Which plant does better MG or organic?

Miracle Grow
19%
5
Organic
81%
22
 
Total votes: 27
The Helpful Gardener
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I notice a difference in my garden the yield goes up and vegatables taste just as good with fertilizer, no change in flavor. I have a very small garden I don't care if it does cost extra for fertilizer food is better that grocery store food and I get more food per square foot. Without fertilizer I would have to plant a larger garden and do more labor to do what the smaller garden does with fertilizer.
I think most folks will tell you there is a difference in flavor, Gary, but that is subjective, so let's leave that one lie...

You are tilling and adding fertillizer, right? Any composts at all? Not in most agriculture, just tilling and chems... we are both adding ammonia, but you as a salt with your fertilizer, and mine as protein with biology in the compost. Mine actually adds life and biodiversity; you are killing it by osmotic shock with your salt, so there's a difference in our ammonias, a big one.

Mine is incredibly stable as it actually doesn't turn into ammonia until somebody eats my biology and releases it as ammonia; yours is unstable three different ways (It is soluble in water, it can volatize and gas off, especially at high temperature, and it can get locked back up in biology without the right biology to unlock it). So there's another HUGE difference in our ammonias.

My biology maintains the soil structure, adding humus and building biological structure while your fertilizer disrupts the fungal net that adds glomalin, the magic glue that holds soil in aggregation. You till and destroy fungal while I build soil. Notice the area you have been gardening like this is sinking deeper than where it used to be; you are compacting soils, decreasing root mass and hobbling nutrient uptake. And my biologically diverse soil allows biologically diverse planting; as toil noted I will add at least fifty percent to my yield this year (tomatoes doubled, another 30% peppers, twice the squash and three times the greens! And I still have space this way! Bok choy maybe; I'm waffling). I will totally bring in more crops in less space than any two of my MG using neighbors combined, guaranteed...

No, my friend you are completely off base there. Our ammonias couldn't be more different. Your's pollutes before it even gets in the bag; mine is utilizing local waste streams. We aren't even in the same zip code, our ammonias... but toxic? Not in the food, per se, but it is [url=https://www.bfhd.wa.gov/info/nitrate-nitrite.php]toxic to humans in drinking water[/url], not that that will take long to get there... oh, and the higher levels you need (because you don't use biology that clings to the plants roots like I do) cause bigger releases of ammonia which turn into bigger quantities of nitrite in the water, and if [url=https://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/food/hotdogs.htm]it ain't good in hot dogs[/url], it probably ain't good in water. Mine does that too, but because it releases organically in MUCH smaller quantities right near the root it is living with, most gets used before there is any chance of getting to water... and my increased humus means more Cation Exchange Capacity to hold those nutrients in soil stably, so even if the plant doesn't get it my soil will, instead of the water...

Our ammonias aren't even in the same state. Literally.

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Sat May 22, 2010 4:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
Scott Reil

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Not that this REALLY has anything to do with anything, but pregnant women are not supposed to eat skinless hotdogs......
HG you didn't answer my previous ? about the compost tea :P

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I'm sorry Dixie; on a rant... :roll: :lol:

'Course we use compost or compost tea. That's our fertililzer; humus and biology. No bug killer on either, dear; that's what I meant. As noted I find the claims of disease repression to be somewhat overstated in the short term for compost tea (but a healthy plant in healthy soil, developed over years, will always be more resistant to insects and disease in the long run). I don't think of compost tea as disease suppression as much as fertilization...

