PDA

View Full Version : What are your foundational organic products?


replenish&subdue
12-11-2008, 09:26 PM
What are the foundational products that are a must in operating an organic lawn and shrub business? For example,I would think corn glutton is foundational as a pre-emerge.By the way do we have any other choice,corn glutton has shot up in price!

treegal1
12-11-2008, 09:46 PM
compost!!!!!!!

1wezil
12-11-2008, 10:04 PM
??????????????/

treegal1
12-11-2008, 11:03 PM
??????????????/hey dude your cat is on the computer again

Kiril
12-11-2008, 11:21 PM
CGM is NOT a staple ..... TG beat me to it.

COMPOST DOES A SOIL GOOD

JDUtah
12-12-2008, 12:20 AM
Compost, smart irrigation, and sometimes yearly over-seeding = staples

Smallaxe
12-12-2008, 08:08 AM
CG as a pre-emergent is only going to disappoint and make you look bad.
Be sure you get plenty of experience b4 you go pro with it.

I agree with JD in that compost and smart watering are good, because compost and stupid watering are going to waste your effort.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
12-12-2008, 09:04 AM
common sensetem"]

TF PLUS
12-12-2008, 11:47 AM
Season Greetings Group,

This was my first summer and fall with an advanced organic approach.

My foundation products were: Pure Worm Castings (purchased) combined with a grain meal (Corn), fortified with Humic/Fulvic Acid, Sea kelp with worm tea. Added to this hand blend was Sul-Po-Mag and a trace of Boron. This was applied with a broadcast spreader with an attached vibration kit at a rate of about 34 pounds per 1000 sqft for St. Augustine grass, Palm trees and surrounding bushes. Takes too much time and effort to mix:hammerhead:
Looking into a solution for this.

I saw results with lawn green-up and fungus control but it was not the (false- dark-green and shinny look) that I saw with chemical 8-2-12 blend. It seemed to look descent for about 6 to 8 weeks with fungus managed.

My Eco Lawn Applicator arrived, so I added bagged compost (mainly sand base) to above mix and WOW!!!

You can notice a difference between the two approaches.

I just found a compost facility near by that uses just yard waste, its screened to half inch. The owner been composting for 15 years and now he does not test anymore.:confused:

Improvements will come...in the form of COMMMMMPOST as the base foundation.

Can you guess the two people I need to visit?

Take care and Happy Holidays, Tom

Smallaxe
12-12-2008, 04:31 PM
Good to hear it TF, :) and Merry Christmas to you as well.

With all the additional, this past year, How are you in cost comparison with Synthetic?
Labor? and Product cost?

Just ballpark is fine...

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
12-12-2008, 04:53 PM
Have you guys used or have an opinion on those Organic products that claim to be, Liquid Aerator, Liquid Dethatcher, and Soil conditioners?

Like the ones listed here:

http://www.lazymangardener.com/

TF PLUS
12-12-2008, 05:18 PM
Saxe,
In 03 synthetic cost was $ 5.40 and as of this July was $ 10.60 per 1000 sqft with 15 pounds of complete fertilizer used and applied 3 to 4 times per year. Charge to customer was increased 3 to 4 times. True example: 14,000 sqft landscape charge was 435$ and the amount of total fertilizer used was 210 pounds (8-2-12). As you can see customer needed price increase. This was applied to the entire landscape growing area to best benefit Palm trees. Labor time: one person about 2 hours.

The same job with organic approach was: my cost 290$ for product and about 782 pounds used. Labor one person was around 3.5 hours. This time around I charged the customer 435$. As you can see I need to re-educate customer and adjust price.

To mix enough product for this job by hand takes about 2 hours.

Room for improvements for sure.

Smallaxe
12-12-2008, 07:28 PM
Saxe,
In 03 synthetic cost was $ 5.40 and as of this July was $ 10.60 per 1000 sqft with 15 pounds of complete fertilizer used and applied 3 to 4 times per year. Charge to customer was increased 3 to 4 times. True example: 14,000 sqft landscape charge was 435$ and the amount of total fertilizer used was 210 pounds (8-2-12). As you can see customer needed price increase. This was applied to the entire landscape growing area to best benefit Palm trees. Labor time: one person about 2 hours.

The same job with organic approach was: my cost 290$ for product and about 782 pounds used. Labor one person was around 3.5 hours. This time around I charged the customer 435$. As you can see I need to re-educate customer and adjust price.

To mix enough product for this job by hand takes about 2 hours.

Room for improvements for sure.

The way I am reading this you applied synthetics 3-4 times @ $10.60/k on 14000 and charged $435.00 for the season. You applied it in 2 manhours work.

With organics - you charged the same $435.00 for the season and the profit margin was 435 - 290, for 3.5 hrs. manhours work.

What was the profit margin on the synthetics for 2 manhours work? [435-x=y] ?

Sounds promising. :) Just unclear of the numbers you are dealing with even b4 re-educating the client.

TF PLUS
12-14-2008, 10:48 AM
Smallaxe:

Sorry for being unclear.

The charge to the customer was $435.00 for each application and this one is done 4 times from February through October/November weather permitting for a yearly cost: 1740$ and each time it takes about 2 hours to complete.

My cost of just material is about: $150.00 for each application.
(10.60$ X 14 [1000sqft]
My charge to customer simplified is: 150$ X 3 = 435 (OOPS)

285$ goes back into business.

My Advanced Organic Compound takes about 2 hours to Combine/mix-up (780 pounds to be applied to 14,000 sqft.)

Its material cost is 290$

435-290=145$

When I compare the two, more was made dollar wise with synthetic... BUT... according to some... the synthetic product value is less because with Marco's soil conditions it renders syn. fertilizer very-less effective. By the use of quality compost to build more organic matter into the soil could make syn. fertilizers more efficient. One of the main reasons I started organic approach because of product value for customer.

I will continue with the organic method for my accounts. Also, I see how I could help other services using syn. fertilizer method by applying compost for them.

Right now, I work more for less money. Now if I could produce my own product World Class Quality COMPOST and other stuff then I could work more for more money:dizzy:

Room for improvements... yes... need for more education... yes. This forum has been soooo-very helpful.

Thank you to all and continue to have a great Holiday Season,
Tom

DUSTYCEDAR
12-14-2008, 11:18 AM
Can you blend in a cement mixer?

TF PLUS
12-14-2008, 11:55 AM
DustyCeder,

This week I was going to rent a large one and see. I believe it will. To mix in wheelbarrow the sandy-like-compost I tried earlier was difficult.

growingdeeprootsorganicly
12-14-2008, 02:10 PM
you can use a large tarp to blend materials, need two people, one at either end.
fold accordingly.

Smallaxe
12-14-2008, 03:11 PM
Smallaxe:

Sorry for being unclear.

The charge to the customer was $435.00 for each application and this one is done 4 times from February through October/November weather permitting for a yearly cost: 1740$ and each time it takes about 2 hours to complete.

My cost of just material is about: $150.00 for each application.
(10.60$ X 14 [1000sqft]
My charge to customer simplified is: 150$ X 3 = 435 (OOPS)

285$ goes back into business.

My Advanced Organic Compound takes about 2 hours to Combine/mix-up (780 pounds to be applied to 14,000 sqft.)

Its material cost is 290$

435-290=145$

When I compare the two, more was made dollar wise with synthetic... BUT... according to some... the synthetic product value is less because with Marco's soil conditions it renders syn. fertilizer very-less effective. By the use of quality compost to build more organic matter into the soil could make syn. fertilizers more efficient. One of the main reasons I started organic approach because of product value for customer.

I will continue with the organic method for my accounts. Also, I see how I could help other services using syn. fertilizer method by applying compost for them.

Right now, I work more for less money. Now if I could produce my own product World Class Quality COMPOST and other stuff then I could work more for more money:dizzy:

Room for improvements... yes... need for more education... yes. This forum has been soooo-very helpful.

Thank you to all and continue to have a great Holiday Season,
Tom

I would imagine that as time goes by you can charge more per app while at the same time reducing the number of apps throughout the year.
Or perhaps using less material per application, as the soil achieves better soil structure and a more vibrant root system overall.

Either way it is good to work the philosophy of:

"One of the main reasons I started organic approach because of product value for customer."

for less money now (investment) to increase your business in the future.

good report - thanks. :)

TF PLUS
12-21-2008, 12:56 PM
Can you blend in a cement mixer?

I rented a gas powered mortar mixer (2-3 bag size) which has paddles to mix with verses a cement mixer which utilizes fins.

