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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 10:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:38 pm
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Location: Southern Maryland
I have never been one to use chemicals in my yard because of serious skin sensitivities (which my children inherited) and have always let my grass and yard just "survive".

Well, now that I know there are other ways to take care of it without chemicals I am slowly getting the beautiful yard I have always wanted.

The only thing I have ever used is Miracle Grow. And used it often on flower beds. Now that I am incorporating all this organic matter into my yard and flower beds, I dont want to undo all the work I have done. But my annuals need a boost.

I dont want to grab the MG anymore. Is there anything I can use that will give my annuals the boost they need and still be benificial to the soil that I am working so hard to make good.

Thanks

Carey

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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 12:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:44 pm
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Location: zone 5 SE Wisconsin
What a terrific question.

Annuals are somewhat unique in that they often have fairly high fertility requirements to put on the best display. Most plants are more 'slow and steady' in their nature and as such a soil well amended with organic matter meets their needs and gets even better at meeting all of a plant's needs with each year that the soil is well fed.

Annuals that we want to bloom their heads off and be covered in a thick profusion of color more or less live their life in the fast lane and seem to respond best to a diet of 'cocaine' (fast acting synthetics like MG) rather than a healthy meal (fertile organically built up soil).

There are 2 ways to address this (that I am aware of, but I am not the world's foremost authority by any means).

The first way is to 'cheat' a little bit and go organic based, but not 100% organic. For the 'cheaters' out there a company called espoma is the answer. Their blended fertilizer mix contains an outstanding list of organic fertilizers along with a small amount of fast acting synthetic ferts. It is the addition of the synthetic ferts that makes this a 'cheaters' fert rather than a 'true organic' fert.

http://www.espoma.com/

The second way to go about this is to stick to a 100% organic methodology. To get the same "boost" from organics as we can from a synthetic like miracle grow means we have to focus on those materials that are fast acting. Simply put, there is nothing in the organic world that delivers the phosphorus for flowering that synthetics do as quickly.

The idea of a 'boost' for flowering annuals is more or less foreign in the organic world because the very idea of organic fertilizers is feed the soil and let the soil feed the plants. A synthetic feeds the plant directly. See the problem?

What you can try though is making a tea of organic products and watering the plants with it for nutrient value. For flowering you primarily want phosphorus and bone meal is a good source. It contains plant available phosphorus which makes it a good choice for a quick effect, but at the same time it is a slow releaser of the phosphorus. Include some along with whatever else you like in a bucket of water and just let it sit for a week or two and then water the plants. If this approach works well for you, just keep a tea soaking throughout the season for the occasional 'pick me up'. This approach is not to be confused with aerated compost teas which are 'brewed' for much shorter times. These aren't geared toward nutrients, but bacteria/fungi counts. The leave it soak method it meant to extract the nutrients from the organic matter into the water so they can be drenched into the soil and get down to root level quickly.


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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 9:54 am 
There are two products that I would recommend. One being Neptune's Harvest Fish/Seaweed liquid organic fertilizer and the other being Organic Gem liquid organic fertilizer.

Use a hose end sprayer and apply once a week when watering your plants. You can also use this on your grass as well.

Easy to apply and does the trick.

http://www.neptunesharvest.com/

http://www.organicgem.com/


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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 8:22 pm 
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Location: Raleigh, NC
Carey..You might just want to cruise down to the "Vermicomposting" forum. You and your kids could have a great time making your own soil enhancer using composting worms and your food/paper scraps.

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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 10:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:38 pm
Posts: 127
Location: Southern Maryland
thanks for the advise everyone.

Redhen, Me and the kids did start a worm farm this winter. :lol: I am getting ready to divide it with the hopes that by the end of summer a lot of the worms will have migrated across. I just dont have any castings yet.

Would those castings give the annuals the "punch" they need? I thought the castings would be more like a slow working good for the long haul fert.

I'll be honest with ya, I thought I would be able to harvest by now. (guess it would help if I stopped feeding it :roll: )

Carey

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:07 am 
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Location: Raleigh, NC
Vermicompost will give your plants everything they need to thrive.
Post in Vermicomposting and we can talk about harvesting.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:39 am 
It's important to note that vermicompost has growth hormones in the humic acid of the castings. This should not be confused with nitrogen, as the nitrogen content of castings is very low. Good stuff.

There is a few growth hormones in seaweed as well. During the growing season, I actually use both on lawn and flowers. The more diversity you have in your soil, the better.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:21 pm 
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Location: NH zone 4/5
Try manure tea or something comparable. The "thing" Miricle grow had was soluble nitrogen. Manure tea does too.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 4:42 am 
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As someone has already posted, Espoma makes great organic Fertilizers. All of their "tone" products are Oraginic based but Espoma Plant-tone (5-3-3) is 100% organic. I make a Compost Tea from this. I do not have specific measurements, as I just wing it myself.

I take an 18 gallon Rubbermaid tub and fill it half way with water. Then I add about a handfull(?) of Espoma Plant-tone, a spoonful of Molasses, and any thing else I feel I might need. The Espoma "tone" products contain all trace nutrients. However if I want more of a Nitrogen boost, I add a little Bloodmeal, if I want more Phosphorus I add Bone Meal. The most important part is the air I add with an Aquarium pump and with an Airstone at the bottom of the Rubbermaid bin. The Air Pump and Air Stone is very important.

This contains all the Nutrients you will need, and it will be broken down before you even add it. 100% Organic with fast release action. However this method can smell really bad, if you live in a rural area no problem, I just moved to a small city where I have to keep smells down so I do this indoor with the aid of an ozone generator that keeps the smell down.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:23 pm 
I have the most fabulous dark, loose, thick, nutrient-rich compost that I've been brewing from my horses. And you being in Maryland - I bet you could find the exact same stuff - or components for it - in a heartbeat.

Search around your local stables - or even private horse owners. Many will gladly give you the stuff for free. Six months later you won't be asking here again where to get terrific compost - lol!!!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:59 am 
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Location: Kansas
I have used coffee grounds and that seems to help. If you go to a Starbucks they actually give away their used coffee ground and it seems to work miracles. No pun intended. :)

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