Organic gardening can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors and grow beautiful flowers, fruits and vegetables. An important step in organic gardening is soil preparation. Experienced gardeners know that nothing beats rich, organic soil for growing a lush and productive garden. Although organic gardeners may choose to skip chemical fertilizers, most experienced gardening enthusiasts know that there are excellent organic solutions to make your vegetables thrive.
Among the most beneficial additives to an organic garden are items from the ocean and its tributaries. These include leftover portions of crabs, fish, lobsters, shrimp, and even seaweed. These valuable sources of nutrients and minerals can be collected in a number of ways.
Crustaceans are a favorite source of minerals for organic gardening. Lobsters, crabs and shrimp all have hard shells which contain limestone, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and other important minerals. Buying fresh seafood is a great way to obtain these wonderful shells. Using crustacean shells is very easy. After preparing a meal, the shells and other scraps are simply put in the compost pile or dried in the sun. The dried shells and other parts provide an excellent source of minerals which are dispersed over a period of months, helping to prevent runoff problems and lowering the need to re-apply nutrients during the season.
Fish scraps are another excellent contribution to your organic garden. Fish have been used to nourish crops for thousands of years as they are excellent sources of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and other important minerals. Fish heads, scales, skin and bones all make great additions to a garden. Fish parts can be laid in a sunny area to dry, then added to a compost pile or buried in a fallow section of the garden. Like crustacean shells, fish scales, bones and skin release nutrients slowly, providing plants with a natural, steady dispersion.
Seaweed is another excellent additive. Seaweed needs to be rinsed or set out in an open area until rainfall removes the excess salt. Once the seaweed has been desalinated, it can be used as mulch, added to a compost pile or worked into the soil. East Coast and Gulf Coast gardeners can find many types of seaweed that gets washed onto beaches while West Coast residents have several types of very large kelps available. Check with local regulations before harvesting these plants.
Even sea shells can find uses in an organic garden. They also release trace amounts of limestone and other minerals and make useful tools such in decorative borders or to anchor mulch in place.
Almost all flowers and vegetables will respond to organic additives. Flowers such as marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias and others will thrive when grown in soil that has been fortified with fish or shellfish.
Vegetable gardeners will find that nutrient hungry plants such as tomatoes, peppers, corn, peas, beans melons, and squash will also show a big difference when given these important additives.
Fruit growers will also find uses for seafood scraps as they can be composted and added around bushes or vine crops such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and grapes.
Fruit trees such as apples, peaches, pears, and others will also benefit from organic composts which contain these natural nutrients and minerals.