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DLAWNS
11-25-2008, 12:10 AM
I just got a call from a board president of a 360 home association and they want a organic fertilization program. I have no experience in this and was wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction. Programs, vendors, and information to that effect. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ICT Bill
11-25-2008, 09:55 AM
Dlawns, very interesting. We have been (tech terra and ICT) touring many counties and businesses in NJ over the last 2 weeks. We have heard the same thing over and over again. "we have to use better practices in taking care of our sites, show us your organic program"

New Jersey has recently passed legislation to use IPM practices at all times (its a little more complicated than that), I do believe this has raised awareness across the board to using practices that do not leech or poison.

Barry and I did a comparison "bridge" or "organic based" program vs typical fertilizers, it is a 6 app program with 1 pre-m application (if you want it, not mandatory) in the spring. typical bagged fert program runs (at Nov 1 pricing) just over $800.00 per acre per year, bridge program runs just over $300.00 per acre per year

The bridge program is meant to increase soil organic matter while raising and supporting beneficial microorganisms, the 2 basics to any organic program. it includes typical NPK but at much lower inputs

the program includes a granular application spring and fall (at roughly $90.00 per acre, each app) and 4 applications of our compost tea at $30.00 per acre.

One of things I have been banging on the desk about is phosphorous, in almost every case (not all) you can remove the phos from your program. If you are headed towards an organic program you will want to support the microbial life as much as possible, mycorrhizae do not like phos, meaning they almost do nothing in the presence or applications of P. If we take P out of the application we will support a much wider diversity of mycorrhizae

Mycorrhizae, at good population in the soil, supply P and K as well as many micronutrients. Will they supply them all? NO but if they are providing 40% of the nutrients and we get the bacterial numbers up that mine nutrients and supply 20% to 30% of the nutrients that is 60% to 70% of the external inputs we have removed

The program will need to be tweaked in some cases depending on the sites needs

This is a soil fertility program not feed the plant program, it does not include disease or pest issues with turf but we have some very safe alternatives for that as well

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 11:16 AM
bill,

soil fertility program? what part of urea does not feed the plant and only the soil?

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 11:23 AM
two apps of npk and 4 of your tea......sounds like a winner!

you can give them my # when your done

Smallaxe
11-25-2008, 11:24 AM
You have several months to put during the growing season to decide if more fert is needed. The important part of organics is lowering inputs. The president of the board needs to understand that b4 doing business.
Check out this website b4 u start thinking about 4-6 apps of organic fertilizer.

http://outagamie.uwex.edu/hort/documents/LawnCareTips.pdf

If I had this opportunity I would compute the amount of compost I would like to apply and bid it out in at least 3 apps. Compute Milorganite into the second app.; Then do a slow release fertilizer in the fall.

Check out the soil first. Not a soil test so much as a physical test of your own. Pull a plug from the roots and sqeeze a chunk or 3 between your fingers. Adjust your number of apps. , and amounts, according to what you see in the soil.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 12:09 PM
good advice smallaxe.

you have a couple of months to learn whats important and whats not
take a step back before the sharks get you!

ICT Bill
11-25-2008, 12:42 PM
bill,

soil fertility program? what part of urea does not feed the plant and only the soil?

I agree
One of the most difficult thing for people to get their head around is not using fertilizers. Often it is needed to bridge a property that has been addicted to NPK, its kind of like the methadone program for herion addicts.

We are all about reduced inputs, If we can put a working plan in place to reduce fertilizer use by 75% I am all for it, yeah buddy

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 01:00 PM
reduced inputs is good as long as you maintain quality with a realistic approach


one size does not fit all..

JDUtah
11-25-2008, 02:03 PM
Urea DOES feed soil microbes.

http://www.agrotain.com/factsheets/UreaseFactSheet.pdf

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 02:14 PM
jd,

that would make sense since the microbes are needed to make most of the n available from urea?

in a natural soil environment do soil microbes synthesize "make" urea?

ICT Bill
11-25-2008, 02:37 PM
not urea specifically but they certainly do make Nitrite and Nitrate

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 03:13 PM
no ammonia or ammonium ion first? most of us know that bill,
i was asking jd. the question.......