First test, compound mixture was corn meal mixed with liquid humate-sea kelp product (also helped to control dust) with Kmag (0-0-22 product) and a few ounces of Boron. Before I could add the Kmag and B the corn was blended.
This method thoroughly mixed the compound and was fast.

Second test, was above mix with pure-worm casting; same results.

Third test, add 2 cubic foot of compost to above mixes; same results.

The mortar mixer could only handle 2 cubic foot of compost added, when 1 more foot was added it shut the mixer down.

This was a one day rental that cost: $105.49 (Mortar mixer 85., damage waiver charges 11.90, FL sales tax 5.82 and environmental fee 2.77).
It was worth every dollar.

Dchall_San_Antonio
01-01-2009, 01:26 AM
I have some questions for you:

1. Is there a consensus that repeated apps of compost shows the same green-up every time it's used?

2. For TF Plus: Have you tried cutting back on the worm castings for lawns after a few apps?

The reason I'm asking the same question two different ways is that after the soil has been established with an organic approach, the use of compost may just be an expense with little to no value. The point being that once the soil is established (assuming no chemical fungicides have been used), the relatively simple use of organic fertilizers should suffice to green it. Compost is the most expensive thing you can use in the garden while ordinary corn meal is often the least expensive.

Smallaxe
01-01-2009, 10:43 AM
Even up here in the corn belt area corn is not that cheap. The biggest expense for the comsumer is to pay me to spread it. Compost is a waste material put to good use , whereas corn is a product that has been worked for.
As a farmer and horticulturalist I believe the best time to throw corn on your lawn is after it has gone through the cow. :) Of course now with our beef we do grass fed because it turns out - the bovine bos critters, were designed for grass grazing. The grains are what makes cholesterol a problem.

Kiril
01-01-2009, 11:28 AM
Even up here in the corn belt area corn is not that cheap. The biggest expense for the comsumer is to pay me to spread it. Compost is a waste material put to good use , whereas corn is a product that has been worked for.
As a farmer and horticulturalist I believe the best time to throw corn on your lawn is after it has gone through the cow. :) Of course now with our beef we do grass fed because it turns out - the bovine bos critters, were designed for grass grazing. The grains are what makes cholesterol a problem.

Ditto, plus it is not sustainable.

Cost breakdown in my area before tax and delivery..

CGM @ 0.77/lb (0.62/lb for a ton or more)

Compost @ 0.04/lb for (6+ yard order gets free delivered)

Compost pricing is assuming 0.5 g/cm^3 bulk density, cost per yard @ $35)

TF PLUS
01-13-2009, 05:20 PM
I have some questions for you:

1. Is there a consensus that repeated apps of compost shows the same green-up every time it's used?

2. For TF Plus: Have you tried cutting back on the worm castings for lawns after a few apps?

The reason I'm asking the same question two different ways is that after the soil has been established with an organic approach, the use of compost may just be an expense with little to no value. The point being that once the soil is established (assuming no chemical fungicides have been used), the relatively simple use of organic fertilizers should suffice to green it. Compost is the most expensive thing you can use in the garden while ordinary corn meal is often the least expensive.

D_S_A,
I started to apply organic methods back in August 08. My foundational products were a hand blended compound: 11 pounds of ground corn meal to 17 pounds of pure worm castings including 4 pounds sul-po-mag, 2 oz of Boron and an added humate product. This fits into a 5 gallon pal to be applied to 1000 sqft growing area.

This compound was hard to apply, it would not go through a Lesco broadcast spreader.

The ST Augustine grass greened up nicely, it appeared that fungus outbreak was reducing and the rainy season continued.

To aid in spreading the compound I reduced the worm castings to 12 pounds and increased the corn meal to 15 pounds.
Then I attached a vibration kit to the broadcast spreader and the compound spread without bridging.

In November my Eco Lawn Applicator arrived with the intent to be used to spread this compound but it applied to much compound per thousand square.
This is when I began to add in compost-type soil. Where compost (six cubic foot amount, in bagged form and mixed with mortar mixer) was added into above compound, all lawns are greener and are not drying out.

Last week I tried just compost from a local source and it began to bridge in the Eco:cry: It was screened from just yard waste to 1/2 inch (if that means anything???) Moisture could be an issue, not sure. The Eco Lawn Guru will be here next week, I'm sure we will get this resolved.

Not sure what I will do if there is a problem with this compost from local source. The other bulk supplier's compost looked like black mulch that you could carve into figures.

To keep TF going I am going to try this compound: 10 pounds of a grain (SBM or A Ps, that's all that is available) to 2 pounds of pure worm castings to 4 pounds of sul-po-mag and a humate product to 1 maybe 2 pounds of Dry Urea:nono:?????? :hammerhead: I need green and shinny is the complaint from customers and other lawn people.

The observation is that without compost in mix when the rainy season ended the lawns are not green enough and where the compost was added they are.

Most OM reading for Marco are 2 or less. Family's house reads 3.3 but we added truck loads of a composted top soil 12 years ago.

Marcos
01-14-2009, 01:12 PM
I started to apply organic methods back in August 08. My foundational products were a hand blended compound: 11 pounds of ground corn meal to 17 pounds of pure worm castings including 4 pounds sul-po-mag, 2 oz of Boron and an added humate product. This fits into a 5 gallon pal to be applied to 1000 sqft growing area.

This compound was hard to apply, it would not go through a Lesco broadcast spreader.

The ST Augustine grass greened up nicely, it appeared that fungus outbreak was reducing and the rainy season continued.

To aid in spreading the compound I reduced the worm castings to 12 pounds and increased the corn meal to 15 pounds.
Then I attached a vibration kit to the broadcast spreader and the compound spread without bridging.



Interesting.... :)

Since you're located on an island, I assume your general soil type is on the sandy side, am I correct?
You're applying sulfur, so I deduce that you have somewhat alkaline soils. What pH?

How do you blend these ingredients...manually by the wheelbarrow or whatever, or with some type of tractor equipment / cement mixer set-up?

Marcos
01-14-2009, 01:43 PM
Even up here in the corn belt area corn is not that cheap. The biggest expense for the comsumer is to pay me to spread it. Compost is a waste material put to good use , whereas corn is a product that has been worked for.
As a farmer and horticulturalist I believe the best time to throw corn on your lawn is after it has gone through the cow. :) Of course now with our beef we do grass fed because it turns out - the bovine bos critters, were designed for grass grazing. The grains are what makes cholesterol a problem.

The overall labor & cost of spreading corn meal is minuscule compared to the labor & cost of composting the same area.

As a matter of fact, I can return with meals 5X before I equal the labor rate I would achieve with composting.

Every business owner has the right to handle their businesses the way they desire.
Sometimes I use various meals exclusively for certain customers.
Some customers request the meals and composting.
And, yes, there are a few that get ONLY compost.

My point is, Smallaxe....
This forum should not be a place for anyone to proselytize a specific organic agenda over another.
Unless DSA would want to separate this forum into two separate entities, possibly something like "Sustainable Organic" & "Grain & Mineral Based Organic", then it would be wise for you and Kiril to leave well enough alone those of who have successes with what they do organically that's not.... "sustainable". :)

Kiril
01-14-2009, 01:47 PM
Unless DSA would want to separate this forum into two separate entities, possibly something like "Sustainable Organic" & "Grain & Mineral Based Organic", then it would be wise for you and Kiril to leave well enough alone those of who have successes with what they do organically that's not.... "sustainable". :)

So in other words, it is wrong to point out the problems with "Grain & Mineral Based Organic" so people can make an informed decision? Get real Marcos. :hammerhead:

Marcos
01-14-2009, 02:00 PM
So in other words, it is wrong to point out the problems with "Grain & Mineral Based Organic" so people can make an informed decision? Get real Marcos. :hammerhead:

No!
My point is...

If other folks on here talk about their successes using "their way",
don't come on here proselytizing them with "your way".


Fair enough?!?

Kiril
01-14-2009, 02:53 PM
Who is trying to covert who Marcos? It seems to me you are putting alot of effort into the attempt to justify your program, even when you know it is not sustainable. Should people blindly follow your program without knowing there are better solutions just because it works for you?

The road to an "organic" solution must be a sustainable one. This is the very foundation of the movement and it is critical people understand this.

FYI, if I suggest something that is questionable, then I fully expect to be dressed down, as should you.

Basically it comes down to this. If your program can't stand up to the scrutiny of your peers, then I would recommend you keep it to yourself.

JDUtah
01-14-2009, 03:35 PM
The road to an "organic" solution must be a sustainable one. This is the very foundation of the movement and it is critical people understand this.


