View Full Version : Where's the professional part?

09-12-2003, 11:59 PM
People can jawbone about organics on dozens of other internet sites. Canadians have a professional trade group: <a href="http://www.organiclandscape.org/">Organic Landscape Alliance</a>. Nothing at all here yet about practical business conversion to organics. Anyone know of a USA trade group?

Mike Bradbury
09-14-2003, 12:06 AM
gotta crawl before you can walk. Can't have an organization until you've got people interested in joining.

09-14-2003, 07:39 PM
That was a good question, GroundKprs. I dont think you are alone on that one.

09-15-2003, 09:16 PM

The information there seems to relate mostly to agriculture.

Heres a story about organic corn and soybeans


09-15-2003, 10:15 PM
Yes, organic food has needed to be defined, so an "organic" item at the grocery store can be assured to be a certain standard. But as Dave has stated, organic lawn care means different things to different people. If a professional is selling "organic lawn care," how does anyone know what he is really selling then?

The current state of organic lawn care in this country seems to be an amalgum of individual ideas, with the overriding idea that organics is anti-synthetic. So far it appears that organic lawn care is more a religion than a business, and most of us here are in business.

For example, is a contractor with 10 acres to fertilize going to fling his 1000 tons of cornmeal by hand? Seems cracked corn would be better to use to go thru a spreader, but then there would have to be a standard particle size for the cracked corn. Can't calibrate every lot of corn you get, if particle size varies.

There was a distributor promoting organic lawn care at the GIE a few years ago, but I can't remember the name. Might have been a franchise outfit.

09-15-2003, 11:01 PM
it would actually be more in the range of two tons if my calculations are correct...:)

Yes, that is alot of material, but from a residential perspective on an 'average' sized homeowner's yard it is not such a huge job. If you try to think in terms of acreage all the time it would be overwhelming. Suppose you have 50 average lawns to maintain, well, i would doubt every one would want the organic approach. So the five ton truck and the forklift arent really necessary.

you are right about the cracked corn going thru a spreader. But as long as the corn is spread fairly evenly, a little bit more or less here or there isnt going to make a huge difference.

''The current state of organic lawn care in this country seems to be an amalgum of individual ideas, with the overriding idea that organics is anti-synthetic. So far it appears that organic lawn care is more a religion than a business, and most of us here are in business.''

I dont think it is anti-synthetic, its just a different approach.

Of course we are in business, that is why i started a bunch of experiments so if someone is interested in organic lawn care i can show them actual results. Actual, tangible results will sell it a lot better than a bunch of talk.And i have had numerous people approach me about the organic approach including the local township. Can i sell it to them??...time will tell.

You bring up some very important points that are not to be overlooked, but i dont think anybody has all the answers.

There are a few organic lawn care businesses around here, but none are selling just corn meal/cracked corn, they sell corn gluten meal fertilizers which are substantially more expensive. If i can get the same results at a lower price that puts me one step ahead of the competition.

maybe i'm wrong, but i doubt it.

09-16-2003, 01:40 AM
Offering organic turf care on acreage may involve using different equipment than is used for synthetic fertilizers. For one, as has been mentioned many times, the organic fertilizers are heavier. Another difference not mentioned much is that the raw organic fertilizers that I like, corn meal and alfalfa pellets, do not go through the "normal" spreaders/droppers. Maybe I should say they don't go through the typical homeowner's versions of spreader/droppers. However, they easily go through a farm version of a spreader, so a pro in this business maybe should look into what equipment is available for distributing organic fertilizers on larger areas. Check to see if the equipment you own will spread it first, duh!

trying 2b organic
10-01-2003, 10:31 PM
Why wont alfalfa in pellet form sold as rabbit food go through a broadcast spreader, I was going to test that, maybe you can save me an afternoon. ? ty.
There are many lawn care companies in Canada who offer traditional and organic and some that are just organic. Canadian municipalities are getting close to having the gumption and the will to ban, if you can belive it, "cosmetic use pesticides". So even the bigger players in the industry are preparing for that possibility by reasearching organics and in some cases even creating new products.