JDUtah
11-25-2008, 03:20 PM
jd,

that would make sense since the microbes are needed to make most of the n available from urea?

in a natural soil environment do soil microbes synthesize "make" urea?

Soil microbes don't excrete Urea, they eat it. They excrete the enzyme Urease to convert it into NH3 which they then absorb and use to make whatever complex molecule they want it for.

Thinking of a natural nutrient cycle...
Animals eat food. We then synthesize urea. Once we get enough of it, we take a bathroom break. (I prefer the base of a tree :)) That urea is now food for microbes and plants, but before they can use it they must convert it... that is where the enzyme(s) Urease comes into play. Well they convert it into NH3 and absorb and use it. We eat it (mushrooms or plants), and the cycle starts over agian.

Either way, urea is part of a natural nutrient cycle. It is food for microbes, not poison. This is the case with ALL fertilizers when not overly concentrated. At one point in a nutrient cycle, right before plant or microbe absorption, molecules must exist in mineral form (like a synthetic fertilizer).

An organic program simply chooses to add the inputs at a different stage of the cycle and then keep that cycle as closed as possible.

As far as an HOA, they usually care more about cost than quality, so take the hybrid program for what it’s worth. Bill’s stuff might be a good lower cost balance between the two. Assuming they have enough SOM to maintain the effectiveness of additional microbes.

Sometimes organics is hit and miss until you get it figured out, so make sure you have freedom to keep the customer satisfied while you get things established.

The MOST important thing in an organic program is cultural practices. DLawns, are you maintaining the lawns too?

First is appropriate irrigation techniques.
Does the irrigation water require leaching to avoid salt buildup? But you also need to worry about NOT leaching the nutrients out of the soil? So how much is too much, but how little is too little? How often do you need to irrigate? How much should be applied per irrigation?

Next learn proper mowing practices.
Are you mowing the grass high enough to encourage maximum photosynthesis, plant health, and weed competition? Is it too high to maintain aesthetic appeal? Are your mower blades regularly sharpened for minimal harm to the plant? Are you mowing at the right intervals? Is the grass dry enough when you mow? And most importantly, are you leaving the clippings on the lawn?

Then you can worry about inputs.
Do you want to go straight organic? Straight natural? Maybe a hybrid of organic and synthetic? The best rule of thumb here is AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE while still maintaining customer satisfaction.

And last is pest control.
Organic herbicides only? Synthetic herbicides that do not harm soil microbes? Blanket spray? Spot spray? Pull weeds? What about insects? And disease? What is your definition of organic? How strictly do you want to hold to that definition?

IMO, follow the steps in that order, and answer those questions for yourself (working with the HOA) and you have your organic program.

JDUtah
11-25-2008, 03:23 PM
no ammonia or ammonium ion first? most of us know that bill,
i was asking jd. the question.......

Are you playing games?

treegal1
11-25-2008, 03:33 PM
Urease is found in bacteria, yeast and several higher plants.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 03:43 PM
jd,
no games,

anyway... you ask a question does urea feed microbes? answer is yes but...
when urea is broken down what come from that?.... thats where bill came in with the nitrite/nitrate?.......to the best of my knowledge ammonia and co2 come from the break down first....then the ammonia gets converted to nh4 then the others?
thats all i was saying..

also do you think in a completely natural system that urea/uric acid are the main n contributor's to that system?

thats great bill gave you the "TALK" why things didn't work out for you but all i have to say is keep learning and experimenting and i'll do the same

JDUtah
11-25-2008, 03:52 PM
jd,
no games,

anyway... you ask a question does urea feed microbes? answer is yes but...
when urea is broken down what come from that?.... thats where bill came in with the nitrite/nitrate?.......to the best of my knowledge ammonia and co2 come from the break down first....then the ammonia gets converted to nh4 then the others?
thats all i was saying..

also do you think in a completely natural system that urea/uric acid are the main n contributor's to that system?

thats great bill gave you the "TALK" why things didn't work out for you but all i have to say is keep learning and experimenting and i'll do the same

I see what you were talking about. The guide I linked stated that Urease... "Releases NH3 (ammonia) from urea in fertilizer, decomposing plants, and animal wastes."

