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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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Oh, Deer! What to Do About Bambi?

[caption id="attachment_1005" align="alignnone" width="504" caption="When the deer are this cute, it's hard to imagine they'll grow up to be Gardeners Enemy Number 1."][/caption] This is a bit off topic for a lawn care blog, but I get so many people asking me this question, I thought I'd pass along my best shot an at answer. If you think the issue of deer in the garden is getting worse lately, it’s not your ...

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On Air in LA: Mallow for Lunch?

[caption id="attachment_1001" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="This photo of mallow is from a Los Angeles blog known as HomegrownEvolution.com."][/caption] Journalist Ken Spector caught up with us Sunday afternoon after the Los Angeles Premiere of A Chemical Reaction: http://www.livingecho.com/celebrities/paul-tukey/. In the midst of the interview, we shared a rather interesting — and tasty — snack. H ...

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To Rake, Or Not, This Spring?

[caption id="attachment_985" align="alignnone" width="432" caption="Those leaves from last fall need to come off the lawn, but be careful not to rake too vigorously."][/caption] In the northern half of the nation, the urge to get outside and work in the yard in March is primal. We've been caged inside for several months already and the thought of sweeping, digging, pulling and raking actually seems fun, rig ...

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Fixing Nitrogen: Why Synthetic Fertilizer Isn’t Necessary

[caption id="attachment_978" align="alignnone" width="533" caption="Clover plants store atmospheric nitrogen in tiny pink root sacks known as nodules. "][/caption] Tomorrow it will be March and that means, in many parts of the country, the call will go out: Ready . . . Set . . . Fertilize. Whether we're planning tomatoes or a lush green lawn, our nature is to help Mother Nature by adding a bunch of stuff to ...

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Beware the Phrase ‘Organic-Based’

NOTE: This is an update of a position paper I first published in 2007 As I’ve traveled around the nation to talk about our nonprofit organization SafeLawns.org, I’ve sensed a tremendous amount of confusion about organic products. “What’s really organic, and what isn’t?” people ask. Though chemical companies will say that an organic product is anything that contains a carbon molecule, the real definition is ...

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The Lowest Maintenance Turf? University Results Are In

I've long had a section in my lawn care talks titled "Grow the Right Grass." The shpeel emphasizes the fact that not all species of grass are created equally, much to the surprise of the average homeowner. Most people do know that some grasses grow well in sun and others are better suited for shade. Other profound differences exist, however, in the amount of fertilizer, water and mowing they require. A stud ...

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Organic Alternatives: Part II

Whereas yesterday's post was a review of raw materials that can be used as fertilizers, today I want to take time to review companies who sell organic products — who have also stepped up to support our SafeLawns mission with their sponsorship dollars. In these difficult economic times, companies need to choose carefully and we deeply appreciate what they do for us. If you are going to buy lawn and garden pr ...

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Alternatives: Part I

In light of the heated New Hampshire testimony this week, I feel compelled to renew the focus on safer and sustainable alternatives the chemical fertilizers and pesticides. To begin the process, here are two links to posts from 2009 that review the basic fundamentals of natural fertilizers: http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/2009/07/natural-fertilizers-part-i/ http://www.safelawns.org/blog/index.php/20 ...

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Compost Tea: Does It Work, or Not?

[caption id="attachment_821" align="alignnone" width="900" caption="This photo, supplied by Dan Corum at the Seattle Zoo, shows the rose gardens that are tended solely with compost tea."][/caption] I've long told the story of my Grandmother, Clarida Van Dyne, and her "manure" tea that she made on her dairy farm in Bradford, Maine. In recent years, as I've espoused the virtues of applying compost tea to the ...

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