Last Updated on June 10, 2021
What are your options for the best organic fertilizers for strawberries? Turns out there are many good options. For the new gardener new to the world of organics, the plethora of options available can be confusing. There are several hundreds of organic fertilizers on the market, each with differing characteristics.
Many do not come with convenient labels and how-to instructions for efficient application. As a young gardener used to step-by-step measurements and instructions and exact recipes, I was often bewildered by the willy-nilly “shovel it on” methods of experienced gardeners and continually asked, “what is the best organic fertilizer for strawberries?”
After more than a decade of growing strawberries, I have gathered that it is not an exact science where charts of soil characteristics, plant viability, and measured fluids are the norm. Instead, an “artful science” where intuition and feel are as important as knowledge and fact. A good understanding of the many types of organic fertilizers for strawberries is vital as knowing what they offer your soil and in what quantity.
To this end, I have reviewed the best organic fertilizer for strawberries produced specially for strawberry growth and included a buying guide that will help you to produce plenty of juicy and tasty strawberries.
- 1 Best Organic Fertilizer for Strawberries for 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons
- 1.1 1. Down to Earth All Natural Acid Mix Fertilizer
- 1.2 2. Scotts Miracle Gro Plant Food
- 1.3 3. Dr. Earth 708P Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer
- 1.4 4. Indian River Organics Liquid Fish Fertilizer – Best Instant nutrient
- 1.5 5. EcoScraps for Organic Berry Plant Food — Best for potted strawberries
- 1.6 6. Botanicare Mineral Supplement — Best for aroma and flavor
- 1.7 7. Fruit & Berry Food Berry-tone fertilizer — Best for soil structure
- 2 Best Organic Fertilizer for Strawberries: Buying Guide
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Conclusion
Best Organic Fertilizer for Strawberries for 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons
Strawberries are grown for their luscious berry. They prefer a rich, fertile soil that contains plenty of organic matter. Strawberry fertilizers need to be applied to the plant before and after harvesting. The table below reveals the features of the fertilizers we chose at a glance.
1. Down to Earth All Natural Acid Mix Fertilizer
The All Natural Acid Mix is a 4-3-6 NPK formulation fertilizer and one of the best organic fertilizer for strawberries. It is a five-pound box of organics that contains natural ingredients such as kelp meal, fishbone meal, cottonseed meal, and langbeinite. Strawberries love soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. This is slightly acidic on the pH scale, a suitable choice of nutrients for acid-loving strawberry plants.
We love this fertilizer because it boosts the resistance of strawberries during extreme winter months, stimulating root and vegetative growth. The fertilizer should be applied strictly according to the manufacturer’s instruction – which is at a rate of three to six pounds for every 100 square feet of growing area. It contains all the needed micro and macronutrients needed to keep your strawberries nourished in this box.
Acid mix fertilizer is carefully formulated from high-quality organic nutrients in the right proportions devoid of synthetics and low-quality fillers like poultry waste. Apply in spring or as soon as the flowers start to emerge.
2. Scotts Miracle Gro Plant Food
Scotts Miracle Gro Plant Food is one of the best foods for green plants. It is specifically designed for acid-lovers like strawberries and raspberries. It is a popular fertilizer among experienced gardeners who grow big strawberries in outdoor pots and containers. The NPK breakdown is as follows; 18% Nitrogen (urea nitrogen and ammoniacal nitrogen), 18% water-soluble potash, and 21% phosphate.
Your strawberries will also love this natural fertilizer because it contains other micronutrients in plenty amount, such as 0.07% chelated zinc, 0.0005% molybdenum, 0.05% chelated manganese, 0.325% chelated iron, 0.07% chelated copper, and 0.02% Boron.
Chelated ingredients are well-known for their improved absorption rate. Fertilizers with chelated ingredients have an additional layer that inhibits them from making unnecessary reactions.
All ingredients in the Scotts Miracle Gro Plant Food are derived from Zinc EDTA, Sodium Molybdate, Manganese EDTA, Iron EDTA, Copper EDTA, Boric acid, Potassium chloride, Potassium phosphate, Ammonium Phosphate, and Urea. These ingredients are all sourced from inorganic sources. As such, they do not contain any toxic elements that will harm your strawberry plant.
3. Dr. Earth 708P Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer
Dr. Earth organic fertilizer is fortified with 8 select strains of endo and ecto mycorrhizae that make strawberry plants develop drought resistance ability. It can also be used as an amendment for bare-foot and shrub planting.
This organic fertilizer contains a unique blend of 7 probiotic strains and seaweed extract. Which in combination enhances nutrient availability and boots plant performance.
