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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 10:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:44 pm
Posts: 204
Location: zone 5 SE Wisconsin
So, it appears this forum is fairly slow so far.

I thought I might *try* to get some activity by asking what y'all (yes, YOU!) do as far as your organic practices.

I will start out.

Generally I do not refer to myself as an organic gardener, I usually just use the term "natural" or "stay away from toxic products" or something generic. I shy away from the organic label because I think it isn't very descriptive. I have no problem with things which are inorganic, after all soil is mostly inorganic and where would we be without that ;-)

For my lawn I mulch mow grass and leaves. I have to import leaves as I am in new construction and don't have trees established enough to drop many leaves. I do fertilize with synthetics though as I don't have a convenient source of grain in bulk to use cost effectively. I would like to try using grain as a fert for the lawn in the future though.

For my ornamental gardens I use around 2" of compost per year as amendment. For perennials this is all they get, for annuals I will use fast acting synthetics for those plants which show increased bloom with them.

For container plants I also use organic ferts for light feeders and synthetics for heavy feeders. I am considering moving away from the synthetics altogether for containers and ornamentals. Not because I think they are bad, but because I would like to. I am presently researching which organic sources are fast acting enough to take care of the heavy feeders like cannas.

For the veggy garden it is 100% organic. Compost and mulch. Organic ferts for the most part, but I have used synthetics for the heavy feeders where organics just aren't delievered fast enough for things such as corn. I don't grow corn anymore and don't need synthetics for anything else I grow.

The most toxic pesticide I use is neem oil.

I used some Weed b Gone to get rid of weeds on a new lawn, but now that the lawn has filled in and weeds are controllable I hand pull or tool pull, no chems at all.

I save all my kitchen scraps to put into the gardens where they compost naturally. I manage a cold compost pile where I put everything that doesn't compost in place rapidly and I am just starting out with a worm bin to make some worm poop for me to play with, I mean to use as plant food/soil amendment.

I am considering adding all paper products to the list of things that go to the soil instead of landfill, but I think I go through too much for my composting operations to handle. Looking for ways to address that. The recent addition of a worm bin is one step toward that.

So, that's me.

What about you?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 11:47 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:16 am
Posts: 35
Location: San Antonio Zone 8/9
Im in the dustpan called Texas...nah just playin i love this state....As for organic practices I use this is it:

I have a compost bin made from scavenged pallets and I usually practice on taking bags of leaves from my neighborhood on regular basis. My sister and I use alot of veggies to prepare our food so we have a lot of veggie scraps. For browns i use coffee grounds from Starbucks(no not a commercial endorsement...but the grounds are free)

I have a rabbit who is more than happy to provide me with enough droppings for fertilizer. From what I hear you can put it straight into the garden and it wont burn your plants but I havent tried it yet.

Im starting a lasagna garden to smother out some weeds cuz tilling really can be a pain. cardboard seems to work

And Im about to start brewing some Compost Tea to use on my plants

Bad To The Bonemeal!!!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 12:09 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 12:05 am
Posts: 310
Location: Louisiana
Well, I try to keep everything mulched, often with the weeds I've just pulled. Our city now recycles just about everything, which makes me less likely to use newspapers under the weeds or leaves or whatever else I can get my grubby little hands on. Last year I paid some guys to bring me a truckload of mulch from the city compost facility. The compost itself is free, but I don't have a truck or a strong back to load it. I seldom use pesticides of any kind, but kinda like those slug and snail baits that break down to fertilizer, even tho' they feel a bit like cheating. I encourage the little anoles and geckos that do such a good job of eating a lot of pests (and no doubt some beneficials also, but I try not to think about that!) I keep threatening to use Round-up when I get too far behind on the weeding, but seldom actually do it except very occasionally on weed trees that have gotten too big to get rid of otherwise. I seldom use fertilizers other than compost, which is usually all it needs, but I do use some on greedy things like my pet aroids, and on some containers, and that might be an organic liquid or it might be a slow-release chemical. Mostly I try to encourage beneficials to keep the 'bugs' under control, try to build the soil with compost and mulch and occasional boosts of kelp and organic fertilizers, and to be in tune with the universe! (Oh wow! Did I really say that?)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 12:38 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:38 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Southern Maryland
I am not an organic gardener but I am trying to get away from pesticides and fertilizers. I started my first compost pile last summer and will get to see how it turned out this weekend.

I also started a worm bin over the winter since my daughter is in love with the wiggly things. made a onground bin a couple of weeks ago and transfered everything to it. (cant tell daughter I really want the castings or she probly wont want to keep the bin anymore :lol: )

I tried alfalfa pellets for the first time as a fertilizer on my flower bed and in the yard. I know I will have to wait to see the benefits. Very hard not to grab the MG. :oops:

All in all I think I am doing ok with it. While I may not be an organic gardener I hope the little I am doing is helping keep trash out of the landfill and chemicals out of the ground.


Gardening is cheaper than therapy!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 11:08 am 
I also have to say that I'm not what would be considered a true "organic" gardener, but I'm pretty darn close.

In fact, my only real deviation from total organic garden practice is a fondness for Miracle Gro products. I've done several "with & without" experiments over the years, & frankly I find judicious use of Miracle Gro to be very helpful. And I ADORE their potting soil.

That said, I don't use any other chemical fertilizers or pesticides, preferring products from Safer &/or Gardens Alive when necessary. Also rely heavily on floating row covers as far as protecting my vegetables are concerned.

With 7 horses, I have more than enough gorgeous compost for any & every gardening project I have in mind. Definitely "black gold". And even though this isn't really gardening-related, I am a firm believer in natural fly predators to keep flies down in the stable. Have been using them for several years now & have seen an unbelievable reduction in the fly population, which has enabled me to reduce the amount of citronella fly spray I have to use in the summer to about a quarter of what it used to be.

 Post subject: Organic Gardening
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 11:50 am 
I have been totally organic for 6 years now. After walking on the dark side, I came to realize the many advantages of working with nature and not against it.

I use protein meals like corn gluten meal in the spring, alfalfa meal, soybean meal, feather meal and fish/seaweed combo liquid fertilizers. No synthetic chemicals of any kind are used on my property.

I used to topdress my lawn with dehydrated cow manure every fall but have stopped that practice and now use Aerated Compost Tea. Tea in conjunction with protein meals is all you need to keep your soil biology happy and thriving.

I've found that making ACT is cheaper than buying all that topdressing, provide 1000 times more biology to my soil, easy to make and easy to apply. How can you beat that!

Also utilizing proper watering and mowing cultural practices for healthy turf.

Synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides do damage to the soil biology. They create imbalances and holes in the soil foodweb. It from these imbalances that create the problems, like thatch, fungal diseases and attacks from predator insects, compaction and the reduction of organic matter in the soil to name just a few.

Chemically derived nutrients from synthetic fertilizers bypass the microbial activity in the soil and are absorbed directly by the plant roots. Prolonged use of chemical fertilizers will actually deplete the soil's organic matter content and kill the soil's good microbes by starvation leaving the plants completely dependent on the continued use of non-organic formulations. Lawns that have been feed for years with chemical "lawn food" require annual de-thatching because there are no beneficial microbes in the soil to break-down the grass clipping and convert them into humus.

It's my opinion that there is no reason for using synthetic chemicals in the home yard or garden.

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