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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old February 23, 2016   #16
Worth1
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I'll give plant tone a try, not greatly impressed w tt. Definitely want healthy plants above all, which has not been a problem. Have a bee hive that helps w pollination. Trying to k.I.s.s. it, simple recipes are usually the best.

I use it and a product called LadyBug last year for the liquid.
LadyBug has a ratio of 5-1.5-2 smells like Catfish Charley catfish bait.

I also use the feed store cotton seed meal for nitrogen.
The stuff you feed the cows not the fertilizer stuff it is the same thing but with a high price.
Where I live you can get a 50 pound bag for around $20
This will also acidify your soil a bit.

Worth
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Old February 23, 2016   #17
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Great information, thank you. I've never used cotton seed meal, so not sure of avail. I live on river so plenty of fish, always thought about making some kind of tea, but also have to be careful of critters.
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Old February 23, 2016   #18
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The local feed store will have it for cows I used to live right next to your state and we gave them meal and salt in the winter for a supplement.

The last time i was at the store the gal pointed me to the garden section no I said for cows.
She looked up the price and almost died.
Garden ten dollars for a little wee bag.
Cows 20 dollars for 50 pounds.
Yep I told her it is the same thing.

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Old February 24, 2016   #19
My Foot Smells
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called the feed store this morn, 12.99 for 50#

I guess cotton seed meal, is cotton seed meal; or can there be a difference?
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Old February 24, 2016   #20
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called the feed store this morn, 12.99 for 50#

I guess cotton seed meal, is cotton seed meal; or can there be a difference?

Okay here it the deal they sell organic cotton seed meal sometimes.
This is real expensive.
Now think about where a cotton seed is located.
Inside a husk inside cotton and there is no way this seed can be effected by anything.
And you are right I think I was over pricing what I paid for it to.
More like 10 to 12 dollars.
So yes meal is meal.
It is just packaging.

To further drive the nail home they do the same thing with many other products.
Pickling lime, same as builders lime, AKA quick lime.
They just stamp food grade on it.
Naphtha same as zippo lighter fluid.
Bug and tar remover, same as kerosene.
Honing oil same as mineral oil.
Colman lantern fuel same as white gas.
The list is a long one I know what stuff is and I will buy it in the least expensive manner I can.

Worth
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Old February 24, 2016   #21
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I think cotton seed meal is around 6-2-2.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=..._j6vOeN72NuHyw

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...va61q4wRHsP1vw
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Old February 24, 2016   #22
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Nice articles and like the organic application of the meal. Will use on my azalea bushes as well, they have been in need. Always pretty motivated as season begins, but then the heat gets me. Thanks for the advice, cheers to a good year - now if the weather will cooperate.

Got the plant tone for 45.00 for 50# w/ free ship, no tax through jet.com w/ a 15% coupon. That should get me through the year.
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Old February 24, 2016   #23
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My pleasure.
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Old February 24, 2016   #24
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AMEN, Worth!
I can't tell you home many people I consult with think the opposite.

MFS, if you wanna geek out a tad, and layering on top has worked for you over time, I'd keep doing that. Reason is, you are gonna destroy the soil food web that has been building in this existing bed all these years. Plus the second you till/turn/ dig into it, you introduce oxygen. This burns up any organic matter that is still in there.
Just something to consider.
I am confused here, but appreciating this thread. I thought it was common practice for raised bed gardeners to turn over the soul in spring, with most of them adding compost, etc. Are you saying they should not turn the soil over? I know it is not good to rototill an in ground bed, but what about turning over by hand to mix in additives. Thanks!

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Old February 24, 2016   #25
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I am confused here, but appreciating this thread. I thought it was common practice for raised bed gardeners to turn over the soul in spring, with most of them adding compost, etc. Are you saying they should not turn the soil over? Thanks!
I am going to answer for him if you dont mind and that is for the both of you.
You are tearing up the house so to speak.
If I turned over my beds and mixed everything back up I would be killing some really nice beautiful snake sized worms and ruing the structure of the soil.
It is a living organism that is best left undisturbed.
There are critter and webs of fungus you cant see that will be destroyed these are what help break down nutrients so the plants can feed.
It is like setting a bomb off in a factory.

