Put Kitty to Work in the Garden?

Nadia keeps coming over to my desk asking me if she can put out her used kitty litter as a fertilizer or use it in her compost. I told her unless she wanted to grow kittens, she shouldn’t try it.

In all seriousness, using pet waste litter as fertilizer is not a highly recommended practice. Even if it’s made from organic material such as recycled wood and its byproducts, it’s not going to add much of anything in the way of nutrients your plants can readily use. Further, it may contain organisms that can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women or people with compromised immune systems. The likelihood that someone would contract a disease from disposing of used cat litter in the garden is slim, but there are fertilizer products out there that do a much better job.v1552

If you still want to do something with all that used litter, I would start a heap just for that purpose and make sure it is fully composted and subjected to a long period of hot temperatures before using directly on your garden. In the meantime, here’s some basic fertilizer tips, Nadia!

A “complete” fertilizer contains the three major plant food nutrients: N P K

  • N-Nitrogen for vegetative growth, green color
  • P-Phosphorous for root growth and flower formation
  • K-Potassium for overall plant health and fruit formation

An “incomplete” fertilizer is missing one of the major elements but can be mixed to make a complete fertilizer. These are useful when your fertilization needs only require one or two of the major elements. An Example: Super Phosphate (0-20-0) – Source of phosphorous, which is used by the plant to stimulate root growth and flowering, especially on newly planted items. The twenty is the percentage phosphorous.

Minor Elements: Iron, Copper, Zinc, Boron, etc. Plants need these nutrients in very small amounts, but they can make the difference between an average plant and a really super plant. One of the reasons Park Seed’s Algoflash works so well is that it contains these minor or trace elements.

There are two basic ways fertilizer can be delivered to plants:

Water-soluble Fertilizer

Dissolves in water. Algoflash is a water-soluble fertilizer. One of the reasons it works so well is that when used, it supplies water and nutrients at the same time. Water-soluble fertilizers can be used as a foliar spray when used at half strength (or according to label directions).

Slow Release Fertilizer

These fertilizers are activated by water and release nutrients over a period of time. Convenient and only used once a season.


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