Since I moved to the Montreal suburbs, I have become an active gardener. I used to apply generous amounts of fertilizers. I also got into serious trouble. My lawn died. Not because I burned it, but because I got a bad case of grubs. Several of my perennials died also or fail to come back healthy after the winter. I learned the hard way that most perennials are better off without any (chemical) fertilizer.
It turns out that in most cases, chemical fertilizers are overrated. As a rule, you should not use them.
- Fertilizers may contain toxic material which stays in your soil and your vegetables.
- Fertilizers may increase the acidity of the soil, which is bad for most plants.
- Fertilizers make your soil poorer, not richer over time.
- Fertilizers tend to kill the microorganisms in your soil, rendering natural composting difficult.
- Fertilizers make your plants less resilient to disease and drought: artificially sustained growth is not always a great idea. Are you really in a hurry or do you want more robust plants?