HG
Scott Reil

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It would be interesting for someone in a lab/control type of environment to see the effect of teas on plants as far as bugs go.
I noticed a MAJOR decline in bugs eating my plants after I started using worm tea on the foliage. Essentially it's the same as compost tea; 5 gallon bucket, water, nylon filled with castings and a few drops of molasses (I never measure anymore :roll: :D).
There must be something when it's on there though because last year my plants were the only ones in our townhouse complex that the bugs and bunnies didn't demolish :D

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You know, I was thinking the other day that I don't really use "fertilizer" per se. I added rock phosphate, dolomitic lime, and greensand pretty liberally until last year. As my bags are almost empty, I'm thinking of not buying any more and turn to more eco-friendly methods. (I don't think of weeds as "weeds" anymore -- they're all Dynamic Accumulators and Bio Mass)

I make and use compost. I make AACT, but not regularly. I have a whole tray of worm castings that's waiting to be used, as well as a bucket of finished Bokashi compost (though I think I'll do what toil said and use it to feed the worms and maybe boost the outdoor compost pile into higher gear). I did start using fish hydrolysate this year, but again, not regularly. I do spray with the 10% Milk Solution regularly once the humid weather begins (which started early this year)....

I'm not out to grow the biggest size or production, but I'm getting more than enough to feed my family... way more.

There are earthworms everywhere I dig. I can't dig one little patch without digging one up or seeing a bunch of them crawl out and away. Digging to plant a shrub results in wholesale slaughter, which I've just about given up as inevitable. Almost every spot I've dug there's at least one MONSTER earthworm. Seriously, I *don't* think I need to add anything to the ground any more.

Then there are all the birds -- they seem to need to "unload" every time they take off or land. I guess extra weight doesn't help with flying....

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If you read Gary350's posts, it sounds like he does use compost, tons of it. He has mentioned composting in 5 gallon buckets (as well as anaerobic sealed buckets of wood ash and pee); he has mentioned composting in 55 gal drums, he has mentioned piles of leaves and grass clippings. I have to assume all that stuff eventually goes on his garden, which he has described as smallish.

In this post "I can't get enough organic material for my garden."

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=23774&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=compost&start=0

he talks about adding 4 bales of peat moss to that smallish garden (as well as literal tons of sand, limestone, sheet rock (gypsum).

So in terms of taste, all Gary can be talking about is the taste of veggies grown with a lot of everything including organic & chem ferts!

Gary is also the one who talks about tilling his garden every day for a week, until the soil is reduced to powder.

Gary, I've said this before to you. I think gardening could be a lot easier and less expensive. AS says she doesn't use "fertilizer" per se but she has used rock dusts and uses AACT, Bokashi, fish hydrolysate. I am the ultimate simple gardener. I use compost and mulch. Period. This year I have a couple times made a direct extract tea of the compost and probably will some more, stretches the compost so I can use it more often. I have never added ANYTHING else to my garden. It grows just fine. Do I get as big of yields? I have no way to know since I don't keep records like that, but I'm willing to concede probably not. But I'm not in any competition! Works for me.
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I would never take someone saying their garden is "smallish" at face value until you see it or find out it's dimensions. My FIL says his garden is small but in reality it's bigger than my house!!

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Gary can add all the humus and compost he wants but without the correct biologies his carbon will not stay put; it will gas off as CO2, as he beats it out of his soil with a tiller, creating bacterially dominated soils higher in nitrogens initially, but lacking the natural cycles for release, and decreased CEC from lessened carbon in the soil AND lowered O2 levels from compaction, it will also likely gas off as ammonia, or lock as a huge bacterial population (bacteria are very high in nitrogen). He DOES get enough organic material for his garden, but fries it with too much tilling and too much nitrogen....

This is not as simple as Ammonia=Ammonia. This is a systems issue, not a chemical issue. Ecosystems do not have interchangeable parts, and humans are not smart enough yet to figure out substitutions. Chemicals cannot fit "in" the natural cycle; they interrupt it to the point of disfunction. You can use chemical fertilizers for a while, but eventually you destroy the natural biology to a point where even the chemical work-arounds no longer work, because even they need the biology to work.

Just skip the disfunctional middleman...

And RBG, don't concede lower yields; totally unproven! I have yet to see where thoughtful organic methods cannot equal or beat conventional methods in a backyard setting... even farmers are coming around... perhaps some more labor in commercial settings, but if you factor in nutrient densities, long term sustainability, and decreased impacts to environment, it is still a no brainer...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Mon May 24, 2010 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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well, I was more conceding the yields to the people like AppleStar with the greensand and rock dust and AACT and fish hydrolysate.

