So, organic VS synthetic. Which do we chose in which situation? Nowadays there’s definitely a lot of hype around growing organically.
I definitely have to make it clear that plants do not eat blood meal or worm castings. Plants eat nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. So anything that you feed to them has to be converted into its chemical form before they can take it up.
So in organic gardening, when we’re feeding our plants alfalfa meal, it’s important that we have the action of humic acids to break down that alfalfa meal as the humic acids expand and contract in the root zone into nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and then the humic acids are going to form a bridge between the nutrient and the root zone, allowing these nutrients to be taken up. Synthetic fertilizers or chemical fertilizers do not require this action. They are available immediately. So, why would we chose one over the other? There are some various situations where, for example, an organic fertilizer would not be the greatest choice. For example, let’s say we have a recirculating reservoir in a hydroponic garden. If we take some type of potent fish fertilizer and put it into that reservoir and recirculate it for days, it’s going to become incredibly disgusting, in which case we would be much better off to stick to synthetic fertilizers and maintain a clean reservoir.
In drain waste gardens (coco gardens, outdoor gardening in big bags etc.) it’s absolutely possible to garden organically. What are the advantages? It’s hard to say when you’re talking about NPK. If a fertilizer manufacturer is using very clean nutrient salts, then it’s hard to say that there is truly an advantage in the organic NPK. Or does the advantage lay in organic gardening? I think it really lays in the things that are beyond the twenty essential elements for plant survival. The things we don’t understand. When we’re looking at organic gardening, it’s more about the additives: Microorganisms, trichoderma, different fungis that colonize the root zone, enhancing nutrient uptake and root development, humic acids which facilitate nutrient uptake. Can we use these things with synthetic fertilizers? Absolutely.
Sometimes I have scenarios where a client is under the impression that because they’re growing organically or because they using a synthetic fert, they can’t put in organic additives. And this is not true. We can have the best of both worlds. We can use the synthetic fertilizer and vermity to increase the nutrient uptake of that synthetic fertilizer. We can use an organic nutrient along with synthetic additives and enhancers. We can mix and match if we understand what we’re doing and why. So really what it comes down to is furthering our education so we understand what’s in the products we’re using, what plants need and how these interactions can occur in the root zone and plant material.
So there are applications where organic gardening is a fantastic choose, there’s applications where using a synthetic fert is the perfect choice. Sometimes we combine both of these worlds and get the best of both worlds. Sometimes we like to use a synthetic fertilizer throughout the vegetative growth and the initial flowering period to make sure that everything is perfectly under control, because synthetic fertilizers are readily available and for the most part can be somewhat less problematic than organic gardening. And then, towards the end of the flowering cycle we might cut off the synthetic fertilizer and move into straight organic products in an attempt to increase flavours and aromas. That’s definitely something that sometimes we can get from organic products. Those hidden little suddleties that make something higher quality. Increasing flavours and aromas can be definite benefit of utilizing organic products towards the end of the flowering period. So it’s all about figuring out your plant and what is going to be utilized to produce the best quality material.
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