Homemade Organic Fertilizer Recipe

Fertilizers Home Made Formulas

In this information you will find recipes and techniques that work to: Protect your house and lawn with special indoor and outdoor Shock Treatments: Ants, Snails, Slugs, Roaches, Fleas, Earwigs, Cockroaches, Silverfish, Beetles, Termites and Webworms. Say good-bye to those annoying yellow spots. Learn the secret to keep your grass greener in water restricted areas and in hot weather. Treat your lawn with a deworming concoction. (learn how and why you must do it once a year) Use effective Natural Insecticides (it's now time to learn what they are and how to use them. in the years to come, only natural insecticides will be permitted by cities!) Avoid serious plant, pet and child health problems caused by toxic commercial products. Protect yourself and your family against the nile virus in 1 minute. Kill ants and destroy the entire colony in 3 days or less. Kill harmful insects while fertilizing your soils. Read more here...

Fertilizers Home Made Formulas Overview


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Fertilizers Opting for organic

Organic fertilizers come from plant and animal sources such as manure, kelp, blood, feathers, cottonseed, and alfalfa they nourish the soil food web. Chemical fertilizers are made from fossil fuels and mineral salts they deplete nonrenewable resources, kill the life in the soil, burn plants if applied too generously, and leach into ground and surface water. Organic fertilizers are better for plants and soil because they're gentler, slower-acting, come from natural renewable sources, are low in salt content, don't leach into groundwater, and work in harmony with microorganisms to improve the soil. In fact, organic fertilizers need soil organisms to convert their nutrients to forms your plants can use. The occasional (2 or 3 times per year) application of a good-quality organic fertilizer is adequate for most kinds of plants. Fertilize plants with special needs (such as acid-loving species or fruit trees) with specially-formulated organic fertilizers.

Organic Versus synthetic fertilizers

Organic fertilizers generally come from plants, animals, or minerals. Most organic fertilizers contain a broad range of nutrients, including important trace elements many add organic matter to the soil and enhance the soil ecosystem. By contrast, synthetic fertilizers have specific chemical formulations and often contain only three nutrients nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. These products don't do anything to enhance soil life, and they don't add organic matter. Organic fertilizers have other benefits over synthetic fertilizers for both soil and plants They are less likely to burn the young roots of seedlings. Synthetic fertilizers are made from mineral salts that can kill roots as well as soil microbes if applied improperly. In general, organic fertilizers are a kinder, gentler way to give plants the nutrients they need.

Use Organic Slow Release Fertilizers

Many synthetic fertilizers contain highly soluble nutrients that force plants into quick, lush growth. Although this growth may seem like a good thing, it's not succulent growth is very attractive to insect and disease pests. Also, any fertilizer that isn't taken up immediately by plants may run off and pollute waterways. Most organic fertilizers are the slow-release kind. The nutrients are bound up in large molecules and are released slowly through the action of microorganisms. Plants receive a slow, steady diet of nutrients, and the risk of runoff is minimized. See Chapter 6 for full details on fertilizers.

Slowrelease Fertilizers

Slow-release fertilizers are used primarily in the turf, sod and ornamental nursery industries. Since plants can take up nutrients continuously, it may be beneficial to provide them with a somewhat steady supply throughout their most active periods of growth. Perhaps the most efficient way to achieve this is to apply a slow-release fertilizer designed to release nutrients at rates matching the specific plant nutrient requirements. Slow-release fertilizers contain one or more nutrients. These elements are released or made available for plant use ov extended time period. The slow-release materials are generally too costl in agronomic cropping systems. Ongoing research efforts explore the potential for use of these materials as in-furrow starter fertilizers because of their relatively low salt index.

How to Choose and Apply Fertilizers

Many people think fertilizers are the basis of good fertility, but they're really just the tip of the iceberg. Pouring on fertilizer won't guarantee rich, fertile soil. Fertilizers won't make up for poor drainage or compacted soil. Fix the drainage or structural problems and you'll find plants suddenly make better use of any fertilizer. The physical factors mentioned in chapter 1 that promote good tilth also promote the best, most efficient fertilizer use. Creating a good balance of readily available nutrients is the next step in building rich, fertile soil. Start by testing your soil, as described on Pages 22-23, to see what nutrients it needs and whether there are pH Problems that interfere with nutrient use. Correct acidic or alkaline sou chapter 7) before adding fertilizer. Organic vs. Synthetic Fertilizers I A Dictionary of Terms i Reading the Fine Print I Ways to Apply Fertilizers l Foliar Feeding I Supplying Nitrogen I Supplying Magnesium I Supplying Micronutrients I Supplying...

Preplant fertilizer application

Apply base, or precrop, fertilizers after soil steaming and leaching, and incoiporate them into the greenhouse soil by rototilling. Add these fertilizers to the limestone that might be required for adjusting the pH level of the soil (see Table 7). In general, add as much of the required calcium and phosphorus as possible as a base dressing because these nutrients can be stored effectively in the soil and their absence from liquid feeds prevents most clogging problems of the irrigation system the calcium should be in the form of limestone and the phosphorus in the form of superphosphate, both finely ground. Furthermore, these nutrients, by nature of their source and their ability to bind to soil particles, are released slowly into the soil solution and therefore do not raise the total amount of salts dramatically, nor do they upset the nutrient balance of the soils to which they are added as a base dressing. Because tomatoes require a large amount of potassium, supply a good portion of...

Minimizing Fertilizer Resource

Brassica crops seldom utilize all of the nutrients applied, leading to the excess remaining in the soil and potentially available for leaching into groundwater and ultimately causing pollution hazards. Public concern regarding the use of fertilizers is leading to a search for more effective means of application which diminish the quantities used and focuses them into the crop root zone, leading to more efficient utilization without compromising yield or product quality. Nitrogen is derived from several sources, both natural and artificial. Once nitrogen is in the nitrate form, then it becomes subject to movement in the groundwater and contributes to contamination. The USA standard has a maximum of 10 mg of nitrate nitrogen in drinking water and the European acceptable daily intake of nitrate nitrogen is 3.65 mg kg body weight (Anon, 1997). All vegetables, and Brassica crops in particular, have high financial values, and are intensively managed, requiring substantial inputs of...

Plantbased fertilizers

Fertilizers made from plants generally have low to moderate N-P-K values, but their nutrients quickly become available in the soil for your plants to use. Some of them even provide an extra dose of trace minerals and micronutrients. The most commonly available plant-based fertilizers include the following Alfalfa meal Derived from alfalfa plants and pressed into pellet form, alfalfa meal is beneficial for adding nitrogen and potassium (about 2 percent each), as well as trace minerals and natural growth stimulants. Roses in particular seem to like this fertilizer they benefit from up to 5 cups of alfalfa meal per plant every ten weeks, worked into the surface of the soil. Add some to your compost pile, too, to speed the decomposition process. Corn gluten meal Derived from corn, this powder contains 10 percent nitrogen fertilizer. Apply it only to actively growing plants, because it inhibits the growth of seeds. The manufacturer recommends allowing one to four months after using this...

Using Chemical Fertilizers

Many chemical fertilizers are made from natural gas and other nonsustain-able resources. They also often have a high salt index, which means that they salt the soil, making conditions tough for the many beneficial microorganisms on which your plants depend for true well-being. Also, many chemical fertilizers act very quickly, which means that they can burn plants by overloading them with excessive nutrients and then go away, leaving the plants stranded. Using chemical fertilizers on plants is like expecting your body to live on coffee and chocolate bars. It's tempting but not so healthy. Sustainable gardeners depend on organic fertilizers that provide nourishment for the entire soil food web, not just the plants (see Chapter 16 for details). Organic fertilizers are made from renewable natural sources rather than petroleum. They're much less likely to cause pollution from runoff and to leach into groundwater. And they don't burn plants. They apply nutrients gradually as plants prefer...

