Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
This easy pillowcase dress looks adorable with pretty fabrics. Plus, it is super simple to put together, even if you have not... Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
It doesn’t take much to turn an everyday snack into something a little extra special. It is great to see how quickly you can a... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Treat your children to their own special tent hideaway, then stand back and watch as the fun and adventures begin! Read more »
Make a thoughtful gift for someone this summer! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
The list of questions builds as you stand in front of the organic gardening section, blankly staring at the increasing choices of bagged and bottled fertilizer. Before you give up, unsure of what to make of it all, allow me to explain some of the differences between natural, organic fertilizers and synthetic (non-organic) choices, review a few fertilizer basics, and then offer some viable organic alternatives to non-organic products.
Organic vs. non-organic choices
All plants receive their nutrients in chemical form. They cannot distinguish between how the nutrient was derived, whether organic or non-organic for example.
When referring to plant nutrition, organic or natural generally refers to any fertilizer which is derived from plant, animal or mineral origin. It must have one or more essential nutrients for plant growth.
Non-organic fertilizers (also known as synthetic) are manufactured chemically. They are made to deliver nutrients rapidly, such as those that are water-soluble, or over time as a controlled release. Although very effective for providing rapid or prolonged periods of feeding, these have a high salt index. The potential risk to plants and the soil food web is burning and dehydration with the leeching of unabsorbed chemicals into waterways.
Organic nutrients on the other hand, must first be broken down and digested by soil microorganisms which then release these nutrients in a form available to plants. This process also produces humus, a vital ingredient to improving soil structure. As part of this structure, organically derived nutrients are very resistant to leeching and contain a very low salt index. The net result is nutrients that remain in the soil until utilized by plants and little risk of burning or dehydration, even in periods of extreme drought or over application.
Look at any fertilizer package and you’ll find three numbers prominently listed. These are the primary nutrients that are needed in the greatest quantity by the plants. These numbers represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium found in each package.
Nitrogen is primarily responsible for vigorous growth and dark green color. Phosphorus plays a major role in the root development and flowering. Potassium is mainly responsible for disease resistance and the overall hardiness of the plant.
Based on what you are trying to achieve for your plant’s growing success will usually determine which fertilizer to buy. That decision is based on the numbers referred to above. When in doubt, a good choice is to select a balanced product, one with an equal percentage of all primary nutrients, such as 10-10-10.
Synthetic fertilizers are usually listed simply by their numbers, since they are manufactured chemicals. Organic alternatives however are often listed primarily by what they actually are, such as blood or bone meal.
But somewhere on that package, you’ll find those all important three numbers which is the key to knowing what role that product will play in your garden. Here is a partial listing of the most commonly available organic fertilizers sorted by their role for providing nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium.
Nitrogen: Dried blood, blood meal, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion and seaweed extract
Phosphorus: Bone meal, rock phosphate
Potassium: greensand, sulfate of potash
In addition to the three primary nutrients listed above, there are 12 other elements considered essential for plant growth that are absorbed from the surrounding soil. Organic soil amendments are a readily available way to provide all of these elements as well.
I rely on these natural amendments to ensure I’m feeding the soil which in turn feeds the plants. I find that to be a safe, effective and environmentally responsible approach to gardening.