I agree that sustainability should be at the core of organics, but evidently it isn't. I would dare say that many people (consumers) involved in the organic movement are not in it because they are concerned about the health of the planet. They are more concerned about their own health.

For instance... I would suggest the main consumers of organic food eat it mainly because of the perceived health benefit.

As Marcos and others have demonstrated, there are enough 'health oriented' consumers in the lawn care industry to support a program motivated exclusively by perceived health benefits.

Maybe they (the consumers) do not care about their impact on the environment. Maybe they do not think a health based program has a significant impact on the environment. Or maybe they haven't been informed of the difference.

Is "preaching" an organic program that is chemical free & sustainable beneficial in this forum? For sure!

If professionals believe that their program is good enough because it is working that is their choice. I personally believe they could be leaving themselves open to lost market share.

The moment another company comes in and educates their "health" oriented customers that they can have the same health advantages while ALSO contributing to a more "sustainable" system, half of the health conscious organic people will think twice about continuing with them. Even if the original company offered a sustainable system, if the new company markets it right, the old company could appear to have violated its customers trust and thus loose market share.

Marcos has programs that satisfy all three motives. (Health, Sustainability, and Both) Is this bad? The answer to that is relative and based on personal moral standards and motives and most importantly... circumstances.

Could Marcos loose customers because he is more casual about sustainability? Sure. Will it be enough to hurt him? Hopefully he doesn't find out.

Is it good to only offer a program that relies on both sustainability and perceived health benefits? I believe so.

But that is just my .02

treegal1
01-14-2009, 07:59 PM
JD most of my customers dont give a rats azz!!! as long as there sod is green then the check clears!!!!!!!!!! the other 10% that are health nuts and tree hungers and freaks, they take the longest to pay up, there thats my 03 cents in debt till the check clears...................

JDUtah
01-14-2009, 08:04 PM
Treegal,

Simply put, I think we are going for different markets. I will leave it at that.

treegal1
01-14-2009, 08:35 PM
jd start your poling and see what the market really is???

green grass is the major market motive IMO

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
01-14-2009, 09:32 PM
jd start your poling and see what the market really is???

green grass is the major market motive IMO

I would have to agree, Green Grass is the motive!! But, it's up to us as to how much effort and consistency we want to put into it, and selling an easily repeatable system with proven results.

Kiril
01-14-2009, 09:40 PM
jd start your poling and see what the market really is???

green grass is the major market motive IMO

Unfortunately, I have to agree with TG. Most people don't give a rats azz how their lawn gets green, or what products you use for nutrients, as long as the lawn is green. (i.e. most land owners will defer to the LCO's suggestions). If people really cared about the environment, they would get rid of their lawns, or at least drastically reduce them.

Lets consider this.

I know dumping raw sewage into the river at the downstream corner of my property is wrong,
but as long as my water is clean, is it OK?

Is the above analogy not the same as using feed grains for fertilizer? Your properties are "clean", while the "downstream" properties (Ag) get trashed. And what happens when those "downstream" properties can no longer support viable crops because we farmed them to death for uses other than food?


IMHO, as members of the green industry it is our responsibility to step in and educate the client whenever possible. For many of these clients, they have no interaction with their landscape other than writing the check so it gets maintained, looking at it, and perhaps using it from time to time. They generally have no interest in what it takes to maintain it, therefore it is OUR responsibility to take the necessary steps and become responsible stewards of our environment through education and sustainable management choices.

Get the clients involved!

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
01-14-2009, 09:50 PM
IMHO, as members of the green industry it is our responsibility to step in and educate the client whenever possible. For many of these clients, they have no interaction with their landscape other than writing the check so it gets maintained, looking at it, and perhaps using it from time to time. They generally have no interest in what it takes to maintain it, therefore it is OUR responsibility to take the necessary steps and become responsible stewards of our environment through education and sustainable management choices.

Get the clients involved!

I couldn't have said it any better, and Kiril, I look forward to Compost Top dressing in the near future when my budget allows for the purchase of a quality machine, and some thorough investigation of my compost source. DO you think I could get by wheel-barrowing piles onto the lawns and raking out to get started? I guess it doesn't matter if I have perfect even coverage?

treegal1
01-14-2009, 09:57 PM
Get the clients involved!

thats the second step in my plan to take over the world.LOLOL

then sell Oregon back to the Indians, and California to the Mexicans and Florida to the Spanish for gold. JK first I got to get some compost going. did I just say that. :cry::cry: that what that bottle is for:dizzy: got to say this, this month I feel like some of the new guys and gals that come on here asking for help. I got no compost and and that is a sad thing.................like standing on the street naked:cry:

treegal1
01-14-2009, 09:59 PM
I couldn't have said it any better, and Kiril, I look forward to Compost Top dressing in the near future when my budget allows for the purchase of a quality machine, and some thorough investigation of my compost source. DO you think I could get by wheel-barrowing piles onto the lawns and raking out to get started? I guess it doesn't matter if I have perfect even coverage?
you got to start some place. just know what you are going to use first.............

Kiril
01-14-2009, 10:05 PM
DO you think I could get by wheel-barrowing piles onto the lawns and raking out to get started? I guess it doesn't matter if I have perfect even coverage?

Don't see why not. I can spread 6 yards by myself in 3-5 hours with a wheel barrow and rake on a half acre plot. And no, it doesn't matter if you have perfect coverage, although you should still strive to keep it in the ball park or else you will either run out of material, or end up with alot of extra.

Marcos
01-14-2009, 10:08 PM
Who is trying to covert who Marcos? It seems to me you are putting alot of effort into the attempt to justify your program, even when you know it is not sustainable. Should people blindly follow your program without knowing there are better solutions just because it works for you?

The road to an "organic" solution must be a sustainable one. This is the very foundation of the movement and it is critical people understand this.

FYI, if I suggest something that is questionable, then I fully expect to be dressed down, as should you.

Basically it comes down to this. If your program can't stand up to the scrutiny of your peers, then I would recommend you keep it to yourself.


Kiril:

1) The lion's share of our customers that take only meals are long established, and have been customers for as long as 9 years now.
They're not only happy; they're pretty much family.

2) The same can be said with a great number of the ' only compost' customers.
To be honest, though, the ratio of 'only compost' to 'only meal' customers has risen a little since 2005. Not a big deal, though. They pay extra labor accordingly.

3) As far as a sustainably "movement" is concerned, this is your interpretation of what you'd like to see, Kiril! Sure, There's others out there that agree with you, but there's others out there that agree with me too (or have a combination program, or bridge between organics & chemicals...)
In the real world, resources are there to be used, composted or not.
In my opinion, you've got some insecurity issues, or not enough to do in general, if you're set on criticizing me & others for what we use in our businesses.

4) If it appears that I am trying to "justify my program", it's only because I see people like you and Smallaxe come on here and take pot shots with your agenda.
Hey! If I say it works for us, it works for us.
What part of that don't you understand? :confused:

5) I don't see anywhere on Lawnsite's main menu where the Organic forum is limited to discussion about "sustainable organics", do you?

6) I've seen you go after people like crazy on here with your sustainability agenda, even when they've talked about their successes with specific meal programs, mineral supplements, bridge programs w/ chemicals, etc.
Those kinds of keystrokes should be more for the newbies looking for a specific direction.
Yes? No?

Kiril
01-14-2009, 10:24 PM
As far as a sustainably "movement" is concerned, this is your interpretation of what you'd like to see, Kiril!

Once again Marcos, you need to open your eyes. Furthermore, when I speak of the sustainable "movement", I speak with regard to all facets, not just landscapes. It is called the big picture Marcos, take a step back and you might see it.

If it appears that I am trying to "justify my program", it's only because I see people like you and Smallaxe come on here and take pot shots with your agenda.

The only "agenda" I have on this forum is educating the masses, nothing more, nothing less. For every person that posts, there are probably 100+ lurkers, and they should have all the facts, good or bad.

I don't see anywhere on Lawnsite's main menu where the Organic forum is limited to discussion about "sustainable organics", do you?

How many times do I have to say it, or definitions do I have to post Marcos?

The organic movement is also a sustainable one.

Are you really that blind? Do some damn reading and stop embarrassing yourself.

I've seen you go after people like crazy on here with your sustainability agenda, even when they've talked about their successes with specific meal programs, mineral supplements, bridge programs w/ chemicals, etc.

Really now. I use bridge programs, and have stated as much on numerous occasions, so should I go after myself?

Those kinds of keystrokes should be more for the newbies looking for a specific direction.

If you had any idea of how much time I spend tracking down credible information sources so the people who visit this forum (and others) can make informed management decisions, you would not be so quick to judge.