Ways to Apply Fertilizer

Whatever tvpe of fertilizer you choose, don't exceed the label directions for how much and how ften tc to fertilizers, too little is safer than too much. Broadcasting. Sprinkle fertilizer evenly over the surface, either by hand or with a spreader. (First measure out the amount recommended for that area.) Rake it in for the fastest response, and to minimize chances of any washing away. Sidedressing. Spread a band of fertilizer alongside growing plants. Make bands parallel to rows of plants make the band a ring around the base of a single plant. In either case, keep concentrated fertilizers a few inches away from stems. Scratch the soil lightly to mix in fertilizer. loosened soil at the bottom of the hole. If str.g concentrated fertilizers, top with a couple of oches - ** to avoid burning plant roots. Watering in. Some fertilizers are made to be dissolved in, or diluted with, wafer so that con n plants as you water them. Some liquid Utilizers c r' also be used for foliar feeding (see...

Flowering Houseplant fertilizer

Foliage plants will put on plenty of leaf growth if you feed them with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, like fish emulsion. But flowering houseplants need more potassium and phosphorus to put on a blooming big show. Go ahead and give flowering plants fish emulsion when you fertilize your foliage plants, Be gentle when you work fertilizer into houseplants' soil you don't want to tear up the plant's roots. Use an oid fork or a chopstick to mix the fertilizer into the soil without injuring the plant. 2. Using a fork, work the fertilizer into the top layer of soil, applying every 6 to 8 weeks at a rate of I teaspoon per 6-inch pot. 3. Store unused fertilizer in a sealed, labeled container for future feedings.

Mix and Match Organic fertilizer

Make your own custom organic fertilizer for almost any plant, says Bill Wolf, co-author of .Rome's Chemical-Free Yard and Garden. In general terms, there are three basic nutrients that a good general organic fertilizer should supply nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You cam save money by buying organic amendments that supply these nutrients and mixing them yourself in the proportions Bill recommends. The specific quantities of each nutrient will vary according to the materials you use, but all will give a balanced supply of nutrients.

Dry chemical fertilizers

Pelletized-granular Powdered fertilizer is compressed into pellets. These pellets are easy to spread and release the nutrients slowly as the pellets break down. Time-release The fertilizer pellets are coated with resin or a similar substance. The nutrients slowly diffuse through the resin. When watered, the surface is worn away much like licking a lollipop. There is no danger of overfertilizing, but one application is fenerally enough for vegetables for an entire season. ime-released fertilizers are especially good for slow-maturing crops such as melons and winter squash.

Complete versus Incomplete Fertilizer

A fertilizer is said to be a complete or mixed fertilizer when it contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (the primary nutrients). Examples of commonly used complete fertilizers are 6-12-12, 10-10-10, 15-15-15 and 20-10-10. An incomplete fertilizer will be missing one or more of the major components. Examples of incomplete fertilizers are 34-0-0 (ammonium nitrate), 46-0-0 (urea), 18-46-0 (diammonium phosphate), 0-46-0 (triple super phosphate) and 0-0-60 (muriate of potash). Incomplete fertilizers are blended to make complete fertilizers. As an example, if 100 pounds of 46-0-0 (urea) were combined with 100 pounds of 0-46-0 (concentrated super phosphate) and 100 pounds of 0-0-60 (muriate of potash), a fertilizer grade of 15-15-20 would result. When these quantities are combined, each quantity is diluted by the other two materials by one-third, provided each fertilizer material contributed equal weight to the blend. The fertilizer ratio indicates the proportion of N, P2O5 and K2O...

Compost More than Just a Fertilizer

Yeah, I also talk about compost in the fertilizer section, but compost is useful and necessary to your garden in so many ways other than as plain fertilizer. Because it's organically rich, with good texture, compost is just about the best thing you can add to soil. What works best really depends on the type and fertility of your native soil, but you can't go wrong digging in quite a lot of compost. Compost lightens heavy clay soil and gives needed substance to sandy soil. Less-extreme soils can still benefit.

Fertilizer Applications

General fertilizer requirements for a range of Brassica vegetables are given in Table 5.6. These bear out the more specific requirements cited in the other tables indicating that these crops benefit from substantial applications of major nutrients. To avoid damage to the root systems by increasing soil conductivity to dangerous concentrations, it is advisable to apply nitrogen in particular as split dressings, with half applied to the seedbed or at transplanting and the residue about 2 weeks later. Nitrogen and potassium when available in excess can reduce germination and damage seedling root systems, particularly on dry, sandy soils. Thorough incorporation of fertilizers into the soil before drilling or transplanting is essential. Both potassium and phosphorus may be applied some weeks in advance of seeding or transplanting. There is a danger that nitrogen applied too early in the growing season may be lost through leaching. 10-15 t ha compost, nitrogen applied as split dressing half...

Adding Fertilizers and Compost

Adding Fertilizers

Add fertilizers and other amendments one at a time. Avoid windy days, and hold the fertilizer close to the bed surface when spreading. Use the different colors to help you. The soil is dark, so sprinkle on a light-colored fertilizer (such as oyster shell flour) first, then a darker fertilizer (such as alfalfa meal), and so on. It is better to underapply the fertilizers because you can go back over the bed afterward to spread on any leftover, but it is difficult to pick up fertilizer if too much falls in one place. Aim for even distribution. Next, add compost and or aged manure. After all are applied, sift in the fertilizers and other amendments by inserting a spading fork 2 to 4 inches deep at a slant, then lifting it upward with a slight jiggling motion. Several things should be noted about the nutrients added to the upper 3 to 4 inches of soil. (1) The nutrients are added to the upper soil layer as they occur in nature. (2) The nutrients are relocated through the soil when larger...

Animalbased fertilizers

Whether by land, by sea, or by air, animals, fish, and birds all provide organic fertilizers that can help plants grow. Following are some of the most commonly available kinds Blood meal It's a bit gruesome, but blood meal is the powdered blood of slaughtered animals. It contains about 14 percent nitrogen and many micronutrients. Leafy, nitrogen-loving plants such as lettuce grow well with this fertilizer. Reportedly, blood meal also repels deer (but may attract dogs and cats). Fish products Fish byproducts make excellent fertilizers, and you can buy them in several forms Fish emulsion is derived from the fermented remains of fish. This liquid product can have a fishy smell (even the deodorized version), but it's a great complete fertilizer (5-2-2) and adds trace elements to the soil. When mixed with water, it's gentle yet effective for stimulating the growth of young seedlings. Some products blend fish with seaweed or kelp (refer to Plant-based fertilizers, earlier in this chapter)...

Whats your type Deciding on the kind of fertilizer

As you may know, fertilizer contains three main elements (nutrients) critical for good plant growth nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Nitrogen is the one that enhances foliage and stem growth. That's why nitrogen dominates lawn fertilizers. Common formulations include 22-3-7 and 21-0-0. Chapter 4 covers garden fertilizer in some detail, but here I discuss fertilizer that's strictly for lawn use. When you go shopping for lawn fertilizer, read the labels very carefully (see Figure 10-5). You'll probably find three types Quick-release lawn fertilizer With this fertilizer, you get a gratifyingly quick response the lawn greens right up after application. However, because the lawn consumes it quickly, you have to apply frequent subsequent doses. Slow-release lawn fertilizer This plant food supplies the same nutritive benefits as quick-release fertilizer but not as quickly. You can expect consistent, sustained growth, and you don't need to apply it as often. A mix of both A...

Special Purpose Fertilizers

Special purpose fertilizers are primarily used in the small fruit and nursery industries. When shopping for fertilizer, you will find that some are packaged for very specific uses, such as blueberry food. The blueberry (sometimes called rhododendron or azalea fertilizer) food is one example of these specialty materials and belongs to an old, established group, the acid-plant foods. Some of the compounds (ammonium sulfate is usually the acidifying ingredient) used in these fertilizers are chosen because they have an acid reaction and may benefit acid-loving plants when the soil pH is too high. These materials are appropriate for use when small-fruit producers are trying to slowly lower the soil pH in an established blueberry orchard that is showing symptoms of iron deficiency due to the effects of a high soil pH. They are often used in combination with dilute foliar sprays of iron or soil applications of iron chelates. These materials are usually applied at a rate that will meet the...