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Old February 24, 2016   #26
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Any time you till you are destroying the soil food web that develops in the rhizosphere. These fungal pathways are the key to having a healthy soil that is capable of actual self-regulation. (as Worth1 stated)

I personally don't care for cottonseed meal - in the name of having an organic garden, cotton is one of the most chemically treated agriculture textiles there is. All of that goes into your soil then when you use it as an amendment. Also, as stated, it is more acidic and when applied on it's own in larger quantities can lower pH to a range that is unfavorable to vegetable crop production.

When looking at feeding tomatoes - you are basically giving an N-P-K 90-200-300 lbs/per acre (elemental) during a typical growing season. When you broadcast your fertilizers, you only put about 50# of that N into the soil, but you apply all of the P-K. After first fruits set - you should side dress your rows with 25-30# of N. Proceed to do the same later in the season if vertical growth/new blooming sites begin to slow.

It's not that tomatoes don't need the high P-K - it's just that it takes much more time for such nutrition to be available (in an organic system) as opposed to nitrogen, which also leaches much faster from soils.

Also important to note, excessively high P levels can negatively impact the ability for mycorrhizae bacteria to repopulate and form the necessary symbiosis with the plants roots.

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Old February 24, 2016   #27
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I honestly doubt you could find any traces of those chemicals in cotton seed meal.
If any insecticide it used it is done before the bolls open.
The defoliant is leaf contact and not systemic.
This is my opinion and not up for debate.

Organics started out to help save our environment this includes our oceans but people buy fish fertilizer caught from declining fish populations.
They wont wear leather or cotton but wear synthetic materials made from a chemical plant the pollutes our environment.
They buy organic fertilizer in a plastic bag or bottle that comes from a chemical plant.
Go figure.
Where does it end.

I will leave it to the person asking the question originally to make their own moral judgment call.


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Old February 24, 2016   #28
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So, are you saying that if I add a layer of compost to an established raised bed or garden plot, I should not mix it in at all with a broadfork or pitchfork...that I should just leave it in the top and plant directly into it. I know not to rototill and don't do that, but gently turning over or loosening soil is different than rototilling, isn't it? If one should not disturb the soil, then should many of us who mix a layer of dry leaves into the soil in Fall not do that either?
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Old February 24, 2016   #29
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So, are you saying that if I add a layer of compost to an established raised bed or garden plot, I should not mix it in at all with a broadfork or pitchfork...that I should just leave it in the top and plant directly into it. I know not to rototill and don't do that, but gently turning over or loosening soil is different than rototilling, isn't it? If one should not disturb the soil, then should many of us who mix a layer of dry leaves into the soil in Fall not do that either?
I dont practice what I preach I will be honest about that.

This is what I do I pre-mix what I want to add and put it on top.
Just the other day I chopped a pile of leaves and so on and just raked it over the top of the soil in the big garden.
The use of any deep soil disturbing device in my opinion is not necessary.
Mixing in just an inch or two is okay but deeply no.
But this also depends on what you have for soil too.
If it is good one thing if it is bad then that is another.
In my opinion building soil and amending it is two different things.

Mixing in those dry leave will deplete the soil of nitrogen it is better to let them lay on top let the worms eat them as they decay and then the worms will in turn put the nitrogen back in the soil as they move around.
This is how nature intended it and how it works all we have to go is help it along.


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Old February 24, 2016   #30
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Everything worth said after my last post, I agree with 100%.
Including the organic comment.
I used to be a organic diehard.
Then I thought more deeply about reality and allow for logic to pair with organic principals.
I still don't spray Chems, but feel like my "chemical" fertilizer is more pure than the "organic" fertilizer coming out of the commercial confinement chicken house that is allowed in certified organic production.
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