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
01-14-2009, 10:27 PM
Don't see why not. I can spread 6 yards by myself in 3-5 hours with a wheel barrow and rake on a half acre plot. And no, it doesn't matter if you have perfect coverage, although you should still strive to keep it in the ball park or else you will either run out of material, or end up with alot of extra.

I mean, after-all were basically inoculating the soil? When I first make the switch, should I use a low dose organic or chemical fertilizer? The best source Compost I have here in Moo-Doo compost, should I request the properties or soil sample results? Do they have to get it tested to sell it? I don't have a lot of choices but there are 2 landscape supply yards that sell it, not sure which one would be most beneficial?
http://hiltonlandscapeandsupply.com/soils_compost.html
http://www.biomassone.com/landscaping_materials.php?PHPSESSID=08f28cd0f5143e29f34b8b594424af4d

Marcos
01-14-2009, 10:29 PM
I agree that sustainability should be at the core of organics, but evidently it isn't. I would dare say that many people (consumers) involved in the organic movement are not in it because they are concerned about the health of the planet. They are more concerned about their own health.

For instance... I would suggest the main consumers of organic food eat it mainly because of the perceived health benefit.

As Marcos and others have demonstrated, there are enough 'health oriented' consumers in the lawn care industry to support a program motivated exclusively by perceived health benefits.

Maybe they (the consumers) do not care about their impact on the environment. Maybe they do not think a health based program has a significant impact on the environment. Or maybe they haven't been informed of the difference.

Is "preaching" an organic program that is chemical free & sustainable beneficial in this forum? For sure!

If professionals believe that their program is good enough because it is working that is their choice. I personally believe they could be leaving themselves open to lost market share.

The moment another company comes in and educates their "health" oriented customers that they can have the same health advantages while ALSO contributing to a more "sustainable" system, half of the health conscious organic people will think twice about continuing with them. Even if the original company offered a sustainable system, if the new company markets it right, the old company could appear to have violated its customers trust and thus loose market share.

Marcos has programs that satisfy all three motives. (Health, Sustainability, and Both) Is this bad? The answer to that is relative and based on personal moral standards and motives and most importantly... circumstances.

Could Marcos loose customers because he is more casual about sustainability? Sure. Will it be enough to hurt him? Hopefully he doesn't find out.

Is it good to only offer a program that relies on both sustainability and perceived health benefits? I believe so.

But that is just my .02

I appreciate your .02, JD.

We sell on value, 1st and foremost.
Communcation & cooperation with the customer is vital to maintain them.

It could be that the Ohio market is much more accepting of grains in general than California, etc, since we're "The Heart of it all" :laugh: (old Ohio state slogan).
The fact is...we have little problem marketing it, and little problem debating any type of competition that might come along.

We get approx 65-70% of the organic jobs we bid. (Alot of the ones that don't go with it end up getting traditional chemical somewhere else for whatever reason...price, usually.)
There's not that many (good) competitors around, frankly.
As far as retention goes...ya'know, price does matter some, but it really all comes down to the relationship.

Marcos
01-14-2009, 10:47 PM
Once again Marcos, you need to open your eyes. Furthermore, when I speak of the sustainable "movement", I speak with regard to all facets, not just landscapes. It is called the big picture Marcos, take a step back and you might see it.



The only "agenda" I have on this forum is educating the masses, nothing more, nothing less. For every person that posts, there are probably 100+ lurkers, and they should have all the facts, good or bad.



How many times do I have to say it, or definitions do I have to post Marcos?

The organic movement is also a sustainable one.

Are you really that blind? Do some damn reading and stop embarrassing yourself.



Really now. I use bridge programs, and have stated as much on numerous occasions, so should I go after myself?



If you had any idea of how much time I spend tracking down credible information sources so the people who visit this forum (and others) can make informed management decisions, you would not be so quick to judge.

Look! it's official!
Kiril wants this forum monopolized to his agenda!

Kiril
01-14-2009, 11:00 PM
It could be that the Ohio market is much more accepting of grains in general than California, etc, since we're "The Heart of it all" :laugh: (old Ohio state slogan).

Yea, there isn't any agriculture in CA. :rolleyes:

Fact of the matter is Marcos, it is not a question of people accepting it or not, I don't even offer it as an option! Even if I did, I would point out all the negative aspects of it so at the very least the client could make an informed decision.

Kiril
01-14-2009, 11:05 PM
Look! it's official!
Kiril wants this forum monopolized to his agenda!

http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=129334&d=1229919202

Marcos
01-14-2009, 11:17 PM
Originally Posted by Marcos
It could be that the Ohio market is much more accepting of grains in general than California, etc, since we're "The Heart of it all" (old Ohio state slogan).

Yea, there isn't any agriculture in CA. :rolleyes:

Fact of the matter is Marcos, it is not a question of people accepting it or not, I don't even offer it as an option! Even if I did, I would point out all the negative aspects of it so at the very least the client could make an informed decision.

The slogan "The Heart of it all" was posted to indicate that western Ohio is on the edge of the CORN BELT.
And I know all about the Joad fam'bly and California produce. :laugh:

Yeah, you're absolutely correct, Kiril.
You don't EVER bring up stuff like corn meal, alfalfa meal, soybean meal, cotton seed meal or corn gluten.
You like to wait until other people bring them up as (at least) part of their success story, and then you proceed to try to knock them down like clay pigeons at a Sunday afternoon trap shoot!

Kiril
01-14-2009, 11:35 PM
Whats the matter Marcos, running out of ammo and need to resort to insults?

treegal1
01-14-2009, 11:52 PM
for all his yap about corn and Ohio, California has 5X the economic impact of agriculture that Ohio could ever have.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/OH.htm#FFI

http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/CA.htm#FFI

http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/FL.htm#FFI

wow Florida even does more than Ohio, f/that he can keep the corn and the snow............

Marcos
01-15-2009, 12:09 AM
Whats the matter Marcos, running out of ammo and need to resort to insults?

Wassa matter Kiril, can't handle the truth?!?

Marcos
01-15-2009, 12:21 AM
for all his yap about corn and Ohio, California has 5X the economic impact of agriculture that Ohio could ever have.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/OH.htm#FFI

http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/CA.htm#FFI

http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/FL.htm#FFI

wow Florida even does more than Ohio, f/that he can keep the corn and the snow............

All this would impact, is the customers' overall recognition that the product being applied to their lawn is produced from this same region.

And, as I'm sure you already know, with the lone exception of cotton seed meal, it is.

California, as well as the entire western region has it's share of problems with agriculture in this modern era, and they're well documented, including last year's awful freeze.

Ohio has shared in some of the worst drought conditions this nation has ever seen, including the bone-dry summers of 1988 and 2006.
Our worst problem, though, is suburban sprawl into good farmland! :cry::cry::cry:

Kiril
01-15-2009, 12:40 AM
for all his yap about corn and Ohio, California has 5X the economic impact of agriculture that Ohio could ever have.

6.7 times according to your links

Kiril
01-15-2009, 12:50 AM
When I first make the switch, should I use a low dose organic or chemical fertilizer?

That depends on the status of the soil. Ideally you will want to do some soil tests so you can establish a baseline in order to find out if you need a bridge or not.

Should I request the properties or soil sample results?

Yes

Do they have to get it tested to sell it?

Depends on your state. Check with your local extension service.

I don't have a lot of choices but there are 2 landscape supply yards that sell it, not sure which one would be most beneficial?

Your first link I would check to see what is in the Gard-N-Grow. If it is mostly manure, then I would get a mix of the Gard-N-Grow and the Aged Sawdust

For your second link, I would go with the moo-doo, second choice would be the aged bark mulch, or once again, a mix of the two.

The moo-doo looks like it probably is the aged sawdust with composted manure mixed in, so if that is the case, obviously you wouldn't need to mix it.

Marcos
01-15-2009, 12:56 AM
6.7 times according to your links

Kiril: 6.7X more of an organic elitist than he was just 2 days ago.

JDUtah
01-15-2009, 02:16 AM
Wow,

I missed a lot lol. So the answer would be "a"; The consumers do not care about their impact on the environment.

Maybe they (the consumers) do not care about their impact on the environment. Maybe they do not think a health based program has a significant impact on the environment. Or maybe they haven't been informed of the difference.

So take that one step farther... because the majority of consumers do not care then then responsibility is left to the professionals' ethics to provide this 'service to the environment'.