Fertilizer recommendations

The results of the growing medium analysis are interpreted with the appropriate nutrient requirement tables to determine the actual amount of fertilizer to apply. These tables usually have growing medium nutrient status indices to aid interpretation and results are normally given in kg of nutrient per hectare or grams of nutrient per square metre (Table 21.4). In some cases the amount of named fertilizer required is stated if another fertilizer is to be used to supply the nutrient the quantity needed must be calculated using the nutrient content figures (Table 21.2). It is important that throughout the fertilizer planning process the same units are used, i.e. per cent P2O5 or P per cent K2O or per cent K. Conversion figures are

The correct use of fertilizer

Although it is possible for the gardener to make up his own soluble feed it is far simpler and much more reliable to use one of the several proprietary brands of liquid feeds that are readily available. If a plant shows signs of, for example, potash deficiency, buy a proprietary brand of liquid fertilizer with a high balance of that particular Organic fertilizers such as bone meal, dried blood and hoof and horn are too slow acting to have any real beneficial effect on a plant with a nutrient deficiency. In the closed environment of pot or seed tray, inorganic fertilizers such as nitrate of soda, sulphate of ammonia, sulphate of iron, sulphate of potash and superphosphate should also be avoided as they may have too drastic a chemical effect on the plant and also upset the balance of the other nutrients. When applying a foliar fertilizer, always followthe manufacturer's instructionsexactly. Water the nutrients over the plant's leaves using a fine rose. APPLYING A FERTILIZER APPLYING A...

Rock on with mineralbased fertilizers

Most rock fertilizers decompose slowly into soil, releasing minerals gradually over a period of years. Organic gardeners use many different minerals to increase the fertility of their soils, but fertilizing with minerals is a long-term proposition. Because some of these products take months or years to break down fully into forms that plants can use, one application may last a long time. Following is a list of rock powders, the nutrients they supply, and application tips Chilean nitrate of soda Mined in the deserts of Chile, this highly soluble, fast-acting granular fertilizer contains 16 percent nitrogen. It's also high in sodium, though, so don't use it on arid soils (in which salt buildup is likely) or on salt-sensitive plants. Because it is so fast-acting, this product can harm soil life certified organic farms may use it to supply only 20 percent of a crop's nitrogen. Epsom salt Epsom salt helps tired feet and it's a fertilizer too Containing magnesium (10 percent) and sulfur (13...

Fast tun and fabulous fertilizer Quicktixes

We've polled garden experts from around the country for their favorite fertilizer formulas. Many of these fertilizer mixes, blends, and solutions provide more than the big three nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They also include vital mi-cronutrients, plant growth hormones, soil conditioners, and even disease and insect fighters. Some of these time-tested fertilizer lormulas include traditional, easy-to-find materials, like fish emulsion and manure. Others make use of more unusual ingredients, like Epsom salts and vinegar. Stil others make the most of kitchen and garden wastes, including coffee grounds and weeds. locally available materials for fertilizer Collect wastes from local breweries, manure from zoos or local farms, leaves from curbsides, and kitchen scraps from restaurants or grocery stores. Many establishments will be glad to have your haul away their wastes for tree. Some of the recipes in this chapter include fertilizer products that you'll need to buy at...

Frequency of Fertilizer and Lime Applications

Nitrogen is the most frequently applied nutrient in non-legume cropping systems. It must be added each year multiple applications of nitrogen during the period of crop production may sometimes be needed. For example, in hay systems, nitrogen fertilizer is added after each harvest during the growing season. Also, in many of the vegetable crop production systems, a split application of nitrogen is suggested. Your soil test report will provide a suggested frequency of nitrogen application needed for the crop of interest, and amounts to apply. Multiple applications of nitrogen are also sometimes needed when soil conditions favor nitrogen loss (i. e., prolonged periods when fields are saturated with water). In addition to nitrogen, potassium fertilization is usually needed every year in the continuous hay and silage cropping systems. This is because potassium is taken up by plants in larger amounts (termed luxury consumption) than are actually needed to result in the maximum dry matter...


In contrast to soil amendments that improve the overall soil environment, fertilizers are formulated to provide specific plant nutrients in specific amounts. Garden centers, farm stores, and catalog suppliers offer fertilizers in so many forms that you may get confused about which ones to choose. Make your decision based on the cost of the actual nutrients, the ease of application, and how quickly you want the nutrients to become available to the plants.

Fertilizer Label

The fertilizer guaranteed analysis or grade, stated on the bag, refers to how much of an element is in the material (the guaranteed minimum quantity present) based on percentage by weight. All fertilizers are labeled with three numbers which give the percentage by weight of total nitrogen (N), citrate-soluble phosphorus (expressed as P2O5) and water-soluble potassium (expressed as K2O), respectively. Often, to simplify matters, these numbers are said to represent nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N, P, K). It should be remembered thai actually it is not N-P-K but N-P2O5-K2O. The first chemists who studied pla nutrition expressed phosphorus and potassium as the oxide form in their This practice continued and was eventually adopted as an industry standard continues to this day. For example, if we have a 50-pound bag of 10-10-10, there are 5 poi N, 5 pounds of P2O5 and 5 pounds of K2O. To convert the P2O5 to actual elemental P, multiply it by 0.44 to convert the K2O to actual K,...

Starter fertilizer

An alternative is to use small volumes of liquid 'starter' fertilizer applied close to the transplant as it enters the planting station, making it readily available to the roots emerging from the propagation module. Several studies have demonstrated that this technique increases the rate of the early growth phases of crops and is ultimately expressed in additional yield. Such benefits have been achieved even where the soil has a high residual nutrient status or where ample fertilizer has been applied as broadcast granules (Costigan, 1998). Starter fertilizers usually contain phosphates of ammonia since both ions become strongly adsorbed to soil particles, resulting in little change to the soil pC. Use of ammonium ion encourages roots to excrete hydrogen ions (H+) in preference to bicarbonate (HCO3-) ions, with resultant acidification of the rhizosphere and increased phosphate uptake (Marschner, 1995) application of calcium nitrate would have the reverse effect. The presence of excess...

Organic Fertilizers

In Tennessee, certification of materials for use as organic fertilizers is currently handled by the Tennessee Land Stewardship Association. The word organic applied to fertilizers usually means that the nutrients contained in the product are derived solely from the remains of a once-living organism. If these products are registered with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as fertilizers, they will have the fertilizer grade stated on the package labels. These labels may or may not include the total nutrient value, but only what is guaranteed. Some organic materials, particularly composted manures and sludges, are often registered and sold as soil conditioners instead of fertilizers. Soil conditioners do not have a nutrient guarantee, even though various amounts of plant-available nutrients are usually present. Soil conditioners are materials having properties that may improve the soil's physical condition. Those soil conditioners with substantial nutrient value have much greatest...

Liquid fertilizers

Vegetable Garden Fertilizer Chart

These are sold as concentrated powders or concentrated liquids that you dilute with water. Liquid fertilizers are absorbed through the leaves, stems and branches, as well as through the roots. They can be sprayed or sprinkled on the vegetables. Different kinds of fertilizers are prepared for different soil conditions and vegetables. Some manufacturers offer as many as twelve different formulations. Most are composed of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, with trace elements. Vegetable fertilizer formulations are generally based on the following.-nitrogen which promotes leaf growth, stimul vegetative development for cabbage, lettuce, spinach, and collards. The numbers you find on a fertilizer container refer to the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) found in that particular fertilizer (in that order). A 5-10-5 fertilizer contains 5 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus and 5 percent potassium. In a 100-pound bag of this fertilizer there would be 5 pounds of...

