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Does Compost Tea Work? A View From the Post

Adrian Higgins, the gardening writer for the Washington Post, has been a good friend to SafeLawns in the past four years — including this rather epic front-page article back in 2007: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/19/AR2007091900472.html. In today's Post, Adrian, a devout organic gardener himself, tackles the age-old question of whether or not compost tea works: http://www.wash ...

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Composted Manures? Use With Caution

Here's an email we received today from a SafeLawns follower that we thought was worth sharing: Hi Paul, I've been reading your blog and website, and am really pleased to see what you are doing. Thank you for your efforts! I want to share with you a strong caution regarding the recommendations to use composted manure as an organic input. It may contain organophosphate and/or other toxic pesticides even after ...

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Grub Damage? Try Beneficial Nematodes

With an unusually mild winter in many areas of North America, many homeowners are lamenting lawn damage due to grubs — or more specifically from the creatures like birds, skunks and moles that like to eat the grubs. When people ask me what to do about the critters rummaging for grubs, I usually facetiously say, "Cheer them on!" Moles, especially, are nature's way of keeping the grub population in balance. O ...

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Corn Gluten Meal as Weed Control?: 20 Years Later, the Jury is Still Out

[caption id="attachment_1171" align="alignnone" width="432" caption="Corn gluten meal is a great fertilizer, but its value as a weed control is marginal."][/caption] Scarcely any subject in organic lawn care has spurred more discussion in the past two decades than corn gluten meal, the corn bi-product that was patented by Iowa State University in 1991 for its pre-emergent weed control properties. In the pas ...

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How Can Leaves Be Lunch for the Lawn? Here’s a Primer

Sometimes I need to be reminded I'm too close to a subject. Yesterday, when I posted my "Free Lunches For the Lawn" book excerpt, I received a few private emails from folks who didn't understand how leaves, grass clippings and other materials could become food for the lawn. It seems evident to me, but that's only because I've been dealing with this subject for years. To help the lay person understand this, ...

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Free Lunches for the Lawn

[caption id="attachment_1150" align="alignnone" width="504" caption="If you do gather your grass clippings, be sure to add them to a compost pile like this one at Cornell University, so that they decompose for later use back on the lawn."][/caption] A radio station in Maine called last week with a question about how to save money on lawncare this season. For the response I trotted out my time-honored list t ...

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In Honor of St. Patty . . . Celebrate Clover

[caption id="attachment_1082" align="alignnone" width="432" caption="Whomever first claimed clover to be a weed was definitely trying to sell chemical weed killers."][/caption] In celebration of clover, here are a few links to articles about all the reasons why you should be growing it in your landscape: From Susan Harris and Roger Swain: http://www.sustainablegardeningblog.com/archives/61 Reasons to grow i ...

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Worm Composting: A Step-By-Step Guide

[caption id="attachment_1055" align="alignnone" width="523" caption="A species of worms known as red wigglers can thrive in a container environment and consume many times their weight in kitchen scraps."][/caption] The conclusion of our film screenings are always capped off with drawings for door prizes. A consistent favorite is the gift certificate from Gardeners Supply, the Vermont company with loads of o ...

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Fertilizer by the Numbers

[caption id="attachment_1037" align="alignnone" width="360" caption="Seaweed is an excellent source of natural nutrients for the garden."][/caption] Here's a question we received from a follower that deserves a lengthy explanation to be shared by all : I’d like to “go organic” and join your bandwagon, but honestly it’s all very confusing. It’s been easy to spread my Ortho 10-10-10 and get decent results. Wh ...

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