What is an Organic fertilizer?

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by cowboy, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Plants do not have the human traits of being lazy, fat, knowledge, fending, and neither are they "fed" by microorganisms. Jimmyq is again correct. Plants do not eat organic fertilizers, and plants do not eat inorganic fertilizers, but plant roots do absorb only traditional inorganic minerals into their system. What plants actually "eat" (really just utilize) are self sugars, that the plant itself produces through the process of photosynthesis. What method a grower wishes to use is his choice. There is an excellent book at Timber Press titled "The Truth About Organic Gardening" by Jeff Gillman. Mr. Gillman's book is not pro organic, nor is it pro traditional gardening, but it does supply the pure unvarnished truth about both sides of the issue. Whether one is an organic gardener, or a traditional gardener, or uses a mixture of both methods, one needs to be able to ascertain what is the truth, and what is not the truth, about each method. There is a lot of exaggeration, and misinformation. - Millet
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Hold on a second, Millet - I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here. "Traditional Gardening" is something you're defining as use of chemicals, yes? I was under the impression that the use of artificial or chemical fertilizers was a fairly recent thing in the history of gardening. Hence, wouldn't it be more accurate to say Traditional and Chemical Gardening?
     
  3. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    So if a duck swallows a bottle of Tums and takes a dump will the "stuff" (calcium and magnesium) be organic or inorganic?

    If I just put the Tums/Rolaids around my tomatoes am I still an "organic farmer" or do I have to pass it through a duck first?

    gd&rvf

    Bob
     
  4. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Lorax, the utilizing of commercial products in some form is exceedingly the most common method of gardening and farming. Therefore, it has long been referred to as traditional. However, feel free to call either method by what whatever name you wish to place on them. "A rose by any other name is still a rose." Take care. BTW you have a great web site, and I recommend it to all members of the UBC. I visit and enjoy it regularly. - Millet
     
  5. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Bob2, your question could be the best question yet asked. It's great, kind of like the chicken crossing the road. - Millet
     
  6. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I understand a figure of speech but if we all begin to use the appropriate terminology things make more sense. ;)
     
  7. cowboy

    cowboy Active Member

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    gpbaron,

    I looked at your site and was wondering if you could describe the organic fertilizer that you used in the tests.

    Thank you.
     
  8. We make our "test" organic fertilizer using (60%) poultry manure, (30%) carbonized rice hull and (10%) fresh shredded Madre Cacao (Gliricidia Sepium) leaves treated with activated EM-1 (Effective Microorganism) solution and BioFix. (An innoculant that contains Azotobacter nitrogen-fixing bacteria developed by UPLB Biotech.)

    The use of this organic fertilizer on plants that gestate over 3+ months & that have soil in anaerobic conditions (i.e: submerged in water) as in the case with rice seems to allow microorganisms to propagate logarithmically, such that, the high populations of microorganisms at fruiting or maturation time provide a growth spurt manifested by earlier fruiting, ripening & apparently higher yields.

    Please check new pictures posted at:
    http://www.biofuelswork.com/OF_Tests/OF_Tests.htm

    Thank you for all previous comments & replies. I look forward to hearing from everyone again. In the meantime, Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon sa lahat!

    Gerry
     
  9. I am new to posting here, but not new to the organic vs. chemical debate. I wanted to share, even though this is an old thread:

    Organic fertilizers are not just compost. Compost - especially good quality manure compost - is a basic ingredient in gardening in general. But there are easy, dry & pelletized (slow-release) organic fertilizers made from turkey droppings, alfalfa meal, and many other ingredients. There are also liquid fertilizers, such as fish emulsion.

    Chemical fertilizers indeed are based on salt. Plants indeed uptake their N-P-K from a fertilizer whether it is from organic or chemical. The similarity ends there. Often the chemical fertilizers are so abnormally high in N-P-K (not found in nature) that the plant grows abnormally fast. This makes it more susceptible to disease & pest. Also, it has been found that many chemical fertilizers have been allowed to include TOXIC WASTES (e.g. from smelting plants) as "inert ingredients" for over a decades. Check out Washington Toxics Coalition.
    http://www.watoxics.org/files/holding-the-bag/view
    These toxins include arsenic, without the old lace. Even if a chemical fertilizer doesn't contain arsenic and other toxic waste, the salts left behind in the soil kill the beneficial microorganisms in the soil, making the soil less able to hold water, poorer in texture, and less able over time to sustain plants without more and more input from the gardener.