Fertilizer and Lime

Vegetable gardens will not reach their potential unless the soil is properly limed and fertilized. Liming decreases soil acidity, increases fertilizer availability and reduces certain physiological problems such as blossom-end-rot of tomatoes, peppers and watermelons. A soil test is the only reliable method of determining the optimum amount of lime and fertilizer to apply. Instructions for taking soil samples and soil sample boxes are available at your county Extension office. The samples are sent to The University of Tennessee Soil Testing Laboratory in Nashville. The returned report indicates the amount of lime and fertilizer recommended. There is a small fee for this service. Vegetable gardens require a complete fertilizer such as 6-12-12, 10-10-10, 13-13-13 or 15-15-15 for proper growth and development. The three numbers are referred to as the fertilizer analysis. The first number is the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer by weight. The second and third numbers are the...


If the site was prepared properly and phosphorus and potassium were added based on the soil test, no additional phosphorus or potassium fertilizer should be required. Currants, gooseberries, and elderberries will benefit from applications of nitrogen. Young plants should receive 1 to 2 tablespoons of a high nitrogen fertilizer like ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, or urea annually in the spring. Older plants should receive 3 to 4 tablespoons of high nitrogen fertilizer in the spring. Nitrogen can also be supplied by aged manures. You can judge the need for fertilizer by looking at the bush. If the bush is very vigorous, producing a lot of new growth, reduce the nitrogen by half or eliminate it altogether. If growth is moderate but the plants still appear thrifty, apply the recommended amount. If few new canes are produced and growth appears poor, increase nitrogen application by half. For more detailed fertilizer use suggestions, refer to Extension publication Fertilizing Small...

Rganic Fertilizers

Advantages of Organic Fertilizers These fertilizers enhance (he activity of soil organisms- Fertilizers either come from organic sources or are synthesized. Some say that all synthetic fertilizers are bad, and others say there's absolutely no difference, but it's not that simple. All types of fertilizers can help your It's not really the source of the fertilizer that determines whether it must be used with care. It's whether the fertilizer is both concentrated and fast-acting. These qualities apply to most popular synthetic fertilizers but alsog to some that are classified as organic (such as nitrate of soda). Concentrated and Fast-Acting Fertilizers Concentrated fertilizers have both good and bad characteristics. Concentrated means you don't need to haul as much fertilizer over to your garden to supply a given amount of nutrient. But the same high concentration means it's easier to overdose. Too much concentrated fertilizer can upset the soil balance so much that vegetables yield...

Essential Plant Nutrients

Between enough and too much for the micronutrients than for other plant nutrients. Use of micronutrient fertilizer materials should only be undertaken with very clear objectives (i.e., correction of clearly identified Zn deficiencies of corn grown on soils high in pH or P) in mind and with a knowledge of previously successful rates of application. Indiscriminate use of micronutrients is more likely to result in undesirable effects than similar use of other nutrients.

Application Methods

Application Methods Potassium

There are different methods of fertilizer application depending on the kind of fertilizer material, the cropping system and equipment used by the producer. Broadcasting A recommended rate of lime or fertilizer is spread over the growing area and left to filter into the soil, or is incorporated into the soil with a cultivator. Broadcasting is the application method generally used for large field areas, when time or labor are limited, or when it is important to obtain a unif distribution of the soil amendment, as with a liming material. Banding This method is primarily used to apply small amounts of fertilizer as a plant starter. Starter fertilizer applications may stimulate earl growth and increase yield. This is especially important in no-till cropping s where crop residues or winter covers result in lower soil temperatures and moisture levels that may reduce plant vigor. Narrow bands of fertilizer are gener ally applied in furrows 2 to 3 inches from and 1 to 2 inches deeper (commonly...

Cutting out the chemicals

The reason that conventional gardens depend on chemicals is that they aren't set up to be durable and naturally resistant to pests and diseases. Gardeners often use chemicals because they don't know about natural alternatives or don't believe that natural solutions could possibly work as well. Actually, the opposite is true. Follow the tips on natural weed control and integrated pest management in Chapter 21, and stick with organic fertilizers (see Chapter 22). You'll be safer so will your family and the environment.

The Importance of Soil pH

Blueberries have a relatively low nitrogen requirement and thrive on organic fertilizers. Soil pH also plays a significant role in nitrogen management for blueberries. Research shows that blueberries prefer soil and fertilizer nitrogen in the ammonium form, absorbing and using it much more efficiently than nitrate nitrogen the form preferred by most other commercial crop plants. Neutral and high-pH soils favor nitrification the rapid conversion of ammonium nitrogen to nitrate through the activity of nitrifying microorganisms. In an acidic soil, however, the ammonium form of nitrogen predominates and is readily available to blueberries. For instance, when a slow-release organic fertilizer like fish-meal is applied, the nitrogen in the proteins is converted first into ammonium. This ammonium which would rapidly convert to nitrate under neutral soil conditions and be leached out of the root zone tends to remain in the desired, ammoniated form and thus be held in the soil for uptake....

High Input Organic Agriculture

Intensive annual strawberry and vegetable systems under plasticulture are good examples. In these systems, traditional rotations and soil building practices are usually employed, followed by clean cultivation and the laying of plastic mulch and drip irrigation tape on shaped beds. During the season, large amounts of soluble organic fertilizers typically fish-based are fed to the crop through the drip system (i.e., organic fertigation). At the end of the season, all plastics must be removed from the field, and it is returned to more standard organic management. Ideally, an off-season cover crop will be planted. Such systems are often exceptionally productive and economically attractive, when organic premiums are good. The high cost of soluble organic fertilizer (typically hundreds of dollars acre), however, plus the marginally higher cost of pest controls, make such systems largely non-competitive in the conventional marketplace. The labeling of such high-input systems as organic...

Nitrogen forms and sources

Ammoniacal forms of nitrogen have tended to be recommended for Brassica crops due to their lower cost and higher soil retention compared with nitrate nitrogen sources. In sandy soils that are frequently used for Brassica crops, however, with limited cation exchange capacity, such retention is less likely. There may be opportunities for the use of controlled-release nitrogen sources that have relatively rapid breakdown characteristics. Alternatively, the use of organic fertilizers may become more attractive, especially as municipal organic wastes are increasingly disposed of through green waste composting procedures. Long-term field trials in Nova Scotia, Canada compared the productivity of several vegetable crops when offered conventional soluble fertilizers and organic composts (Warman, 2005). The productivity of most vegetables was favoured by applications of organic composts. Responses from high nutrient-demanding cole crops, however, depended on seasonal factors, and overall...

Finding a Sustainable Source

Organic gardeners striving to build a sustainable landscape must take into account the sources of the materials they use. Many organic fertilizers and soil amendments are bulky and heavy, and some are shipped hundreds or thousands of miles to reach garden centers. Consider the amount of nonre-newable petroleum needed to transport these products. e,tl Mr Start your search for fertilizers in your own backyard and neighborhood. You ' may be able to satisfy all your plants' nutrient needs by using green manures and homemade compost, and by finding sources of fertilizer close to home coffee grounds from local coffee shops, for example, and waste from various manufacturing processes such as breweries and dairy processors. If you live near an ocean, seaweed (rinsed of salt) may be an option. You can find most of the fertilizers discussed in this chapter in local garden centers and home-and-garden supply stores. If you can't find what you want, here are some of my favorite mail-order...

Different Organic Methods

There are many schools of thought within the organic gardening community. Some organic gardeners garden in moderation that is, while they prefer compost and organic fertilizers, sometimes they also use chemicals in controlling insects. Other gardeners treat organic gardening like an exacting and exact science. Between these extremes fall several other variations, including

More Sustainabile Fertilization

Each gardener should strive to use less and less fertilizer brought in from outside his or her own garden area. This will be especially true when such amendments become scarce due to the increased number of people using them. There are at least 4 ways to create a more closed system garden, to which few resources are imported 3. Grow your own fertilizers by raising plants that produce good amounts of compost material, which concentrates the nutrients required in a form that plants can use. For beginning information on plants to use, see Ecology Action's Self-Teaching Mini-Series Booklet 12, Growing and Gathering Your Own Fertilizers (see Ecology Action Publications, page 225), Bargyla and Gylver Rateaver's Organic Method Primer, and Ehrenfried Pfeiffer's Weeds and What They Tell (see pages 184 and 199 in the bibliography, respectively). If everyone were to use organic fertilizers, there would be a worldwide shortage eventually the key will be growing our own and recycling all wastes....