I recently posted here:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=135393&highlight=yeild+yield+organic#135393

research showing that chem fertilizers do not improve the yield over organic methods. But organic methods covers a lot of ground and some people work at it harder, remember stella who was posting a lot last year (hasn't posted since Dec) in the AACT thread? She was doing weekly foliar feeding of AACT compost tea as well as MANY organic soil amendments and was getting fabulous results.

That's the kind of gardener I was conceding too! :)
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Sure but Fukuoka-sensei hardly used any inputs, no composts (on his fields, anyway; Larry Korn told me he did on his veggies some), no ferts other than a little chicken poop, NO TILLING EVER, and matched the best yields in his country for decades... you don't need to work hard or make a lot of inputs to do well with organics...

The whole "we need chemicals to feed the world" schpiel is chemical company propaganda...

HG
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i would never suggest any one use chemical fertilizers in their gardens, as they do nothing to build up the soil fertility, sure they can give you quick good growth (like the commercials) but then what are you left with..??
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Inoculate with Mycorrhizal fungus on the organic one and it will grow bigger guaranteed.

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Well thus far things are going pretty much as expected. I did booboo though and added a little too much mushroom compost to my organic plant and after a heavy rain it got waterlogged. I dug it out and added more potting mix.
Anyway as you can see the MG plant is growing faster but I still think the organic will do better by the time it's over.
The MG plant
[img]https://i918.photobucket.com/albums/ad28/Dixana/1275496556.jpg[/img]
The organic
[img]https://i918.photobucket.com/albums/ad28/Dixana/1275496557.jpg[/img]
I took those this morning.....a week and half or so after planting?

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Did you inoculate with mycorrhizal fungus? I'm guessing you probably didn't as the organic would most likely be bigger by now if you did.

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I need to find a way to get the correct mix in my compost. I have a ton of grass clipping and green stuff all summer but no leaves. In the fall I have a ton of leaves but no green stuff. I am thinking maybe I can bag my dry tree leaves and keep them in the attic all winter then next summer I can mix them in with the green stuff I have. The green does not compost well all by itself and the leaves do not compost by themself either. I have been getting them both in my garden sepertly but its not easy. The compost make the clay soil much easier to work and grow plants.

Right now I am mixing left over leaves from last fall that were laying in the corner of the garden with green stuff and it is composting great just like it should. Those old wet leaves are hard to deal with they are all stuck together.

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In the summer add shredded paper, often times you can tons of leftover newspapers free if you ask around. In winter hit up your local coffee shop and restaraunt, most places are more than happy to save you coffe grounds and foos scraps if you bring them a clean 5 gallon bucket :)

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Until this year, I have always used Miracle Grow. Both as prepackaged potting mix and side dressing, and granules, and slow release...I am ashamed to say, I've used them all. This year however, I have a new house and a new garden. I planned all last year about how I would amend the soil. It was planted with red clover, then turned under. I also amended with compost. (and some well rotted chicken poo, but I don't have much of it so I just use it close to the plants) I HAVE NEVER HAD A BETTER, HEALTHIER LOOKING GARDEN than I have this year. I planted later than usual, and I'm getting produce earlier than I have EVER harvested before. With the exception of cucumber beetles :evil: , I've seen less bad guy bugs, and more beneficials. I am forever changed! I am an organic grower for life!

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OH! I almost forgot! This winter I am seriously thinking about planting oats to cover my garden and recoup my nitrogen loss. I would also like to start a REAL compost heap, instead of buying it :)

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Absolutely! Glad you came over from the dark side! ( :) just kidding everyone, no flame wars!) Start your compost pile NOW!

Why switch to oats from the clover you mentioned? Clover is nitrogen fixing, oats aren't.
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LindsayArthurRTR wrote:OH! I almost forgot! This winter I am seriously thinking about planting oats to cover my garden and recoup my nitrogen loss. I would also like to start a REAL compost heap, instead of buying it :)
diversify!