But,
I still do not agree that the main motive to buy an organic fertility program is just green grass... especially if they have to pay a little more for that service... (you should be charging more, not only is product cost (per lb N) and labor higher with organics, so is the required amount of knowledge)

Anyways carry on. :)

Kiril
01-15-2009, 08:17 AM
So the answer would be "a"; The consumers do not care about their impact on the environment.

I don't believe anyone said that, and you missed the point entirely.

dishboy
01-15-2009, 08:43 AM
I believe he was referencing this statement:



JD most of my customers dont give a rats azz!!! as long as there sod is green then the check clears!!!!!!!!!! the other 10% that are health nuts and tree hungers and freaks, they take the longest to pay up, there thats my 03 cents in debt till the check clears...................

Smallaxe
01-15-2009, 08:59 AM
The overall labor & cost of spreading corn meal is minuscule compared to the labor & cost of composting the same area.

As a matter of fact, I can return with meals 5X before I equal the labor rate I would achieve with composting.

Every business owner has the right to handle their businesses the way they desire.
Sometimes I use various meals exclusively for certain customers.
Some customers request the meals and composting.
And, yes, there are a few that get ONLY compost.

My point is, Smallaxe....
This forum should not be a place for anyone to proselytize a specific organic agenda over another.
Unless DSA would want to separate this forum into two separate entities, possibly something like "Sustainable Organic" & "Grain & Mineral Based Organic", then it would be wise for you and Kiril to leave well enough alone those of who have successes with what they do organically that's not.... "sustainable". :)

Was this in response to my question about customer expectations?

By extension - this would affect the advertising promises in manipulating the customers' expectations.

U C, I am thinking about advertising organics this year and knowing what others have done helps me to cover the bases that I should. Like I said I am not a purist either and I think 'regionally appropriate landscapes' are boring and not better than any other.
That's just personal opinion, but I understand where other people are coming from and as a result, I can relate lots of ideas to the prospective client.

Outside my window right now it is -24 degrees F. Is my peach tree regionally appropriate? I don't know what others may think, but I won't give it up to please my neighbor. :)

Kiril
01-15-2009, 09:05 AM
@smallaxe,

If you think regionally appropriate landscapes are boring, then I might question if you have actually seen one that is properly designed?

Smallaxe
01-15-2009, 10:09 AM
@smallaxe,

If you think regionally appropriate landscapes are boring, then I might question if you have actually seen one that is properly designed?

That is very true. Up here in the northwoods we have a very limitted number of interesting plants to work with. We have a lot of flatlanders coming up to enjoy the forests and lakes and parties, who try to say that oaks are beautiful trees and should be kept in favor of something that is from 'out-of-town' or state.

I personally like J.Maples, but they are expensive because they are not easily grown around here. They are planted in areas that offer protection, but are cared for the same way as the native maples. So I don't see the problem.

Perhaps a good design would help, but don't want the flatlanders lobbying for laws that 'require' yet another oak tree be planted instead. That's what I mean by boring. I live along side lots of forest and field, so what I find interesting - is different than those who come from a concrete jungle..

Marcos
01-15-2009, 10:12 AM
So the answer would be "a"; The consumers do not care about their impact on the environment.



So take that one step farther... because the majority of consumers do not care then then responsibility is left to the professionals' ethics to provide this 'service to the environment'.

But,
I still do not agree that the main motive to buy an organic fertility program is just green grass...

Absolutely not!

Caring about the environment is the prime motive for them to call us and some of our competitors in the 1st place.
Yes, I've come to find that others are thinking about organic for no better reason than: "others are doing it", but these are the same folks who are most likely to balk because of price, and/or are least willing to do their share in terms of cultural practices with their mowing / watering, etc...
We're not selling them stuff like corn meal just so they can make johnnycakes, you know! :laugh:

As far as "professional ethics to provide a service to the environment", you correctly outlined earlier that we offer our clients three different options:
1) All meals & gluten, 5 x/ year
2) Combination meals (3x/yr) + corn gluten; and either annual (or) every-other-year composting
3) All compost program, either 1x or 2x /year, + corn gluten on perimeter edges

Currently, there is no one else in this part of this county that can offer this kind of diverse program.
Thus, it's all about public perception, Smallaxe!
From their perspective, we're the GREENEST guys in town!

Y'know...you might be right about the possibility of other (future) competitors comin' a knockin' on the doors or our customers someday, but the fact of the matter is there's been a number of them that's tried it before us and completely bailed for whatever reason. Some of them went to pseudo bridge programs, organic landscaping only, or completely gone out of business altogether.

If /when that day comes when that kind of pressure comes to call...we'll be ready, because we're diverse enough right now to handle any and all "sustainable" demand, too.

It's just a cryin' shame that this forum has to be such a rabbit snare for anyone who successfully practices organics otherwise.

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
01-15-2009, 10:14 AM
That depends on the status of the soil. Ideally you will want to do some soil tests so you can establish a baseline in order to find out if you need a bridge or not.



Yes



Depends on your state. Check with your local extension service.



Your first link I would check to see what is in the Gard-N-Grow. If it is mostly manure, then I would get a mix of the Gard-N-Grow and the Aged Sawdust

For your second link, I would go with the moo-doo, second choice would be the aged bark mulch, or once again, a mix of the two.

The moo-doo looks like it probably is the aged sawdust with composted manure mixed in, so if that is the case, obviously you wouldn't need to mix it.

So what do you use when a bridge is required??
Thanks for the info, I sure appreciate it.

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
01-15-2009, 10:19 AM
As far as "professional ethics to provide a service to the environment", you correctly outlined earlier that we offer our clients three different options:
1) All meals & gluten, 5 x/ year
2) Combination meals (3x/yr) + corn gluten; and either annual (or) every-other-year composting
3) All compost program, either 1x or 2x /year, + corn gluten on perimeter edges

Currently, there is no one else in this part of this county that can offer this kind of diverse program.
Thus, it's all about public perception, Smallaxe!
From their perspective, we're the GREENEST guys in town!


If I were a customer and you offered those 3 programs, how would I even know what those products were?? How do you describe/explain each and how each one differs from the other? How much does the cost differ?

Marcos
01-15-2009, 10:28 AM
Outside my window right now it is -24 degrees F. Is my peach tree regionally appropriate? I don't know what others may think, but I won't give it up to please my neighbor. :)

Yeah, from prior experience, you certainly have the inside track with this peach tree. It's right there on your property.

It certainly would appear very questionable to any outsiders, as to whether it's going to bear fruit in 2009 after going through -24 degree nights this winter.

It may.
It may not.

Ahh...But you may have had success BEFORE after prior winters that had -24 degree nights.

Don't give it up to please the outsiders! :)

TF PLUS
01-15-2009, 10:56 AM
Interesting.... :)

Since you're located on an island, I assume your general soil type is on the sandy side, am I correct?
You're applying sulfur, so I deduce that you have somewhat alkaline soils. What pH?

How do you blend these ingredients...manually by the wheelbarrow or whatever, or with some type of tractor equipment / cement mixer set-up?

Marcos,

Back in 1991 two soil analysis report determined percent sand: 87.2, clay 8, and silt: 4.8. Soil texture defined Loamy sand.

Over the years all soil reports averaged: a pH of 7.75, OM 2 or less, Calcium High to very High, Magnesium Low, Potassium Low to Med, B v-Low to Low, Mn Low. Most other minor elements Low.

Blended both ways manually: 10 cubic foot wheelbarrow, hoe and shovel then used Mortar Mixer. Mortar mixer best type I tried, it has paddles verses fins of a cement mixer. It was a very thorough blend.

Marcos
01-15-2009, 11:03 AM
Was this in response to my question about customer expectations?

By extension - this would affect the advertising promises in manipulating the customers' expectations.

U C, I am thinking about advertising organics this year and knowing what others have done helps me to cover the bases that I should. Like I said I am not a purist either and I think 'regionally appropriate landscapes' are boring and not better than any other.
That's just personal opinion, but I understand where other people are coming from and as a result, I can relate lots of ideas to the prospective client.

Outside my window right now it is -24 degrees F. Is my peach tree regionally appropriate? I don't know what others may think, but I won't give it up to please my neighbor. :)

I said it before and I'll say it again...for the last time.

People in the region of the country are 'worlds apart' from the west coast & eastern seaboard in terms of their green-awareness, at this point in time.
Midwesterners are very slow to change......anything.

When we 1st set up these programs lo so many years ago, we knew we wanted to go about it with the marketing approach akin to "feeding the soil, not just the grass".
But at the same time we knew that the double-income family Joe & Jane Shmoe who works at dying GM plants and internetglut.com probably would like to see less expensive options other than stuff like labor intensive compost and worm castings.