Manuring and Composting

Livestock manures are the most traditional and widely recognized organic fertilizers. Under ideal circumstances, livestock enterprises are integrated into the whole farm operation, and manuring becomes part of a closed system of nutrient recycling. This is still strongly encouraged in organic operations. In reality, however, crops and livestock production are often divorced from each other, and manures must be imported.

Fertilizing your containerplants

Potted plants grown for their flowers or fruit especially benefit from fertilizer, because producing these things requires so much energy. Fertilizer leaches out or washes away with every watering, so you need to keep it up. Also, the limited amount of soil in a pot limits the amount of nutrients it can hoard and supply to the plants. Unless you're growing something fussy or offbeat, or something with special requirements, a general all-purpose garden fertilizer is perfectly fine for almost all potted plants. It comes in different forms, so experiment to discover what you and your plants prefer. Options include liquid fertilizers, dry or granular fertilizers, fertilizer beads, and fertilizer sticks. Whatever you decide, always follow the label directions on how and when to apply to the letter like aspirin, more is not better

Fewer genetically modified organisms

Along with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, organic growers avoid planting genetically modified organisms (GMOs) organisms whose DNA has been altered through genetic engineering. Introduced to commercial farmers in the early 1990s, GMOs have raised concerns among health activists and environmentalists.

Chemicals or No Chemicals

Nothing could be more damaging than what the modern commercial farmer does when he tries to boost his yield by dumping inorganic nutrients (fertilizer) on top of his organic soil. His plants may grow faster for awhile, but eventually his soil dies, because nutrient salts have inhibited the action of the soil's micro-organisms. After a few years his soil is little more than something for his underfed plants to stand around in. To make matters worse, rain washes a large amount of this fertilizer off the farmer's fields. It enters our creeks and rivers and ends up in our lakes. It does not poison them, but it does overfertilize them. Algae and water plants thrive on it, and they multiply on the surface of the water, blocking light to the lower regions and eventually killing underwater plant and animal life. Detergents cause the same problem, because they are such terrific fertilizers - the more phosphates the better. Grandma really did know something when she dumped her wash-water on the...

Soil fertility and structure

As Babik et al. (1996) increased nitrogen applications to Brussels sprouts beyond 400 kg ha, the buds lost sweetness and vitamin C content declined (see Table 8.2). The buds also lost firmness as indicated by the reduction in dry matter. This research supports the contention that excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer in Brussels sprouts, which was initially used to boost yield especially for crops destined for processing, resulted in increased acidity and reduced tastiness. Over a period of time, this loss of quality depressed the public liking for, and consequently the demand for, this crop. Table 8.2. The effect of increasing nitrogen fertilizer applications on quality characteristics of Brussels sprouts. Table 8.2. The effect of increasing nitrogen fertilizer applications on quality characteristics of Brussels sprouts. achieved by regular crop monitoring using foliage analyses. Traditionally, this is achieved by laboratory analysis of leaves and sap where several days may elapse...

When its grown Involving an arborist

Forgoing Fertilizer The Fine Art of Chop and Drop The traditional cycle of fertilize, grow, prune, dispose of the prunings, and fertilize some more is wasteful, expensive, and damaging to the environment. Americans put more fertilizer on their landscaping than is used in all the world's underdeveloped countries to grow food. It's shameful, especially considering how unnecessary it is. A sustainable garden doesn't get pushed hard to grow only so you can cut it all down and throw it away. Plants can live quite well on their own droppings. This is nature's way stuff falls off the plant and returns to the system. Hauling it away and then importing synthetic fertilizers is cuckoo. True, there are times when you should fertilize (to give your plants a boost or to stimulate growth of young plants). But if you help the plant recycle its own waste, it will reward you with steady, healthy growth. Chop and drop saves labor in addition to saving money. Yes, you do have to cut things up, but...

What is Organic Agriculture

Over the years, it has become commonplace to understand and define organic agriculture as farming without synthetic pesticides and conventional fertilizers. This should not be considered a definition but a characteristic only one characteristic of a socially and environmentally conscious approach to agriculture that is currently experiencing rapid growth in the U.S.(1)

Who Needs Rain Anyway

His irrigation well yields about one and a half gallons per minute, not nearly enough for heavy watering. But he has nature working for him The Tolt River delivers airborne moisture during the cool nights, and broad-leafed vegetables collect it like funnels. The loamy soil of his farm holds moisture at the root level where the plants can make best use of it. He never subjects the land to the drying effects of chemical fertilizers. Fertilizer to feed those lush and juicy vegetables Chicken manure. That's it. How much I really don't know. I put it on with my manure spreader until it's an inch thick or more, and till it in. (Hallstrom is careful to keep the manure, like the rotenone, out of the water.) He uses moderate-to-heavy applications of ground limestone, but no additional phosphate or potash.

Fertilizing the Sustainable

The major nutrient that lawn grasses require is nitrogen, followed by phosphorous, potassium, and sometimes trace elements such as iron. Nitrogen is volatile and needs to be applied regularly. However, many people overapply lawn fertilizers thinking that more is always better. Instead, test your soil to find out exactly what the lawn needs (see Chapter 16). Go organic. Organic fertilizers nurture soil life harsh chemical ones harm it. Organics last longer, won't burn the lawn if they're overapplied, are made from sustainable natural sources rather than fossil fuels, are less likely to leach into groundwater or streams, and are less expensive in the long run. Know how much fertilizer to apply. Lawns need 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet at each application, with an annual total of 1 to 5 pounds, depending on soil type, grass variety, and growing conditions. The percentages of the Big Three (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) in a fertilizer are listed on the bag...

Water Your Garden Must Get Enough

Some plants are composed of up to 95 percent water. Water is vital for sprouting seeds plants need water for cell division, cell enlargement, and even for holding themselves up. If the cells don't have enough water in them, they collapse like a three-day-old balloon, and the result is a wilted plant. Water is essential, along with light and carbon dioxide, to produce the sugars that provide the plant with energy for growth. It also dissolves fertilizers and carries nutrients to the different parts of the plant.

The Organic Foods Production

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) includes a set of standards for organic growing. Pesticides, fertilizers, and other farm and garden products meeting these standards are acceptable for use in USDA-certified organic farming, production, and processing operations. In a nutshell, here's what's acceptable and what's not under NOP standards Not acceptable Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, genetically modified organisms, and sewage-sludge fertilizers

Goal Build and maintain proper levels of and balances among soil nutrients

The first goal of adding fertilizers to your soil is to build nutrients up to their proper levels and balances for your particular type of soil type, rainfall, climate, sun exposure, altitude, and cation-exchange capacity (that is, a measurement of the availability of nutrients in a given soil). The second goal is to keep those nutrients in your food-raising area by composting properly and recycling all wastes. A third goal is to use enough nutrients, water, and compost in your growing area. During a drought years ago, several women in India grew food using Biointensive methods. Their production was double that of others who used single-dug row cropping practices. One woman got even higher yields than other Biointensive gardeners by using her one unit of water, fertilizers, and seed on one growing area. Hoping for higher yields, the others had spread their single units of resources over 7 to 15 units of growing area. The woman with the best results got more total production in V7 to...

Of Seeds Seedlings and GMOs

Transplants must be purchased from a certified organic source or otherwise be grown using organic methods. This presents some difficulty, as most commercial potting mixes contain prohibited fertilizers and wetting agents, requiring special ordering or the added effort of making a homemade mix. Non-labeled products. Should soybean, cottonseed, and corn gluten meals be prohibited as fertilizers, since these may come from GE varieties Should pesticidal use of vegetable oils be prohibited

Environmental stresses

Plants are resilient organisms, but stresses imposed on habitats such as those near large towns, those in the wind-path of polluted air, those watered by rivers receiving industrial effluent, and agricultural fertilizers and pesticides are likely to lose indigenous species. The rapid increase in annual temperatures attributed to 'the greenhouse effect' is likely to change wild plant communities in as important a way as the environmental stresses mentioned above.

