It is currently Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:49 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 5:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2003 4:49 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Arlington, TX
I am finally making the move to organic gardening after resisting for many years. I am very picky about my landscape and have a very nice St. Augustine lawn and nice flower beds, so I was afraid to convert and take the chance of messing up my yard, but it is time to stop the chemicals for good now. I have used cornmeal, Garrett Juice and Medena liquid plant food so far along with orange oil for insect control. I want to put down nematodes in the lawn, but am concerned that my soil is pretty compacted. I had a little problem with thatch at the beginning of the season also. What I would like to do is areate the lawn and then put down the nematodes and any other soil amendments that would be good at that time. I thought of putting greensand, lava sand, and dry molasses along with some organic fertilizer. So, I guess my questions are:

1. Does this sound like a good plan ?
2. Are there any other things I should put down after areating ?
3. At what rates should I apply these ?
4. Should I put the amendments down first then wait a little while for the nematodes ?

Thanks allot and this looks like a great board. I'm sure I will learn allot here.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 9:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:51 pm
Posts: 747
Location: Garland, Texas
Hagood

Your plan sounds great. You evidently have done some homework before putting your plan together. Starting out with a core areration will make an immediate impact. I leave the cores where they lay, and watch as they break back down. If you have any low spots that need ammending, rake those into that area.

Work your plan around your budget. If you can afford to apply all of the ammendments mentioned, by all means proceed as planned. 10-20lbs per 1000 sq. ft is sufficient for the products you have listed. I never measure exactly, but prefer to err on the lighter side of whatever is recommended. One of my goals as an organic gardener is to do more with less.

I would wait before adding the nematodes.

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


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2003 11:35 pm 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Welcome to organic gardening and to the Dirt Doctor list.

The only thing I would wait for before using nematodes is for the rain to stop. After rain is perfect environment for new nematodes. They need moisture to live and rained-on lawns are perfect. Once they get into the soil, you don't have to worry about them. Just make sure they are fresh before you buy them.

You can go to all the trouble you're talking about but I don't think you need to. Just water deeply and infrequently, mow high, and use the organic fertilizer and you should see great improvement in the soil quality this season without the extras or aerating. If you can get your lawn to only need water every 10 days or so, your soil will soften nicely by itself (with the help of billions (trillions?) of tireless microbes).

Greensand is used if you have a chlorosis problem following a long period of rain. Use it at 40 pounds per 1,000 square feet and give it 3 weeks to green up. If you don't have the yellowing, then you don't need greensand.

Lava sand is one of Howard's pet products that I just don't see the value in. He swears that paramagnetism works, but I've tested it growing radishes and got nowhere. Now I'll go along with other theories as to why lava sand might have some benefit but as for now paramagnetism is not holding water for me.

If you're already using corn meal, save yourself some money and continue to use that rather than buying the expensive organic fertilizers. They cost 6x as much as corn meal and do the same job of providing protein to the surface of the soil.

Garrett Juice and Medina Hasta Gro are great products. Use them according to the label. You could use Garrett Juice every two weeks but I would not use Hasta Gro that often. If you use foliar feedings too often, the roots find they are not needed and will self prune themselves. You want deep roots - the deeper the better.

Orange oil is a powerful organic solvent that will dissolve the waxy outer coverings on insects, but dang it's expensive. If you want to drench a fire ant mound, that's one thing, but if you wanted to provide some measure of control on a broadcast basis, you need to pull money out of your trust fund for that. Beneficial nematodes are cost effective.

You might consider keeping a pile of finished compost around as a mulch for use in the beds. Other mulches work well, too, but compost can't be beaten.

Other than that, organic gardening is not too complicated. Make sure you promote the wasp nests and mud dauber nests you see. Wasps are friendly and extremely beneficial in the garden eating the caterpillars and spiders. If you need to handle the nest there are some precautions to take but you can do it safely. You should also see more birds in the garden when you fertilize. They might eat a little corn meal but they also deposit the digested product back for you. They also eat their share of bugs while they're visiting.

Best wishes with your lawn. Hope you enjoy it like we all are.

_________________
David Hall
Moderator
Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 5:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2003 4:49 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Arlington, TX
Thank you both for the quick replies. I was thinking of the aerating because I have read that nematodes have a difficult time getting established in compacted soils, plus I thought it would be a quicker way to get some good organic material into the soil after about 15 years of using chemicals on the lawn. What about some of the liquid alternatives like bio-inoculant ? Also, with all of the chemicals in the soil, should I do any of the De-toxing techniques I have heard about before adding the nematodes ? Now a quick question about organic insecticides - Will orange oil or D.E. hurt the benificials ? I have already started to notice frogs and geckos around the house and don't want to harm them either. I also have quite a few mud dauber nests. I don't want to start having any problems with fleas or fire ants. I know it's a small consolation, but I've never seen a flea one on my dogs while using diazanon all those years. No, I'll never go back to chemicals, but I definately don't want to start having flea problems. Thanks again for all of the help.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2003 6:12 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:51 pm
Posts: 747
Location: Garland, Texas
Hagood

It has been my experience that very few ammendments produce the "return on investment" as did the core aeration. It was one of the first steps I took when we moved to this location. That along with dry humate and an organic fertilizer produced visible results the very next season. I followed the next three years with an annual aeration. Each year the remaing cores broke down faster and faster. The improvements over the following years have not been nearly as dramatic.