The seaweed extract serves as a source of Nitrogen and trace elements that include iron, zinc, Potassium, and magnesium. These substances are the main nutrients needed for photosynthesis. Meanwhile, the endo and ecto Mycorrhizae allow for superior vegetation and bloom.
For all the good features of Dr. Earth organic fertilizer, new farmers find it a little challenging to apply to their gardens. For new strawberry plantings, I use 2 cups per 1/2 cubic foot of soil inserted into the planting holes.
After panting, add additional 1-cup fertilizer around the plant and thoroughly mix into the soil, followed by water. For mature strawberries, apply 2 cups per inch trunk diameter. Work the organic fertilizer into the soil and water thoroughly.
4. Indian River Organics Liquid Fish Fertilizer – Best Instant nutrient
This is quite different from the above reviewed organic products; it is a hydrolyzed liquid fish fertilizer. The Indian River organics is produced from fresh, food-quality, and healthy fish. It is free of mercury, chlorine, and heavy metals. Thus, it is safe for humans and animals. Indian River Organics is a superb organic fertilizer and one of the best strawberries on the market today.
Application is easy. Blend 2 ounces of the product with 1 gallon of water and apply to the soil. It will boost your plant yields, make fruits tastier, healthier, and more resistant to pests and pathogens.
This organics liquid fish fertilizer penetrates deep into the soil and won’t be washed by watering or rainfall. It provides a stable release of micro and macronutrients to your growing strawberry plant.
This stable release will last for up to fifteen weeks. It is suitable for strawberries and other acid-loving plants like Citrus, Raspberries, Blueberries, and blackberries. This fertilizer can also be used for outdoor and indoor plants or flowers, including Gardenias, African Violets, Hydrangea, Roses, and Orchids.
5. EcoScraps for Organic Berry Plant Food — Best for potted strawberries
This organic fertilizer supports the growth, development, and fruiting of all kinds of berries. It contains 4-5-4 NPK ratio, which is 4% nitrogen (stimulates foliar growth), 5% phosphate (responsible for strong roots), and 4% potash. A superb combo that helps berries develop into healthy, fruiting plants.
This is a granular organic fertilizer made from harmless organic substances. It is safe for plants, pets as well as children. Also, it can be applied to potted or inground strawberries without danger.
Application is easy; sprinkle 1/4 cup of EcoScraps for matured strawberry and 0.5 cups for 6 inches potted berry plants. Mix thoroughly with the topsoil and water to kickstart the nutrient breakdown to feed your plants.
6. Botanicare Mineral Supplement — Best for aroma and flavor
One exciting feature that we love about this organic fertilizer is the unique formulation with carbohydrates, sucrose, fructose, and glucose. These sugars help improve strawberry flavor and aroma.
Botanicare Mineral Supplement also stimulates the formation of esters by linking alcohols with organic acids, which are also aroma and flavor enhancers in strawberries. It contains vital secondary elements such as manganese, zinc, iron, boron, copper, magnesium, sulfur, and molybdenum. These elements are useful for maintaining optimal plant respiration and metabolism.
In all, the unique, organic composition of polyphenolic, amino acids, and organic acids compounds make this product suitable for strawberry growth phases. However, this fertilizer can be harmful to human health. Some users complain that over-application of this fertilizer can lead to leftover sulfates and sugar that can burn your lungs.
7. Fruit & Berry Food Berry-tone fertilizer — Best for soil structure
Finally, we recommend this product by Espoma. It is a 4-3-4 NPK formulation fertilizer derived from greensand, alfalfa meal, bone meal, poultry manure, feather meal, Magnesium, and Sulfur. It is an organic fertilizer for strawberries and one of the few that offers real value for money.
This fertilizer contains a microbe that breaks down the nutrients in the soil helping your strawberries easily access them. What you get, as a result, are bigger, juicier strawberries.
One beneficial advantage of the microbes is that they improve soil consistency over time. This means that you won’t need to fertilize as much to get your plants to grow healthy and bear tasty fruits in the long term.
Epsoma suggests that this fertilizer be applied twice a year. The first in early spring and two months later. This product is strictly made from organics and comes tightly sealed in a safe storage bag.
Best Organic Fertilizer for Strawberries: Buying Guide
Strawberry fertilizers are not created equal. Before bringing one to your garden, learn which product readily releases nutrients to the soil, offers season-long feeding, and some other benefits other than nutrients. Some organic fertilizers can even alter soil structure. Different strawberry types require slightly different requirements, so ensure you buy what your plant needs.
