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Help me make transition to organic

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by MrC, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. MrC

    MrC LawnSite Member
    from Jersey
    Messages: 189

    My neighbor switched over to espoma last year and has had impressive results. I know it can be done cheaper than buying it in the bag I just don't have enough time to research all this. I went to the local nursery to get some espoma lawn food but was redirected to two other products Organica and Ringer Lawn Restore. Again, I'm sure there are better products or cheaper ways to get the same ingedients and I fully intend on researching soon but for now which would be my best option Organica, Ringer, or Espoma?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Start building the soil. Much N is lost because the soil can't hold it long enough to be used. Start with compost and Milorganite and mulch all the grass clippings back into the turf.
  3. WannaBeOrganic

    WannaBeOrganic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    All three are good brands.

    Organica Lawn Booster (8-1-1) is made from corn gluten meal, bone meal and sulfate of potash and is a good fertilizing product. What makes Organica different is that most of their products, including the lawn fertilizer, contain beneficial bacteria and/or fungi which are important in your soil.

    Ringer Lawn Restore (10-2-6) is made of soy bean meal, feather meal and bone meal.

    Espoma has 2 lawn fertilizers, Weed Preventer Plus (9-0-0) and Organic Lawn Food (7-2-2). Weed Preventer Plus is all Corn Gluten Meal (CGM) which acts as a pre-emergent. It's fairly effective when used right but the effects get better each year you use it. Organic Lawn Food is feather meal and chicken manure as well as some beneficial bacteria but they don't list which ones like Organica does.

    For the most part, organic fertilizers don't provide nutrients that are readily available to the grass. They need to be broken down by the microbes in the soil. You feed the soil and the soil feeds the grass. Search for some good Organic Lawn Care FAQs for more info. The ones here were written for lawn care professionals but it sounds like you're just doing your own lawn. The same guy that wrote the Organic FAQs here wrote one for homeowners that should be easy to find.

    Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can harm the microbial life in your soil so switching from synthetics to organics may be a shock. If your soil is very bad, no microbes, no earthworms, the products with bacteria in them can help get things started and starting off with a topdressing of compost can help.

    There's a lot more to it so do a little more reading. the Organic Lawn Care FAQ is a good place to start.
  4. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    how do you know that? no bugs that is? do you own a microscope and have tested to see if thats really true? that there are "no" bugs in a synthetically treated soil? im not saying synthedic's can't and don't kill microbiology depending on the circumstance. but the video you mentioned in another thread from safe lawns would make one think this true, they are very good at selling what they do and that video that shows no bugs in a synthetically treated soil is nothing more then movie magic if it were.

    i hate to side track this thread but dude, i don't care what you say, you have some kind of stake in the organica brand, with out a doubt.
    stop pretending you don't, it's sooo obvious your agenda that is...
  5. WannaBeOrganic

    WannaBeOrganic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    I said can harm not always harms. I should have been clearer. When I said pesticides I lumped fungicides in that as well. I go by what I've read numerous places and what I've seen.

    Even this researcher that says it won't in the long run does state that direct contact will kill microbes. Microbes also need organic matter to eat. The more food they have the greater their population.

    I have a relative that gets regular fertilizer, pesticide and fungicide treatments from a local company, bags his clippings, dethatches regularly and never adds any organic matter. That seems to be the typical approach a lot of people take in my area when they use synthetic fertilizers.

    I helped him do some digging and the soil looked very different from mine. We also never ran across a single worm. If I so much as brush a rake across my lawn I see worms popping up to complain.

    Add stuff that kills them, limit their food supply and it's not hard to see that what I said makes sense.

    I don't. All I tried to do is answer the question about the three products the guy asked. All three. I didn't just pick Organica. He also asked if there were cheaper alternatives which is why I mentioned the products that were in the fertilizers so he can try and find them himself if he wants.

    If he also took my advice and read the organic lawn care faq he would have found out where he could get these products cheap as well as others that weren't in the formulations in question.

    Here, let me spell it out. Most meals such as alfalfa, soy bean, corn gluten you can get from a feed store if you have one near by. If you don't, regular applications of corn meal can be used as a mild fertilizer and to help control fungus. Supermarket corn meal is the same but usually cheaper to buy in bulk. If you don't have a feed store near you you can get it at a restaurant supply store. Sometimes soy bean meal too. Alfalfa pellets might be found in a pet store. Got a dozen starbucks within driving distance? Some people use nothing but used coffee grounds they get for free to add organic matter to their lawn.

  6. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 795

    Alfalfa meal rather than pellets is very cheap at the feed store (Kelp meal too; for horses)
  7. WannaBeOrganic

    WannaBeOrganic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90


    I've never used anything directly from a feed store but I have used corn meal. From what I understand some bagged products meant for lawns are easier to spread than getting them as feed. Have you had any problems getting anything to spread? I took one look at the corn meal and could tell it wouldn't work in my cheap plastic drop spreader so I just tossed it around by hand.

    Would be interested to hear what you found to be the easiest and hardest to spread.
  8. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    feed store grains are the way to go, meals work best, quicker break down and better coverage, use a rotary spreader, a little modification to the agitator if needed will help push anything you put in it, use a spreader with one large opening, not with three.

    anyone wanting to go a more natural route with their lawn care needs to understand first how a natural nutrient cycling system works first, once thats understood, the rest is easy, sort of.

    if your soil is poor and has been historically synthetically treated there's only IMHO one way to start, and thats using compost, and add it till there is a proper soil developed to sustain proper natural nutrient cycling, then you can apply meals or what ever as needed if you want, if there is no foundation for that system how can you expect" just" applying some grain meals to produce results?

    no amount of grain meals will build the soil like compost, well maybe after years and years and years......

    if you don't build the soil first, anyone please explain to me how feeding some meals will be of any benefit if a proper foundation is not in place first? if some one doesn't want to go to the trouble of applying post well then there's always a bridge program to make you think your practicing natural lawn care. but any reduction in highly water soluble synthetic ferts and chem pest control products is a good thing environmentally speaking if using a bridge program approach so im not knocking it.

    and if you start with a really great soil then you might be able to get away with a grain/ organic fert only program applied at a proper rate? might need some tweaking at first but with the right inputs at the right time i believe it possible to produce comparable results to synthetic's going that route but with out a doubt compost is king no matter what when growing plants.
    compost offers the most bang for the buck, LONG TERM supply of nutes,OM,bugs ete ete.... people need to look at compost for exactly what it is and it's true value , besides right off the bat it set's the stage for great plant growth it is a "long term lasting investment" one can make towards the success of their grow and not just the politically right thing to do practicing natural plant care
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  9. WannaBeOrganic

    WannaBeOrganic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 90

    Nobody suggested that. Please don't make this thread a continuation of the Organica one.
  10. growingdeeprootsorganicly

    growingdeeprootsorganicly LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    ok....:dizzy: gee you don't miss a chance to get that name out there do you.

    you guys say what ever it is your trying to say??? when or where ever you want??? what makes you think i won't do the same when ever i want:nono:

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