I agree. I only brought up urease because you were criticizing Bill's "soil fertility program". It seemed like to me, you said Urea only fed the plant, I wanted to clarify that it feeds both plants and soil microbes in an organic system.

I'll keep learning and experimenting as you do. After all, isn’t that why we are here?

Lol, man you really need to let it go with Bill. Not everybody drives a Lincoln.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 04:12 PM
jd,
my brewer looks like a Yugo but drive's like a F1

or you can get behide the wheel of a local compost extract...1000x better diversity then bottled stuff and no license required and little experience needed

JDUtah
11-25-2008, 04:23 PM
jd,
my brewer looks like a Yugo but drive's like a F1

or you can get behide the wheel of a local compost extract...1000x better diversity then bottled stuff and no license required and little experience needed

Does one make an entire meal and only eat the side dish?

But to the point…
Like I said, not everybody drives a Lincoln. In fact, you said yourself “one size does not fit all.. " so WHO CARES about Bill's program?

Dlawns does not have to do Bill's program, he does not have to do yours, he does not have to do Trees he does not have to do mine.

Instead of putting effort into criticizing things (Bill’s program) just because it doesn't fit your style, let's all tell DLawns about ours, (short of giving away our trade secretes) why ours works for us, and maybe then he can actually learn from this forum to formulate his OWN program, for his OWN needs, and his OWN standards.

So Deeproots,
What does your organic program look like?

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 04:42 PM
jd,

your absolutely right!!!

i feel like i'm in grade school sometimes sticking up for the kid getting bullied.
maybe i do it in the wrong way some times.
maybe i should word my words better

i just feel right or wrong that some people here have agenda's that aren't completely on the up and up.

i share when i can, besides a few i think i tell it like it really is sometimes?
i do try to point people in the right direction with out holding their hand the whole way
stay tuned...

treegal1
11-25-2008, 04:43 PM
But to the point…
Like I said, not everybody drives a Lincoln. In fact, you said yourself “one size does not fit all.. " so WHO CARES about Bill's program?

Dlawns does not have to do Bill's program, he does not have to do yours, he does not have to do Trees he does not have to do mine.

I think we are all sort of gleaning from the original organic land care people of many generations ago, we just have better microscopes and the Internet, this tread alone geographically speaking would have taken months just a few decades ago????

JDUtah
11-25-2008, 05:30 PM
i feel like i'm in grade school sometimes sticking up for the kid getting bullied.

Ironic, you took the words right out of my mouth.

phasthound
11-25-2008, 05:59 PM
Dlawn,

Ignore the man behind the curtain. :)

I'll be glad to help you put a proposal together. You are less than an hour away from me, we should met after Thanksgiving.

I am just about to launch an information campaign to community organizations about organic landcare programs.Many are interested in such services, but when the board contacts their landscaper, they are typically told "Oh, those programs are too expensive and they don't work, besides our program is safe." On the other hand, I am getting more calls each day from landscapers & LCO's who see the opportunity to increase business & need products and guidance.

email me your phone # & I'll give you a call.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 06:45 PM
Ironic, you took the words right out of my mouth.

jd,

let me define my statement a little better..........

i feel i i'm sticking up for the kid who got his lunch money taken

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 06:48 PM
Dlawn,

Ignore the man behind the curtain. :)
.


was that directed towards me?

JDUtah
11-25-2008, 07:32 PM
jd,

let me define my statement a little better..........

i feel i i'm sticking up for the kid who got his lunch money taken

Ahhh, I see.

Well, we have done a good job showing DLawns there are many different approaches and avenues. And even though I have had my beef with both Barry and Bill, I say he should meet with Barry. It wont hurt.

DLAWNS
11-25-2008, 08:26 PM
Wow, one of my threads has never gotten this much attention, at least not this quickly. I appreciate all of the feedback. You guys definitely gave me a lot to think about. I definitely will be meeting with Barry after the holiday or at least over the winter. Any more info or feedback would be awesome. Thanks again, guys!

