I can do my own research, but I'm hoping someone has come across an idea of how much one would need to dilute the stuff to make it relatively harmless. Failing that, direction to a good source of information on the subject would be great. Is it better to put very small amounts in the compost than to dilute it in water?
The solution to pollution is dilution.
Your bag of fertilizer can do some good, giving your plants the nutrients they need to flourish. However, they can also do some bad, killing off the microbes which, left to their own devices, would otherwise benefit your soil and plants. There is a way to use nature to process the stuff, but I have no empirical data to support this idea. Add the fertilizer in small amounts to a compost heap. Dissolving it in liquid first would help to spread it out and lower the concentration. I'd also consider adding more material to that heap to keep it going longer than you would otherwise. Diluting it will help to prevent widescale destruction of the microbes. After the heap has run its course, spread it over a wide area of land rather than all in one spot.
When I bought this place the previous owner left a bag of lime and a bag of 10-10-10 in the garage. I've considered using it as described above, but it remains untouched after 2+ years. It takes a lot of work to get the soil into good shape. Years ago I bought a 50 pound bag of storebought chemical fertilizer. I spread it around a quarter acre lot when I lived in town. I never saw an earthworm after that. The risk is yours. What do you expect to gain from the effort?
Bob Dobbs wrote:Tell me precisely brand the fertilizers are, I should be able to discern the nutrition sources, I have plenty of experience with the chemistry of chemical fertilizers and I know which ones are the worst and which ones are better as far as killing soil biota goes. Generally I avoid anything that has chloride in it, like muriate of potash, and I dislike ammonium sulfate as well because of its harshness. Is it a soluble fertilizer or is it one of those "10-10-10" type fertilizers with no micronutrients? I would try to use them up myself depending, but it would be in near-homeopathic amounts in a compost pile, or to burn up a large amount of "browns" like waste straw or anything with tons of weed seeds in it. Use the burning strength of chemical fertilizers to kill the weed seeds, and make compost from a waste product that would be otherwise unusable!
Thanks for your help everyone.
Bob: One of the bags is totally unlabelled now, so I can only tell you about the general/lawn bag. It's Canada Way, 6-8-6. Otherwise the packaging only says that it's from Nu Gro IP Inc in Brantford. .5KG per 1.5m of tree height. There's no listing of micronutrients, just minimum percentages. The instructions say to water it in if applying to grass, but don't even mention water for vegetables or trees - just to mix it into the topsoil.
Ken: I don't really expect anything except to rid the world of something not terribly useful and fairly toxic before someone throws it into the landfill. Also I figured some future good might come out of having this conversation on the forum. It's not the easiest thing to find info on online.
We had something slightly similar happen when a neighbor moved and thought they were really helping us out by giving us the contents of their cupboards...all packaged foods full of additives and white flours etc. We thanked them and carefully separated the boxs for our recycling center and the plastic liners and buried the "food" on a corner of our land...didn't want to eat it and didn't even want it in our compost.
Jordan Lowery wrote:I wouldnt use it. Or even give it to someone else. Why did he give it to you in the first place, does he have too much or did he not like the stuff. Sorry to be negative but that stuffs toxic.
Keep it for the next generation is also an option yes. Perhaps there will come a time when they bury it back in the bottom of a borehole or throw it into the sun. There should be a "passing the buck" stockpile in every city I think. Where else to put millions of Nalgene bottles? This stuff is not so much toxic but overly potent, which could possibly be dealt with organically. Mushrooms are my bet, but I'm a musician, not so much a mycologist.
I think one of the big reasons chem fertilizer gets such a worm-killing rap is because the cheap crap that can't make explosives is what most people can get, and indeed does kill the soil (just like if you put out table salt) whereas the better stuff is restricted because one could make a bomb quite easily from the stuff. And IMHO superphosphate is fine, which is rare but made of phosphate rock plus phosphoric acid, triple super phosphate is bad and made from phosphate plus sulfuric acid.
Perhaps you could dilute it heavily in water and water with that in homeopathic-type dilution? I mean the dose and the lack of micros is the problem as opposed to it being ammonium or phosphate, one can easily kill crops/worms with too much hot manure for the same reasons the ferts would, i.e they contain the same chemicals in the same forms when you get down to it, the manure just containing more of the actual goodies the plants need. I'll do a bit of brand research for you when my little homonculus goes to sleep.
You could also kindly return them to your landlord..
Cob is sand, clay and sometimes straw. This tiny ad is made of cob:
The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book by Mike Oehler - digital downloadhttps://permies.com/wiki/23444/digital-market/digital-market/Earth-Sheltered-Solar-Greenhouse-Book