Soil testing Chemistry Versus biology

In some states, the agriculture department or cooperative extension service does soil testing in other places you have to use a private lab. Take a sample of soil from where the roots will grow anything between 6 inches and 12 inches deep is usually adequate. Mail it to the lab, and in a week or so you get back a complete readout of your soil and specific treatment recommendations. Ask the lab for organic recommendations rather than chemical ones, since you won't be using chemical fertilizers.

Reliance of soil fertility management on biological processes

A major difference between conventional cropping systems and organic systems is the role of biological processes in organic systems. Most synthetic fertilizers are immediately available to plants. They do not require biological processes to make them available. And they do not enhance the biological health of the soil. In fact, several synthetic fertilizers degrade soil by drying it out or making it acidic or saline.

Opting for Organic Lawn Care

The shift to organic lawn care has been huge. People are fed up with spreading poisons all over their yards. According to Popular Mechanics magazine, the number of U.S. households purchasing natural fertilizers increased from 2.5 million to 11.7 million between 1998 and 2003. During the same period, the number of households practicing natural pest control went up from 1.8 million to 10.9 million. That's a revolution

Preserving Carnivorous Plants

Pollution is another factor that leads to the demise of carnivorous plant stands. The extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides produces residues which alter the habitats of carnivorous plants. Waste products from industrial processes also have an effect. Waterways in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, U.S.A., home of several carnivorous plant species, exhibit oil slicks. One wonders what other chemicals may be dissolved in the water which are not visible.

Chapter Nutritional requirements Soilplant relationships

When small quantities of inorganic salts, such as the soluble mineral matter of soil and commercial fertilizers, are added to water they dissociate into electrically charged units called ions. The positively charged ions (cations) such as hydrogen (H+), potassium (K1), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), ammonium (NH+), iron (Fe2+), manganese (Mn2+), and zinc (Zn2+) are absorbed mostly on the negatively charged surfaces of the soil colloids (microscopic clay and humus particles) and exist only in small quantities in the soil solution. Thus, the humus-clay colloids serve as The soil solution is the most important source of nutrients, but since it is very dilute its nutrients are easily depleted and must be replenished from soil particles. The solid phase of the soil, acting as a reservoir of nutrients, slowly releases them into the soil solution by the solubilization of soil minerals and organics, by the solution of soluble salts, and by cation exchange. A more dramatic increase in the...

Let Those rass Clippings

Grass clippings make great fertilizer, according to Cyane Gresham, compost specialist at the Rodale Institute Experimental Farm in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. Cyane says that it's a crime to waste grass clippings by bagging them up for disposal with household trash because they're such a terrific organic source of nitrogen and other nutrients. Grass clippings should never leave your property. They are too valuable as a mulch and fertilizer for the lawn, gardens, and landscape,'' Cyane explains.

Modelling Nutrient Need

A significant barrier to more efficient use of nitrogen fertilizer by Brassica growers is a lack of information on the seasonal, soil-related and cultural variations in the supply of mineral nitrogen from the soil and the requirements for nutrients by the crop. Considerable information has been accumulated for the well_n model in the UK in an attempt to remedy these deficiencies. well_n is a user-friendly computer program, conceived by Warwick University-Horticulture Research International at Wellesbourne. It provides fertilizer recommendations and management advice on the use of nitrogen for a range of brassicas, and tailors recommendations for different weather conditions, soil factors and cultural practices at each site. The package has been compared with paper-based systems of recommendation such as the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, London) Reference Book 209 (Fertilizer Recommendations for Agricultural and Horticultural Crops) or those testing midrib...

Teed Mour harden with Cover Crops

Fifth generation farmer Dean Berden of Snover, Michigan, uses cover crops for fertilizer in his farm fields and his family vegetable garden. Dean produces dry beans, soybeans, wheat, oats, and organically certified cover crop seeds on his 500-acre Thistle Down Farms without using any commercial fertilizer supplements.

Exercise A A Typical Grass Plant

The corn plants and trays of lawn grass need to be started from seed 2-4 weeks prior to the class meeting. These can be grown in the greenhouse or under grow lights. Both require adequate water and fertilizer. Grass seed should be sowed in loose soil to produce a carpet of grass. Allow to grow until inflorescences appear. If seed is available, plant a tray of Kentucky blucgrass (Poa pratensis) and Bermuda grass (Cynodan dactylon).

Nutrient requirements and effects

Although only 1 of the total plant weight is made up of inorganic nutrients, fertilizer application is critical it influences greatly the growth and development of the crop, as well as the quantity and quality of the fruit. A tomato crop absorbs the major nutrients at the following average rates nitrogen, 370 kg ha phosphorus, 50 kg ha potassium, 680 kg ha magnesium, 290 kg ha and calcium, 45 kg ha. Over a season a grower should apparently apply twice as much potassium as nitrogen and almost as much magnesium as nitrogen to fulfill the plant's needs. However, that interpretation is too simplistic. In fact, fertilizer feeding programs are adjusted regularly throughout the production season to suit the changing nutritional needs of the crop according to crop and environmental conditions. Furthermore, the fertilizer feed is used as a tool to control crop growth and fruit quality.

Planting and Early Care

About six weeks after planting, apply 2 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 linear feet of row. Apply another 2 pounds in early September before flower buds form. Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly over the row area, and try to avoid contact with the foliage. Don't work the fertilizer into the soil, or you may damage the shallow roots.

Soil preparation planting and feeding

Soil should be rich, well drained and slightly acid (pH 6.0-6.5). Just before planting apply sulfate of potash at 1 2oz per square yard. Once the danger of frosts is over, but by the end of May, plant out the seedlings in the prepared, moist soil. Plant in the open or in light shade. Space the seedlings 1ft apart with 21 2ft between the rows. Water them in dry weather (about 3-4 gal per square yard every 7-10 days). For better cropping, when the flowers appear, feed every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer.

Planting the Seed Sustainable Plant Basics

7he huge variety of plants, the complexities of soil and fertilizer, and the mysteries of creating and managing the living portion of the landscape can be overwhelming. This chapter introduces you to the world of living systems and gives you the confidence to get to work on your own sustainable paradise.

Laboratory Topic Genetic Diversity Of Our Food

Some of the exercises in this laboratory topic require advance planning. They should be started early in the term and extended over the entire semester. Most of die time, the plants do not require much tending except water and fertilizer. Seldom do students have the opportunity to see several generations of an organism within a single semester. This activity* docs require a slight modification of die allocation of class time. Wisconsin Fast Plants (Rbr) seeds and kit supplies arc available through Carolina Biological as well as on the Web site (www.fastplants.org). More detailed instructions on the care and maintenance of the Fast Plants arc avail able through the same web site. This site also suggests several low cost materials to use as growing containers and growth chambers. Remember that the keys to successful growth of the Fast Plants are 24 hour lighting, noncompactcd soil mixture, constant moisture, and adequate fertilizer.

Exploiting variations in the efficiency of nutrient use by different genotypes

Field trials in The Netherlands and Germany with cauliflower (B. oleracea var. botrytis) used an optimum nitrogen supply of 250 kg ha, composed of the inorganic nitrogen content of the soil (Nmin) and applied fertilizer nitrogen, and a limited nitrogen supply which was solely the Nmin value. Yield was measured in terms of total dry matter and quality (percentage class 1 curds). The cv. Marine produced both the highest yield and quality and could be regarded as nitrogen efficient, whereas other cultivars were either nitrogen inefficient or behaved inconsistently across sites and seasons. Reducing the supply of nitrogen increased the number of loose curds and is suggested to encourage bolting as well. Some of the nitrogen-inefficient cultivars exhibited buttoning of the curd. Rather et al. (1999) concluded that nitrogen-efficient cultivars achieved a higher uptake capacity through greater root activity and or made more effective use of nitrogen.

