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Thread: Growing Philosophy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Posts
    217

    Growing Philosophy

    I would like to see some discussion on whether to grow nursery plants chemically or organically. I am just beginning and wish to make the decision in the next week. (ordering a BUNCH of plants when I finish this.

    I currently garden organically. It is the way that makes sense to me and works just fine in the veggie garden, etc. We have nearly no weeds, and relatively few bugs. We never till the garden, just pile on leaf mulch and compost, and encourage the worms to do the work for us. We have many many earthworms. We use nematodes and milky spore for the grubs, including japanese beetles and flea beetles.

    I mix my own fertilizer: alfalfa meal, rock phospate, greensand, kelp, lime as needed. It gets added to the compost pile and mixed with potting soil. I also add it to the surface of our containers around the patio, etc. Compost tea and manure tea are also effective. None of this burns, but is slow to release.

    The other side is using the Osmocote for fertilizing the nursery plants. Pesticides and weed killer are NOT going to be used. There are organic methods that work very well, and I am uncomfortable with the health issues that crop up. But the Osmocote is very convenient, works for many many growers, and is released in a timely manner.

    I am ordering a BUNCH of plants today, so I am really interested to hear of other's experiences and thoughts.

    Thank you, Sandi
    Sandi
    SE PA, zone 6b

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    221

    Organic nursery?

    Sandi--your topic is of great interest to me, since I'm really getting more and more "into" the organic mindset.

    I read an article in Am Nurseryman a few years ago about North Slope Farm, in Pleasant Mount, PA. This fellow has been successfully doing certified organic ornamentals in containers for many years now. The article is in the May 15/01 issue if you want to try and dig it up. They even include his phone/fax no.--Richard Tregidgo, (570) 448-2374

    Some of his system include using compost in the potting mix, and complete organic fertilizer (Fertrell).

    His experience has been lower costs than with conventional fertilizers. As you know, organic stuff doesn't leach, so you can use much less than with inorganic inputs. An additional benefit is reduced disease because of the "good guy" organisms surrounding the plants.

    My couple of years trying to move into an organic system has been similarly rewarding here. Very healthy plants overall, with low input costs. Less disease than the big conventional growers I visit, who fight especially with leaf and crown infections on such plants as clematis and helleborus that I grow quite easily.

    Unlike food crops, I can't get a premium price for my "organic" plants, but I enjoy playing around with it at this point...and perhaps more enjoy not worrying about pollution and poisons.

    Glen

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Posts
    217

    more thoughts

    Glen thanks for the input. Don't be too sure you can't get a premium for organic growth. Many many people are trying to get away from the chemicals. In the states, we have to be careful about using the the word organic. There is now a large company that sells Organic Cut Flowers on the internet. I'm not sure of the name.
    Sandi
    SE PA, zone 6b

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Surrey, BC, Canada
    Posts
    221

    organic cut flowers

    Sandi and all--I happened to talk to the certified organic coordinator here recently, and was surprised to hear about organic cut flowers.

    She indicated there is a great, unsatisfied demand for these. The public wants anything unsprayed (not the case with a lot of conventional flowers), and also there is indication that organic flowers last longer, so she says. I hadn't heard about that one.

    I have dreamed about growing alstroemerias here, using a simple unheated poly structure (our climate is quite agreeable to these popular cutflowers). But there's always too many dreams and too much day job, so far anyway!

    Glen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Posts
    217

    3girls

    Glen, alstromeria grew like weeds in my yard in Kirkland, WA. Go for it! Seeds are sold, so they must not be too demanding.

    Thanks for the info about organic flowers. The market is HUGE for unsprayed. Sandi
    Sandi
    SE PA, zone 6b

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