertilizers to enrich the soil before planting, then as the crop grows chemical pesticides are added to protect the crop.. Obviously the harvested crop must contain some residue of the chemicals used in its production which is later ingested into the bodies of those consuming the product.
Therefore one of the main benefits of using organic plant food is simply that they do not contain artificial chemicals and provide most of the elements and organisms required for the soil food cycle. Thus, the application of organic plant food helps to sustaining viable arable farming lands, pastures for grazing and fertile soils for the growing of fresh fruits and vegetables.
It has been noted that an additional benefit is that plants appear to do better long term with natural organic plant food than they do with chemical based nitrogen nutrients. It is apparent that the existence of certain organisms, bacteria and some fungi is essential for the health of the soil biosphere.
Unfortunately, there are two obvious problems with organic plant food.
1. Being an animal bi-product it may contain organisms, germs, bacteria and even viruses that can prove harmful. Overuse of these organic plant foods without some form of sterilization or processing can result in contamination. However, it is not easy to process out the harmful elements thus safe manures are expensive.
2. Some raw manures can generate considerable amounts of heat as they decompose which can actually cause more damage than good not to mention the bad smell it causes..
Until you have experienced the amazing taste of fresh fruit and vegetables grown using organic plant food you don’t know what you are missing. The difference in quality, taste and nutrition value can only be experienced and the benefits to your overall health will astound you..