Joy, thankfully there are no labor pains! Just wallet pains!
Pat, don't get too stressed out over the alfalfa pellets. They are pretty much harmless. I've actually forgotten to put dirt over them in the hole when planting, on more than one occasion, and the daylily had no problems at all. I've dumped a bunch of pellets right on top of a clump, too, because I wasn't paying attention, and there was zero burn. It really isn't going to hurt anything. But, I still like to put dirt over it in the hole, in case it does create some heat. Better to be safe than sorry, I guess. I feel really safe using it. If you want to do something else organic, try seaweed fertilizer. I use that also, but not as regularly as alfalfa pellets. Here is the one that I buy.
I like it because it doesn't stink, and the plants seem to really love it. I'm never consistent with it, but it does work. Wait for it to go on sale this fall though! I think I got it for 1/2 price the last few years.