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No fertilizer

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No fertilizer

Post  gardeninggwen on 4/10/2015, 8:26 pm

Question for you vetern SFG folks.  I read in the book that thre is no need for fertilizer.  Does anyone out there use any kind of fertilizer or growth enhancer such as miracle grow?  Just wondering since I have a container of mircle grow left from "the old days of gardening".

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  yolos on 4/10/2015, 9:01 pm

Lot of people use various things - I have heard blood meal mentioned quite often.  I use something like plantone or gardentone if I feel it is needed.

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  llama momma on 4/10/2015, 9:27 pm

I use home made compost and fresh worm castings.  The castings might be overkill but I have it fresh on hand so I use it from my little worm farm.  Haven't purchased any commercial fertilizer for the garden since I began sq. ft. gardening late summer/early fall of 2010.  I'm completely sold on compost and also use it on Non sq. ft. flower beds around the house.  Before I understood the usefulness of well made compost I bought miracle grow every year.   But since 2010 I make my own and keep my money.

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fertilizer

Post  kauairosina on 4/10/2015, 9:45 pm

I try not to purchase Miracle Grow.  My friend says it has too much salt and messes with the ph but I can't remember why I decided very firmly a while ago that I wasn't going to use it.  

If I had some I would be OK using it on ornamentals.

So llama momma, I think you have answered my question that I had planned to ask.  Once you have plenty of your own compost do you use just that for your Mel's Mix instead of the commercial ones?  This is what we are doing.

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  sanderson on 4/10/2015, 9:51 pm

A lot of folks, especially those who are lucky enough to make their own compost, don't use fertilizer unless there is a specific problem, that is, a lack of something that the plants are indicating.  Some do use a little plantone or gardentone.  However, it's not unusual for a Newbie to end up needing a touch of something the first season.  Embarassed  This can be due to not having 5 different sources of quality composts in the Mel's Mix Embarassed  , or a low count of good micro-organisms (which will increase in time), or not fluffing the peat moss before measuring, or other reasons.  Time, Mother Nature and replenishing with good compost usually improves the quality of Mix in the beds.

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  Turan on 4/10/2015, 9:59 pm

A friend who worked in a nursery sent me a bunch of stuff including a blue dry granular fertilizer like MG.  I used it on my lettuce in the window this winter.  I also find that there is a weird point a couple weeks after planting peppers and tomatoes that they seem out of power,,,,,  as if the easy to use nitrogen in the soil is used up but the soil has not revved up for summer maybe???  I give them a watering with the blue stuff half strength.  This jar of stuff has been hanging in my cupboard for 15 years now, who knows if is anything but blue coloring now Shocked

Beyond that~ I use a compost made from chicken coop cleanings and barn cleanings.  I add bonemeal and sometimes kelp meal for the tomatoes.  I don't top dress with compost during the season but my season is fast and furious.  I do try to mulch with grass clippings and as they break down they add nitrogen to the soil.

Hang on to your MG and use it if the need arises.  It is more a bandaid than a fix but works quick.

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  llama momma on 4/10/2015, 10:04 pm

Kauairosina
Thank You - I forgot to mention the salt content of Miracle Grow.  It was slowly killing my flower beds until I learned to do things more wisely. 

So here is my experience --
I've been reclaiming my flower beds with a bottom layer of manure,  then compost on top, then leaves and leaf mold, topped with cardboard and a mulch cover to smother weeds.  By soaking the cardboard in a wheelbarrow I can easily shape and place it around perennials and bushes.
I started this project last Fall. Still not finished. But the finished reclaimed parts of the beds are already rich looking, fluffy, and teaming with super fat worms.  By Spring of 2016 I think I'll be loving the flower beds once again and pleased with the organic results using compost, manure, leaves, leaf mold and cardboard. I plan to Never buy fertilizer again. Very Happy

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  camprn on 4/11/2015, 6:51 am

@yolos wrote:Lot of people use various things - I have heard blood meal mentioned quite often.  I use something like plantone or gardentone if I feel it is needed.
+1 last year I used a little tomato tone and blood meal because my home made mcompost wasn't quite up to snuff.

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/11/2015, 8:42 am

I use a dash of Neptune on my seedlings when they get large enough and have used up the seeds nutrients and again the day before transplanting out into the SFG in hopes of lessening transplant shock.

Last year I used some old Plant Tone from pre SFG days in a new box I had put together. I grew the best carrots ever in that bed.
thinking
Sometimes I've used very diluted urine on the leafy greens if I feel they needed a pick me up. But lately I've noticed that they tend to get aphids sometimes when I use it, so I'm hesitant now. I should be using compost instead. The problem is that my leafy greens are often planted so close together that it's difficult to get the compost in there... or I'm just lazy. Rolling Eyes

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Mel's Mix is 33% fertilizer

Post  Razed Bed on 4/12/2015, 10:44 am

Compost is your fertilizer.  If you have a good compost, you have continuous feeding for the entire season.

I add a little compost about once a month, and I spray home-brewed compost tea every 2 weeks.  I highly recommend compost tea over adding fertilizer.  It is fun to brew it and you can find a lot of youtube videos to show you how.

If you don't have compost, you can buy the tea bags online.  Boogie Brew has a high chitin compost tea blend that smells good enough to drink. 

If you are lucky enough to have a forest or large amount of woods near you, you can find excellent humus this time of year on the top of the ground. 

Composting is the way to go.  Start a pile today and by next year, you will have quite a load.

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  llama momma on 4/12/2015, 11:53 am

Agree with the above post that compost is your fertilizer.  From what I've read elsewhere, aged manure is the power house of the fertilizer.  If someone knows better, feel free to correct me.

Mel makes it pretty easy to compost.  Five sources of ingredients is the minimum.  Not 5 kinds of manure unless it is 20%  or less of your entire pile. One year I had 18 sources.  That stuff was like rocket fuel.
I use aged llama manure, approx. 20%  The rest or around 80% is mostly plant materials.

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  Mikesgardn on 4/12/2015, 4:01 pm

@sanderson wrote: However, it's not unusual for a Newbie to end up needing a touch of something the first season.  Embarassed  This can be due to not having 5 different sources of quality composts in the Mel's Mix Embarassed  , or a low count of good micro-organisms (which will increase in time), or not fluffing the peat moss before measuring, or other reasons.  Time, Mother Nature and replenishing with good compost usually improves the quality of Mix in the beds.
+1     That was my experience too.

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Re: No fertilizer

Post  yolos on 4/12/2015, 6:37 pm

I have heard the following statement in various forms while researching the Web.  I do not know how true it is but It would help explain why many of us newbies had growth problems the first year.  If we did not make our own compost the first year, then we purchased bagged compost to make our MM.  How much of an actual active soil food web do we have the first year using Vermiculite (no soil food web), peat (no soil food web) and bagged compost (who knows about the soil food web of bagged compost).


"Compost only works as a source of nutrients IF there is an active soil food web in the container (or raised bed) to digest the compost and provide the nutrients."

The soil food web must first break down the compost into a form that the plants can use.

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Re: No fertilizer

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