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 Post subject: can you help me?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 4:30 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:57 am
Posts: 11
Location: Decatur,TEXAS
This is our 1st year for organic gardening. Our St. Augustine was laid 2 yrs ago. Last year it did fairly well. This year we have some bare spots. Now I notice yellowing of the blades. This is spotty yellowing. I mean it's here and there. So far, I have applied corn meal (the cheap brand from walmart),An organic fertilizer, coffee grounds, and dried cow manure. We bought the hound dog and aerated really well. I looked closely and didn't see any chinch bugs, and I dug 3 spots and didn't see a grub. We have the clay soil. After we aerated we had a good rain. I was hoping to have good results from organic gardening, now my husband thinks I messed up. Did I mess up? What do I need to do now? Please help!!
Vickie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2005 4:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:57 am
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Location: Decatur,TEXAS
I forgot to add the we also applied Texas greensand.


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 Post subject: Plan B
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 10:09 am 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Sounds like you are on the right track. You've put down some great amendments but might be missing a vital link - microbe health. The dried cow manure may have been quite rich and a little hot so you could get some yellowing from that but it shouldn't be too much. Best to use well composted material whether it is plant derived or manure derived.

How's your soil life other than no grubs? Do you see any earthworms? Do you see any other small soil creatures? These tell a story. They will be present where there is nourishment for their life cycle and if they are missing, it's an indicator of low soil life.

Let me suggest you apply molasses, dry or liquid, to boost the microbial activity. Good microbe life is essential to allow your plants, turf and trees to utilize the nutrients you have in your soil. It is inexpensive and usually quite effective in clay soil. It's also a good buffer if the manure was too hot. I have friends who got grass to grow beautifully in places where it hadn't grown in years with just the addition of molasses. And the best part of all is that it will be beneficial no matter what the root problem is with the soil.

A compost tea (easier) or compost in a 1" layer will add more organic material to the soil and a new population of microbes to do the work if your soil is deficient in soil life. That's another relatively inexpensive remedy.

The right moisture level is also important. What is your watering schedule? Do you water deeply less often or are you still on the two or three times a week for 20 minutes program? These make a difference too.

Hopefully these suggestions will help you to remedy your problem. Keep trying, keep thinking...and Never give up. You will not regret it.

Hope that helps! Please let us know.
Kathe :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2005 7:52 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:57 am
Posts: 11
Location: Decatur,TEXAS
Thank you so much Kathe. You put a lot of time in your response and I really appreciate all the advise. The manure was a dry powder. That's all I know about that other than it wasn't composted. I have liquid molassas and I will put that on tomorrow. My husband is starting to listen to me about the watering schedule. He now gets the sprinklers ready at night and waters in the morning before he goes to work. It's a deep watering.
When I looked for grubs, I found no bugs other than roly polys. The soil was dry but not parched, and the grass wasn't wilted. We had 1 area that would wilt pretty quick, but I haven't noticed it since we aerated. We've had a couple of good rains since we aerated, so I'm thinking the water got down deeper than it used to. Thanks again Kathe!
Vickie


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 Post subject: Always welcome...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2005 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
You're so welcome. Please let us know how things progress. Keep encouraging your husband on the changed watering schedule...tell him how much money it will save you and I'll bet you get his ear! :wink:

Give the molasses a couple of days to kick things into gear and I'll bet you see some changes. I can usually tell when the next day when I've applied a new dose. It just seems to wake everything up and get things jumping.

Kathe :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:37 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:57 am
Posts: 11
Location: Decatur,TEXAS
I sprayed the molasses, then we went on vacation. When we returned, the grass looked great as far as the color. We have some bare spots that we didn't have last year. I was reading Neil Sperry's Gardening Corner in our local paper and he talked about 'take all patch'. Some kind of fungus. It totally describes what our yard looks like. Some guy at A&M discovered that you could put brown Canadian peat moss 1/2 in thick and water really well. In his article he reported that this happened to him. He applied the peat moss and his yard recovered. I think I will give this a try.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:05 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:51 pm
Posts: 747
Location: Garland, Texas
Vickie56.

This from the Dirt Doctor's library. (The bold text is of my doing.)

Quote:
Peat Moss Problems
Inspired by the discovery of a fully preserved ancient human body in a peat bog, Dr. Terrence Painter, professor emeritus at Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, is studying the use of peat to preserve fish. His intention is to come up with an economical way to expand the market for Norway’s nutritious cold water fish. The current method of preservation, filleting and flash freezing, is very expensive.

A millennium ago, the Vikings used water from peat moss bogs because it would stay fresh during their months at sea. Scandinavian freshwater fishermen traditionally preserved their catches in peat bogs. In Scotland, tubs of butter have been found in peat bogs – intact after 1,800 years.

Peat bogs have long been known for preserving organic material. Researchers believe organic materials lasts in peat bogs due to a lack of oxygen or the presence tannins. In tests, fish buried in peat moss or treated with a moss extract stayed fresh weeks longer than untreated fish.

That’s all good news for preserving and shipping, but the report accidentally proves why peat moss is a poor choice of organic matter for potting soils and bed preparation. We don’t want antimicrobial matter. Just the opposite. Compost is cheaper, recycles local or regional organic waste products, is alive, full of nutrition and makes plants grow and stay healthy.

