Sunday, 6 July 2008


I noticed this article in the Hills and Valley Messenger, July 2
Your Garden, Malcolm Campbell
“A global fertilizer shortage has seen bulk nutrient prices soar by up to 200% in the past few months. The price hike, to hit retailers in coming weeks, has been caused by an export tax imposed on Chinese manufactures. Most of our garden fertilizers come from China, so it may be worthwhile stockpiling your favourite supplies at current prices.”

Why do we need to import all our needs from China?
Australia was once isolated and produced most things ourselves.
The miles agriculture inputs travel needs to be added on to the total food miles for produce .I know of certified organic farmers that import kelp from NZ and Canada, how can this be sustainable or the produce local? Many ’organic’ fertilizers have these imported ingredients in them as well as ingredients from all over the country.

Worst of all why do home gardeners need to stockpile fertilizer, let alone use it! If you answered ‘too much fertilizer’ to all the talkback gardening problems you would be right 80% of the time.
Apart from a small amount of fertilizer to start off a garden on a new block, despite our soils being old and worn out home gardens require very little in the way of inputs to be productive and beautiful. Take citrus for example, a shallow rooted feeder .The other day it was recommended to feed these plants in Spring and at 3 weekly periods in the growing season RUBISH that’s about selling fertilizer not growing plants.
Gardeners need to look to producing their own fertility. This can be done by composting both household and garden wastes. In the garden you can grow a range of plants that provide good sources of nutrients, special compost plants like nettles, comfrey and clovers as well as weeds are valuable in building fertility. Add a couple of chooks and you should never need to buy in fertilizer again and your garden will be happier and if you grow heritage plants they generally need less fertilizer. More fertilizer means the plants also need more water.


Unknown said...

I never, ever buy fertilizer. Since I started feeding my plants and trees with compost tea, there is no need to buy fertilizer.

Plus, our family has challenged ourselves to not buy anything made in China. Sometimes it's a hard thing to do, so that's why reading labels and internet sites is so important!

Rachel said...

Ditto for me, now that I have my bokashi bucket in full working order. It's a win-win-win - my scraps don't go to the landfill, I get great, organic fertilizer and soil, and I don't have to buy commercial fertilizers! I've noticed that organic produce in my farmer's market is either insulated from inflation or only rising at very low levels- part of me wonders if that's because organic farming doesn't use the chemical stuff and therefore hasn't had to take on the additional costs.

One of my favorite sites, EatDrinkBetter has an article on that hits on a lot of the points you do, Deb. Must be great minds thinking alike!

Kate said...

Of course you are right Deb. Funny how most people still don't get it....the link between why food and fertilizers and petrol are going up in price and what we need to do about it!