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New To Organic Fertilizing-Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by *dim*, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. *dim*

    *dim* LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Hi Guys

    am new to organic fertilizing and am a complete novice, but this subject interests me

    I will be experimenting with one of my client's lawns this year (small garden with approx 120 square meter lawn) ... this lawn (and garden) was by far the nicest lawn in the area last year, however, I used chemical fertilizers and done 4 applications .... The last application was in early November with a winterizer fertilizer (low in N)

    I intend to lay some crushed volcanic rock dust in a week or two, then follow up with a monthly application of compost tea which will be brewed using a combination of worm humus, bat guano, forest topsoil, sea kelp, humic acid, fish extract and a few extras

    In mid October, I will be aerating, scarifying, and will overseed using a layer of topsoil mixed with compost

    What product can be added to the compost tea which is organic, and which will give a very high N content to green the lawn for during the spring/summer? ....

    the only products I have found so far that are organic is one type of bat Guano that has an NPK of 10-6-2 and dried bloodmeal that has an N of 14 percent

    is there any other organic ingredient that I can add to the compost tea that will give a higher N content?
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The purpose of so-called 'organic' lawn care, is to increase the health of the soil and therefore increase the availability of all nutrients.
    A good question to ask yourself is "Can my grass eat all that npk now?"

    Another good question to ask yourself:
    "How long will 3% N last in the form of compost?" or,,, "... in the form of guano?"

    The usage of compost tea, will certainly convert organic matter into N quickly, then feed the soil with its byproducts and dead bodies, but ask yourself this:
    "Just how much raw material do I have to work with, to make the Tea effective?"

    The idea of dumping NPK on the lawn at the same rate as synthetic ferts, only do it organically, is exactly the wrong thinking and it will be cost prohibitive.
    Besides, there is no difference in the molecules, that the plant uses... Synthetic N, in its various forms, are exactly the same molecule as you find in organic N, in all its various forms... :)
  3. *dim*

    *dim* LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    very good points and taken aboard

    however, my clients may not think this way .... all they are after is a lush bright green lawn at all times .... and mowed with stripes (I use a mower with a roller to get the striped effect)

    I am fully aware of how to 'drug' a lawn with chemical fertilizers but am trying to switch over to organic ....

    If by doing so, I cannot produce a dark green lawn, my clients will prefer that I revert to chemical applications

    hence my inclusion of high nitrogen 'additives' in my compost tea
  4. *dim*

    *dim* LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    I re-read your post (it's monday, and I'm a bit 'slow' today!

    so, what you are stating is that if I use a chemical nitrogen fertilizer, it will have the exact same benefits as Nirogen produced from compost tea?

    perhaps I should try the organic route and see the results .... if I find that the lawn does not 'green up' enough, I may use a chemical fertilizer every second application (high in N but low in P&K)

    as for the cost of compost tea, I think it works out a lot less than buying chemical/synthetic fertilizers .... a (basic recipe ) 5 gallon bucket of compost tea uses a cupfull of worm humus, a cupful of bat guano, a cupfull of forest soil (free), a splash of molasses and a bit of the extra additives that will be used (such as seaweed extract etc)

    a small box of synthetic fertilizer costs £10-£12 here in the UK and is just enough for 100 square meters
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It doesn't really matter how your clients think about it as long as the turf is green and healthy... The 'drugged' lawn mentality is also wrong...

    The biggest problem with the modern lawn is too much water and too much N... more is a cause of decline and 'More', is the solution... there are many lawns around here that basically survive on the same basic principles as hydroponics... Water soluable N in puddles...

    It is best to start building the soil and be at the ready, with synthetic water soluable N should it be necessary for the first couple of years, until you get the bugs worked out...
    about 1/2 the amount at a time in most cases...
    If the surface is not allowed to dry adequately before the irrigation comes back on, forget it, so-called organics will not work... infact organic additions may make the problems worse... proper watering comes first... :)
  6. *dim*

    *dim* LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    thanks for that .... what soluble N fertilizer do you recomend? ....

    I will also be careful with the watering (will water deep only once a week during the dry periods)
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Your recipe is 'not' Compost Tea... it is some kind of liquid fert...
  8. *dim*

    *dim* LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Hmmm ... I thought compost tea was made using bat guano and/or worm humus with some added molasses for the microbes to eat and multiply? ... all placed in a bucket with an air pump

    many people then add a few extras at the end just before applying, such as seaweed extract or fish extract etc

    I may be wrong, but as I said, this is all new to me?
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I don't imagine that, what you've been using right along, is any better or worse than anything else... Only now, you are using it at 50% strength and on an 'as needed' basis...

    With your liquid fert concoction you might actually create rot problems on living tissue... so use just b4 you turn on the irrigation for a good soaking... :)
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Compost Tea is made with compost rather than raw materials. Compostted bat guano would make compost tea, whereas raw guano would be a manure tea...

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