This may all make peat moss sound like a good soil amendment, but that’s not the case. We want to use soil amendments that stimulate microbe growth rather than prevent it.

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Keeping it clean and green here, Boss.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:44 am 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Absolutely agree with the no peat moss thing. It's like taking an antibiotic that kills off everything, including the beneficial things in your body. A never ending negative cycle. Good material, Mr. Clean. Hadn't seen that. My Norwegian family uses peat moss to keep fish fresh. Doesn't make it a big seller for garden soil health support for me.

Much better to spread cornmeal to support beneficial fungus, add organic material and take out the bad fungus, and compost to improve the overall health of your soil so your turf and plants are stronger and more productive. Glad you saw the benefits of the molasses. It's a great tool for converts. Though Mr. Sperry has decades of experience in gardening and does give good advice often, his chemical approach and non-holistic methods are just something I can't agree with. Listening to him over the past few decades I've noted that he is much more apt to suggest plant choice, compost and other non-chemical methods than he did ten years ago but the paradigm of the chemical gardener is hard to accept. Get some of Howard's and Malcolm Beck's books, the Rodale organic gardening books and some of the others out there. You'll find them wonderful, I promise.

Kathe :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 8:21 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:57 am
Posts: 11
Location: Decatur,TEXAS
Mr. Clean and Kathe
Thanks for your replies. I'm sure glad that I got on the computer tonight, because I was going to spread that peat moss in the morning. The grass does look great now except for the few bare spots. So, you think I need to put out some more cornmeal? That is sure easier than the peat moss anyway. NOW, what in the world am I going to do with the 3 LARGE bags of meat moss sitting in my driveway? Another question.... is the cornmeal you buy from a feed store better for the soil than the cheapest brand at Walmart? Thank you for your help!! Have a GR-8 weekend!!
Vickie


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 Post subject: No More Peat Moss EVER!
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Great that you got back on the site before you put out the peat moss.

I agree with Howard that horticultural cornmeal (I use Alliance) works better than store brand cheap cornmeals, but if you can't get the good stuff use what you can get. As for the peat moss, take it back and get your money back. Any store worth shopping in should take back a product from you if you decide not to use it.

How long has it been since you applied the cornmeal? If more than 30-45 days, yes, I think you should put more cornmeal down, and water it in well. An application of Garret juice over the yard wouldn't hurt, or a compost tea & seaweed mix at least. Bare spots will grow back in with an application of compost covered by a layer of mulch. Of course, that's assuming that the bare spots aren't at the feet of your trees where the tree keeps knocking them off.

Potassium bicarbonate will work too but cornmeal has to many other benefits it's always my first choice. Spot treating with cornmeal tea or juice would help. You've seen that described I'm sure but it's just soaking cornmeal in water, straining off the solids and spraying the plant or turf with the resulting milky liquid. Great stuff.

Keep us updated and let us know ! NEVER, EVER GIVE UP.
Kathe :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 7:09 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:57 am
Posts: 11
Location: Decatur,TEXAS
well, I will get the cornmeal and get it on the grass. 2 of the bags of peat moss I bought at 50% off because they were torn open. LUCKY ME!! I'm sure I'm stuck with those, but at least I can take 1 back. I'm gone to get cornmeal.......
thanks Kathe
Vickie


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 Post subject: Cornmeal
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 5:33 pm
Posts: 829
Location: Dallas,TX
Yeah, cornmeal is cool. 8) 8)
FYI for future reference, I mix cornmeal in with my fertilzer at a 1/3 ratio when I put it out twice a year in spring & fall. So easy, so helpful.
Kathe :wink:


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 Post subject: peat
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:47 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 7:33 am
Posts: 764
Location: Plano & land at Dodd City,TEXAS
Vickie56-
This may not be an acceptable answer (i.e. organic) but perhaps you could fill wire hanging baskets w/peat if you are unable to return it. I've had hanging baskets of flowers planted in the peat-lined baskets & they seem to do fine w/proper soil inside.
Patty

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 9:51 am 
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Posts: 747
Location: Garland, Texas
Patty, That sounds like a perfectly acceptable answer to me :) No reason to allow the peat to go to waste.

_________________
Keeping it clean and green here, Boss.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


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 Post subject: Molasses
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2005 5:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 7:45 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Burleson,TEXAS
What kind of molasses are you talking about? The Brer Rabbit Unsulphured that is sold at grocery stores or is it something else. Please forgive my ignorance but I am very new to this and I am imagining a sticky mess all over my lawn!! I am experiencing bare spots on my lawn and I don't even know where to start. The lawn was okay last year when we moved in. I hired a lawn crew to come in and mow and edge once a week and they did fine last year. However, this year they started using a riding mower and it has left track marks where the front lawn slopes toward the street and two people have told me they think my grass problem is due to the weight of the riding mower. Supposedly it is too heavy and it is compacting the soil. Does this make sense? At any rate I replaced that crew this week with a new crew using mulching walk-behind mowers and they tell me the grass will come back but I really don't know if they know for sure or just trying to sell their service. :roll: :roll:


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