Dry vs. Liquid fertilizer
Dry organic fertilizers need to be worked into the soil for optimal results. Unlike synthetic fertilizers that can be dissolved by water or irrigation, organic fertilizers are designed to be broken down by beneficial soil microbes into a form that can be absorbed by strawberries. As a result, granular fertilizers provide long, slow feed throughout the planting season.
On the other hand, liquid fertilizers like the Indian River Organics are a quick-feed option. They usually come in a concentrated form that must be diluted with water before application. You need to mix liquid fertilizers at the right strength for the strawberries you are tending. Young strawberry seedlings awaiting transplantation may require only half-strength feeding. While leafy strawberries will benefit from a full-strength application. In my garden, I apply liquid organic fertilizers strategically to boost nutrient availability at the right time of the season.
Organic fertilizers primarily contain these three macronutrients; nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). They are usually depicted in percentages on the front of the package, such as 10-10-10 – a numerical display that indicates the weight of N-P-K. Nitrogen is responsible for lush, leafy growth. Phosphorus ensures robust root development, fruiting, and flowering. While Potassium regulates boosts plant defenses against disease and pests and regulates metabolic processes.
Strawberries also need seven micronutrients in smaller quantities for overall plant health. They are manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), boron (B), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), chlorine (Cl), and molybdenum (Mo). Before making a buying decision, check for the availability of these micronutrients on the fertilizer package label.
Organic fertilizers need soil-dwelling organisms to break down nutrients and make them available. These microbes are naturally found in healthy soils, but they may not be available in optimal quantities in garden soils. As a result, some organic fertilizers like the Dr. Earth 708P Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer come with dormant and beneficial soil microbial cultures to improve the efficacy of the fertilizer.
Before making a buying decision, consider the ultimate reason for application. Botanicare Mineral Supplement and other liquid fertilizers will readily release nutrients to your strawberry plants but do not offer long-term soil fertility. Fruit&Berry Food Berry-tone fertilizer and other granular fertilizers, on the other hand, will slow feed your plants. Liquid fertilizer gives nutrient boost at any point of a growing season. Personally, I use the two in tandem to complement each other.
Soil builders are a different form of organic fertilizers. They are usually applied in bulk, as soil mulch or amendments. If you are just starting your garden, the soil will benefit from soil builders such as compost or worm casting. Soil builders provide relatively low levels of nutrients but will transform the structure of the garden soil with organic matter and a good population of beneficial microbes. You can also use soil builders to supplement your plant nutrition with other organic fertilizers.
Organic fertilizers alone are not enough to improve the condition of poor soil. If you are planting on poor grounds such as gravel, sand, or hardpan, add a generous amount of organic matter such as aged hardwood chips, aged manure, leaf mold, and compost. A good garden strategy is to build the soil structure with soil builders, followed by a fertilization strategy.
To create a fertilization program, conduct a soil test first. Send samples of your garden soil to the Cooperative Extension Service in your locality. The result usually contains the organic content, nutrient levels, current pH, and valuable instructions on treatments that will turn the soil into a productive garden. I recommend testing your soil annually to provide a nutrient benchmarking system to create an effective fertilization plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What nutrient is the most important for strawberries?
The most commonly lacking and volatile nutrient in the soil is nitrogen. It quickly turns to gas and escapes into the atmosphere. Other micro and macronutrients may last longer in the soil. However, nitrogen, phosphorus, and Potassium are macronutrients that need to be regularly replenished for healthy strawberry growth.
Q: What is the best way to apply organic fertilizers to Strawberry plants?
The organic fertilizer should be applied around the plant. Microbes within the soil will break down the constituted mix and release nutrients for your strawberry plants to use.
Q: Can a strawberry plant be overfertilized?
Although organic fertilizers are generally called nonburning, a nutrient overload can cause other problems such as disease and insect infestations. Apply the fertilizer as recommended as advised by the soil sample results. In the absence of a soil sample result, adhere to the instructions on the fertilizer label.
To effectively use organic fertilizer for your strawberries, you need to understand how it works. It needs time and warm temperature for soil microorganisms to consume the constituted mix and release plant-ready nutrients. If your strawberry garden is situated in cool weather, you may need to wait up to six weeks to see results. But, during growing seasons, results are usually visible after two weeks. For granular fertilizers, the slow-acting microbes ensure your plants have enough to feed on throughout a growing season.
To get an early start, apply the best organic fertilizer for strawberries at the time of planting or two weeks before. This is enough time for microbes to break down these fertilizers and make them available within the soil. Apply the fertilizer up to 3 to 6 inches of the topsoil where the plants can easily access it. When you need a nutrient boost, strategically apply a liquid organic fertilizer to give your strawberries a boost.
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