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 08:41 PM
jd,

i have nothing against barry personally....he a nice guy...and he can get this guy's feet wet

managing/transitioning a lawn to "real"organic care sorry to say... there's more to do with it then 1 or 2 products and get results/long term
if the goal is to have a "feel good program" to make a buck then maybe it is that easy but.......is that"organic/less harm full to the environment"? how long with that program can you expect a soil to come around to true soil food web nutrient cycling? 1 year, 5 years, 10 years?

by reducing npk what are you really doing besides slowing grass growth and giving weeds the edge if you not building a real foundation at the same time?(more chem weed control needed) yes you are reducing salts per dose but i can take 46/0/0 and go light? whats the difference? 10lbs? of carbon"om" from the litter per 1000 per year, a little compost dusting maybe instead? i think bill said it best in the past" i don't think the same microbes in chicken litter are the same one's that are beneficial to the soil? maybe money/profits changed that opinion?

the only organism in bills product/program that will help the grass imo is the mycorrhiae in it... there are the other bio stim's. kelp/molasses ete but 1oz per 2-3 thou sf is a little light from my experience

.i just learned the other day how to stain and view myco colonization on roots under the scope. so give me so time to see whats what. i want to know is how prevalent is myco in all types of system naturally with out mans inputs and where i have inoculated......well see?

the program has to get to a point where natural nutrient cycling is happing on a level that will provide results with out synthetic npk.
that happens only with proper knowledge/ care/ inputs.......it's not 123 sorry

i feel there are easier/cheaper/effective ways that will make that happen then salesmen words might make you believe?

everybody's looking for the easy way to cash in on organic care.... throw a bag in the spreader...spray this...done organic lawn? time will tell ?

Kiril
11-25-2008, 09:05 PM
http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ritter/geog101/textbook/earth_system/nitrogen_cycle_EPA.jpg (http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/ritter/geog101/textbook/earth_system/biogeochemical_cycles.html)



COMPOST DOES A SOIL GOOD!!!!!

ICT Bill
11-25-2008, 09:06 PM
We just make a product to allow lawn and landscape professionals to transition to less inputs. It is that simple

Growing, Can you brew a product that is better, who knows. that is not the point. the point is to get folks to move to practices that do not leech and volatilize and that is where you are already

Can a company that has 1000's of customers and 100's of franchisees do what you do and build a program around it? right now it is very difficult too say the least.

We are trying to provide a quality product that can be applied with good to great results.

JD says our compost tea did not perform for him, that is fine, at 0.7 SOM it is probably not the first thing that should be applied. Ronstar works great with C4 turf but not so great with C3, big deal, don't use it on C3 turf

we are trying to make a product that will fit in with existing equipment and practices that will provide a base for less inputs. do your thing and let others do theirs

Your program may not work for others, ICT's may not either.

At least we both are headed in the right direction, we may not agree on the direction....... I would suggest you share your experiences and help others rather than focus on one entity being the devil

BTW how much diversity is in Humate, Kelp, Fish and Molasses, lots I do believe

Kiril
11-25-2008, 09:13 PM
btw how much diversity is in humate, kelp, fish and molasses, lots i do believe

huh????????

JDUtah
11-25-2008, 09:20 PM
huh????????

lol, that's what I was wondering.

JDUtah
11-25-2008, 09:42 PM
by reducing npk what are you really doing besides slowing grass growth and giving weeds the edge if you not building a real foundation at the same time?(more chem weed control needed) yes you are reducing salts per dose but i can take 46/0/0 and go light? whats the difference? 10lbs? of carbon"om" from the litter per 1000 per year, a little compost dusting maybe instead? i think bill said it best in the past" i don't think the same microbes in chicken litter are the same one's that are beneficial to the soil? maybe money/profits changed that opinion?

Chicken turd (barry's compost), worm turd, horse turd, human turd, bat turd, decomposed grass and wood... it doesn't matter where the compost came from... ANY compost will not necessarily breed 'good soil microbes'.

http://www.woodsend.org/interview.html?part=12

Case in point, I could care less if it is Bills select microbes or your compost tea microbes. It's just an input.

Back to my “preparing a meal but only eating a side dish comment”; why create a good food (compost), just to 'extract' only one part of the meal? Organics does not = microbe application.

IMO Barry has you both beat when it comes to organic ideals. His is actual compost.

