There are so many discussions and debates on this topic and really, we hear so much about going organic.

But here it is, the pros and cons of both chemical and organic fertilizers.

I, personally, believe that organic can be safer and just feel more comfortable knowing that everything I use in my garden is completely natural.

This choice is a very personal thing for all gardeners though and making an informed decision is important.

Here are the pros and the cons to using either organic or chemical fertilizers in the garden.


Organic Fertilizers


Organic, when it comes to fertilization, means that the nutrients that are in the organic fertilizer are at their natural form.

This means that they have not been extracted or changed.

 In this case the nutrients are usually coming from some sort of waste (plant or animal waste) or minerals in a powdered form.

There is some processing that goes into this when the nutrients are packages and such, but really, they are as natural as they can be.
Photo by: wackystuff




  • Organic fertilizers break down, as well as provide. The breaking down of the material completely helps the soil even more than just the nutrients could.

  • These are usually very patient, slow release, fertilizers. This makes things safer because over fertilizing is avoided as much as possible, so the risk is less.

  • There is a little to zero chance that there are chemicals in these fertilizers that can build up and be harmful.

  • Environmentally friendlier.

  • They are very easy to make right at home.




  • The microorganisms in organic fertilizer usually require warm temperatures and moist environments to break down completely. This can limit the amount of time we have to effectively fertilize to the warmer seasons.

  • Patience will be necessary. These fertilizers breakdown naturally, which means there can be a wait until they fully kick it into gear.

  • The ratio of nutrients can often be a mystery when going organic, and the percentages of nutrients tend to be lower than those of chemical fertilizers.


Chemical Fertilizers


When a fertilizer is of a chemical nature, it means that it has been changed to pull nutrients and put them in a particular ratio with other chemicals.

It is less natural, but maybe that’s best for some of us out there.
Photo by: Jerry Norbury




  • Nutrients are right there for the plants, right away. This means that we can begin to see the results in just days.

  • The ratio is very set in stone. We can choose these fertilizers based on the specific ratio that is needed for the plants to succeed.

  • The labeling on these fertilizers are better standardized, making it easier to understand what is going on in these fertilizers and therefore more convenient.

  • They are cheaper.




  • There can often be materials that are a little mistrusted, such as fossil fuels.

  • They do not break down and support the soil the way that organic fertilizers do. The fillers used to support plant life may bring good results, but they do not have the matter that decays and makes the soil itself healthier.

  • Danger of over fertilization.

  • When applied repeatedly, toxic chemicals begin to build up in the soil. Things like arsenic, cadmium, and uranium can end up in our vegetables.

  • Can change the pH of the soil.

  • Can disturb microbial ecosystems that are essential to the garden and increase the pests in the garden.



It is our choice to make, but always follow the instructions on the package to get the best results.





-My Yard Garden

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