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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:32 am 
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Scott's Miracle Grow bashes organic products, but its claims are contradicted

Scott's Miracle-Gro says:
With more consumers leaning toward sustainable and organic alternatives to synthetic products, the confusion can be even greater. For example, while customers may have the best intentions in purchasing an organic fertilizer, they might not realize that a bag of product isn’t just a bag of product, says Bruce Augustin, senior director of research & development for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

“A bag of conventional fertilizer that covers 5,000 square feet weighs about 15 pounds. If you want to use an organic fertilizer at the same level of nutrient application, which is the key, it will weigh about 75 pounds,” Augustin says. “Many homeowners think all the products do the same job, so when you look at a seven to 10 times difference in concentration of nutrients in one bag versus another, there can be a great deal of confusion.”
Source: Today's Garden Center,
http://www.todaysgardencenter.com/trend ... toryid=498

An organic manufacturer says:
"Chemical fertilizers feed the plant, not the soil. They provide a highly concentrated amount of nitrogen to the plant resulting in instant green up (2 to 3 days), but the effectiveness doesn't last. Organic fertilizers feed the soil, break down slowly and feed the plant only the amount of nutrients that the plant calls for. When you purchase a 40 lb. bag of chemical fertilizer with a NPK value of 29-2-4 you are getting 35% synthetic chemical nutrients and 65% or 26 lbs. of inert ingredients that contribute nothing. When you purchase a bag of Converted Organics 8-1-4 NPK you get 14% all natural usable nutrients and 86% organic matter that enriches and restores the microbial activity in the soil."
Source: convertedorganics.com


Last edited by Doug on Mon Dec 15, 2008 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:32 pm 
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I can understand the confusion. First of all the NPK idea simple doesn't apply to organic fertilizers. They should list protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. To think that a bag of 8-1-4 NPK organic fertilizer only provides 13% of something is not true at all. 100% of the contents are food for the soil microbes.

Secondly, a bag of organic fertilizer is not a bag of organic fertilizer. Texas Tee has a dominating proportion of feather meal, which happens to have extremely high protein content, but is nearly unavailable to the soil microbes during a typical growing season. Whereas most other organic fertilizers concentrate on grains as the protein source. Grains are available in a few days. If you use Texas Tee repeatedly it will start to work for you because your soil will develop a population of feather decomposing microbes, but the first app or two will be disappointing on a pound for pound basis compared to something as simple as ordinary corn meal or coffee grounds.

Thirdly, organic material does weigh more than chemicals. Once you realize that you press on with life. I don't see that as confusing.

Fourth (and related to the first), the idea that organic fertilizer "feeds the soil" is a concept that is hard to grasp. 99.999% of the human race understands the soil to be composed purely and exclusively of minerals. You cannot feed minerals because minerals don't eat. So the idea of feeding the soil is hard to grasp. You have to understand that there are 100,000 species of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and microarthropods in the soil to grasp the idea of feeding it. Organic fertilizer feeds those microbes...that happen to live in the soil.

Fifth, it is another oversimplification to believe that chemical fertilizer contains only NPK and nothing else. Ammonium sulfate has an NPK of 29-0-0. Does that mean that only 29% of the bag does anything. No. The sulfate has a significant effect on changing the pH of the soil. Furthermore ammonium sulfate is salty and makes an excellent snail and slug killer - FOR NON ORGANIC PROGRAM.

If you try to understand the science behind the gardening hobby you have a lot of reading to do. I find it helpful to understand gardening history to see how we got where we are. The Farmer's Almanac archives is a good resource but it's even intermediary compared with the garden writings from England and France. Before you get too deep into the history; however, it is good to read the most current stuff on organics from Dr Elaine Ingham, Steve Diver, and others. You'll be able to see from the modern understanding exactly where the old ways drifted away from natural gardening. Once agriculture was turned over to the alchemists and chemists, it was downhill from there.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:13 am 
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Mike Dobrovolsky of Soil Mender sent this reply via email:

N-P-K is only 3 elements essential to good balanced life in the soil. Nowhere do the chemical companies address the other approximately 23 elements needed. Not mentioned is the addition of beneficial rock mineral and macro nutrients needed for quality soil formation. The application of good quality compost and humate will, of course, replenish the carbon and organic matter to the soil. In cases where chemical N-P-K fertilizer are (or have been) in use, application of compost is essential! Soils low in organic matter and trace elements produce plant life that is more likely affected by disease, insect infestation and adverse weather conditions (heat, cold, drought and even floods). Of course, the chemical companies love this because now they can sell the consumer another product to control (temporarily) the adverse or invasive condition now prevailing due to the condition of the poor soil culture.


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