    In comparison, organic fertilizers feed the microbes in the soil, and make the whole system MORE sustainable over time, so the garden needs LESS input - of fertilizers, fungicides, and pest control. The "inert" ingredients in organic fertilizers (all of the fertilizer not represented by the % of N-P-K) come from nature, and so enhance the soil, soil life, and provide trace minerals sorely lacking in chemical fertilization programs. This is how plants in the wild get their N-P-K - there is no gardener running around with a bag of Scott's. Plants have evolved to take up their nutrients via the complex soil food web and the by products of the plants and animals surrounding them. Organic gardening simply makes this process easier for the gardener by putting the organic fertilizer in a bag.

    Yes, I work in the organic gardening field - at http://www.naturalgardeneraustin.com


    Thanks for "listening". Rosina
     
  10. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Welcome SWGardener. I'm glad you're here on the organic forum. There are a lot of chem-heads that troll this part of town and they really cause trouble for organic proponents who want to help other gardeners do some good in the world.

    The old crows on this board will singing their loud and arrogant refrains any minute. You will need a thick skin and much patience.
     
  11. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Most conversations and discussions of this nature are riddled with the artful pithy remarks of individuals that have actually nothing of value to contribute and feel compelled to prove that to the rest of the readers.

    I do think your remarks to a new commer are out of line and uncalled for Bev.


    Bob
     
  12. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Quite my point. I want to welcome SWGardener to the board, but warn her about these people. From the sounds of it, SWGardener has a lot of value to contribute. I'd like her to stick around despite the trolls and chem-heads who don't belong in this forum and may discourage her from participating.
     
  13. Joey D

    Joey D Active Member

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    Greengarden Bev,

    I wholly agree with your philosophy of gardening. It is best to take advantage of local and natural resources and processes. Anything we can do nature can do better!

    That being said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."

    I am more bothered by your antagonistic view of "trolls" and "chem-heads" than I am of their input in the thread by far, despite the fact that I rarely agree with what they may have to say about organic growing. I'm not advocating letting them dominate the discussion, but they certainly shouldn't be excluded from it. In my experience, it is much more effective when dealing with adversaries to take the soft way. That is, to win over their hearts and minds rather than try to eliminate their existence.

    I just thought I'd share my opinion and try to get the thread moving in a positive direction again for all.

    Joey
     
  14. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks Joey.

    Yes, please keep things positive.
     
  15. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Way back, when the Internet was new, I remember wanting to participate in what was called 'Usenet" at the time-- discussions similar to these, minus the nice interface. The topic wasn't gardening, but it was one in which I had education and credentials. I had a lot to contribute and I could express it in non-technical terms that beginner enthusiasts could understand.

    My first contributions were met with derision and the online equivalent of "how dare she".

    Now that I'm older and tougher, I realize that boards are often patrolled by people who are paid by Industry to post "talking points" and misinformation intended to cloud issues, generate sales, and diffuse opposition. I'm not saying that this happens here on the UBC board, but people really need to be aware that it does happen.

    Or maybe it does happen here. You can absolutely depend on at least one person, in every single thread on this forum, to recommend a soil test. It happens almost without fail. But there is at least one large and growing school of thought that dispenses with the whole notion of soil tests. If you want to learn more, read about Masanobu Fukuoka and the proponents of "natural farming" and the closely related principles of "synergistic gardening".

    With the loud chorus of "soil test!" so often repeated, people may stop questioning it, or just take it for granted. Alternative viewpoints need to have a voice.

