Thursday, August 9, 2012

Feed the Soil–Organic Fertilizers

Healthy Soil - Healthy Plants

Mid-Summer feedings are vital in keeping the soil nutrients available to lawns and gardens.  Feeding with a water soluble organic product allows for a quick uptake and gives plant material a good boost.

This organic fish fertilizer from Schaefer Liquid Fish came in a hose end spray bottle.  I was able to feed the new area of grass.
Feeding the soil here will help roots to continue to develop and a nice green-up will look good, especially now that we finally got some rain. The garden did have a 'fishy' smell for a few hours after applying this product - I apologize, neighbors!
I also sprayed the liquid fish on the newly transplanted perennials. 100_0795
This foliar feeding – when nutrients are absorbed by the leaves – should insure that the plants will get well established by fall.  Normally, native plants, like these coneflowers, do not need heavy feedings and, in fact, will do better in less than desirable soils. Sometimes we gardeners over think the process.
I also sprayed the clematis with the organic fertilizer.  I have new buds emerging on several plants.
This is a reblooming azalea that shows no sign of reblooming. So, I applied a different organic fertilizer to the soil around the base. 100_0975100_0973

The Espoma Company produces a great many lawn and garden products.  This Holly-tone is for acid loving plants, like hydrangea, rhododendrons, and azalea.  It allows the soil nutrients to be more readily available and keeps the pH down .  (I receive no compensation from Espoma – I just like their products). 100_0977
I did not get a good image here, but I wanted to show the tens of thousands of micro-organisms that this Holly-Tone provides.  It’s the microbes in the soil that consume the organic matter and allow the nutrients to be taken up by the plants. 
This organic fertilizer is made from hydrolyzed feather meal, poultry manure, cocoa meal, bone meal, alfalfa meal, greensand, humates, and other elemental compounds, containing potash, magnesium and sulfur.  

Feeding the soil, not the plant, is a frequent mantra of the organic gardener.  Enriching the soil with organic fertilizers adds the ‘food’ for the microbes.  They consume this organic matter and produce enzymes that allow the nutrients to be absorbed by the plants. 
Mid-season feedings of the soil keep that food chain active and the garden will be pleased. 

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