What does the HOA want out of an organic program? Recycling natural waste streams to decrease harm to the environment? Nutrients added to the soil in more stable forms to discourage leaching? Being organic for the increased 'safety' of it? (That's a false advertisement btw) Following the current buzz and brag that they use microbe applications?

I agree with Kiril, compost does a soil good.

Why take a good thing (compost), remove some of the best and most important parts of it, and then apply it? Compost Tea's (real or manufactured) just don't make sense to me.

A real organic program focuses on minimal inputs, nutrient cycling, proper cultural practices, and native species. Where do microbe applications fit in there? Maybe in minimal inputs, but IMO there are better options.

Good luck DLawns, I have shared enough here.

DLAWNS
11-25-2008, 09:46 PM
[QUOTE=
Good luck DLawns, I have shared enough here.[/QUOTE]

No problem, thanks for the input.

Kiril
11-25-2008, 10:02 PM
Where do microbe applications fit in there?

I think there are cases where they do fit, and depending on your soils, may be a good idea. That being said, with respect to soil applications, if you keep needing to apply microbes then you have 3 possible scenarios as I see it:

1) You are sitting on a toxic waste dump
2) You are creating a toxic waste dump
3) You are trying to get something from the system which it cannot support naturally

The goal is to lower or eliminate inputs, not just change the bag or bottle.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
11-25-2008, 10:19 PM
jd,
you missed it's completely about the extract. it only one part of the =.

lets say you have poor soil to start, you aerate many times and only have a poor microbe community compost source to apply as topdress? (say you knew that cause you looked under a scope to know that) say you apply 2in, say you have a small supply of really great local compost with great #'s of bugs? do u think it would be beneficial to make and extract and apply if you can't make a CT?

i disagree with your statement about it doesn't matter about your compost inputs.
the better input= better compost=better growing plants..it as much chemical as biological when you start with better inputs

first..whats in that chickens diet? whats better young composted chicken litter or old seabird or bat guano? tie? worm cast is the same as chicken sh@T!?

i mentioned the extract because it is a easy method to prepare and apply, depending on the compost these's more then just microbes to benefit plant growth

i agree, start with the best compost possible for that plant and work off that if needed?

Kiril
11-25-2008, 10:59 PM
I think we are getting away from the important issues.

- Plants need nutrients and water (among other things).
- Most of those nutrients are provided by your soil (unless your soil is pure sand).
- OM feeds microbes which helps cycle those nutrients along with providing some of those nutrients
- Proper amounts of water keep microbes and plants alive and happy.

It doesn't matter where the OM comes from (sans toxic materials included), unless once again you are dealing with pure sand. The crappier your soil (eg. low fertility) the better compost you will want to use ..... BUT that does not mean you have to use a high quality compost, only that you will need to wait longer for results. Use what is available and is economically feasible.

Feed the microbes, feed the plants.

No need to complicate it any further than that for the noobs.

Compost does a soil good!

ICT Bill
11-26-2008, 10:17 AM
JD and Kiril
I know it is obvious but, compost teas are used in large part because applying compost is such a PITA
It is really a practice started in farming where you have to cover large areas with limited sources of compost, the practice has been moved to lawn and landscape because it is easier to apply than compost.

If you are trying to cover DLAWNS 360 homes in a 30 - 45 day period you would be hard pressed to treat all of them with compost in a season let alone 4 to 6 weeks. In some areas of the country a typical lawn is 1/2 an acre or more

It is simply about the application and where it fits in the program. It is not my idea is better than yours. spray rigs are simple to operate and you can move from one site to next quickly. compost on the other hand is very difficult to handle, there is just no way around it

Like Growing said, extraction is a simple process that yields quanties of quality compost tea. Others call extraction heresy and that only brewing compost tea is the TRUE way.

Nonsense, it works in growing's case very well, if others want to brew fine, have at it. If Kiril wnats to treat every site with compost only great, go for it.

It is about how the application fits into your business model, gets results and makes a profit. all of this my way is better than yours is utter nonsense

Kiril
11-26-2008, 11:11 AM
I know it is obvious but, compost teas are used in large part because applying compost is such a PITA

The main reason for applying compost is to get organic matter into the system, which is something CT does not do (short of microbial biomass). You can't serious be trying to equate CT to compost?

