Green Q & A: Fertilizing Lawn and Garden

Posted by Trish Riley, June 21, 2009

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Hi Trish,

What’s the difference between buying regular and organic fertilizers for my lawn and garden?

Traditional fertilizers are made from synthetic petrochemicals – they come from fossil fuels – and although we don’t burn them, they still pollute our soil, air and water with chemicals that have been linked to diseases, I.Q. deficiencies and hormone imbalances. When we put those on our lawn or garden, they wash into our waterways and permeate the plants, ending up in our bodies through both our food and water sources. They also act more like a stimulant to the plants than as actual nourishment.

Just as we’re safer choosing organic foods and filtering our water, it’s best to select plant fertilizers that are certified organic or natural, such as compost from your kitchen scraps and yard waste or worm tailings (poop!). Avoid buying natural fertilizers that are made from sewage sludge by looking for organic certification on the label. You can also make or buy compost or worm tailing “tea,” which is made by steeping either product in water, then straining so you have a nutrient liquid to pour around your plant roots.

Using these products on your garden will ensure more nutritious foods and cleaner water. Happy gardening!

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