How Organic in the Garden are you

This is the place to discuss Organic lawncare.
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mobiledynamics
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How Organic in the Garden are you

Post by mobiledynamics » September 9th, 2019, 3:29 pm

Not really lawncare, but as I hesitate doing this (shrub row has mites) and I'm about to do a soil drench of a Imidacloprid based products.

GEEZ, just reading the label on what it prevents, makes me think I should have the CDC on standby.
I really don't want to put this ~chem~ in the soil, but this row of shrubs has taken years to get it to the size it is (literally grows a whopping 3-4 inches per year max).

Anyhow, sees like there are some like minded folks on the board that don't try to kill the biology or bees

TimmyG
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Re: How Organic in the Garden are you

Post by TimmyG » September 9th, 2019, 11:32 pm

Apologies for saying this, but your post make my head spin. Let's get to the point. Are you asking the question posed in your post title (while lacking the necessary question mark)? Are you just ranting? Are you asking for alternative recommendations for ridding mites from shrubs? Are you asking for assurance that imidacloprid is okay to use?

Imidacloprid has its place and if used appropriately, the bees should be fine. The important detail is that you should never ever apply imidacloprid to anything that is blooming or that will bloom for months to come (it's systemic when absorbed via the roots). I've had issues with lace bugs sucking the life out of rhododendrons and pieris that were in a bit too much sun. I applied imidacloprid via soil drench for a few years until I got the the lace bug population under control. The shrubs are now also in more shade and less attractive to lace bugs.

But I always waited until the shrubs were completely done with blooming before applying the imidacloprid.

Another issue with applying imidacloprid via soil drench is the expense. Yikes! If I were trying to control mites, I think I would first try neem oil, which is an organic solution.

bpgreen
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Re: How Organic in the Garden are you

Post by bpgreen » September 10th, 2019, 11:35 pm

I compost everything that I trust not to propagate in the compost (no bindweed or hops gift example)

But I'll use any rodenticides I find, urea is fine. So is roundup.

Il use insecticidal soaps first, but not exclusively. But I try ro minimize yves effect on bees.

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HoosierLawnGnome
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Re: How Organic in the Garden are you

Post by HoosierLawnGnome » September 12th, 2019, 10:55 am

I grow roses and haven't had luck unless I do some synthetic feedings, insecticides, and fungicides every year. The beetles and fungal pressures are real.

I use a lot of milo, and top dress with compost and peat moss.

I remove sawfly larvae with my fingers.

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Dchall_San_Antonio
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Re: How Organic in the Garden are you

Post by Dchall_San_Antonio » October 2nd, 2019, 6:41 pm

My wife goes crazy with alfalfa pellets on her veggies and flowers. I told her to use a heaping handful for each plant once a month. She uses about a quart per plant twice per season. It's solid coverage across the entire bed.

We also compost anything that isn't woody. We have a source for horse dung with a stable nearby. That gets the compost going quickly.

I also cultivate wasps to take care of caterpillars on the plants. If I need to spray a plant I use a mix of molasses, shampoo, and water. Since we moved to the country it is amazing how few pests we have. Mostly we see rats and then only the headless kind that our cat is working on.


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Dchall_San_Antonio
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Re: How Organic in the Garden are you

Post by Dchall_San_Antonio » January 15th, 2020, 4:59 pm

I'd like to tag onto my previous post. I was extremely stressed back in October, so here's a little more info.

Here is a link to an article about the microbes which live on the outside surfaces of plants. This area is referred to as the phyllosphere. The article describes the microbes (bacteria, yeasts, and fungi) and some of the interactions between microbes and plants. Possibly the most interesting thing about the article is that there IS a microbial population living on the outside of plants in direct sunlight. But what do they do? Not enough research, yet, but let's assume they do do something beneficial when they are well fed.

The spray I use for shrubs is 3 ounces of molasses and 3 ounces of shampoo, into my hose end sprayer with the rest filled with water. This spray is designed to feed the phyllosphere microbes with molasses and to be sure the molasses sticks to the plants with the shampoo. I spray the shrubs at any setting rate, because I don't think it really matters. Spraying anything food like should help. Most of it will drip off anyway. The general theory is that feeding the bacteria and yeast on the outside of the plants improves the health of the microbes and plants due to the interactions among them all. Call it the leaf food web if you like. Everything is interactive as in the soil food web. Some of the organic researchers claim that a healthy plant is relatively "invisible" to pests. I know what invisible means, but do the pests have eyes? Something seems to attract pests to certain plants, and plant health is a factor. If the molasses on the outside of the plant makes the plant more healthy, that's great. This falls into the category of 'really inexpensive to try, so why not try it?'

I have not done any randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, and peer reviewed research, but my gut tells me that this spray works. For example between the spray and the use of corn meal and alfalfa as fertilizers on my roses, I have not had an aphid in 18 years. We've gotten away from veggie gardening, but the spray seemed to work there, too. We do have some bugs attacking our prickly pear cactus. The bugs are not cochineal. I have sprayed them with the spray and some with water, but the bugs disappeared on both, so whether the spray worked or not is still open.

Having said all that, and returning to the original question, I fertilize 100% organically (alfalfa pellets) and control insects organically (wasps and molasses spray). What I don't control organically is weeds. Once or twice a year I spray my lawn with an atrazine product. Yes, I realize atrazine is bad, really bad, but it is so remarkably effective on St Augustine that I use it. All the normal herbicides kill St Augustine, but not atrazine. It is not a soil drench, but I'm sure some gets to the soil. St Augustine and centipede grasses seem to be immune to the effects, but most other plants die in a few weeks. Not only do the plants die but the seeds die, too. I get a weed called horse herb that drops a lot of seed. In the places I have sprayed, the horse herb comes back very weak or not at all the following spring. When I spray I spot spray only the weeds and the fringes of where the St Augustine is expanding its range. After that the density of the St Aug seems to keep most weeds out.

Masbustelo
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Re: How Organic in the Garden are you

Post by Masbustelo » January 15th, 2020, 7:27 pm

Regarding gardening. I mulch anything permanent, roses etc with wood chips. That's it I have no problems with any annuals. With annuals, I double dig my beds and add commercial compost, leaves, alfalfa, and chicken bedding. I never have pest or disease problems. I also raise wine grapes and do have a spray regimen for them. I don't know what would happen if I took a year off.

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