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.

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Going Organic

organic spring flowers by digiyesica

Flower U-Pick by Suzies Farm

Are you into Organic living in a big way? Or are you interested in getting started going over to an organic lifestyle? Or are you concerned about the environment’s health?  Or are you concerned about your own health and so you want to be more organic? Whatever your reasons for wanting organic, there are now many gardening sources where you can buy items that say they are organic.

What does organic mean? Well, let us look at the definition of organic farming:

Organic farming can be defined by the proactive, ecological management strategies that maintain and enhance soil fertility, prevent soil erosion, promote and enhance biological diversity, and minimize risk to human and animal health and natural resources.” (see here)

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Organic Fertilizers – Part II

Moo-Nure by OldOnliner

Cow manure is a good all purpose organic manure with a good balance of nutrients. It is lower in Nitrogen than other manures so it doesn’t burn plants. It might have a high salt content because cows are given salt to lick, so don’t use too much at one time. If you have a dairy or beef farm near your property, see if you can get some of their cow manure. Again, ask if it is aged or composted because you should wait at least a month before planting with cow manure. It can take up to a year to compost manures, depending on the climate. Colder, wet climates require more time for the manure to sufficiently decay to be safely used for gardening. Aging or composting manures kills the pathogens in it, making it safe for home gardens. Fresh cow manure is high in E. coli and protozoa that the plants can take up from their roots, or the bacteria can splash on their leaves from watering or rainfall.Composting cow manure involves spreading it into shallow piles and letting it decay.

Read more: Cow Manure for Plants |

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Organic Fertilizers – Part I

How much grass…by Kiwilad

TheGardenLady recently attended a talk on Organic Gardening. One of the aspects of the talk presentation was the importance of good soil if you want a good garden. And to get that good soil, good organic fertilizers are needed. Organic fertilizers include animal manures.

First of all, no one recommends using dog or cat manure as fertilizer. You do not want to use the feces of any animal that is a meat eater. “Both dog and cat manure may contain organisms that cause human health problems. ” See here.

So which fertilizers are best?

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Safer Brand Organic Bug Spray

TheGardenLady received this question from Greg.

What would you recommend for an organic bug spray? I found an organic bug spray online called Tomato and Vegetable Insect Killer that’s made by Safer Brand. Have you heard of it? Here’s the organic bug spray I’m referring to:

Safer brand organic products are highly respected and are recommended by horticulturists. TheGardenLady has not used the specific product that you ask about.  But she’s very confident that you cannot go wrong with the brand.

The company that sells Safer brand products also sells other products that might interest the gardener.

TheGardenLady just bought their Perky – Pet 48oz Hummingbird feeder #220 was recommended to me by someone who has lots of hummingbird feeders and thinks it is the best design because it is easy to clean.  See here.

They sell mouse and other rodent traps – some are humane – under the Victor brand and they make the Havahart traps to trap animals live, like groundhogs, racoons and squirrels, humanely.

The company seems to make environmentally friendly products and is very helpful. I called them at 1 800 800 1819.

Eliminating Pests in an Organic Garden

The Pill Bug by dragonseye
The Pill Bug by dragonseye

TheGardenLady received the following question.

I liked your site very much and would like to ask you what do I need to do to eliminate pests in an organic garden? I dont want to use any chemicals since the whole point is to eat what we grow and stay healthy. Do you have any good ideas?

TheGardenLady is pleased to know when readers enjoy the site.

What to do to eliminate pests in an organic garden is an excellent question. The answer is not short because there are many good ideas for keeping organic gardens pest free. Since fall is here, I will begin this answer now but will continue answering your question during the gardening year.

The first thing one should do in the fall is to get your gardens ready for the spring planting. Insects hide and breed in old, sick and dead plant material. So now is the time to clean your garden. Cut back leaves of perennials. After a heavy frost, remove all blackened plants such as zinnias, petunias, marigolds, etc.

Be absolutely sure that you clean diseased material from your garden. Remove and destroy plant stems on any perennials which may have had diseased foliage. Peonies, lilies, roses are some examples of plants that get diseases. Never compost any diseased material. THROW IT OUT! Good sanitation now will result in fewer problems next spring.

It is best to get rid of all the old dead plant material in the fall making it easier to start gardening in the Spring. But to pull out all the dead plants or not to pull out all the dead plants- that is the question. Insects will overwinter in dead plants- good insects as well as bad insects and birds and other wildlife will enjoy some of the plant material. If you are planning a vegetable garden in a certain location, TheGardenLady recommends cleaning out all the dead vegetable plants. However, if you leave some dead Native plants that offer berries and seeds in your flower beds, you might encourage some good insects to overwinter and help feed birds and wildlife in the winter.

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