Our garden is growing, not enough compost


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Hi All, We are in New York City and have a variety of gardens (a greenhouse, raised beds on concrete, and a roof planter box garden). With the recent expansion we are running out of compost. We have relied on our worm composting for the last 5 years or so, and are glad to be strictly organic about it, but need more. I see a few options. Get more material for the compost (which is not easy here), buy compost, or get some sort of fertilizer.
I see ads for organic fertilizers, which could be a good addition, but still am not sure if it would actually be organic.

We are relatively new to gardening and would welcome any advise!

Thanks!
 
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Be careful of buying composted soils in the big box stores and "organic fertilizer" from the same. Most of it is junk. Wish I could help you further.
 
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@MoonShadows is correct. Stay away from the Big Box Stores. Go to a real nursery. There they will have all kinds of organic fertilizers and composts. I don't know which brands are available where you live but if purchased from a nursery and it says OMRI or Organic on the packaging it will be good stuff. Compost is great stuff but it alone is not enough. You will need more NPK and trace elements/minerals than it can provide. Commercial organic fertilizers will provide these. You can effectively do the same thing by adding different amendments to your compost to make it as effective as organic fertilizers but it will cost a LOT more money to do so. Do you do compost tea? It is a very effective way to economically boost your composts effectiveness.
 
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There is a product line called Huma Grow that I have been useing as a source for Thyme Oil and micronutrients that I put out in the heat of our summer when fertilizing is a bad idea. They use humic materials they take from their own mine. It helps me stretch my compost and gives me a some nice precise choices instead a big combo.
 
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Thanks for the great advise! Yes i will stay away from the big box stores. Chuck, We tried compost tea early on. maybe its time to get the air pump out again. What recipe do you use? Would you mind sharing it? Will this suffice for the NPK and trace elements?
If not the Huma Grow looks helpful, thanks Dirtmechanic! is it organic? Looks like I would have to start testing the soil.
 
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NPK is best provided by a fertilizer. Although there are trace elements and minerals in fertilizers, they are best provided by supplements such as GreenSand or Liquid Seaweed or Kelp. Green Sand is added to the soil while the seaweed or kelp is added in a liquid form. There are many other organic additives for trace elements and minerals as well, but I use these two. My receipe for compost is usually this for a 5 gallon bucket of water: One big double handful of a manure based compost, 2 oz liquid seaweed, 2 oz liquid humate, a handful of worm castings, 1 oz fish emulsion and 2 oz of molasses. IMO this receipe provides all of the trace elements and minerals needed and it also provides a tremendous growth medium for soil micro organisms. I don't know what you mean when you say that fertilizing is bad in the heat of the summer. This may be true for synthetic fertilizers but not for organic fertilizers. Organics can be used ALL of the time if desired.
 
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Thanks for the recipe Chuck! It looks like I can buy most of it online.... The manure I am not sure of though. We do have tons of worm castings though, you think this can make up for it?
 
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Chuck’s advice above is solid. I would add some bags of manure, a little peat moss, and a fluffener/dampener like perlite. Mix in dry and organic ingredients like azomite, rock phosphate, blood or cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, greensand, gypsum or lime, etc... Most of this stuff is cheap except perlite/vermiculite and greensand.

Also, try to increase your compost output with vertical towers or convert an old freezer. As you get more worms spread them into your gardening area and they’ll eat the rocks and manure, making worm castings/juice right next to the plants rooting systems.
 

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