We looked at some folks in Cincy who had used meals & gluten exclusively, and bought their northern-most customers when they went under. That got us started.
Within no time at all we began composting, too; and that part of the business has grown incrementally through the years.
But again, these are hard times now, and when a neighbor's yard's getting cracked corn (etc) and it looks green & lush, the referral that might be just across the street certainly isn't apt to pay more per sq. ft. for the annual composting job.
( 68% of our new customers were referrals in 2008.)

Smallaxe
01-15-2009, 11:08 AM
Yeah, from prior experience, you certainly have the inside track with this peach tree. It's right there on your property.

It certainly would appear very questionable to any outsiders, as to whether it's going to bear fruit in 2009 after going through -24 degree nights this winter.

It may.
It may not.

Ahh...But you may have had success BEFORE after prior winters that had -24 degree nights.

Don't give it up to please the outsiders! :)

My problem last year was the late frost. The same thing that wiped out 80-90% of the cherry crop. [10 - 14 million unit down to 1.5- 2 million units. (can't remember if the units were bushels or pounds)] Interestingly enough many cherries won't set fruit this far inland, but only around Lake Michigan. There are some Zone 3 cherries that will produce in the open , but not reliably.

I've gotten 1 peach since planting 3 springs ago :) Its not a dwarf so it will take a couple years yet to know how it does. typically 5-7 years. Grows like crazy though.

Kiril
01-15-2009, 11:13 AM
So what do you use when a bridge is required?? Thanks for the info, I sure appreciate it.

For bridging I recommend the client use whatever they have laying around, because most of time they do have partial bags of ferts, and there is no point in wasting it. If not, I will use whatever will provide the best results within the scope of the overall objectives of the program given the current status of the soil on the site. If the soils are lacking in OM (typically the case around here), then compost is the primary input, which will help build a productive and healthy soil far quicker than any other input. If the soil is lacking Ca, then gypsum is used because you can get it in bulk here. And so on ...

Some sites may have a decent amount of SOM, but are severely lacking in proper water management. In my area, this is by far the primary cause of nutrient and disease related problems. So the approach would be first to get the water management under control then assess the soil.

I also recommend people make changes which will move their entire landscape closer to a low/no input system. This includes lawn reductions, using more regionally appropriate plants, and ideally some native habitat restoration.

Long story short, use what is available and needed.
Always look for regionally produced waste products which will meet your needs.
The last resort is bagged/bottled products (organic or synthetic) such as blood meal for N.

Marcos
01-15-2009, 11:24 AM
Marcos,

Back in 1991 two soil analysis report determined percent sand: 87.2, clay 8, and silt: 4.8. Soil texture defined Loamy sand.

Over the years all soil reports averaged: a pH of 7.75, OM 2 or less, Calcium High to very High, Magnesium Low, Potassium Low to Med, B v-Low to Low, Mn Low. Most other minor elements Low.

Blended both ways manually: 10 cubic foot wheelbarrow, hoe and shovel then used Mortar Mixer. Mortar mixer best type I tried, it has paddles verses fins of a cement mixer. It was a very thorough blend.

87% sand! Holy Monkey, I thought we had problems with water!
I can certainly see how K-MAG 0-0-22, and any/all organics including various meals would benefit you.

Like sulfur, cotton seed meal is an acidifier (obviously organic) and in sandy soils like yours it certainly wouldn't leach through as badly.
You might want to see if you can access some.

Being closer to the cotton belt, you'll probably get it cheaper, too.
Up here it's $13 to $15 a 50# sack right now.
That's just about 2x the cost of cracked corn.

TF PLUS
01-15-2009, 12:13 PM
Marcos,
Even funnier is, some say 87% sand, I thought it was more:laugh:

As of yesterday, locally (Not on Marco) SBM was $16.95 to 19$ for 50#, but was not available and Alf P's were. The Soy had to be ordered at end of each month.
To order corn meal, a minimum order is 3 tons @ 11.10 ea, back in August. Cottonseed is not available but maybe can special order it, need to find out the price.



Went to another composting type site yesterday and it did not have usable compost available for landscape application-especially lawn, but will-soon. It was 36$ per yard.

I like the direction of sustainable landscape management, first time I heard about it was back in August and then I had great conversation in October with Treegal and Phill. News travels slow over the bridge to Marco Island:walking:

Back in early 90's, recycled mulch was available but the concern was what it could bring to your landscape. I took a pass on it. But what was in the future and I missed out on it was compost. Once again I blame it on the Bridge-Factor.:laugh:

Marcos
01-15-2009, 01:22 PM
If I were a customer and you offered those 3 programs, how would I even know what those products were?? How do you describe/explain each and how each one differs from the other? How much does the cost differ?

After reading through this forum's "stickys" again the other day, I think you'll find most of the answers you're looking for in there in great detail in terms of what these products are, and how they differ.

As I posted before, the key difference between a meal-only program and compost-only, is labor.

If every lawn was a perfect square or rectangle without any obstacles to fight along the way, the labor for composting would be an absolute piece of cake! We'd never have to get off the Kubota!
But in the real world....there's plenty of garages, pools, patios, swingsets etc to work around, taking boatloads of time.........:cry:...........quite a bit of it often thrown and raked by hand.
There is no real exact formula I can give you to tell you the difference in labor costs, only that it's a case-by-case judgment call based on efficiency of the tractor into the specific yard and # of obstacles in the way.

Feeding the soil in any given lawn with assorted meals is not unlike what you see lawn companies do with bagged fertilizer, except that you use alot more of it.
For example, if you have a 1/2 acre of solid turf ( about 22,000 sq ft), you need between 330 to 440 lbs of meal to cover it each time you come out. That's between 7-9 bags, total.
Although this takes tons more time than what TGCL or any other lawn jockey would do it in on their worst day, it still takes just a fraction of the time of composting BY FAR.

And, believe me, the customers really notice when you've been there spreading bucco bags of meal around...particularly corn & alfalfa! :laugh:

JDUtah
01-15-2009, 02:41 PM
@smallaxe,

If you think regionally appropriate landscapes are boring, then I might question if you have actually seen one that is properly designed?

pics! pics! pics! pics! pics!!!!

dishboy
01-15-2009, 02:52 PM
pics! pics! pics! pics! pics!!!!

Come on JD imagine a rock next to a Bitterbush plant and a Pink coyote.

TF PLUS
01-15-2009, 02:55 PM
Some issues I'm running into with compost as a foundational organic product are:

Finding good source of material.

Moisture content, its humid around here most of the time and rains a lot.
The best bulk compost I found so far "bridged" in the Eco Applicator. In defense of the spreader I believe it needs minor adjustments.
Was the compost finished enough, was it over 65% moisture!!!

Hauling,
A dump trailer would work efficiently. The local trailer supply had on their lot an 2008 7X10 low-rider GVW 10,000# quoted was $3995 plus tax and 09 are now $4500, an 7X14 GVW 14,000# was starting at $7,500 and has to be ordered.

Storage space...

JDUtah
01-15-2009, 02:56 PM
Come on JD imagine a rock next to a Bitterbush plant and a Pink coyote.

Awe man! I am so sold! :)

Another thing to consider is that IMO regionally appropriate landscapes would look a lot better if it was a whole street of them. If there is one house/property with it in the middle of a bunch of nicely manicured lawns it can easily look like the odd man out or a soar thumb.

Marcos
01-16-2009, 12:06 PM
Some issues I'm running into with compost as a foundational organic product are:

Finding good source of material.

Moisture content, its humid around here most of the time and rains a lot.
The best bulk compost I found so far "bridged" in the Eco Applicator. In defense of the spreader I believe it needs minor adjustments.
Was the compost finished enough, was it over 65% moisture!!!

Hauling,
A dump trailer would work efficiently. The local trailer supply had on their lot an 2008 7X10 low-rider GVW 10,000# quoted was $3995 plus tax and 09 are now $4500, an 7X14 GVW 14,000# was starting at $7,500 and has to be ordered.

Storage space...

If you're talking about the Ecolawn applicator out of Vermont, I know precisely what you mean.

We had a chance to demo one of those a while back, and we pretty much ran into the same exact clogging problem you've described.

The best finished compost is going to have a high % of moisture content, and that machine is designed to put down almost-dry potting soil, in my humble opinion.

TF PLUS
01-16-2009, 12:40 PM
Marcos'
Yes, I'm talking about the Eco Lawn Applicator. I just posted on "Advice on Compost Spreading" to share my experience.

Is it possible to dry out good finished compost without degrading its quality, what would be the technique?