Compost pile is a very good thing, but remember that having an active top few layers is very good. Recently, a few days after sheet mulching, soil I observed under the microscope went from sleepy to busy. Mature compost would not have given the same result - under the scope, it too is sleepy.

of course, an easy way to wake up your compost is to make tea. So everything!
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Why switch to oats from the clover you mentioned? Clover is nitrogen fixing, oats aren't.

[url]https://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/2002-10-01/The-Easiest-Cover-Crops.aspx?page=2[/url]
Reported C/N ratios were:

Crop Leaves Stems 50/50 By-dry wt.
Mix of leaves & stems

Crimson clover 10.1 31.9 15.2
Cereal rye 28.9 98.9 44.7
Wheat 13.1 86.5 22.9
Oat 12.8 78.8 21.7
[url]https://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/cgi-bin/CCrop.exe/show_crop_28[/url]

Very interesting stuff (my husband behind me just informed me of my mega-nerd status...HA) I'm not sure that the clover does not need to be reseeded. In the event that that is neccessary, I would like to obtain some kind of harvest from my cover crop. And from the information I've read and studied, oats are nitrogen fixing, almost as well as red clover :D . After the oats are harvested, the stems and leaves can be used as mulch. Oh, and this...Mmmmmmmmmm...steel cut oats. Need I say more?

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I've found that my neighbor's plants tend to take off quickly from the miracle gro, but then tend to peter-out mid-season while mine are a little slower off the bat, but go consistently right up until frost.

Looking forward to the experiment updates.
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garden5 wrote:I've found that my neighbor's plants tend to take off quickly from the miracle gro, but then tend to peter-out mid-season while mine are a little slower off the bat, but go consistently right up until frost.

Looking forward to the experiment updates.
I feel that same way. Some of you saw my post a while back where I had a couple of tomatoes that looked very bad, I thought they were going to die for sure. Than I also had a post saying my neighbor planted some tomatoes and that they were getting way bigger than mine and way bushier, by 5-6 times. He used chemical fertilizers, I used compost and organic ferts when I used any.

Looking at them just now. My once sick plants look healthier than his, though not as bushy....YET! Mine are catching up and his all have bad leaf roll and are starting to not look so good. His plants are just over the short fence height and stayed there for a while where mine are just under the fence top. So I don't need to run an experiment it is being done for me.

Just so you know it will easy to watch the outcome of this as his plants are just on the other side of my fence where mine are.

Another thing to note is that my beans in my other plot are as big as his now. He planted his about 2 1/2 weeks before I did. Same scenario he used 12-12-12 and I used a bunch of compost/manure.

One more thing all of my cucurbits have way outpaced his as well. Even though, again, he planted before I did.

The only thing he has got on me right now is peppers mine are just now moving while he has large peppers on his. Though mine are coming around. He also bought some huge pepper plants where mine were small seedlings that I transplanted.

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I am excited to see the results. Before I knew the difference I used MG on my house plants and flowers. My garden has been almost organic (just discovered epsom salt is not OG :( ) since I began last season. I am so happy with the results.

Last season I planted last, made a lot of mistakes, and didn't get a harvest until the end of July and I discovered that I still got as much as three times the amount of tomatoes and peppers as my neighbors who used MG.

This year I am ready :D My first tomatos turned red yesterday and I have more blooms and fruit than I can count. I haven't heard one peep from my neighbors about their tomatoes. The funny part is.... I grew all the tomatoes from seed. Mine and theirs. I gave them all my extra plants, at the same time I planted mine and gave them the strongest ones and kept the leggy ones to myself. :lol:

Maybe it's time to pull out "one man one cow" for this thread. Thank you guys for recommending this last season, I have shown it to everyone I know.

https://www.abundantlifefarm.com/index.php/Video20080630/Video
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Compost should have some of the mycorrhizae in it, dec.

And I don't think organic plants WILL get as large and leafy as the MG plant, but don't see that as a downside; leaves are not the end goal here. Even bigger fruit are not the goal; nutrient densities, increased flower and fruit set, and final harvest totals are more of what I'm after.

