What's your favorite cheap and bulk organic balanced fertilizer

Hello everyone,
Currently the cheapest I can find organic fertilizer for is 27 lbs of 3-4-4 from home depot for $27. Anyone found a cheaper high quality source? Preferably with a balanced NPK.

$27 / (27 lbs * 0.03) = $33.33 / lb of N.

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Right, I consider it to be pretty pricey which is why I was looking for an alternate source. Not that I need it to be organic but most inorganic fertilizers don’t have micronutrients and part of the soil that I garden with is very poor quality.

Chicken manure is a pretty standard on organic farms. Usually 15-20 dollars a bag. Get it from a farm supply store. 535 or 534 NPK. Amend with some seaweed powder as a foliar or dried kelp meal. Not sure where you’re located but 7 springs supply in the eastern US is a good place to look


For all the advertising they do, the organic sources have a very poor, unbalanced panel of micronutrients – even after being broken down by soil processes.


horse poop, costs me some diesel and time to pick up it with the tractor.


I’ll have to check if this is available anywhere nearby, thanks!

Unfortunately I live in suburbia, far enough from farms that the cost of driving will be more than the fertilizer.

Do you have a preferred source of micronutrients?

Horse poop is $2.50 a bag last time I checked, they claim it has been composted, I do live in suburban area.

I use water-soluble fertilizers that contain a panel of micronutrients, and distribute them by fertigation.

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Check out stark tree prep which also contains micros.

Lots of Bermuda grass seeds in horse manure in my experience.

I’ll take chicken manure any day of the week. I believe you could grow grass on a billiard ball with it.


yeah weed seeds are there in my experience also, my orchard is not free of weeds and has many of the most unwanted. I mulch with hay, till and weed whack when needed as a broad no spray approach.

I can’t source organic chicken manure in the amounts and price range i need. I can kill weeds.

Urea is as organic as it gets and you produce about two liters per day. Diluted 5:1 it still has more nitrogen than Miracle gro.

I buy a big fat bag of 13-13-13 fertilizer for once a year light application and from there lots of nitrogen from urea.


I make 500-600 lbs of homemade compost yearly… and this spring… bought a truck load of mushroom compost. Other than that i bought a big bag of plant-tone… and holly-tone at TSC store trhis spring… they were not cheap but look like good product.

I have some 50 lb bags of gypsum left… and bags of bone meal, blood meal, epsom salt, green sand. I use different custom mixes of these for different crops or for fruit trees.

I mix around 4 parts gypsum/bone meal (Ca) potassium, micronutrientts… to 1 part epsom salt (Mg) and other micronutrients… and 1 part greensand (iron and other micronutrients) …

When planting greens… go heavy on the blood meal (N)… less so on tomatoes.

I have a huge pile of wood chips that are sort of composting at this point… that i use for mulch.


People are always impressed with the vigor of my veg garden and fruit trees. The soil drains well but isn’t especially rich or high in organic matter. I rely on my magic wand and get great results.

I recommend you dilute your urine and make use of it. It’s relatively well balanced in terms of very available NPK and the only thing I won’t use it on is my apple trees once they come into bearing. Too much K contributes to corking and fruit rots in apples by interfering with C absorption I use a lot of wood chips to mulch my nursery trees and all my orchard trees have root access to its nutrients. Woodchips are loaded with K, especially when a lot of small branches are in the mix.

The smell problem is easily managed by watering it in after applying it. I store mine in a gas container until I have about a gallon and then apply to the plants I most want to grow vigorously. Once things are established, whether tomatoes or fruit trees I lay off well before fruit is ready to harvest. By summer I only use it on very young trees and summer starts for fall harvest in the garden.

When I started doing this a half century ago it was considered eccentric and to some it still is but it’s also become a trend amongst serious gardeners because it is such a useful fertilizer and flushing it is an utter waste and sometimes environmentally harmful.


My nearest large town has Free compost… its leaves and woodchips and limbs…they run it thru big machines and shred it and turn it and tumble it…then they put it in piles…

They said that they have it studied by a university and it has everything in it that a person could want except for sodium…they said that sodium was lacking. They arent shy about saying that i have seen it in word form when they advertise it for free.

When you get a scoop its piping hot and steaming… smells like skoal snuff.

Anyways…thats my favorite cheap and bulk organic balanced fertilizer…


Not organic and time release, not instant, but I use osmocote plus. I’ve gotten 8 lb bags on sale on Amazon and Walmart for 12-13 dollars, and buy 3 or more bags when they are on sale. Even at current retail they’re the same or less cost for N compared to your organic options given the NPK numbers.

I don’t really fertilize my in ground trees, but use it in all container plants. Sometimes I toss in some 10-10-10 if they need a more immediate boost.

When I’ve used it for in ground trees that need a boost I just put it down before applying wood chip mulch and they get a steady feeding as it washes in from rain and watering.

If you own acres of woods… big timber … like i do… or have woods that you could harvest from…

Woods compost is pretty easy to harvest on hillsides that are not too steep (with a wheelbarrow).

Early fall… before leaf drop…you can just rake up all you can from the forest floor… the leaves on the ground at that point are almost a year on the ground… rake up all the leaves and all that compoated leaf litter under the leaves… as much as you can scratch up with a good stout leaf rake.

Best to collect under maple or poplar trees… their leaves break down faster and have higher calcium content than most.

If there are a lot of oaks in the mix… rake over the un broken down leaves… and just collect the leaf compost under them.

In the winter time… after a snow, freeze then thawing… the leaf compost layer will be quite loose quite deep… you can get a pile of it quick.

I learned this doing forest farming.