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  #1  
Old 06/29/11, 06:42 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Northeastern KY
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Gardening without Miracle Grow...

My garden is growing well. (Thank You Lord!!!) I've been learning as I go and one newly learned item is that fertilizer is my friend. Sorta. I'm learning that each plant has it's own needs and likes. Some are heavy feeders. Some like acid soil like my blueberries. If you give too much of some stuff to some, you'll just get lots of leaves and no tubers, ect, ect., ect. I'm keeping a log of details of what each plant likes and my experiences in growing it this year. That way if something were to happen to me, my family still has the knowledge. But, I got to thinking, what would I do if I couldn't buy miracle grow? Well, fertilizer originally came in the form of manure, right? But unlike the fertilizer I buy (12-12-12, or 10-0-10 ) manure only comes in one strength. You can store plant and soil amendments, but eventually you will need replacements. What do you do now for fertilizer and to meet the individual needs of the plants you grow? What are your plans for if you can't buy fertilizer? What can be done for plants that like acid soil?

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  #2  
Old 06/29/11, 06:46 PM
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start a compost pile

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  #3  
Old 06/29/11, 06:53 PM
 
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I've been on this property for 8 or 9 years.In that time no chemical fertilizer has touched my dirt.I have done a lot of tilling in of compost,leaves etc.My soil gets darker every year and grows everything well.Sulphur will help make soil acid and blueberries benefit from being mulched with pine needles.I've wondered if the leftovers from apple cider making would add acid to the soil.

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  #4  
Old 06/29/11, 06:58 PM
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Sounds to me like it would be good for you to start studying organic gardening.

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  #5  
Old 06/29/11, 07:01 PM
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Compost pile or learn to adjust your manure. I use rabbit manure directly in the holes when I plant seedlings (mixed in with soil) and around the top on the ground as a sort of mulch. (it's normally got hay, straw, or shavings in with it) You can use the manures in a number of ways....pure and dug into the soil, mixed with shavings or other mulches, and liquified as a "tea" that you water with.

Now..the biggest problem is figuring what the problem is when your plants look pukey. (technical term ) Yellow leaves..needs more nitrogen for instance. Also, knowing that blubs need bone ash, or that, as you said, your blueberries want an acid soil (easily done by raking up pine needles and chopping them up as mulch)

I would suggest that you plant a section of garden without using any commercial fertilizer. Do a soil test to see where you're starting at and see if you can bring up the ph or down...add nitrogen or phosphorous naturally ... whatever you need to bring up the numbers. It's a fascinating subject.

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  #6  
Old 06/29/11, 07:08 PM
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compost, manure, and chicken manure tea

We have been using Chicken manure tea lately. pillow case full from hen house and water in garbage can......aerator for a aquarium and we have food for our food. We don't not water with this on things like herbs or lettuce only tomatoes and the such and only at the roots not on the plant its self

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  #7  
Old 06/29/11, 09:07 PM
 
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First I use the goat manure that we have. Every year I put what we have right into the garden. Generally this is enough to put a 4" layer across the whole thing.

Then for the first few years I planted all kinds of things to see what did well. I've planted ...

Corn
Peas
green beans
kohlrabi
cabbage
turnips
potatoes
broccoli
tomatoes
Summer squash
Winter squash
onions
carrots
parsnips
melons
watermelon
peppers
a few strange things like African cucumber and gourds

Many of them with different varieties.

Now I plant what grows well.
carrots
potatoes
Summer and winter squash
onions
beets
With no spraying needed. They just explode out of the ground. I really don't need to weed much because they grow so fast.


cabbage
carrots
green beans
Corn
turnips
Do well with a bit of extra on my part. Definitely wouldn't want to need it to eat. But I plant them often.

The rest just don't produce well. I get a harvest but not a ton. So I plant them minimally as something to do. For instance I like a nice ripe tomato for a salad. But putting up a shelf of jars is kinda out of the question.

Yeah, I can't grow peas or peppers.

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  #8  
Old 06/29/11, 09:12 PM
 
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I've been using grass clippings for the last couple of years and it seems to be paying off. I now use a push mower with a bagger. I collect the grass clippings and use them to mulch around my plants. I first lay a newspaper down and then pile a hefty amount of grass clippings on top of the newspaper. This keeps the weeds down and the moisture in the ground. Then when harvest is over, I pull the plants up and till the grass clippings into the ground to decompose.

This last spring I dug a long deep furrow and filled it with grass clippings and then covered it back up with soil. I then planted my cucumber seeds on top of the soil. The grass clippings started decomposing and heated the soil up which in turn helped sprout the seeds. Once the little cucumber roots hit the decomposing grass clippings they shot up fast. I'm now eating cukes off of them if I can keep them watered. We're having a heat drought around here.

I also use bailed straw hay for mulching. I've been collecting grass clippings from my lawn, my neighbors lawn, and our private family cemetary. I sometimes still don't think I have enough.

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  #9  
Old 06/29/11, 09:16 PM
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Location: NE OH
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City dweller here, IE no animals to make manure. I have never use a chemical fertilizer on anything. I have a compost heap that gets "feed" with grass clippings, kitchen scraps and fall leaves. As long as the sun keeps shining the the clouds keep dripping I have had a happy productive garden.

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  #10  
Old 06/29/11, 09:23 PM
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The gray water goes into the pond. The ducks swim in the pond and the ducks poop in the pond. The pond water gets pumped to the garden. Don't need any miracle grow! I also add dolomite to the soil for magnesium and calcium. Weeds are burned and the ashes added to the garden. I don't do a compost pile because there is a big problem with fire ants colonizing it. You get much of the benefits of composting the weeds if you burn them instead.

