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Old May 12, 2015   #16
Tracydr
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Originally Posted by tnkrer View Post
I have been using tomato tone fertilizer strip in the container and adding liquid fertilizer (foliage pro) to the water reservoir mid-season. This has worked very well for my tomatoes. It has worked somewhat OK for peppers and cukes.
So I have been reading about kelp and/or fish emulsion as fertilizer that helps plants grow stronger.
So what option would you recommend if you have used kelp and/or fish
1. Use Kelp + fish. It does work wonders!
2. Use just kelp. Its probably as good as kelp + fish and does do wonders.
3. Save your money, its not going to make big change! (I am close to blowing off my budget for this year's garden, so I like this one )

I was looking at this kelp4less product
https://www.kelp4less.com/shop/liqui...ed-fertilizer/
It seems cheap, but don't know if kelp extract is same everywhere or the costlier brands (neptune etc) are actually better ..

Thanks
I usually use kelp/fish mixed. The kelp is amazing stuff and the fish adds some fast nutrition when needed.
I got a flush of blooms a few days after using it a week ago. I also noticed on a plant uprooted by goats, that the soil is much darker and more crumbly than the sand I planted it in a few weeks ago. It's a amazing mixture!
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Old May 12, 2015   #17
PA_Julia
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Originally Posted by Gardeneer View Post
I was checking on Alaska Fish Fertilizer ( 5-1-1), at HD website.
It is ~$13.50 per gallon. I also read some reviews. The majority commented on its smell, even in the backyard. Hmmm.

The price is OK, but I am thinking about the smell issue.
And my question is :
WHAT IS ITS ADVANTAGE OTHER THAN BEING ORGANIC ?

I have nothing against those who choose to grow organically. To Each His Own.
But is there any benefit in it other than just being ORGANIC ?
I know that in addition to (5-1-1) it also has Ca, Mg , S, .. an some other trace elements as well.

Thanks

Gardeneer
There are great advantages in using organic fertilizers versus synthetic.

Excess salts used in synthetic fertilizers cause 2 problems. First, they reduce the moisture holding ability of soils and cause what moisture is present to be bound more tightly to the soil making it harder for plants to absorb.

Second, also salt exposure reduces a plants roots ability to absorb water even if the soil is fully saturated. Since most commercial fertilizers are composed of soluble salts (ammonium nitrate, potassium chloride, etc.) and as these salt build up in the soil more water (irrigation) is required, the plants are weaker and more susceptible to insects and disease hence require more pesticides, fungicides, etc.
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Old May 12, 2015   #18
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Can you foliar feed during bloom?
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Old May 12, 2015   #19
Lindalana
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BigVanVader, I foliar feed all season along. Now what you do with your foliar feed is different depending what your plants are doing. Because I mix my own stuff I like to use separate bottles of kelp, fish hydrolysate, sea minerals, molasses, EM- effective microorganisms etc.
Because I do not rely on foliar feed as main feeding process, only to give boost, correct some issues, add some trace minerals to help plant grow etc those bottles go looong way as with 1.5 tsp of kelp I can foliar feed about 1000 sq feet.
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Old May 12, 2015   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardeneer View Post
I was checking on Alaska Fish Fertilizer ( 5-1-1), at HD website.
It is ~$13.50 per gallon. I also read some reviews. The majority commented on its smell, even in the backyard. Hmmm.

The price is OK, but I am thinking about the smell issue.
And my question is :
WHAT IS ITS ADVANTAGE OTHER THAN BEING ORGANIC ?

I have nothing against those who choose to grow organically. To Each His Own.
But is there any benefit in it other than just being ORGANIC ?
I know that in addition to (5-1-1) it also has Ca, Mg , S, .. an some other trace elements as well.

Thanks
Gardeneer
This year I have been using nothing but organic fertilizer on my garden and the results are astronomical.
Both of these contain kelp and other odd ball stuff that the MG and 16-16-16 I was using dont.

Some of the benefits are----.
I dont have to worry about the salt build up in the soil.
The soil is now a medium for living organisms that before it wasn't.
The fertilizer seems to last longer and I dont have to use it as much.
The fertilizer is natural and doesn't come from a chemical plant.
The tomatoes and everything else is producing more than ever.
You have better soil so you dont use as much water.
If you use less water you dont have as much salt buildup from irrigation.
Your not as dependent on the world economy and outside sources.


This year I have more fruit on my two Sungold and other plants than I have had in the last 12 years of growing them.

I for one am not an organic nut I feel that every person should be able to do as they please.
As long as what they do doesn't infringe on other peoples rights.

I have a big box of MG in the house and I use it for seedlings as it is sterile and I dont have to worry about damping off with it.

The advantage of being organic is the very fact that it is sustainable for the future of our society.
You become more independent.
What other advantage should there be?

Worth
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Old May 12, 2015   #21
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Originally Posted by PA_Julia View Post
There are great advantages in using organic fertilizers versus synthetic.

