A reader asks:

I must admit to being a bit confused about your use of the term “NPK fertilizer” – I presume by that you are referring to artificially manufactured fertilizers? All fertilizers, including those we consider “natural” such as animal manure and compost, contain varying concentrations of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) (amongst other things), which is what makes the plants grow. So it seems to me that wanting to be “NPK free” is a bit odd? Julie

Thanks for your question, Julie. I’ll see if I can help answer your question.

Simply put we do not use any organic fertilizer product that has those three N-P-K numbers on the package.

To clarify, fertilizer by law carries a guaranteed ‘N-P-K Analysis’ — a promise that inside the bag you’ll get a certain percentage of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potash (K). Your bag of fertilizer is supposed to replace used up N P K. Non-organic fertilizers have very high guaranteed NPK analysis while organic fetilizers have a lower guaranteed NPK analysis.

For example a list of “organic fertilizers”:

  • fish emulsion
  • bat guano
  • seabird guano
  • blood meal
  • bone meal
  • alflafa meal
  • kelp meal
  • feather meal
  • etc

For example, somethings we do use:

  • EM
  • Compost/Humus
  • Worm Castings
  • Animal Manure ( from our own backyard barnyard)
  • Green Manures
  • Mulch
  • etc

You can see from some of the products that we do actually use, they aren’t classified as “fertilizer” since the nutrient content is NOT labeled on the package. We consider them soil amendments. This year we did splurge for the 10k Challenge and bought more than normal to give the soil (and me!) an extra boost.


  1. Erin Evans says:

    Where do you get rock dust from? I havn’t found any at my local nurseries. How much do you put on?

  2. PhoenixJen says:

    Thanks for clarifying, Justin. I had the very same questions! Please keep us posted on your progress as you do this – it’s very interesting to me.


  3. Ginny says:

    Thanks for that perspective on feeding the soil. 😀

    By the way, that picture gave me a little twinge of that ache I get when overwhelmed with the beauty of the Lord’s Creation. You guys do good work! 😀

    In Christ,


  4. Claudia says:

    Can you tell me regarding your animal manure, I know you have straw down with your animal manure. Do you scrap up the animal manure with the straw and put it directly into your garden beds or do you compost the straw manure first?


  5. P~ says:

    I can’t say that I’ve actually made a declaration to not use NPK’s, but I have basically moved that way. I really got going with my compost pile last year, and with the addition of the Hens this year, I’ll be able to add fresh manure to that arsenal as well.

    I do have a question, Have you or “Farmer J” ever made a manure tea with your chicken manure. I’ve been toying with the notion of steeping some manure in water and then diluting it with a spray-spreader for my lawn. If I’m going to have it, by golly it ought to be natural.

  6. Charlene Long says:

    This is a little off topic but looking at the picture at the top reminded me of a question I’ve been wanting to ask. I see what looks like spinach going to seed.

    If you are using all heirloom seeds and yet you are doing succession planting (aiming for high yields), how do you have the time and space to allow the plants to go to seed so that you can collect it?

    Any tips would be appreciated because I do raised beds exclusively and find it difficult to have enough space if I have to allow the plants to stay in the box for an extended amount of time.


  7. Devin Quince says:

    Sorry if this is somewhere I missed, but could you explain why you choose not to use “fertilizers” with phosphates?
    The Quinces

  8. Anais says:

    Hello Erin

    If you aren’t able to find ROCK DUST locally, certain organic garden supply companies do offer and ship rock dust.

    We are working with one of our suppliers to see if can offer such soil supplements on our online store (www.PeddlersWagon.com)


  9. Anais says:


    Amen. Creation is certainly a glorious thing. We are blessed to be living a garden, surrounded by God’s creation.


  10. Anais says:

    Hello P

    Farmer D and J have used and made COMPOST TEA. As for MANURE TEA we are cautious about using such an application directly on the plants. Just to be “on the safe side” due to the fact that we do sell our crops and wouldn’t want accidental contamination.

    We use and apply our animal manures only in the soil.

    More about using MANURE TEA



    I popped on over to your blog – my the chick, er, chickens have grown! Looking good. 😉

    Happy growing and chicken raising!

  11. Anais says:


    Thanks for the question. We do both ways – depending on the season and type of beds we are using the compost/manure in.

    Right now (during the rainy season) we no longer have straw in the animal enclosure but are using wood chips (free) The wood chips are easy to handle with the manure than straw (straw gets heavy and matted when wet).

    Hope this helps.

  12. Lisa says:

    What you have done to your property is great! Do you know where can I find free or low cost mulch in the Pasadena area? I have a large area so I need a lot. I already know about the City of L.A. Dept. of Sanitation mulch–I won’t use it anymore after I found out it contains sewage sludge and yard waste. Thanks.

  13. ferdie says:

    justin im very much interested interested with ur biodiesel, can u share it with me how to make it at home?

    here’s my email add — “fcs_ph@yahoo.com”

Leave a Reply to Devin Quince Cancel reply