Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fertilizing at The Gear

Now that we have committed to be pesticide and herbicide free here at The Gear, we have to change the way we do things.  That starts with reading labels and going back to the old ways.

Waaaaaaaay back when I bought my first house and started gardening, I used a lot of fish emulsion. As a child my grandparents always planted trees with the remains of a fish catch.  The Native Americans also used fish as a fertilizer and R reminded me that the huge oak tree in the backyard at the Torrey Road house had two large dead Oscars buried with the small oak sapling that we transplanted from the flower bed.

So fish emulsion is back on our list of acceptable products.  I used to buy it at Frank's Nursery but when they went out of business I just didn't see it again and it fell off my fertilizer radar.  I've used Miracle Grow now and again and some generic bloom fertilizers for my annuals.

My tomatoes have always been fertilized with Tomato Tone which is organic and helps eliminate blossom end rot which is a calcium deficiency that you get when you plant your tomatoes in the same spot every year. They also offer a fertilizer for acid loving plants such as holly and hydrangeas. Check out their website.  The company uses solar energy and they have a solar dashboard where you can see actual real time solar data for their company.  I wish more companies would embrace solar energy.

But back to fish emulsion.......On our trip to Tractor Supply last week I found fish fertilizer.  So I bought the last bottle they had in stock and it is already almost empty.  I'll head back to buy more and a couple of bags of cow manure.  Everything good smells bad.

If you are thinking about using fish emulsion here are a few facts that you should know.

1.  First and foremost....there is an odor, no wait....it's smells bad.  Because of this DO NOT USE ON INDOOR PLANTS.  Trust me on this one, even though the label says it's OK for indoor use. Yes, it's safe health wise but smell wise.....nope.  If I was a hash tagging kind of person I would hash tag this #smellsbad.

2.  Fill your water containers half full of water, add the correct amount of fish emulsion, and then finish filling the container with water.  This eliminates shaking and stirring which increases the chance of getting the mixture on your hands and clothes.....remember it smells BAD.

3.  Do not over dose.  It is better to under dose and fertilize more often.

Ever wonder what those three numbers on fertilizer bottles and  packages indicate?  Well, here goes.

The first number is Nitrogen which uses the symbol N.  Nitrogen promotes green leafy growth and promotes that lush green color that is so coveted in lawns.

Phosphorus or P promotes below ground growth in the form of a healthy root system.  It also helps with flower blooms and fruit production.

The last number is Potassium or K which helps builds strong cells.  This helps the plant withstand periods of stress such as hot, cold, pests, and disease.  Basically overall good health.

If you find it hard to remember what's what, try this little saying to aid in remembering what each element does to help your plants.

Up, down, and all around.
1st number, 2nd number, 3rd number
Up is the part of the plant above ground.  Down is the part of the plant below ground.  And all around is just general good health for the overall plant.

Bee news.

I've order R a coat/hood and gloves.  I still need to order a brush.  He will add a second level (super) to the hive in 2 weeks.  This second level is where the bees will store the honey needed to get them through the winter.  If the bees couponed, this would be their stockpile.  The bees seem happy and they are busy busy busy.  When you watch them, you begin to truly understand the phrase 'busy as a bee.'