Excess salts used in synthetic fertilizers cause 2 problems. First, they reduce the moisture holding ability of soils and cause what moisture is present to be bound more tightly to the soil making it harder for plants to absorb.

Second, also salt exposure reduces a plants roots ability to absorb water even if the soil is fully saturated. Since most commercial fertilizers are composed of soluble salts (ammonium nitrate, potassium chloride, etc.) and as these salt build up in the soil more water (irrigation) is required, the plants are weaker and more susceptible to insects and disease hence require more pesticides, fungicides, etc.
Of course, categorically, fertilizers are in some kind of composition/form, called "salt".
Natural inorganic soil is composed of salts( Debries from rocks/stones that make the soil ).
If there is such a thing as "Salt Build up" it can happen in potted plants that are in the same small amount of soil for years. In a garden bed with massive amount of soil, fertilizing a few pound per 1000 cubit feet of soil per year is not going to make a dent. Plus, those "SALTS" {{nitrates ... sulfates ...) eventually are used up by the plants or leached down/ out. . It is possible to supply too much of "P" and "K". because they mostly stick around longer. But "N" in all forms are readily water soluble. So they cannot become accumulated.

So anyway, my main question was not about the merits of ORGANIC fertilizers but WHAT those FISH fertilizer supply in addition to N, P, K, Ca,, Mg, Fe, S, ..that are also found in synthetic fertilizers.

Gardener.
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Old May 12, 2015   #22
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When kelp is used as a bulk material in compost, it is rich in potassium - according to my ancient copy of the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. Potassium is important for the sweetness of fruit afaik. Kelp is a bulk material available here for the effort of gathering it, so I use it in my compost, and as a mulch for garlic (they seem to love it) and also for several years, I add coarsely chopped or crumbled kelp in bulk to my container soils for tomatoes, to assist moisture retention and to feed the worms... it's all gone by the end of season.

I use fish emulsion mostly for seedlings and plants in smaller pots in the house - and I use some blackstrap molasses with that, it not only adds the potassium that's missing from plain fish, it also takes away the nasty smell.

As regards a liquid kelp, I just collect kelp into a garbage bag and leave it for a year - what's left is mostly soluble or small particles, and odourless more or less. I use the kelp drink specifically for transplant stress and for cold stress. I can say for sure it makes a big difference to transplanted trees, as I've compared with and without side by side.

Another great thing about kelp, it's a fine excuse to spend a few hours at the beach.
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Old May 12, 2015   #23
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Another vote for Neptunes Harvest fish emulsion. Stuff stinks to high heaven but it works amazing.
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Old May 12, 2015   #24
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Another vote for Neptunes Harvest fish emulsion. Stuff stinks to high heaven but it works amazing.
I heard they caught mermaids and used them in the stuff.

Worth
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Old May 12, 2015   #25
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There's two discussions going on here (at least). Which seaweed, and why organic?

Firstly, I have used Neptune's Harvest Fish & Seaweed for years. I started using fish fert after a crusty old gardener told me, "Fish fertilizer makes for the best tasting tomatos." I believed him because he was very experienced. I like the Fish & Seaweed because it has macros (from the fish) and micros (from the seaweed). I like Neptunes Harvest because it is in hydrolosate form and is much more available to container plants than non-hydrolized fish. And, although Neptune's does smell, it smells MUCH LESS than Alaska Fish Fert or even Dr. Earth (of which my neighbor said, "It smells like when I used to express my dog's anal glands.") I was happy this year I was able to find Neptune's at a local grow shop rather than having to order and wait.

The other question, why organic, is much more complex and I won't try to address it all here. But Gardeneer, surely you must have noticed, being in our part of the country, that for many people it is more of a philosophy or lifestyle.

There are also the soilfoodweb folks who can explain in detail why this is what the plant was designed to do. In some respects, saying "why not Miracle Gro?" is kind of the same as saying, "Why eat food? Just take vitamin pills and meal replacement drink." Obviously you would not be as happy or healthy, although you would survive.

But bottom line, flavor. What is in fish fertilizer that is not in Miracle Gro? ORGANIC MATTER! And this is what creates the flavor. To take the vitamin analogy further - At first, science thought there were three things in food: Protein, Carbs, and Fats. Then, they realized there were also vitamins and minerals. Now, we have realized there are phytonutrients and antioxidants too. I think it's pretty likely that we will continue finding more and more things in food that our bodies need, that we did not realize were there in the past. Why wouldn't it be the same for plants?

Why not try an experiment? Feed some plants some organics and the same plants with Miracle Gro and find out for yourself! HOWEVER, I have a caveat. I do not like Alaska Fish Fertilizer at all. It is very high in nitrogen and supresses blooming. (I fed a geranium with it years ago and it grew HUGE but no flowers!) It is not hydrosolate and has to be broken down by the soil life before being available to the plants. Worst of all, it STINKS, much, much worse than Neptune's.