Bill, you need to realize that unless you are dealing with a closed system (which most all landscapes are NOT), eventually your OM (food) will run out, and your CT will essentially be useless. In most all landscapes and Ag, more biomass leaves the system than comes in, and this cannot be fixed with CT.

I do however agree with your take on extraction.

ICT Bill
11-26-2008, 11:25 AM
Bill, you need to realize that unless you are dealing with a closed system (which most all landscapes are NOT), eventually your OM (food) will run out, and your CT will essentially be useless. In most all landscapes and Ag, more biomass leaves the system than comes in, and this cannot be fixed with CT.
Turf is a closed system, this is one of the reasons why compost teas are so effective. We do not plow and disc turf every season

I am not arguing the fact that compost is an excellent soil amendment in any way. sign me up I'm on board

I think even growing will admit that compost teas do have organic matter in them, in our case we add humate, fish, kelp and molasses to our mix as a food for the microbes and the soil

Kiril
11-26-2008, 11:32 AM
Turf is a closed system

Perhaps in some cases, but certainly not all .... not even close.

I think even growing will admit that compost teas do have organic matter in them, in our case we add humate, fish, kelp and molasses to our mix as a food for the microbes and the soil

Not even comparable to compost. Have you calculated the amount of biomass that is applied using your suggested application rates?

Gatewayuser
11-26-2008, 02:52 PM
Man guys you all are confusing the heck out of me!

I want to become mostly organic by next season but this sounds like all of my customers will hate me by the years end because I will do something wrong by doing it this way or that!

If you all want organics to become the norm you all better come to an agreement or myself and I'm sure others will be forced to treat our same old ways.

I've got no problem putting compost down but I have mostly 1 to 2 acre lots. No one's going to want me to put $380 worth of compost on their lawn (no labor included) just because it's the "right thing for the earth". I would prefer to just be able to compost the 1/4-1/2 acre lots and CT them and do just CT on larger lawns.

Bill I would like to come out to your company in MD sometime so we could figure the treatment plan out in person because this sounds too complicated to figure out on the phone!

Kiril
11-26-2008, 03:15 PM
@gateway

It doesn't have to be confusing. You are attempting to create a sustainable system, which in the long run will result in substantially lower inputs and lower costs for you, your client, and the environment. People need to get out of the "x" number of applications per year mindset.

If your soils are in such bad shape you need to raise your OM by 5% or more, then the initial costs will naturally be higher. If you have some OM to work with, then you can devise a program to meets the needs of the plants based on soil tests and careful observation without substantial start-up costs. What type of soils are you dealing with?

Now what does get confusing is when vendors tell you this is the only way to do it, or you need my product in order for your program to work. Sustainable systems are not about replacing one bagged/bottled product with another.

If you want to inoculate your soils with microbes by all means do so, but the need to continually do this indicates a problem with the program/system.

Curious, how much does it cost you in fertilizers and pesticides per year on these 1-2 acre lots? Imagine a system that eventually will only require inputs once a year, or once every two years.

Gatewayuser
11-26-2008, 03:30 PM
Hmmm make their lawn so nice that I only have to "input" once a year there again not sounding like a good deal for me I'm not the home owner.
I will have to check the soil samples to see what the OM levels were.

On the 2acre lots supplies of around $510 a year.

@gateway

It doesn't have to be confusing. You are attempting to create a sustainable system, which in the long run will result in substantially lower inputs and lower costs for you, your client, and the environment. People need to get out of the "x" number of applications per year mindset.

If your soils are in such bad shape you need to raise your OM by 5% or more, then the initial costs will naturally be higher. If you have some OM to work with, then you can devise a program to meets the needs of the plants based on soil tests and careful observation without substantial start-up costs. What type of soils are you dealing with?

Now what does get confusing is when vendors tell you this is the only way to do it, or you need my product in order for your program to work. Sustainable systems are not about replacing one bagged/bottled product with another.

If you want to inoculate your soils with microbes by all means do so, but the need to continually do this indicates a problem with the program/system.

Curious, how much does it cost you in fertilizers and pesticides per year on these 1-2 acre lots? Imagine a system that eventually will only require inputs once a year, or once every two years.