10-02-2003, 09:28 AM
I applied a bag of alfalfa pellets (horse food) successfully with a broadcast spreader. If its in pellet form, should be no problem, as long as the holes in the spreader are big enough.

Later, someone told me that horse food alfalfa is loaded with a certain insecticide used to kill a certain bug that kills horses. Apparently this bug is often all over alfalfa and a horse can die from ingesting this bug, even a dead bug. Hopefully rabbit food is safer.....

trying 2b organic
10-02-2003, 01:32 PM
ty very much and something like that is exactly what I am afraid of. for now ill apply brand name alfalfa and corn meal mix at triple the price which really sucks.
anymore info out there on what wierd scary stuff might be in alfalfa used for rabbit food? cause the main ingredients for my veg based organic fert and rabbit food are otherwise exactly the same.

10-03-2003, 02:46 AM
Let me see what I can find out about alfalfa bugs killing horses. That sounds like one of those rumors or hoaxes I see all the time.

trying 2b organic
10-03-2003, 03:17 AM
ok but to be honest i dont care about the horses i just want to know theres no wierd stuff in the alfalfa sold as rabbit food. if it is exacty the same, or at least as safe for turf, as the alfalfa I buy in bags of organic lawn fertilizer. and again, anyone who knows the n-p-k of alfalfa, plz tell me.

10-03-2003, 10:51 AM
I have a reference that shows alfalfa meal:

2%-3% N
.7% P
2.25% K

Pesticide residues may be present if not organic.

Green in Idaho
10-03-2003, 12:04 PM
The residue is interesting. Especially for products where the use is the leaf such as alfalfa.

Alfalfa is often dosed with chems at the agricultural level to produce the crop. Particularly for the alfalfa seed growers (popular in my area). After the seed is harvested the rest of the plant is harvested for ______.

Perhaps there are some farmers on here who could elaborate...

Just like the chicken manure and the steer manure, if we look UPSTREAM from the supply there is likely chemical use. To get away from that it would be the "grown organically" at each level and that would be costly.

10-04-2003, 12:03 PM
Here are three links to find out the NPK of stuff and other things.




10-04-2003, 12:40 PM
OK - I'm now remembering that when I went to the feed store to get the alfalfa, they said they had rabbit food and horse food and that both were pure alfalfa pellets. I said I'll take the rabbit food. They threw a bag in the truck, and I started looking at the label. There were about 15 ingredients. So I exchanged it for the horse food, which had a couple of ingredients. I think both were made by Purina.

My friend who owns the local organic store (never quite got off the ground, almost out of business) told me about the bug that kills horses.

10-05-2003, 10:49 PM
Okay I'm back with more info about the horse-killing bugs. I was wrong and I apologize for doubting you!

There is a beetle called the blister beetle that, when enough are eaten, causes death in horses. And blister beetles are often found in alfalfa crops. Some beetles seem to be tolerated in a crop, but there are ways to avoid keeping the blister beetles that might be in the alfalfa field from showing up in the harvested crop. Here is some further reading on the blister beetle.


The active ingredient in the blister beetle is something called “cantharidin,” (can-THAR-uh-din). This chemical causes blistering of the skin on mammals. In horses and other livestock, large doses of the beetles can cause death. Smaller doses can cause abdominal pain to the point where the horse will act and walk funny. In humans cantharidin has been known since the dawn of medicine as an aphrodisiac. Today we call it Spanish Fly, and it is equally dangerous to us as to horses. And contrary to my junior high gutter education on Spanish Fly, it only works on males, who at the junior high age bracket, hardly need any chemical inducement toward that end. The safer alternative today is called Viagra. Cantharidin is also used to remove warts under a doctor’s supervision. Here is website on cantharidin.


What any of this has to do with alfalfa pellets is still a mystery. So I'm continuing to dig. I need to talk to someone who makes the pellets.

trying 2b organic
10-06-2003, 02:08 PM
I really appreciate the work and anything u can find out about the production of alfalfa pellets as organic fert. and production for sale as rabbit food. ty