Natural fertilizers

Asking this question here since fertilizers are a little more regional in availability.
With commercial fertilizers (at least the lawn type) reducing the amount of phosphorus in them, has anyone here looked into more natural sources? I'd prefer not buy any more Miracle Grow products and try to go a more natural route. So of course that means improving the nutrient content of the soil itself (along with perhaps some compost tea). Is there an affordable, available alternative?

Mount Prospect, IL(Zone 5b)

Bone meal is the traditional amendment for adding phosphorus to soil. It's pretty cheap.

midwest - Thanks for that suggestion!

Marquette, MI(Zone 5a)

A word of caution regarding bonemeal; critters will dig, looking for the bones. My dog did this. again &. again.
And again.

Ooooh - never thought of that. I don't have pets but we do have a multitude of raccoons.

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Cindy, chances are you have an adequate or even excess amount of phosphorous. I tested my soil and found that it had an excess of phosphorous and very low nitrogen. I asked a regional master gardener and she said, "That's our clay soil for you; we have lots of minerals but not a lot of nitrogen". If you want to add nitrogen naturally, blood meal is good.

I did two types of tests: professional a couple of years ago, and a little kit for about $30 this year. The little kit backed up the professional test results, so I think they're pretty accurate!

I'm ashamed to admit but I've never had a "real" soil test done. Which kit did you use?

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

It's called Rapitest soil test kit - you can get it at most garden centers, KMart, etc. It gives you test capsules for NPK and PH. It's pretty accurate and I think you get about 5 capsules, so you can test multiple sites. Good luck!

P.S. The professional test was about 10 years ago from Mowers in Illinois, but they don't do soil testing anymore.

I know I should send a sample off to the Purdue extension but just never think about it or, if I do, don't get around to it.
Thanks for the info!

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

You're welcome. It's a bit expensive, but in the long run, could save you some bucks because you won't buy what you don't really need!

I've been using super phosphate for the past year to boost the blooming potential of perennials and hydrangeas but now I'm feeling guilty about it.

Des Plaines, IL(Zone 5b)

Oh, Cindy - don't feel guilty! Maybe in your case they need the phosphorous! Your soil could be lots more sandy than ours in which case you may need a lot of everything. Please don't listen just to me - I'm not an expert, just a believer in testing!

Oh - sandy would be heaven. I have fine silt on top of clay. I've amended all of the beds over the years but it has to be done every several years it seems.

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