Guest Author - Anu Dubey Dharmani
If you have been using factory-made fertilizers till now, it is time you make some of your own. The commercially available chemical fertilizers generally do not provide micronutrients sufficiently, unlike the organic fertilizers. Micronutrients are just as important as Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). You do not need to look in the market for buying organic fertilizers. There are many different organic fertilizers that you can make at your own home.
The basic key to make organic fertilizers is to collect organic waste, which is generated in your own home. If you have time and patience, crush the dried material like leaves, egg shells etc. You can cut tiny pieces of peels. Dump this organic waste in a pit or a container and then let it decay. You can add earthworms to the container to speed up the decaying process. Keep the material slightly moist and in a shaded area.
The different materials which I have used to make organic fertilizers are:
• Fallen Leaves
• Discarded/used tea leaves
• Egg shells
• Bird droppings
• Groundnut shells
• Fruit peels; like banana, apple, orange (rind)
• Even, cattle manure
You can also use the waste stuff from your kitchen to make an organic fertilizer. For this, it is important to first separate organic waste from the other waste made from plastic, metallic, paper etc.
To make leaf mold, go to link given below. Whenever I am low on patience, I have been dumping leaves as such in my orchid pots ;-) I simply crush the dried leaves and spread these near the roots of both terrestrials as well as epiphytic orchids. In fact, spreading your fertilizer near or around the base of the terrestrial orchids is a good idea for better absorption by roots.
Also, as each organic fertilizer provides only a particular set of minerals, so do not stick to just one type of fertilizer. You can try different combinations of organic fertilizers.
When using a particular organic fertilizer for the first time, take care to use it in small amounts only. Make sure that it does not adversely affect the orchid. If possible, keep a record of the effects of each type of fertilizer. This information can be helpful later on.