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Feeding the Soil

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Nature’s timetable is moving on. The ground is filled with moisture, the temperatures are moving up, the sap is flowing, and buds are beginning to swell. Plants are waking up as their juices begin to flow. Bulbs begin poking through the soil; color starts to emerge from the ground. Spring is here, the greatest time of the year for those of us who enjoy all four seasons. Mother Nature gives us so much; that is why we advocate organic programs that give back to the earth some of what the earth has given to us.


As all of spring’s changes begin, it is important that food is available to nurture your garden. Now is the time to fertilize lawns and plants. Fertilizing trees, shrubs, evergreens, perennials, and ground covers is easy when following an organic program. Feed the soil and the soil will feed the plant.


Organic fertilizers should go on early, as it takes time for the microbes in the soil to break them down and then make the food they contain available to plant roots. For the organic lawn, we suggest applying Milorganite and gypsum, and re-mineralizing your soil. Behind this program is our belief that the greater the mixture of organic materials in a product, the greater the results you will achieve. We like all-inclusive, well-balanced organic products that will not burn plants.


Milorganite
This is an organic fertilizer rich in iron, calcium, and nutrients derived from bio solids, recycled from Milwaukee sludge. Milorganite also acts as a deer repellent at a time when deer are particularly active in seeking out food sources.


Gypsum
This is used to alleviate compaction in clay soils. 


Re-mineralizing
Doing this to your soil replaces minerals originally deposited by glacial movement, another part of the process that will develop a great organic soil. Azomite minerals provide trace elements that are not in fertilizers.


The rest of the plants on your property should be fed with Plant-tone, a complete organic fertilizer that will provide your plants with a rich organic diet. It contains all the essential nutrients that your plants need (five–three–three). Plant-tone ingredients: dehydrated manure, feather meal, crab meal, cocco meal, corn gluten, bone meal, dried blood, sunflower meal, kelp meal, alfalfa meal, green sand, rock, phosphate, sulfate of potash, sulfate of potash magnesia, and humates. Use fifty pounds per 1,000 square feet. Plant-tone can be used for everything.


Re-mineralization should take place not only on your lawn but also over your entire property. Add something beneficial to the soil each month. It is the mixture of products applied at the right time that creates great results.


Most people, when they think about it, agree that going organic is a good idea. The problem is finding the time to do it or finding someone who will follow the program for them. Homeowners often rely heavily on outside help to keep their lawns cut and their property cleaned up; however, extra services like fertilizing plants and lawns, pruning, and flowerbed maintenance are tasks that require the greater horticultural knowledge of an experienced gardener.


This is a great time of the year to divide, transplant, and plant perennials. Make sure perennials are cut back and that beds are cleaned, fertilized, and mulched. Roses need to be cut back and winter protection removed.


Photo courtesy of Ann-Kathrin Rehse

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