    Organic gardeners set themselves apart from and, let's face it, against the dominant paradigm of chemical agriculture and horticulture. The pesticide, herbicide and GMO industries are powerful, well funded, and they have no consciences. Read about Percy Schmeiser if you doubt any of this. These are formidable enemies and, yes, they ARE enemies. They don't play nice. While you're having "conversations" and using the soft approach with them, their team of lawyers is busy writing extortion letters.

    Then there are the ideologues. The people who perceive organic growing as an attack on their way of life, all wrapped up with patriotism, religion, and capitalism. The hearts and minds of ideologues can never be "won over" by soft-pedaling a point. Nothing will change their minds, in fact.

    So the goal is not to "win over" but to provide an alternative. I will refute and debate, not to win an argument, but to provide information and perspective to other readers of this board. The ones who don't post. Who may be afraid to post, because of the put-down they're likely to receive.

    This is just one organic forum on a moderately busy board. I joined the UBC forum because I was surprised and dismayed at the amount of non- and anti-organic information that was being posted here. There was a clear need for reinforcements.

    Anyway, I have NEVER advocated excluding ANYONE from a forum. I wouldn't kick them out, even if I could. I simply wish the nay-sayers would go away, or post to other forums that are appropriate to their mind-sets. They have a wealth of information that would be useful and welcome elsewhere.
     
  16. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    So as I understand you Bev, if we are not in total agreement with what you believe to be true that we are the "enemy'?

    For me at least, it's a constant search for the best information available and the means to discuss same logically without being accused of having some "hidden agenda"

    You constantly refer to this in your diatribes yet offer no concrete evidence to support your remarks.
    When I attempted to trace your activity on the Internet I found you retailing organic materials in the London Ontario area as well as being active in various organic activist groups.
    Unfortunately, your web address listed there links me to an "adult" site.

    I shall continue to be a little bit organic and a little bit inorganic until I can see some compelling reason to change.

    BTW, I am not going to call you names. I find that undignified.


    Bob
     
  17. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    Bob, ya gotta go back and read my post. All I am saying is that if you're an organic advocate, that automatically sets you up in opposition to the pro-chemical advocates. You are not in either camp. So you and I will argue about some things and not about others.

    Of course my remarks are not a direct accusation to you. I merely want to point out that if something is repeated often enough, people will start taking it for granted, when it is simply one of many reasonable options. This constant repeating of "talking points" is a tactic used by trolls and of course, there is no direct proof or evidence. You can sometimes tell its happening when posters repeat phrases and use the same pattern of argument on multiple threads. It happens more on overtly political sites like Rabble and such. It probably doesn't happen here.

    This discussion has me thinking about a course I took in university-- conceptual analysis. One of the ways to analyze an argument is to look at who, or what, it serves. Whether we intend it or not, our arguments tend to serve or support a set of related ideas. This cannot be avoided, but I think we should be aware of it. I'm aware that my pro-organic bias will put me in with the "organic industry", which has its own agenda, as we both know.

    You suggest I have a hidden agenda. Actually, my agenda isn't hidden at all. I'm an out-and-out organic advocate. Nothing to hide, and I have nothing to gain by it.

    I used to have a little retail business but I let it, and my web site, go. Unfortunately the hosting service bought the domain and has put **** on it. I have no control over that and it is very upsetting to me. We have tried fighting it, but its no use. All I can say is that no one should EVER use 24-7 Webs as a hosting service.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  18. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    I personally hate to see the advantages of organics being snatched away from the science of botany by a questionable group of people that think that everything outside their realm of understanding is evil.

    I like to think I practice moderation and hope that others I associate with do too.

    There is much to be learned about science and much work to do.
    Keeping special interest groups out of the scientific community is the first step in solving some of the mysteries we still seek answers to.

    Bob
     
  19. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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    So reasoned discourse goes out the window when those nasty "special interest" groups show up! Get a grip, Bob.

    Let's see if we can dissect your diatribe for some kind of argument. You claim that proponents of organic gardening/agriculture constitute a "special interest group"? This is just plain bizarre. There is as much variety within the organic movement as there is within conventional agriculture/gardening. Let me give you an example of the diversity within the organic "camp":
    - big ag (yes, they are doing organic)
    - certified organic growers
    - growers not certified but doing organic by some other "brand" or name
    - permaculturists
    - "ecological farmers"
    - biodynamic growers
    - "natural farming" (Fukuoka et al)

    And where do the no-till and low-till people fit on your spectrum of science-snatchers? They have some things in common with organic growers.

