It certainly is possible to grow large healthy vegetables without fertilizer. If all the environmental conditions are right, vegetables can naturally grow large and healthy. However, having all those environmental conditions be just right is a pretty rare occurance, which is not to say that non-fertilized vegetables are in any way deficient. Rather, if you want to see vegetables reach the yield sizes that we are used to seeing in the supermarket, then fertilizer is almost a must as it is the nutrients that plants need to grow.
There are plenty of ways to avoid fertilizer use and still grow healthy vegetables. Manure and compost are two things that return nutrients to the soil without the costly side effects of fertilizers. Also, if the soil is lacking nitrogen, there are plants that can be used to fix nitrogen in the soil resulting in naturally increasing the soils nitrogen level.
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