Organic Solutions in gardening may seem like a big task. There’s a new learning curve involved and some extra expense in some cases, but the rewards for you, your family and pets is great. It’s also getting easier by the year, as companies respond to the need for safer methods of gardening. We’ve tried to simplify the research for you by profiling some of the most effective products that we here at Faddegon’s recommend.
All of these products are used here at the nursery and at our own homes. They certainly aren’t all of the organic products we carry, but they will get you started on the path of friendly products!
Solving fungal and disease problems in Plants
“SERENADE Garden provides protection against a broad spectrum of the most common fungal and bacterial garden diseases, yet is completely non-toxic to bees and beneficial insects. It is so safe you can confidently harvest and eat fruits and vegetables the very same day they are treated.
It’s a key part of any gardener’s fight against diseases on flowers, vegetables and lawns.”
-from the Serenade Garden website
Feeding Your Plants
Espoma makes 100% organic food for literally every kind of plant, from lawn grass to vegetables to flowers, trees and shrubs.
“Since 1929, The Espoma Company has been the pioneer in natural gardening solutions. From our leading organic plant food, Holly-tone®, to our new Espoma Organic Potting Mixes, we provide the most extensive selection of natural organic products that work in harmony with nature to grow beautiful lawns & gardens, preserve natural resources, and make a safer world for future generations. We invite you to explore our website and learn more about what makes our company and products so special.”
The Most Trusted Name in Natural Organics
Proven Results for Over 80 years
Safe for People, Pets & the Environment
-from the Espoma website
Caring for Your Lawn
Espoma Lawn Food
“The initial costs of using organics may be slightly more, but according to a study by Environmental Grass Roots Education, once established, an organic lawn program can result in savings of more than 25% over a conventional program. That’s because an organic program builds up the soil biology, which will, over time, sustain the grass with minimal inputs. So it’s less expensive to use organics in the long run.”
– from the Espoma website
Insect Control for the lawn and yard
EcoSMART Lawn Insect Killer
“Kills and repels over 100 insects including TICKS. Easy-to-use. Connect to hose and spray.
ENVIRONMENTALLY SAFE WORKS FAST!
KILLS ON CONTACT
KILLS AND REPELS: Ants (including Carpenter, Red Harvester, Pavement and Argentine), Aphids, Caterpillars, Centipedes, Chinch Bugs, Crickets, Cutworms, Earwigs, Fleas, Japanese Beetles (adults), Millipedes, Mites, Mosquitoes, Spiders, Ticks, Whiteflies and other lawn and landscape insects.
WHERE TO USE: Lawns, Ornamental Trees, Shrubs and Flowers, Mulch and Straw Beds,
Around Home Foundations (Perimeter Treatment), Porches and Patios.”
– from the EcoSMART website
Now for the big one…WEEDS!
Weeds in Lawns
The first thing that should be said about lawn weeds is this; the healthier your lawn, the less favorable it is for weeds. Absolutely, the best way to eliminate weeds is to strengthen the lawn.
Fix the pH of your soil so it’s friendly to grass plants. Faddegon’s tests for free. Lawn and garden soil should be between 6 and 7.
Set your mower to a higher setting so that your grass can crowd out weeds.
Overseed and soil test when bare spots appear.
Pull or spot spray rogue weeds.
Having said this, corn gluten is a great pre-emergent for weed seeds used at the proper time. Without getting into the enormous complexities of how corn gluten works and turf science (easy to research online if you’re so inclined), let’s do a short summary.
- Corn gluten is a Pre-emergent for seeds. Not just weed seeds. All seeds.
- Do not use it if you are seeding the lawn! It doesn’t know the difference between weed or grass seeds.
- It will “feed” any plant that has begun a root system and this includes weeds.
- Don’t spread it on those teeny, tiny weed seedlings in the garden. It will help them grow!
- Use in spring to prevent dormant weed seed germination. Those that are missed will grow quite vigorously. Applied at the right time, corn gluten will feed that lawn while preventing weed growth.
- Apply corn gluten several years running. Corn gluten will do nothing to get rid of weeds which are already visible. This is why a continuing program is needed. Use again in fall to kill seeds of perennial weeds. Eventually you will prohibit any weed seeds from germinating while strengthening your lawn grass, but the process won’t be immediate.
Weeds in Garden Beds
If you are using corn gluten in garden beds, you will really see the benefit. You can continue to use it on areas with shrubs, vegetables and flowers through the season. Just pull any stray weed that runs the gauntlet! Don’t use it where you’ve planted any seeds though, and it’s a good idea to disturb the soil to get a lot of buried dormant seeds exposed.
Burnout II does a great job on grass and weeds coming up where you don’t want them. This is an organic solution made of citric acid and clove oil.
Another great solution for smaller areas is white vinegar. Regular old store-bought vinegar works just fine to kill weeds that are already growing. Just remember not to get any on your other plants. It will kill them too!