Monday, March 11th, 2013...11:43 am

Organic Fertilizers

sup’r green chicken manure by cafemama

TheGardenLady has always preferred organic, so it gives me great pleasure to see the growing interest in organic horticulture.

I learned not to trust products that were synthetic from my father who hated using synthetic chemicals on his farm. Everything he used had to be natural. Fertilizers came from aged horse, cow and chicken manure. Bugs were handpicked from the plants. It was my job to pick off the yellow/orange eggs, the larve and any adult potato beetles. Mostly I squashed them. I also picked off the Japanese beetles and dropped them into a container of soapy water that killed them. Thinking back, these were mainly the two major pests on our plants. My father was fearful of chemical pesticides and today I am so grateful that he was.

Then I married a chemist.

When I bought my first rose bushes, I wanted to be more modern than my father and bought a can of systemic pesticides to prevent problems. I didn’t know better. But I was fearful of applying these systemic pesticides myself, so I waited for my husband to come home from work. I was going to make the chemist do the dirty work of applying the chemical I had bought. My husband took one look at the can and scolded me, saying that the stuff was so toxic that if it wasn’t breathed in, it could get into the pores of our skin. Needless to say, I never used that systemic nor did I ever want to buy anything that was a potential hazard in my garden. My husband had a healthy respect for chemicals and would only use them judiciously if he had to use them at all, which was hardly ever.

Today more and more we are seeing the wisdom of using organic materials in our daily lives and especially on our lawns and gardens. One doesn’t want to turn our personal Gardens of Eden into toxic grounds where children and pets can’t run barefoot and picnic on the grass or frolic in the leaf piles.

One of my favorite sources of Organic fertilizers for my garden is from a company in Millville, NJ called Espoma.

Because so many of my acquaintances use the Espoma products, a group of us decided to visit their facility to learn more about them and   their products.

We learned that they are probably the oldest Organic fertilizer company in the US- 80 years old; they are also probably the largest organic fertilizer company in the US, selling in every state in the union. The Espoma Company seems to work closely with the agricultural extension service in every state. Sadly they do not sell their product in any other country; though they say people have taken bags of their product back to their home countries. One better check with your country of origin to see if that is allowed before you buy it as a “souvenir.”

I have always wondered where one could buy chicken manure, one of the best fertilizers for plants. It turns out Espoma uses chicken manure made in pellet form so there is very little dust in their fertilizer. And they don’t use just any old chicken waste; they only use the manure from young pullets. Pullets I learned have the highest nutrients in their manure.

We also learned that they have new products that have just come on the market. Espoma has products for giving starting plants stronger roots and therefore bigger plants will grow with bigger, better, more colorful flowers. This new product is called BioTone and BioTone Plus. This year I am going to use this product in all my new plantings.

They also have a new line of organic lawn care products with information on when and how to use the fertilizer. This is only for the home gardener; no commercial lawn service is using this product, yet.

The full line of Espoma products are mostly sold in plant nurseries. A few of their products are sold in chain stores.

Check out their website to see if you think as highly of their products as TheGardenLady who does not get a thing out of promoting what I like. If your garden grows better because of the Espoma products, take some photos to show TheGardenLady readers. By the same token, if you are not happy with the product, let us know why.

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