hit or miss
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Posts: 354
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 8:57 pm
Location: central Kansas

Going "au natural"

Basically I'm not using man-made chemical fertilizer or chemical pest control anymore. I used to use MG fertilizer and poisonous pest control and have switched to composted cow manure and letting the bugs run their course. Other than squash bugs, I've never had to fight bugs too much anyway.

Next year, I'm planning to no-till. Unless you call a light hoeing now and then tilling. I'll cut the plants off at the ground and leave the roots to break down over the winter. Amend with a topdress of composted manure and mulch next year and let the soil biology do the rest! With a good mulch cover I'll even be able to do away with the hoe and go with hand weeding once in a while, adding the pulled weeds to the mulch.

I can't say that I've had too many extra problems with the transition so far. The biggest problem has been the extreme heat this year but that's not related to switching from conventional to a more natural form of gardening.

I've started a compost pile, it's struggling so far. I don't have a lot of material to put on the pile at this time. I've been pulling pig weed and dumping left-overs from canning onto the pile so far. With a buffalo grass yard I don't get grass clippings to compost so I'm improvising at this point. I'd like to get away from reliance on any boughten materials for the garden above seed and plants.

I'm searching for a source for alfalfa hay and wheat straw for the time being to add to the compost.

At any rate, I hope I answered some of the questions posed in another thread.

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Yes you answered my questions, thanks very much. Congratulations on going greener!

It's nice to hear that you haven't had any bad problems in the transition. Sometimes when people have been using insecticides, they have killed off all the beneficial insects. Then when they try to stop using the insecticides, the bad guys come back a lot faster than the the beneficials and you have a major infestation for awhile until balance can be restored.

For my compost pile, I use every kitchen scrap and all the paper towels we use, and coffee grounds with the filters, and all the pulled weeds, deadheaded flowers, plant trimmings and other garden wastes. I have a little shredder, so I let the tomato vines dry a little bit and then run them through the shredder for the compost pile. All that except the paper towels and coffee filters is greens. For browns in the fall, I collect fall leaves (there's some hilarious threads from last fall about people's antics "stealing" other people's bags of leaves from the curb). That lasts me through fall and winter and part of spring. This year I bought a bale of straw which I used for mulch and for browns in the compost pile once the fall leaves were gone. Since I haven't done that before, I have yet to see how fast the straw breaks down or whether I will have to be pulling straw back out of my finished compost. As soon as the hot weather breaks I will turn my pile over and then I will know...

As your process goes on, let us know how you feel your organic garden does compared to your previous chemical one (productivity, problems with diseases, pests, quality of produce, etc). Thanks!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

hit or miss
Green Thumb
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 8:57 pm
Location: central Kansas

Ha, I'm saving a big sack of paper from the shredder to add to the pile after I get some bins built and have something to cover them with. I quit using Roundup in certain areas of the yard so I can have weeds to pull! I figure that saved me at least $50 or more this year and no poison on the yard either. I'm constantly on the look out for something to add to the pile! :lol:

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applestar
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Way to go, hit or miss! Sounds like you're going my way! :wink:

Does that $50 include what you won't be spending on bags of compost -- maybe even mulch -- or fertilizers you won't be buying? Good luck and have fun with your the compost pile(s). 8)

hit or miss
Green Thumb
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 8:57 pm
Location: central Kansas

The $50 is just savings on Roundup alone! I have a large yard, 3 lots, and absolutely hate to run a weedeater.

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gixxerific
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Sounds good Hit or miss, you are definitely going in the right direction.

I shred everything for my compost pile as well.

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farmerlon
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Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:42 pm
Location: middle Tennessee

Re: Going "au natural"

hit or miss wrote:Basically I'm not using man-made chemical fertilizer or chemical pest control anymore. ...
.
Congrats! ... you're now gardening the best way (in my opinion). :)

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