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  #11  
Old 06/30/11, 08:37 AM
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No chemicals. Compost. Compost tea with the aerator,but this year I'm going with exclusively Comfrey tea,a test.Needles from the pine trees go in the area the potatoes grow and near the blueberries. The blueberries are also mulched with pine shavings. I also put lime on the garden, and burn the garden off in the fall. My favorite mulch is also the grass clippings-but we need to get a sweeper thing, the clippings are too wet to go in the bagger,constant clogging. So this year I 'm using straw, not my preference.ps. our compost is piles of cow manure dh scoops up with the skid loader.We let them sit at least a year, the calves use them to play king of the hill, a good way to aerate and mix.

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  #12  
Old 06/30/11, 10:07 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: W. Massachusetts
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I have a compost pile but I moved to a bigger pile this year and don't have any mature compost yet. So I used diluted human pee (mine) to fertilize. You have to dilute it because the salts in your urine can overwhelm the plant and that's not good. But I have observed some very (very!) obvious positive effects from fertilizing every now and then with a bit of urine. I don't fertilize everything - I leave the potatoes alone, for example. I gave tons to the corn. A big amount to the tomatoes. Just a bit to the rest.

Fresh urine is best - I'd pee in a bucket before heading to the garden (if my garden were bigger, I'd just collect from every family member before going, and it if were even bigger than that, I'd fertilize each section over time). I put water in the bucket before peeing so it's diluted right away. 1:10 to 1:20 pee-to-water ratio is supposed to be best. I used a ladle to scoop out some for each plant. Plants would need to be nicely watered first - if they are thirsty, they'll take in too much of your pee just to quench their thirst. If they are nicely watered, they will just take exactly what they need for fertilizer.

My plot is in a community garden, and while I'm not competitive by nature, I have to admit that my tomatoes look, without a doubt, the best of everyone's. Bigger, lusher, much darker green, more flowers, no yellowed branches at the bottom.

I'm still a huge fan of compost and I don't think pee can really replace it over time, but it's nice to have more than one tool in the bucket.

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  #13  
Old 06/30/11, 10:11 AM
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I dont use fertilizer, I compost, kitchen waste, sheep poo and yard waste.

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  #14  
Old 06/30/11, 11:30 AM
 
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Chicken & horse manure for me. Well composted. Plants just leap out of the ground. I heard from an old Italian produce merchant last weekend that putting a piece of banana peel in the hole before putting a tomato plant in fertilizes the plant for the entire season.
And I burn off the old garden, if the poultry doesn't destroy it over the winter. I put my birds out on it during the Winter to pick bugs and fertilize it naturally.

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  #15  
Old 06/30/11, 12:14 PM
Nimrod
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The soil here is very poor, mostly sand. I just moved up here this spring and put in a garden. Went to the neighbor who raises dairy cows to see about getting some manure. Happy coincedence, they were cleaning out the stalls with a bobcat. They put 2 scoops of stall droppings on my trailer. I took it home and put a little on my freshly tilled garden and the rest in a compost pile. It has cow poop and pee, straw, corn, and dirt in it. Smelled to high heaven but it should compost down to some good black dirt for the garden. I also got chickens so I am putting the pine shavings/chicken poop on the compost pile too. Next year, look out.

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  #16  
Old 06/30/11, 12:32 PM
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Okay, compost it is. I had started a small pile at the beginning of the season, mostly pine shavings from brooding chicks. I guess I'll see what I can add to it today and start a bin in the house for collecting. Time to do more research...

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  #17  
Old 06/30/11, 12:58 PM
 
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Besides chicken house stuff and the inlaws cow manure, we've been saving half the kitchen scraps (chickens get half) for the garden, we dig holes in the raised beds and dump portions of the scraps in and bury...feeding the worms who in turn feed the plants.
Plus, this year we've been experimenting with Bat Guano as side dressing.

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  #18  
Old 06/30/11, 06:27 PM
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Location: Northeastern KY
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I've been reading up on composting and we've got quite a pile started already. While reading, I read about other things many of you may do already. One is to use wood ash in their gardens http://ecgardening.cce.cornell.edu/P...th%20Care1.pdf talks about how much and how it compares to lime as an additive.
Another additive is bone meal which root crops such as beets, carrots, & turnips need. The bone meal gives the plants phosphorus. I read a discussion of making your own bonemeal with your carcass after using it for broth. Some advocated using a wood stove or bon-fire (did you know the word came from "bone fire" when they burnt the bones for use for their plants) to make the bones usable. I believe homemade bonemeal has been discussed on here recently too.
Where does one get sulfur in nature for the acidic-loving plants?

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  #19  
Old 06/30/11, 07:43 PM
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I'll repeat...just rake up pine needles and use them as mulch for your acid lovers. works every time.

You can also use a couple of eggs scrambled up with some water to pour around the bases of plants. I'm not sure what it does, but my grandma had some AWESOME peonies.

One year we used the woodash around the base of the house where the perennials were planted. In the spring the Irish were over 4' tall with blossoms the size of footballs. no lie. Woodash is great stuff, if you need the extra nutrient. It leeches out every year, so you have to keep adding it to maintain the bonus

If you're not already adding a tbls of bonemeal to the hole you plant a bulb in...start this fall. You will be AMAZED at how much of a difference it makes. The bulb gets a huge bump right away.

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  #20  
Old 06/30/11, 07:48 PM
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bourbonred, not sure about sulfur, but used coffee grounds and tea leaves, pine needles are VERY acidic! ldc

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