Thanks,
Tom

TF PLUS
01-16-2009, 04:23 PM
I spoke with are local grain/feed suppliers this week about availability of Soy Bean Meal. One supplier now special orders it once a month, the other said will not carry it (but they had, back in August). People are selling their animals and now the demand is less.

They will not even consider ground corn meal.
One carries Alf. pellets but its to large to go through broadcast spreader I would think.

I use the gain material for faster green-up and to supplement microbes. The corn meal worked well for me this past summer-late fall.

I have not tried using just compost applied to a lawn, yet.

Marcos
01-17-2009, 11:55 AM
I spoke with are local grain/feed suppliers this week about availability of Soy Bean Meal. One supplier now special orders it once a month, the other said will not carry it (but they had, back in August). People are selling their animals and now the demand is less.

They will not even consider ground corn meal.
One carries Alf. pellets but its to large to go through broadcast spreader I would think.

I use the gain material for faster green-up and to supplement microbes. The corn meal worked well for me this past summer-late fall.

I have not tried using just compost applied to a lawn, yet.

Up here in s. Ohio we have alkaline soils too.
But unlike your location, our soil is generally clay-silt based.

The one thing we've found out about consumers, is that they like variety.
The 1st year we went at it (1999), we only had an abbreviated season to work with because of the timing of things, so we went with 3 consecutive apps of corn meal.
That winter, we had a chance to get plenty of customer feedback, as well as re-evaluate the nutritional aspect of what we had to do. That's when we decided that we were going to go with the "multiple meal" package from that point onward, using 4 types in the same season to cover the nutritional spectrum.

We do compost-only too, as well as blending worm castings into compost as we go. This has grown modestly, but not dramatically over the years.
Ohioans have not been quick to jump on the compost bandwagon, at least in suburbia Ohio.
Frankly, we've come to find that this has alot to do with the local soccer moms and dads not wanting their Brendons and/or Emmas tracking "manure" all over the insides of their half million dollar homes.

treegal1
01-17-2009, 12:23 PM
we have never had any "manure" tracking complaints from any of the big$ crowd most of there little brats get SUVed to the AC-ed Y or Public sports plex. nor would we ever think of any raw manure to ever be used in that way, its dumb and dangerous for sure!!

we dont have cheap grain here, most run up into the 25$+ range after shipping. compost works well and is sooooo cheap.

I think the biggest issue now is compost quality and the way the it gets screened, as we have found that the wrong blend or size is just a disaster.

Marcos
01-17-2009, 03:04 PM
we have never had any "manure" tracking complaints from any of the big$ crowd most of there little brats get SUVed to the AC-ed Y or Public sports plex. nor would we ever think of any raw manure to ever be used in that way, its dumb and dangerous for sure!!


It's all about public perspective, treegal.
People around here use their yards regardless of their incomes.

My salesmen and I have sat in people's living rooms and front porches and explained to them all about aerobic composting and how stuff like manure, leaves & worm castings homogenize into a substance that has no odor once it's dried, doesn't have any "germs" that can hurt anyone, and how with the right growing conditions it'll literally vanish into the crown area of the turf, often within a week or so.

But to a lot of them, it doesn't matter.
They'll either accept the idea of seeing brown stuff lying all over their yard 1X or 2x a year, or they'll not accept it, period.

We really don't make any effort to push them in either direction.
Both programs have proven results that we can show them 1st hand locally, so there's no reason to.

Interestingly, we've found that (in general) the older the prospect, the more they're apt to go with the compost program, older baby boomers w/o kids around the house anymore, mainly.
So if this trend continues into the future... as our U.S. population in general ages over time, I see more and more folks being receptive to the (perceived) inconvenience of compost.

Smallaxe
01-18-2009, 11:50 AM
It's all about public perspective, treegal.
People around here use their yards regardless of their incomes.

My salesmen and I have sat in people's living rooms and front porches and explained to them all about aerobic composting and how stuff like manure, leaves & worm castings homogenize into a substance that has no odor once it's dried, doesn't have any "germs" that can hurt anyone, and how with the right growing conditions it'll literally vanish into the crown area of the turf, often within a week or so.

But to a lot of them, it doesn't matter.
They'll either accept the idea of seeing brown stuff lying all over their yard 1X or 2x a year, or they'll not accept it, period.

We really don't make any effort to push them in either direction.
Both programs have proven results that we can show them 1st hand locally, so there's no reason to.

Interestingly, we've found that (in general) the older the prospect, the more they're apt to go with the compost program, older baby boomers w/o kids around the house anymore, mainly.
So if this trend continues into the future... as our U.S. population in general ages over time, I see more and more folks being receptive to the (perceived) inconvenience of compost.

Again, not that much compost is needed to make a difference in a lawn that could use it.
My experience so far is that a few minutes of water after application and the stuff is not collecting on the bottom of your feet or puffing up into the air.

I can put down heavier apps in the spring b4 people start drifting in for the summer.

Mr. Nice
01-18-2009, 12:26 PM
I personally like the way a yard looks after a "good" topdressing. If done correctly.
Topdressing is a means to a end, a GREEN END

Marcos
01-20-2009, 11:31 PM
It's all about public perspective, treegal.
People around here use their yards regardless of their incomes.

My salesmen and I have sat in people's living rooms and front porches and explained to them all about aerobic composting and how stuff like manure, leaves & worm castings homogenize into a substance that has no odor once it's dried, doesn't have any "germs" that can hurt anyone, and how with the right growing conditions it'll literally vanish into the crown area of the turf, often within a week or so.

But to a lot of them, it doesn't matter.
They'll either accept the idea of seeing brown stuff lying all over their yard 1X or 2x a year, or they'll not accept it, period.

We really don't make any effort to push them in either direction.
Both programs have proven results that we can show them 1st hand locally, so there's no reason to.

Interestingly, we've found that (in general) the older the prospect, the more they're apt to go with the compost program, older baby boomers w/o kids around the house anymore, mainly.
So if this trend continues into the future... as our U.S. population in general ages over time, I see more and more folks being receptive to the (perceived) inconvenience of compost

Again, not that much compost is needed to make a difference in a lawn that could use it.
My experience so far is that a few minutes of water after application and the stuff is not collecting on the bottom of your feet or puffing up into the air.

I can put down heavier apps in the spring b4 people start drifting in for the summer.


Looking at this from a business perspective, organic-minded customers are typically looking for perceived value with their invested dollars.

For this reason alone, it'd be stupid to skimp with the compost materials, whatever they are, or whenever they're applied.

treegal1
01-20-2009, 11:52 PM
My salesmen and I have sat in people's living rooms and front porches and explained to them all about aerobic composting and how stuff like manure, leaves & worm castings homogenize into a substance that has no odor once it's dried, doesn't have any "germs" that can hurt anyone, and how with the right growing conditions it'll literally vanish into the crown area of the turf, often within a week or sokinda started................oh yeah I am awake, what manure ??? you lost me for a second...........JK

But to a lot of them, it doesn't matter.
They'll either accept the idea of seeing brown stuff lying all over their yard 1X or 2x a year, or they'll not accept it, period.its BLACK and it goes down 5X per year!!

Interestingly, we've found that (in general) the older the prospect, the more they're apt to go with the compost program, older baby boomers w/o kids around the house anymore, mainly.

interesting we see the same thing here,things like " thats how it should be done" and "the correct way to do it"

although. maybe try a woman in sales to reach out to the heads of household.........

It's all about public perspective

that is key!! my grass says it all for me and the landscapes have a story to sing!! most of the accounts I work on personally and they are full service and they shine for just that reason.

if a grain based thing works for you great, maybe one day the cost of compost will change your mind and maybe not. just 2 sides of the coin...........

Marcos
01-21-2009, 12:54 AM
maybe try a woman in sales to reach out to the heads of household.........




if a grain based thing works for you great, maybe one day the cost of compost will change your mind and maybe not. just 2 sides of the coin...........

I certainly don't disagree with using women salespeople in the field and on the phones. In this segment of the industry, especially, women often go out of their way to show off their passion!

Suburbia Ohioans & the rest of Midwest will certainly move towards compost piles and bins over time, albeit probably much more slowly than other parts of the country.

The older generations are dying off now, the ones that started all this silly habit of bagging grass clippings post WW II, the ones that founded Chemlawn here in Ohio in 1969, and all the wannabes since then....

It's the kids that'll be the ones making the difference.
Right, treegal?

That's why we don't "press" our prospects either way into specific programs.
They make up their minds usually based upon what they perceive their needs to be, when they ask themselves:

Are we the type of people that will tolerate loose compost lying around until it's healed in to the turf/soil by either rainfall or mower traffic, etc?

