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intertruth: the garden of eden is your cure

Rosa Lokey Orbe, J.D. CalBRE License # 02067079


(nkp application quantities in middle range)

(see Note 1 this page)

alfalfa meal

organic matter (nitrogen) 5-1-2 - 35lbs. per sq. foot, lowers pH

blood meal (I do not buy for use)

nitrogen 11-0-0 - 20lbs. per 1,000 sq. foot

bone meal (I do not buy for use)

phosphate 1-11-0 - 20lbs. per 1,000 sq. foot, raises pH

coffee grounds

nitrogen 2-0.3-0.2 - compost or directly on top of soil, can be added daily, lowers pH

epsom salts

magnesium 10 percent - 3 lbs. per 1,000 sq. foot

grass clippings

organic matter 0.5-0.2-0.5 300 lbs. per 1,000 sq. foot, make sure they are good and dried (see NOTE 2 this page)


potash (potassium), 7% potash, 32 trace minerals 50lbs. per 1,000 sq. foot

kelp meal

potash, trace minerals 1.0-0.5-2.5 - 10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. foot, contains minerals, vitamins and an array of micronutrients


calcium, magnesium 50 percent calcium, 40 magnesium - 50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. foot, 5-10 lbs per 100 sq. ft. of soil will raise pH 1 point, raises pH


see soil foods page

oak leaves

organic matter (potassium) 0.8-0.4-0.1 - 150 lbs. per sq. foot, make great compost from last years fallen leaves, any leaves are good

peat moss

organic matter pH range 3.0-4.5 - as needed around acid loving plants

rock phosphate

naturally occurring mineral deposit 0-3-0 32% phosphate and 32% calcium, contains 11 trace mineral


the best fertilizer

wood ashes

potash (potassium) 0-1.5-3 - medium 5 lbs., apply in small amounts of 25 lbs per 1000 square feet every 2-3 years, raises pH

worm castings

organic matter 0.5-0.5-0.3 medium 100 lbs., contains 50% organic matter plus 11 trace minerals


NOTE 1: 

  • Be wary of products labeled organic that have an NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) ratio that adds up to more than 15.
  • An organic fertilizer will have a low nutrient content such as 4-6-2.
  • Ask a reputable garden center owner to recommend fertilizer brands that meet organic standards.
  • My choice for commercially made fertilizer is DOWN TO EARTH. I rarely use commercial fertilizer but when I do, my choice is DOWN TO EARTH (and you can recycle the box).



  • a natural humus producer
  • adds copper, potash, calcium to ground soil, they exhale ethylene gas for plant ripeness
  • attracts earthworms

Down to Earth has a line of All Natural Organic Fertilizers that are designed for specific garden and vegetable use.

Grass clippings

  • When grass is freshly cut and placed into the soil the decomposition can harm your roots by inhibiting the growth of the root, so again make sure the grass clippings are good and decomposed before you place them into your soil.
  • I have been known to put fresh grass in my soil but it is usually in a new area that is being conditioned for later growth.

Micronutrients (trace minerals)

  • are added by greensand, dried seaweed, kelp meal, crab meal
  • all of these add small amounts of nutrients to improve the heart of your soil where a deficiency lies.


  • adds nitrogen to the soil (go easy on nitrogen when growing peas, or they will grow lots of foliage and low yield pods).
  • This is an easy crop to till under if the growth was disease free. Once the vines stop producing, you can cut the vines down to the just above the root and till the vine under your soil.

Plant Humus (decomposed organic matter)

  • made of stable lignins and complex sugars
  • The most common form of decomposed plant matter that is commercially sold is peat moss.
  • Peat moss is a very dry additive, if you add it to your garden: place it on the top soil, work in manure and water the peat after you place it.
  • It is better to buy peat humus, if it is available, if it already has added moisture.
  • Make sure you ask your provider how much to apply in your garden according to the square footage of the area you want to dress.


  • Nitrogen and minerals
  • carries close to all raw material needed for the building up of fertile soil.




Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of ORGANIC GARDENING