Since your lawn has been chemically maintained, I would go ahead with the ammendments you mentioned in your first post as the budget allows. The greensand could be omitted. As for 40lbs per 1000 square feet, I wouldn't apply any of the ammendments that heavily. IMO that is way beyond what is necessary. I personally wouldn't bother with a detox step. By amending the soil and restoring microbial activity, those things will work themselves out.

Orange oil can definitely harm beneficial insects if you spray it on them. As Dchall_San_Antonio pointed out, it is a powerful solvent and care should be exercised when using it. At the same time, I consider it a wonderful tool with a variety of uses both in and out of the lawn and garden.

If you don't currently have an insect problem, and guessing that you may have some chemical residual in the soil, you could hold off for a season before adding the BNs.

It is good to hear that you have a healthy population of beneficial creatures in place. With your conversion to organics, you should be able to enjoy them for years to come.

You will sometimes find a difference of opinion on products and techniques. Different things work for different people. Everyone's situation is not the same. As the old saying goes...This is not a race. It is a journey. You will need to try different products and techniques to see which work best for you in your own environment. In the end, you, your family and friends, and the earth we share will all benefit from these first steps you are taking.


Good luck.

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


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2003 12:13 am 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Mr. Clean wrote:
You will sometimes find a difference of opinion on products and techniques. Different things work for different people. Everyone's situation is not the same. As the old saying goes...This is not a race. It is a journey.


AMEN! I've made some bonehead comments to people in the north, south, east, and west. Things that are working miracles for me don't work worth a hoot for others. Any more I'm trying to use the word, 'suggestion,' rather than, 'recommendation.'

I'm a work in progress, y'all. Thanks Mr. Clean for the astute observation. :)

_________________
David Hall
Moderator
Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 9:14 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:51 pm
Posts: 747
Location: Garland, Texas
Dchall_San_Antonio

I know what you mean about using that recommendation word. All we can do is recommend (or suggest :wink:) what is working or has worked for us in the past. I noticed you have not found lava sand to your liking, while you seem to like the Medina products. My experience has been just the opposite with those products. I can't speak for the para magnetism aspect of lava sand, but it does appear to help me with controlling the moisture in the soil. I have worked to eliminate artificial watering of my lawn and beds over the past 4 years (I have even put my compost pile on restriction the last two years). Granted the mulching of the beds also helps considerably. The Medina product (have not used HastaGrow) has proved totally ineffective, in my environment, in performing as promised on the container. So much so that, after several years of use, I have abandoned the product completely and don't recommend (or suggest). In its place I have been trying the EarthWorm product since being introduced to it two years ago at HG's organic show in Arlington.

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


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 10:56 am 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator

Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 3:45 pm
Posts: 2884
Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
Mr Clean,
I'm not as enthusiastic about Medina products as some folks are. Their Medina Soil Activator probably has its best use where a soil has been contaminated with sodium salt. That might happen where roads are salted, after a salt water flood or other drenching, near a water softener that might leak, or if salt gets spilled on the ground. There is not really a problem with the sodium as long as the magnesium and calcium are in balance with the amount of sodium that's there. So the Medina Soil Activator would be recomm...suggested for that application.

I am accumulating more Hasta-Gro than I'm using. I seem to keep winning it at raffles. I'll eventually get to using it when I need shelf space.

So how's that for a lukewarm endorsement of Medina products??

As for lavasand, I believe it has some benefit in an organic program. I just have no definitive understanding for how it works. My working hypothesis is that the uneven micro-surface of the sand allows microbes to live inside or attached to the sand particles. Silicon based sand particles are smoother and don't seem to allow microbes to attach easily. Or it could be that the elements in lava sand are made available to the microbes and plants when the microbes exude their acidic stuff onto the sand. So since I don't know how it works, it follows that I don't know when it works. So I don't recommend or suggest it out of ignorance more than out of any strong reason.

Greensand, on the other hand, is another animal. It works, but again I'm not sure why. According to the chemists, the iron in greensand is bound up in the ferric form instead of the available ferrous form. Still, 3 weeks after using greensand, it really does seem to green up the yard when nothing else will. Someone has suggested that sulfur at 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet will do the same as greensand under the same circumstances. I'm going to try that this year if I have the same circumstances. Of course since I used greensand only last year, I should not need it again for 5 years, right??? That's what I hear on the radio.

_________________
David Hall
Moderator
Dirt Doctor Lawns Forum


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 1:25 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:51 pm
Posts: 747
Location: Garland, Texas
Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
I am accumulating more Hasta-Gro than I'm using. I seem to keep winning it at raffles. I'll eventually get to using it when I need shelf space. .


Interesting raffle item. Must be a garden club?

Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
So how's that for a lukewarm endorsement of Medina products??


:lol:

Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
As for lavasand, I believe it has some benefit in an organic program. I just have no definitive understanding for how it works.


I don't know how or why it works either, other than what HG reports.

Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
Greensand, on the other hand, is another animal. It works, but again I'm not sure why. According to the chemists, the iron in greensand is bound up in the ferric form instead of the available ferrous form. Still, 3 weeks after using greensand, it really does seem to green up the yard when nothing else will. Someone has suggested that sulfur at 10 pounds per 1,000 square feet will do the same as greensand under the same circumstances. I'm going to try that this year if I have the same circumstances. Of course since I used greensand only last year, I should not need it again for 5 years, right??? That's what I hear on the radio.


I have used Greensand twice in my 9 years at this site, and not a heavy application either time. It is not in my current rotation except to add a handful in my potting mixes (my own mixture) for containers. I haven't had a chigger outbreak in some years, but if I did adding a sulphur application to my rotation might take care of two problems at once.

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


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by eWeblife