I think of my neighbors one monster Big Boy of last year; a pasty tasteless gargantuan that was about all that one plant could handle, while my Brandywines were giving me three or four good uns every other day.

What do you want from your garden?

HG
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That, HG, is my expectation from this experiment. I think the MG plant is going to grow faster and have more foliage but come harvest timethe organic plant will produce me more veggies that taste better.
Though I really think someone should tell my tomatoes in the garden about that considering they are HUGE and I can alreay tell they are planted WAY to close together. Stupid mushroom compost ;) :lol:

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Compost should have some of the mycorrhizae in it, dec.

And I don't think organic plants WILL get as large and leafy as the MG plant, but don't see that as a downside; leaves are not the end goal here. Even bigger fruit are not the goal; nutrient densities, increased flower and fruit set, and final harvest totals are more of what I'm after.

I think of my neighbors one monster Big Boy of last year; a pasty tasteless gargantuan that was about all that one plant could handle, while my Brandywines were giving me three or four good uns every other day.

What do you want from your garden?

HG
I used to be a MG gardener and went completely organic this year, and my plants are growing way faster than when I was using chemical fertilizers. I think that if done right (compost, compost tea, mycorrhizal fungus inoculation, protozoa soup, etc.) organic can grow much faster than with chemical fertilizers. Also I'm not sure if the amount of mycorrhizae in compost would be nearly as much as if you were inoculating with spores. When I transplanted my tomatoes and peppers into the garden the roots were completely covered in mycorrhizae, I'm not so sure you could quickly accomplish that with just compost and compost tea.

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dix, you should consider culling some of those tomatoes if they really are too close. When their roots bump they don't produce as well. Maybe they haven't crowded, or won't, and your idea of "too close" is not as close as some closes I have seen?

seriously, some gardeners have this inability to thin out plants. It's almost like hoarding. But plants. Hoarding plants. You get half the produce out of twice the plants, and they are sitting ducks for infestation. Instead of a perilous jungle, monoculture presents a smorgasbord as far as the mind can see, from a pest's perspective (below ground, on the ground, or in the air). So if you can, make some room and get some more species and families going, and thin those out too.
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Depends on how good your compost is, dec... but your point is taken; if we utilize the whole bag of organic tricks, we can get pretty amazing results. I do pretty darn well and I don't do half the stuff some of you do...

Good points toil; I agree... if you want to crowd a little, crowd with a different species occupying a different niche...


HG
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*cough* -stands up-
My name is dix and I have a tomato problem :oops:
Though I must say Toil, being called a plant hoarder made my lmao.

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*cough* stands up...
I confess, I can not kill a seedling that I planted on purpose. I may move it many times, but use scissors to snip it off... I can't. :(

It may be in the weirdest excuse for a pot, but I won't snip it off!

Is there hope for me, doc? -helpsos-
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I don't think we need help, I think more people should be like us plant loving gardeners and the world will be a better place.
Though I am beginning to realize how much more attached I am to my self seeded plants.
I might cry come fall when I cut them all off and return to staring at brown dirt.........do any winter crops grow in WI-zone 4?

I should also comment, organic peppers is doing better and starting to grow more nicely since I dug it out and redid the soil. There is a such thing as too much of a good thing (mushroom compost does not drain for squat)

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Zone 4 you could plant parsnips and leave them over the winter to sweeten. But I'm not sure how much of anything could grow with the ground solid and snow on top.

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Ozark Lady wrote:*cough* stands up...
I confess, I can not kill a seedling that I planted on purpose. I may move it many times, but use scissors to snip it off... I can't. :(

It may be in the weirdest excuse for a pot, but I won't snip it off!