In low-profile tree-lined areas, where the customers have no kids, or the kids don't go outside so much; the answer is quite often "YES" for compost.
In high-profile subdivisions, where Joe Bloe and his yard full of soccer kids is scrutinized quite a bit by his friend & neighbor Jack Sprat; frankly, the answer to compost is more often..... "NO".
They'd just assume have the meals. They "disappear" better than compost.

This is a cross section of Ohioans for 'ya, treegal! :laugh:

bicmudpuppy
01-28-2009, 11:30 AM
thats the second step in my plan to take over the world.LOLOL

.................like standing on the street naked:cry:

Over in the irrigation forum, we have a saying that fits here............pictures please ;)

bicmudpuppy
01-28-2009, 11:38 AM
My salesmen and I have sat in people's living rooms and front porches and explained to them all about aerobic composting and how stuff like manure, leaves & worm castings homogenize into a substance that has no odor once it's dried, doesn't have any "germs" that can hurt anyone, and how with the right growing conditions it'll literally vanish into the crown area of the turf, often within a week or so.


The "smell" thing bothers me. You go on a golf course that has applied a synthetic, and the place reeks, but it is a chemical smell. Never mind that the chemical smell will still be there for DAYS.

I apply a mostly organic application (the retired, then retiring assistant said the mix smelled like "pig blood and fish guts") that is watered in and has no smell the next day and you would think I was peddling meth down at the grade school. I had an opportunity to lay my hands on a bacillus brew in late fall and put it down diluted only 50% (guy told me it tested at 25K+/ul minimum) and sprayed 80,000 st' with 150 gallons of final mix. That did "smell" for a couple of days. We also put 250 gallons into the irrigation retention pond and then did some manual watering (irrigation ditch was off for the winter and main irrigation was winterized). I heard all about how they could tell the water "smelled".

Marcos
01-28-2009, 02:43 PM
The "smell" thing bothers me. You go on a golf course that has applied a synthetic, and the place reeks, but it is a chemical smell. Never mind that the chemical smell will still be there for DAYS.

I apply a mostly organic application (the retired, then retiring assistant said the mix smelled like "pig blood and fish guts") that is watered in and has no smell the next day and you would think I was peddling meth down at the grade school. I had an opportunity to lay my hands on a bacillus brew in late fall and put it down diluted only 50% (guy told me it tested at 25K+/ul minimum) and sprayed 80,000 st' with 150 gallons of final mix. That did "smell" for a couple of days. We also put 250 gallons into the irrigation retention pond and then did some manual watering (irrigation ditch was off for the winter and main irrigation was winterized). I heard all about how they could tell the water "smelled".


Neither one of these approaches sound very copacetic as far as the nostrils are concerned! :laugh:

I'd be interested in finding out what specifically makes up that "synthetic" concoction that golf course is using, and how the hell they're getting away with it from the perspective of their valued customers!! :cry:

treegal1
01-28-2009, 05:25 PM
any one that reads this, ask around the guys that have seen and smelled my operation, if it smells or smells bad it is bad real bad just stop and put it in the sewer as that's the only logic place for a smell to be!!!!!!! and that's wrong!!!


if it does not smell like the woods or a fresh meadow after a rain storm its not ready to put in the (any-ones!!!) yard or lawn. and especially not for food crops... had a LS regular at my place today, we smelled and ate the fish oil I use and its home made with no smell!!! there is just no excuse for a nasty smell. I will even go so far as to say my sh*t don't stink, and I am talking about horse manure in my compost pile, with some Zoo Poo, and it DON'T stink.

my tea don't stink the fert I use does not stink even when wet the compost smells great!! NO BAD SMELLS!!!!!JUST DON'T DO IT ITS BAD!!!!

bicmudpuppy
01-28-2009, 06:11 PM
Neither one of these approaches sound very copacetic as far as the nostrils are concerned! :laugh:

I'd be interested in finding out what specifically makes up that "synthetic" concoction that golf course is using, and how the hell they're getting away with it from the perspective of their valued customers!! :cry:

Maybe my nose is "sensitive", but I've know others who were the same way. MOST ferts aren't as bad as 'cides. I can smell 2,4D for DAYS after it's been applied. The dust from any sulfur coat is obnoxious as far as I'm concerned.

The liquid organics I've got on site all came from Growth Products. Their HydroMax wetting agent and Essentials mix both have a very strong odor, but it waters in. The most obnoxious smell I've sprayed was the bacillus brew I got from a local. He uses his "bugs" on oil well sites to help with soil reclamation. He has offered all the bugs I want for free, including delivery. He brings them tank mixed with a wetting agent and they really do smell bad. I am encouraged to hear that a home brewed CT isn't going to be like that!

treegal1
01-28-2009, 06:21 PM
bacillus brew ??? whats that like EM or anaerobic tea??

bicmudpuppy
01-28-2009, 11:06 PM
bacillus brew ??? whats that like EM or anaerobic tea??

What he is providing is basically the "bugs in a jug" that seems to be the current fad. I haven't made the trip to his site, but he is brewing or growing soil bacillus (his primary purpose is to use these to reclaim the soil around oil well sites and to keep the well heads open by injecting the colonies into the wells). He is feeding tanks of soil bacillus with molasses and monitoring for population content. Once the populations exceed 25,000/ul, he will then use that "batch". The premise for raising the bacteria is sound. The bacteria alone reeks. The difference between this and CT must be the O2 content? He is agitating, but not aerifying as far as I know.

NattyLawn
01-29-2009, 09:24 AM
What he is providing is basically the "bugs in a jug" that seems to be the current fad. I haven't made the trip to his site, but he is brewing or growing soil bacillus (his primary purpose is to use these to reclaim the soil around oil well sites and to keep the well heads open by injecting the colonies into the wells). He is feeding tanks of soil bacillus with molasses and monitoring for population content. Once the populations exceed 25,000/ul, he will then use that "batch". The premise for raising the bacteria is sound. The bacteria alone reeks. The difference between this and CT must be the O2 content? He is agitating, but not aerifying as far as I know.

This sounds like bugs in an anaerobic jug to me. So he's taking bacillus (rod shaped bacteria, right?) and feeding them and growing them out. Then he waits until the the population rises to a certain level and then uses them. Like tree said, if it smells bad, don't use it.

Bacillus subtillus doesn't smell good a powder, but when brewed into tea it doesn't smell. I think it was Tad Hussey who used subtillus in tea and he said it takes over the brew. I only brewed with it in small batches to see if I could grow it out, because it isn't cheap. EM smells like apple cider and when added to a brew or tank mix actaully absorbs odors. It sometimes takes the fish smell out of the tank completely.

bicmudpuppy
01-29-2009, 12:00 PM
I looked at and didn't keep a copy of the last round of tests he sent out to verify concentration and variety, but what he showed me claimed 11 specie and 22 sub specie of soil bacillus. Like I said, what he is using is going on oil well sites to combat parafin, oil spills, etc. The odor is awful!! I am going to make the trip out to look at those poly tanks shortly TG. It isn't above freezing here and I have some shop projects going.

bicmudpuppy
01-29-2009, 12:02 PM
Are any of you familiar with Growth Products as a company? The product "essentials" and wetting agent "HydroMax" both have strong negative odors as well.

JDUtah
01-29-2009, 12:29 PM
Sounds like he is going for bio degradation of the oil which could agree with him breeding out anaerobic bacteria... It makes sense that oil saturated soils cannot exchange O2 very well. The right bug for the right drug. ;)

bicmudpuppy
01-29-2009, 12:56 PM
Sounds like he is going for bio degradation of the oil which could agree with him breeding out anaerobic bacteria... It makes sense that oil saturated soils cannot exchange O2 very well. The right bug for the right drug. ;)

BUT, your telling me that they would be the WRONG bugs or not the "right" bugs for what I'm after. I am working getting some manure to mix with the vegetative compost I have. Then I can see what I can do about the "magic" here.

NattyLawn
01-29-2009, 01:21 PM
BUT, your telling me that they would be the WRONG bugs or not the "right" bugs for what I'm after. I am working getting some manure to mix with the vegetative compost I have. Then I can see what I can do about the "magic" here.

That's my point anyway. The same mix he's using for bioremediation might not be the best for turf. I'm a believer in biodiversity; a good mix of bacteria, fungi and protozoa for the soil. This brew seems to all bacterial.

What exactly are you after?

Kiril
01-29-2009, 01:42 PM
I'm a believer in biodiversity; a good mix of bacteria, fungi and protozoa for the soil.

Yup, biodiversity is what you want for general soil applications.