I have Texas Tomato food and Dynagro both on their way to me. The thing I really like about the TTF is the combination approach of organics, synthetics, mycos, and enzymes. Very excited about trying it. As a mostly container grower, I like the idea of taking the "vitamin pill" as insurance in case I was missing something in my "organic" whole foods diet!

Just so you understand where I'm coming from - I also have Miracle Gro and have used it this season. It gave such a boost, that's what prompted me to order the DynaGro (because it has the micros). Then I found the Texas Tomato Food and decided to try it too. Maybe I can save money in the future by just using that as an "all in one" product. I'm sure my houseplants will love the DynaGro too.

FWIW, I do fertilize my houseplants with Neptune's, and leave them outside to drain and air out for several hours, and I don't have a problem with the smell. Never, ever use Alaska on houseplants! I did that once and the house stunk for a week!

Last edited by wormgirl; May 12, 2015 at 01:36 PM.
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Old May 12, 2015   #26
heirloomtomaguy
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I heard they caught mermaids and used them in the stuff.

Worth
Mermaids or not i will still use it
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Old May 12, 2015   #27
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Wormgirl ..
Right. My question was really only about adding kelp and/or fish to my fertlization regimen. And from the users of kelp and fish .. its a resounding, overwhelming yes.

Neptune seems to the the front runner. But I was trying to stretch my dollars so I went with GS Plant foods. I wont be able to compare with Neptune products since I have not bought those. But I will compare the performance and taste of my produce with my last year. (Which for me was a phenomenally productive year and I do not know how I will do better)

Advantages of organic is a different question and not a simple one I think .. so will not go into it here.

As far as TTF and Dynagrow (Foliage Pro). I have used both and in my head to head comparison Foliage pro did better than TTF for tomatoes. (more production with Foliage pro. I couldn't tell any difference between taste.) I use Foliage pro for my containers in addition to the organic fertilizer strip. In ground gets tomato tone/garden tone/ plant tone ..

This year both will get alternate weeks of fish/kelp fertilizer

So another question seems to be - is foliar spray better? For my containers, I plan to feed it from the water reservoir. For in ground .. have not decided
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Old May 12, 2015   #28
wormgirl
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As far as TTF and Dynagrow (Foliage Pro). I have used both and in my head to head comparison Foliage pro did better than TTF for tomatoes. (more production with Foliage pro. I couldn't tell any difference between taste.) I use Foliage pro for my containers in addition to the organic fertilizer strip. In ground gets tomato tone/garden tone/ plant tone ..

This year both will get alternate weeks of fish/kelp fertilizer

So another question seems to be - is foliar spray better? For my containers, I plan to feed it from the water reservoir. For in ground .. have not decided
tnkrer - wow, that's great information. I am actually surprised that you got better production with the Foliage Pro, since it is a bit high on the N for a flowering plant. (I ordered the Grow formula which is higher on the P). But I like to know what the real deal is versus what we've always been told. Also kind of disappointing to hear it didn't affect flavor. I mean, I never tested it myself - I just took crusty old gardener's word for it.

Maybe we just FEEL better about applying these things to our plants. And you know what? I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing :-) As your name suggests, some people just like to tinker and constantly play around with methods. Others may prefer to go with what's worked in the past with a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" philosophy. Neither is wrong!

I will tell you, I have always foliar fed - but just found out on the TTF thread that perhaps it's pointless unless there is a specific micronutrient deficiency. Again, that's something I've "always heard" for years that may be just plain wrong. Then again, the seaweed has the micros - so perhaps there is something to a foliar application.

I have little problem with disease so foliar is ok for me, but maybe in some situations it can cause more problems than it's worth by keeping the plants wet?

Last edited by wormgirl; May 12, 2015 at 04:21 PM.
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Old May 12, 2015   #29
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I have used Neptune's Harvest and it is great stuff. I like it and was very impressed especially the fish/seaweed. I also have used Saltwater Farms Seaweed and it is every bit as good as the NH.
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Old May 12, 2015   #30
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Originally Posted by Gardeneer View Post
Of course, categorically, fertilizers are in some kind of composition/form, called "salt".
Natural inorganic soil is composed of salts( Debries from rocks/stones that make the soil ).
If there is such a thing as "Salt Build up" it can happen in potted plants that are in the same small amount of soil for years. In a garden bed with massive amount of soil, fertilizing a few pound per 1000 cubit feet of soil per year is not going to make a dent. Plus, those "SALTS" {{nitrates ... sulfates ...) eventually are used up by the plants or leached down/ out. . It is possible to supply too much of "P" and "K". because they mostly stick around longer. But "N" in all forms are readily water soluble. So they cannot become accumulated.

So anyway, my main question was not about the merits of ORGANIC fertilizers but WHAT those FISH fertilizer supply in addition to N, P, K, Ca,, Mg, Fe, S, ..that are also found in synthetic fertilizers.

Gardener.
Salt buildup is a huge problem in arid climates. Kills plants frequently.
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