    While some of these so-called special interest groups sound pretty nutty to me, some of them are doing excellent science. The Soil Foodweb people (Dr. Elaine Ingham) are doing some very interesting research. Some universities have organic agriculture departments which, depending on the strength of the organic industry to fund it, will be the source of much-need research. The OACC (Organic Agriculture Center of Canada) is funding research and symposiums. And this is just in Canada. Organics research currently happening in India and South America puts us to shame.

    You want to keep special interest groups out of the scientific community.

    First, lets clear something up. These forums are not a scientific community, not by any definition. The scientific community is busy doing research, applying for grants, writing, trying to get published in peer-reviewed journals, trying to get tenure at the academic institution they probably work at. They're not spending their time arguing with lay people on public forums on the Internet.

    Second, the scientific community is already permeated with special interests, through the companies and agencies and groups that fund its research. This is NOT to say that research funded by, say, pesticide companies is all biased against organic approaches. But it does dictate the type of research that gets done. It frames the questions. Surely I don't have to expand any further on this point.

    The comparatively small amount of organics research that is accomplished in the West is hampered by the sheer volume of competition from conventional agronomy. Balancing out the competing interests to make some space for organics would be a very good thing, but not likely to happen until the organics industry becomes rich and powerful. While we're standing around waiting for this to happen, it would be wise to not complain that "special interests" have hijacked the Great Train of Science.

    And third, scientific research in agronomy and horticulture is far from the pure, mystery-solving type you refer to. They are asking questions that have real-world, practical consequences. Science is not some kind of march of knowledge undertaken by a special caste of people with lab coats, glasses, and large brains untainted by the desire for prestige, personal gain, and money to pay the rent. Even if institutions have lofty goals that include pure science, these will be hard pressed as we further descend into global recession. Pure science will become a dispensable luxury, I think.

    I suspect that pure science is more likely to be happening in the field of Botany, but it, too, has its own special interest group known as the pharmaceutical industry, who seek potential new drugs and medicines.

    Bob, you say "there is much to be learned about science". I agree. We should all learn about the social meanings of Science. We should learn the meaning of the word "scientism". We should do science for the best reasons, and we should take the resulting knowledge and technologies and use them to benefit people in their communities, not executives in their corner offices.
     
  20. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    You are way too much for me Bev.
    I wonder if you are just having some fun with me?

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  21. scottg

    scottg Active Member

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    Wow.. Sorry if this is duplicated but this thread looks a lot to read though completely. I use Steve Solomon's recipe with great success.

    Four parts seed meal - I use Canola
    ½ part lime in equal amounts of agricultural lime and dolomite.
    ½ part phosphate rock or bone meal
    ½ part kelp meal.
     
  22. bob 2

    bob 2 Active Member

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    Are you preparing this mixture for a particular soil or is it just your first amendment?

    About the only thing I add to my ground right now is compost.
    I make my own and it is just about pure organic breakdown from my yard with a light toss of urea to get the micro organisms going.
    I soil test occasionally but usually rely on m/nature to tell me when stress is happening.
    My biggest problem is maintaining moisture throughout the day.

    Cheers
    Bob
     
  23. cowboy

    cowboy Active Member

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    scottg,

    Where do you get the kelp meal? What size is it available and what sort of price?

    I have used Steve's mix but there isn't much kelp washing up on the shores of the Bow River. What is available is in small expensive retail sizes. After some reading I use only gypsum because of its quicker breakdown. Wallace Laboratories has some interesting papers on the benefits of gypsum. Perhaps some Epsom Salts for the magnesium can be added instead. There may not be much kelp in Alberta but we have a commercial deposit of humate that I will incorporate in this spring`s mix.

    Gardening When it Counts
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  24. greengarden bev

    greengarden bev Active Member

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