Ron’s 7 Steps to Organic Dynamics
Converting to organics is a lot easier than you might think. It’s a matter of changing to a simpler and healthier way of life. In a nutshell, it’s using products and practices that build the health of the soil and everything that grows in or on it. On the front end, that means avoiding synthetic artificially concocted products like harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Here is my list of 7 steps you can take to improve your life.
Wearing protective clothing and a mask, go through your garage, garden shed and cleaning closet collecting all the non-organic weed killers, fertilizers, pest control products and cleaning supplies. Then take them to your municipal waste disposal center. Do not use them up or give them away. If you can smell it, it’s causing metabolic mayhem. So, dispose of these toxins. My wife and I have been organic for more than a decade. I can assure you that there is an organic solution for every household and landscaping task. And they are all more pleasant smelling than their chemical/synthetic alternatives. Adopt non-toxic household practices. You’ll find about a dozen tips in this pamphlet. Vinegar, baking soda and orange oil work wonders.
Visit an independent full-service organic garden center. Spend some time looking at the products. Look at the books and information sheets. Ask questions. We who specialize in organics pride ourselves on sharing our knowledge. We are especially pleased to help those who are just putting their toes in the water.
IMPORTANT: Don’t be misled by the inept efforts of the big box stores to cash in on the organic movement. The labeling regulations on organics are fuzzy at best at this time. The big box stores stock products that can be labeled organic, but only those that will bring the greatest financial return. And their personnel are not educated in organics. We know everything there is to know about everything we stock.
Start a compost pile. Select an out-of-the-way area in your backyard and simply pile up leaves, weeds, kitchen scraps and, especially sugary drinks. There’s no need for a container, but for neatness or to keep the dog out, you may use wire fencing or three sides of cinder block. Keep the pile slightly moist. The more often you turn it, the sooner it will become a wonderful natural food for all the living things in your soil.
Jump start your landscape. First, apply fully digested compost at the rate of one cubic yard per 1,000 square feet. That’s a layer about 1/3 inch thick. Wait a month, then aerate mechanically. The compost will have softened your soil allowing for a deeper penetration so that more air, water and nutrients will penetrate the soil increasing the flow in the humus pipeline.
Apply a granular feeding at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet starting in February then every 8 to 12 weeks until October. My SPRING, SUMMER and FALL BLENDS are the best because they are formulated for our climate and soil. They contain over 20 ingredients to stimulate more diverse soil flora and fauna that will bring life to even the poorest landscape.
Foliar feed weekly to monthly to enhance plant stamina and vigor so they can prevail against disease and insects. My SUPER SAUCE is the perfect foliar feed.
Mulch. Covering all your non-turf areas with 2 to 3 inches of mulch provides many benefits. It cushions the soil protecting it from compaction caused by foot traffic, rainfall and sprinklers. Ultraviolet rays sterilize the soil killing off much needed microorganisms. Mulch is a sunscreen. It’s a blanket helping to retain moisture and keep plants cooler in summer and warmer in the winter. It deters weed germination. And, it helps control grasshoppers. Females lay eggs in bare soil. The best mulch is shredded cedar. It repels pest insects and helps to neutralize our alkaline soil. The worst is pine bark.
Water no more than ½" a week in the Winter, 1" in the Spring and Fall and 1-½" in the summer. Over-watering and poor drainage are the biggest causes of insect infestation and disease. If you have a sprinkling system, have it inspected quarterly by a licensed irrigator who understands plants-not just pipes. Our professional water audits have reduced water consumption by as much as 30%. On a 10,000 square foot lot this can save 62,500 gallons annually. That’s 100 full fire trucks or one million cups of life sustaining water.