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Organic vs. regular fertilizer /sprays


By Raquel


Why use organic fertilizer or sprays at all? Sometimes it does seem like regular sprays would be better, in that it would blitz all the nasty little critters that want to ruin my plants once and for all! I know, I know, we’re supposed to love all creatures great and small, but really, what IS the point of a black aphid? Or a fungus? Eh? Of course I’m being a pain….

But actually I tried regular sprays and found that yes, indeed it killed the nasty little bugs, but it also burned the leaves and often the buds of my plants..since 95% of my plants are the flowering type, this was a problem…so I decided to try an organic spray.

I noticed two things: one, it does actually work. And two: you have to keep at it on a schedule, because I find that it’s best to use it as a preventive measure, or when you first see a problem brewing. Once a bug or a fungus has taken hold, forget it. Either use the commercial stuff or dig a grave for your plant! It happened to me with the dahlia, I loved it – I even wrote a blog titled “Dahlia crazy” – but the poor thing developed some kind of leaf infestation that I simply didn’t catch in time…and no matter what I did, I couldn’t save it. =(

I now also use an organic fertilizer called Rose Food, produced locally by Rabbit Hill Farm, it also works on flowering plants other than roses – it’s a 5 6 3 fertilizer that contains (for those of you who are curious!) alfalfa meal, soft rock phosphate w/colloidal clay, bone meal, cottonseed meal, wormcastings, soybean meal, sulfate of potash, humate, rabbit manure, greensand kelp and epsom salt.

It works wonders.

The spray I use is also organic but I can’t remember the name right now. But I swear by it as it does not burn my plants.

So if you want to go organic, give it a try! It has it’s limitations, but it’s worth it

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Raquel I am glad you've found a good way to control your nasties in the garden. Perhaps the whole neighbourhood is outof balance so you get things from there blown and crawling over. I also hated sprays in my garden, both kind. I did not want to disturb the harmony as I knew there is a place for everything in nature. Since my cat died ( and I am not saying cats should go, I love them dearly ) I never got another one. Finally the birds came back, tiny ones and big ones. I had lady birds eating aphids, I had little birds eating aphids, catterpillars, moths etc. I suddenly discovered I had no more plagues, which was wonderful. My roses were disease free for years, I just fertilised them when I did the lawn. I had earth worms, which I found as soon as I dug somewhere. But then....I had no neighbours at all, not for 3 kms and nothing really would come that far. I've also heard bugs don't like garlic. What was in your organic spray? Are you not afraid to kill off the good bugs too? We need the bees for instance and the ladybirds eat aphids. If you spray aphids these ladybirds have nothing to eat.....I just wonder what your situation is.

17 Jul, 2008


Have patience with organic methods it takes time for nature to strike a balance. Composting, manuring will improve the soil structure and provide nutrients for strong plants.
Garlic liquidised and sprayed on the plants does deter blackfly and greenfly
companion planting helps deter pests too.
If you have a nettle patch near you soak till leaves are liquid in a big bucket and hey presto - free fertiliser.
grow comfrey and it can be used in the same way, be careful not to get the invasive type.

18 Jul, 2008


Thanks Tussiemussie, I do try to keep it organic, though I would say it's only about 60% organic at the time...alas no, I have no fields nearby (I have a container garden on a balcony) but i wish I did! i did try companion planting, with garlic chives near the red rose, and I do think it helped to deter pests.

Hi Marguerite: Lots of questions! which is good - I live on the third floor of a garden-style apt building and have only the balcony and the landing to have a container garden - the plus is I get lots of sun and light, the negative is that this is Houston where the sun can de a hazard to plants and humans alike!! LOL Not one of my direct neighbors has plants, not even across the courtyard on the other side. However, the courtyard does have plants and the area I live in is very green - lots of trees and flowers and a park - Memorial Park - where I often go walking, since I have type II diabetes and walking is my exercise of choice (except right now that I have a bad case of heel and toe pain!) So the area does have birds and wasps and bees, and Wabash even sells ladybugs! Since strating my garden, I've noticed an increase in wasps - one even built its nest under the one of the banana leaves - and depending on the plants, a bee or two visiting, and very occassionally, a butterfly. But mostly it's the wasps that I've attracted most so far. =) I would love to see more butterflies and birds, and bees, but butterfly plants tend to grow quite tall and my balcony is quite windy, but we'll see next year. With everything so expensive, I might just plant cerry tomatoe sin a basket and maybe some squash in a pot....Of course I don't want to kill the beneficial insects, but right now, if I don't put something on the plants, they will not recover (I lost a rose that way). The spray I was using is based on geranium oil, and it's by Green Light. But with prices escalating, I now plan to make my own onion and garlic spray. I've put garlic - the mashed up cloves - at the base of the roses, and I think it helped them to recover when they were looking like poodles - ie being attacked by aphids and powdery mildew! Garlic in general has antiseptic qualities, it's anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and perhaps even anti-viral, though I would have to check on that.

21 Jul, 2008

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