Kiril
11-26-2008, 03:51 PM
Hmmm make their lawn so nice that I only have to "input" once a year there again not sounding like a good deal for me I'm not the home owner.

The goal is to lower inputs (eg. moving towards sustainability), which means you need to expand your operation to make up for any losses you might incur over the long term as a result.

This of course is assuming you have fairly decent soils to work with (Class 1-3, maybe 4).
Poor soils will require more inputs for a longer period of time, and you may never be able to get a poor soil (class 4) to perform like a good soil (class 1).

This is the reason why using natives and/or regionally appropriate plants is the best way to achieve the sustainable goal.

Gatewayuser
11-26-2008, 04:04 PM
Where can I find out about the classes of soil that your talking about?

Kiril
11-26-2008, 04:15 PM
Where can I find out about the classes of soil that your talking about?

http://soils.usda.gov/technical/handbook/contents/part622.html

Gatewayuser
11-26-2008, 04:57 PM
ok so cats 1-3 mainly 1 or 2.

Smallaxe
11-26-2008, 09:16 PM
Thanks Kiril :)

Gateway, The key word is Kiril's use of 'biomass'.
Something with some - body - that microbes can use!
Build that soil structure and work that nutrient cycling!!

I personally, have been working with the 'thatch' biomass. When folks remove it they claim to have taken away more than 1 truck load on a 10 K property. That's a lot.
Not having taken the time to experiment with ct , I am not sure what that might do in addition to my current research, and have not heard any claims. However, Working with molasses/sugar and compost for one season -- I am convinced of one thing...

I need to do more to see if I get 'measurable' results, this time.
I have the luxury of doing this because the lawn looks fine. Even - Great by comparison in the area. [However, someone 3 doors down has stepped up their grass a notch or 2. Next season should be fun. :) ]

Learning soils, may be your best first endevear in relation to organics, but don't forget the botany.

Smallaxe
11-26-2008, 09:49 PM
Hmmm make their lawn so nice that I only have to "input" once a year there again not sounding like a good deal for me I'm not the home owner...

Oh, I forgot to mention. I only add about $50 worth of compost per 10k each time. With most of my lawns that is adequate to stay comparable to the high input lawns in the neighborhood.
A layer of compost put out by a wheelbarrow, a helper to push the wheelbarrow and my right hand spreading it as evenly as I would a grass seed. About a half an hour per 10k.
An added bonus: A better result in 2 apps than the fert and squirt guys can do in 4 or 6.
[Do I charge more per app. yet - less per year. Yes.]

You don't need $380 worth of compost for 1 lawn. Sure it's nice, but building the soil slowly and keeping the progress in motion is good for business. :)

Gatewayuser
11-26-2008, 11:13 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention. I only add about $50 worth of compost per 10k each time. With most of my lawns that is adequate to stay comparable to the high input lawns in the neighborhood.
A layer of compost put out by a wheelbarrow, a helper to push the wheelbarrow and my right hand spreading it as evenly as I would a grass seed. About a half an hour per 10k.
An added bonus: A better result in 2 apps than the fert and squirt guys can do in 4 or 6.
[Do I charge more per app. yet - less per year. Yes.]

You don't need $380 worth of compost for 1 lawn. Sure it's nice, but building the soil slowly and keeping the progress in motion is good for business. :)

My lawns are 1 to 2 acres thats why the high price.

Smallaxe
11-28-2008, 10:22 AM
Gatewayuser, If there is the habit of leaving the clippings behind and mulching in the leaves, then that at least is providing food for the microbrials and worms. If you find yourself doing 4 apps @ $175.00 per - or more- you may want to consider adding compost at least at some level in some areas.

If CT works to build the soil structure quicker then you may be better off with that. As another thread pointed out - you would logically run out of food at some point down the road. Clippings , mulch, and CT. :) Let us know what you decide and how it works.

hort4life1222
11-29-2008, 02:57 AM
www.organicgardening.com, www.vt.ext.edu those are some of the organic info.

DLAWNS
11-29-2008, 09:46 AM
www.organicgardening.com, www.vt.ext.edu those are some of the organic info.

Thanks for the links, man.