Is there hope for me, doc? -helpsos-
well if you are moving the pants you obviously are organizing and conserving, and not hoarding.

lol its about a third of gardeners I think, and about 90% of new gardeners. I remember the first time I thinned, and it just felt so wrong. Like, I paid for those seeds, man! Sometimes I wonder why they bother with the spacing recommendations on seed packets and websites. Once I started doing it I realized it was not so bad, and that you can eat many of the shoots (not tomatoes, that will definitely make you sick). From peas to rutabaga to little radish greens and lettuce, it's all very tasty.

like HG said, if you have different species growing together, it can be very close. Then, you have less thinning to worry about.

I'm fiddling with seedballs now, and it seems to me that is a great way to sowing with less thinning. You decide when you make the seedballs how dense you want the seeds, and then again when you chuck them. You can also combine species so they are automatically together. Plus the ants don't steal your seeds so much (although ants stealing seeds is cool to watch.

OL, why not start with the weeds? Like a helpful annual weed that normally chokes things when left alone. I've tried it this season with the lamb's quarters. They get much bigger than I'm used to seeing there, and they seem to fend off mugwort and such. But without thinning, they look stressed and they grow slow. Purple deadnettle has been even better at fighting mugwort, and it is very beautiful IMO. But if you are moving them, you know it's about spacing already. I would just mention that pulling them out to move them is a disturbance you could reduce easily if you wanted.

I snip now, and I leave the "carcass" right on the ground where it was growing.
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There's a lot of us gardeners that need to stand up at the Plantaholics Anonymous meeting... :lol:

But not me. I'm good. I can quit plants anytime I want... :lol:

HG
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Lamb's quarters I know.

I read about them, so I pursued them until I got them.
Now they are the noxious weeds to me. But, my goats love them.
I do pull alot of weeds for the goats.

I need to go google mugwort, I have no clue what it is.
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The Helpful Gardener
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Mugwort is an artemisia [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_vulgaris]A. vulgaris[/url]), that like the majority of the genus can be rather invasive... the weed is a non-native invasive...

Lambsquarters ([url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chenopodium_album]Chenopodium album[/url]) seems to be a circumboreal found nearly everywhere, and it's exact origins are unclear, but Jared Diamond notes it as the mast food source for the natives of the Northeast before the arrival of corn (about 650-800 years ago). Native enough for me, and I trust the good doctors archeobotany more than the Wiki.

Purselane ([url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portulaca_oleracea]Portulaca oleracea[/url]) is likewise a circumboreal with a spotty past and questions as to its native status; it has certainly been here a long time, and seems to predate Columbus, so I'll settle for native there as well...

The mugwort is noted as the wormwood of abisinthe fame, so the nervous damage noted with the liquer can be assumed to go along with the herb; I wouldn't eat tons of it. And the oxalin in the purselane is a noted contributor to kidneystones, so easy on that, too. But I've been eating lambsquarters by the pound and loving it; toil if you crop them with a sickle, leaving some lower leaves, they resprout and branch, allowing the little ones around them to fill in. Works great.

HG
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mrsgreenthumbs
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Ozark Lady wrote:*cough* stands up...
I confess, I can not kill a seedling that I planted on purpose. I may move it many times, but use scissors to snip it off... I can't. :(

It may be in the weirdest excuse for a pot, but I won't snip it off!

Is there hope for me, doc? -helpsos-
lol the more comment of yourse I read the more I wounder if we were sister separated at birth (and changed skin tones along to way lol) I snip only if I have to for the best of the strong of the two (and if I can't salvage the extra) But mostly I will take the extra plants and offer them to friends and family and if they don't want it I'll offer it free on CL or freecycle, and if THEY don't want it then I finally give in and stick it someplace it will be happier. lol :roll: Me and my stinkin green thumbs... the DH had to put in a whole new bed this spring for all my left over's lol.
Words of wisdom from the women of my family:

"I poured my dish water out the pan over my plants and never once in all my 96 years have I wasted money on "BUG SPRAY"!'

"Aww honey all you gotta do is love something to make it grow."

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Ah good tip hg. Thanks!
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gixxerific
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:There's a lot of us gardeners that need to stand up at the Plantaholics Anonymous meeting... :lol:

But not me. I'm good. I can quit plants anytime I want... :lol:

HG
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