Getting annuals in the ground

Just follow the label directions for spacing, a nd dig a hole deeper and wider than the root ball. Add some compost to the hole or mix the native soil with organic matter (see Chapter 4 for details). If desired, you can add some dry fertilizer in the planting hole and water it in, or you can fertilize the annual after planting (check out the upcoming Fertilizing section).

Treating alreadyWeedy lawns

If your lawn were healthy, you wouldn't have so many weeds, and that's the truth. So what's wrong Are you not watering or feeding enough, which stresses the grass and eventually leads to sparser growth and areas where weeds can sneak in Are you mowing too low, which allows weeds to germinate Go read the earlier basic care sections on watering, fertilizer, and mowing to see what you can figure out.

Fertilizing Seedlings

Fertilize the plants as soon as the leaves expand, using a complete fertilizer such as 20-10-20 at the recommended rate and frequency listed on the product label. If the frequency is listed as once a month, you should probably fertilize more frequently at reduced rates, e.g., once a week at one-fourth the monthly rate. Watch for pests, such as diseases, insects and mice (when overwintering in coldframes). You may want to use a fungicide to help control damping-off in addition to using a sterile growing medium.

Maintenance materials Planning ahead to reduce upkeep later

Water is a renewable resource, of course. (Refer to the earlier section Protecting the future with renewable materials for more on renewable resources.) In fact, the water that falls from the sky in the form of rain and snow is about as renewable as you can get. Plus it's free. Rain even picks up nitrogen on its way down, delivering nice organic fertilizer right to your plants, and then watering it in all at no charge. You gotta love that. Fertilizer If a plant is well-adapted to local conditions because it's native to your area or comes from a similar environment somewhere else in the world, it'll be satisfied with the nutrients that are naturally available in the soil. And if you can manage to resist raking up all those tree leaves in the fall (they call them leaves because you're supposed to leave them there), you'll be allowing valuable nutrients to remain in place. That means you don't have to replace them with expensive, imported fertilizer. If you just can't stand to see the...

Shrubs in the Sustainable Landscape

Shrubs are often the easiest group of plants to care for, assuming that you've chosen well. When properly used, shrubs demand little in the way of fertilizer, water, and other resources. In fact, a good shrub is as sustainable as anything you can imagine, getting all it needs from sun, soil, and rain. If I've convinced you that you need to include a few shrubs in your landscape, read on for more information.

The soil food Web Bringing life to your soil

Your job as the sustainable gardener is to create the conditions for the soil food web to thrive. You also must reinoculate damaged soils with the life they need. Do this by incorporating living compost, mycorrhizal fungus, beneficial soil bacteria, and humic acids into the soil at planting time. How Look for a good organic fertilizer that lists these elements on the label. Any good nursery carries at least one brand. Also recognize that common activities such as grading, fertilizing with chemicals, and using herbicides and pesticides have a toxic effect on soil organisms, so use them sparingly (if at all).

Equipment Calibration

Gauge for selecting the approximate setting for the desired application rate. In addition, usually the package for granular herbicides or herbicide fertilizer combinations CAUTION If you are applying hormone-or phenoxy-type herbicides (such as 2,4-D, MCPP or dicamba), do not use the same spreader to later apply fertilizer to desirable plants other than lawngrasses. There may be enough herbicide residue remaining in the spreader to injure desirable plants. Thoroughly rinse the spreader with soapy water and then rinse with clean water and let dry.

Giving a New Plant a Good Home Planting Basics

Don't try to hurry plants along with strong doses of fertilizer allow them to develop in their own time. Watch for pests and diseases, and take action immediately, knowing that young plants have few reserves to protect them. Maintain a good cover of mulch to keep moisture in and weeds down. Finally, get after those weeds pronto, because they can outcompete your plants quickly. Backfill mix consists of native soil, mycorrhizal innoculum, and organic fertilizer Backfill mix consists of native soil, mycorrhizal innoculum, and organic fertilizer Backfill mix consists of native soil, mycorrhizal innoculum, and organic fertilizer Backfill mix consists of native soil, mycorrhizal innoculum, and organic fertilizer

Managing Grass and Weeds

In wet years or on poorly drained soils, mulches can hold excessive moisture, forcing growth that fails to harden off in the fall and resulting in winter injury or collar rot. When using mulch, it is difficult to judge how much nitrogen fertilizer to apply. If you use high-carbon materials, more fertilizer may be needed for the first few years. But as the mulch decays, less is required.

Planting against a wall

Where the soil is poor and the drainage is bad, construct a drywell or a single line of tiles 3 ft deep to take the water away (see page 10). Re-soil over an area at least 6 ft x 3 ft wide x 2 ft deep with a fibrous, medium chalky loam, if possible made from sods stacked for six months before use. Add rubble to the loam in the ratio ten soil to one rubble. Two weeks before planting thoroughly mix in base fertilizer at the rate of 8 oz per 2 gal bucketful of soil.

Vegetativeness versus reproductiveness

Regulating the nitrogen and the water supply is the most common and effective technique for controlling crop growth. The water supply can be regulated directly, by adjusting the irrigation, or indirectly, by adjusting the relative humidity in the greenhouse and the electrical conductivity of the irrigation water. Light irrigation, low relative humidity, and high electrical conductivity in the irrigation water tend to make water less available to the plants and result in hard plants and slow growth. Of the three approaches, the regulation of electrical conductivity is the most preferred because of its simplicity, effectiveness, and dependability. The nitrogen supply can also be regulated directly, by adjusting the nitrogen fertilization, or indirectly, by varying the supply of other nutrients, e.g., potassium. Maintaining a high potassium-to-nitrogen ratio in the fertilizer feed is a technique that, is used by some growers to reduce the rate of growth.

Reasons to compost and reasons not to

The sustainable landscape is cyclical, not linear nothing goes to waste in a sustainable system. Nowhere is this truer than in the dance between living plants and compost. You have the opportunity to take part in one of the great cycles of life, and the payoff for you is healthier plants, lower fertilizer bills, richer soil, and less green waste being hauled away by noisy diesel-spewing trucks. This benefit is reason enough to compost, but when you finally harvest your finished compost and run the silky, fragrant stuff through your hands, you finally understand what it means to be a truly sustainable gardener.

Thumbs down Avoiding phony grass

As with so many things these days, some of what passes for green materials is anything but. For instance, phony plastic lawns are all the rage in some circles. Some communities even give rebates to homeowners who replace their living lawns with artificial ones. Manufacturers point out that a fake lawn uses no water and needs no mowing, fertilizer, or pesticides.

Peaches and almonds

In the cropping years the objective is to encourage plenty of strong new growth each year to carry fruit in the next summer. This new growth is then cut back 50 per cent or more in the early spring of the year if it is to bear fruit. Long branches at the top of the tree should be removed at the same time. It is occasionally necessary to cut back some of the older wood which has become bare to young healthy replacements. Avoid, however, making large wounds because peaches are susceptible to bacterial canker. Feeding and watering In early spring each year apply a balanced fertilizer such 10-10-10 at the rate of 3 oz per square yard as a top dressing over the rooting area. Replenish the mulch if necessary. 1 Before planting, fork in 3 oz per square yard of a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, with 3 oz bonemeal. Repeat every March.

Checking out the feeding schedule

First, you need to know when not to fertilize your lawn. For example, don't bother in the winter or off-season. Let a sleeping (or dormant) lawn lie. And don't feed in especially hot weather. Grass plants respond to the stress of blazingly hot days by slowing down their growth, and a jolt of fertilizer during this time isn't a good thing. That pretty much leaves spring and fall. You may also feed during the summer months, depending on the weather and the type of grass.

Jon Rowley Linking Soil and Flavor

They run the tests on eight plots with eight different soil treatments. One of the ten-by-ten plots recieves only chemical fertilizer. It does poorly compared to the others, including one with leaf mold only, one with composted livestock manure, and a sea bed mixture of kelp, seaweed and crab shells. Hot compost or cool, flowers and vegetables just about leap out of the beds. Best of all they do it without a pinch of chemical fertilizer or pesticide.

Common name coriander Botanical name Coriandrum sativum

Coriander grows best in a fertile, well-drained soil. It prefers a sunny location but will survive in a slightly shaded area. When you're preparing the soil, dig in a complete, well-balanced fertilizer at the rate of one pound per 100 square feet. Plant coriander from seed in the early spring, two to three weeks after the average date of last frost. Plant the seeds a quarter inch deep in rows eight to 12 inches apart, and thin the plants to stand 12

Red and white currants

They grow in zones , 3-8. A sunny position is best if the berries are to acquire their full flavor. The site should be sheltered but not a frost pocket. Soil preparation Prepare the soil in the fall or late winter by clearing away all weeds. Apply a light dressing of well-rotted manure or compost about 11 2 in thick over the whole area. If farmyard manure or compost are not available, apply a 1 in layer of damp peat. If the ground is fairly clean, single dig the dressing in but if weedy, double dig the area. Rake in a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, at the rate of 2 oz per square yard and sulfate of potash at 1 2 oz peryard. Selection of plants Buy plants from a reliable source because certified stock is not available. One- or two-year-old bushes are usually supplied by the grower. Select a plant with a clear stem, or leg, of about 4-6 in with a head of about 3-6 evenly balanced shoots. The single (or multiple) cordon may be two or three years old and...

Composting for Vegetable Gardens

Perhaps you've been wondering why so many vegetable gardeners have compost piles. The short answer is that it's downright sensible. Compost is a bountiful and free source of organic matter, which vegetables adore and consume like crazy. To have it always handy when you need it is unbeatable. Compost is a pile of organic waste that breaks down into rich, dark, crumbly material that jubilant gardeners call black gold It's an excellent way to add humus to your garden, and it also acts as a natural, slow-release fertilizer. You also get to feel virtuous and efficient because you're not sending perfectly useful materials away with the household garbage.

Going Native With A Plant Society

Catherine Hovanic makes some strong arguments for getting rid of your lawn in favor of native shrubs and ground covers. Natives, after the first year, can do without the fertilizer and pesticides that you would be pouring on a grass lawn (and that find their way into your local salmon stream), not to mention the high-priced drinking water that grass lawns thirst for.

A sea of green Controlling algae in troubled waters

Excessive nutrients The source may be runoff from your adjacent garden or lawn, or perhaps you're overfertilizing your water garden plants. Cut back on the fertilizer and or create diversion and drainage channels to keep runoff away. Keep yellowing and fading plant parts trimmed off (don't let them break down in the water). Also, make sure leaves and other lawn debris doesn't end up in the water.

Conditions for early plant growth

Many plant species are propagated in glasshouses. A few principles are described here to help ensure success. Seed trays should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent the occurrence of diseases such as ' damping off ' (see p246). Fresh growing medium should be used for these tiny plants that have little resistance to disease. Compost low in soluble fertilizer is less likely to scorch young plants. Compost should be firmed down in containers to provide closer contact with the developing root system.

Forms of Organic Matter

Compost has the advantage of being easy to make yourself. Now that hauling leaves and yard trimmings to the dump is no longer an option for many people, compost is becoming recognized as an important way to dispose of such materials. A more positive view of this disposal is that compost offers a way to make a high-quality soil amendment and low-level fertilizer out of free materials. For people who prefer not to make their own, commercial compost can be ordered by the truck-load or bought in bags at garden centers. Compost is the best choice for inaeasing pest and disease resistance.

Chapter Conventional cropping in soil

Conventional cropping in soil is the simplest cropping system and involves the planting and raising of a crop as would be done outdoors. The actual planting is an important stage in the growth of the crop. First, dig a trench at least 10 cm deep and 15 cm wide. Then place the plants in soil blocks or peat pots in the trench and heel in with 0.25 L of starter fertilizer solution (5 g of 10-52-17 per litre of water) per plant pull only a little soil around them. Spot-water plants as needed for 2 weeks after transplanting. Once the plants are established, general watering usually is not needed for 4-6

The probability of the extinction of a species is greatest when the density is very high or very low

He ran a sort of energy budget on the city, paying a lot of attention to agriculture. He told me that the older Chinese agriculture (weeding by hand) produced, under very intensive conditions, using natural manures, about three times as much energy as it consumed. Then they modernized, utilizing small tractors, artificial fertilizer, and weeded by little hot jet flames. I think he said that they put 800 more energy in and got a 15 increase in yield. And then as they continued to pour in more energy, the yield decreased. By now they are into the same kick that we have. They only get 4 to 6 of that energy out again.

Irrigation And Water

Efficient water management is a prerequisite to nitrogen management. Nitrate nitrogen leaching can be minimized by matching irrigation applications to evapo-transpiration (ET) need. In cauliflower, for example, water is needed throughout the crop life, but is most effective at the onset of curd formation (Salter, 1961 Wiebe, 1981). Improved product quality is greater on soils with higher water-holding capacity, but soil type has less effect than nitrogen fertilizer (Nilsson, 1980). Increasing nitrogen from 150 to 300 kg N ha significantly increased yield. Yields increased up to 500 kg N ha. Polish growers add nitrogen up to 500 kg N ha with irrigation (probably accompanied by huge leaching losses into groundwaters and associated serious pollution), and this correlated with increasing nitrate nitrogen in the curds. At these levels of application, there was a linear increase in nitrate nitrogen in cauliflower leaves and curds (Kaniszewski and Rumpel, 1998).

Phyllotreta spp flea beetles and Psylliodes chrysocephala cabbage stem flea beetle

Beetle Diagram

Dry, warm spring weather favours these insects and, where seedlings are under water stress, increases crop losses. Sowing or mulching of Brassica crops diminishes their attractiveness for flea beetles. There is some suggestion that the use of organic as opposed to soluble fertilizers also discourages flea beetles. Unsuccessful attempts at biological control have involved the use of nematodes pathogenic to flea beetles. Some researchers have suggested that brassicas such as Chinese cabbage for which flea beetles show markedly preferential feeding might be used as trap crops for these pests and could be planted mixed with or adjacent to crops such as white head cabbage (Trdan et al., 2005). Regrettably, populations of insects on Chinese cabbage become so high that there is no benefit for the cash crop white cabbage.

Peronospora parasitica downy mildew

Brassica Downy Mildew

Where sprays are applied, use should be made of ultra-low volume techniques or dust formulations to prevent the accumulation of moisture on the foliage. Plant density should be regulated to prevent overcrowding in the seedbed. Deliberate 'checks-to-growth' often given to seedlings in order to prevent them becoming too large before transplanting are often associated with an attack by P. parasitica. With direct-drilled crops, wider spacing should be employed where downy mildew is known to be a hazard to crops. Growth stimulation by fertilizer application can be used to enable seedlings to outgrow infections. Crop debris must be removed from seedbeds since this fungus can perennate as oospores in old foliage. Where crops are grown intensively for the 'baby-leaf' production, as with turnips (B. rapa) in California, USA, or in Europe, P. parasitica is a major disease problem.

Soil Nutrient Content And Soil Indexing

Reliable and repeatable analyses that measure nutrient reserves present in soil and allow reasonable predictions of the effects of fertilizer application are available for most elements with the general exception of nitrogen. Soil mineral nitrogen (N) levels vary continuously due to the effects of mineralization, fertilizer dressings, leaching, denitrification and plant uptake. In consequence, the timing of soil sampling is critical, and measurements are only of use for crop management decisions immediately after sampling. indices (Table 5.1) which indicate the relative quantities of nutrient available to the crop ranging from 0 (deficiency) to 9 (excess). Soils intended for Brassica production should be maintained at index 3 for phosphorus and index 2 for potassium and magnesium. Soils with these indices require only maintenance quantities of additional fertilizer below these values, larger amounts are necessary to ensure economic returns from the crop and to restore the nutrient...

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