Posts Tagged ‘plants’

Healthy Soil Part 2

Healthy Productive Soil for Great Plants

 

You need to think of your soil as a living, breathing entity in the same way as you would any animal.  For complete health both animal and plants need air, water, sunlight and a food source for nutrients.

Healthy soil is a living thing with about 5% of the organic matter in the soil being live organisms (http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/concepts/soil_biology/soil_food_web.html ) of some type that work within the soil to provide plants what they need to grow and be healthy.  Because of this need for life in your soil, it is necessary for you to continually add fresh organic matter to your soil.  The amount of organic matter to needed varies widely depending on climate and type of soil.

Let us look at each of the major components needed:

Air: Your soil needs to be open enough to allow air to penetrate and be available to the beneficial biology in the soil so they can function.  If you have a heavy clay soil you need to make sure that you get enough organic material and some sand into it to keep it from getting hard.

Water: Moisture is needed for all life and your soil is no different, it is used by both plant and soil biology.  In this case the type of soil you have is important, a high percentage of sand and the water moves through very rapidly and makes it difficult to keep moisture available for life.  Too much clay and your soil harder not allowing water to penetrate so it just runs off before it can be absorbed.  Here again the organic material you add can do wonders.  It will add bulk to sand and will open clay up to allow moisture to penetrate.

Sunlight: Sunlight helps warm the soil so that the much of the beneficial soil biology can function.  Soil biology activity follows seasonal patterns as well as daily patterns with the greatest activity, depending on your climate, in late spring when temperature and moisture are optimal for growth.

Food Source For NutrientsFood sources, plant nutrients, are divided into two groups. The first group is the Non-Mineral nutrients that include hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. These depend on water, air and sunlight so the only real control you have is the amount of water plants receive.  There is a minimum of 13 mineral nutrients, which come from the soil, and are dissolved in water and absorbed through a plant’s roots.  There are not always enough of these nutrients in the soil for a plant to grow healthy which is why we  use fertilizers to add the nutrients to the soil.   Soil biology plays a major part in this cycle in that they take these nutrients and change them into a form that the plant roots can absorb.

Balance: Healthy productive soil is something that takes continuous work to keep all the needed parts balanced. I break it down into four major categories.

  1. Soil Structure – At one end of the spectrum you have sand, which is made up of small pieces of rock, at the other end you have clay.  Both in pure form are not good for growing plants.  Sand is so porous it will not hold water and clay is too dense for water and air to penetrate, but clay increases the soils ability to bond chemically and hold nutrients.  The best scenario is a mix of both and the correct mixture depends on your climate.
  2. Organic Material – A must for healthy soil.  With out it you do not have soil biology.  You need organic matter in all phases of decomposition at all times to keep the soil biology active and producing or converting the nutrients that plants need.  The warmer your climate the more organic material you must add. You need organic material in all three stages to keep your soil healthy.  When adding organic matter you need to take into account the carbon-nitrogen ratio (C:N).  If you apply organic material that has a C:N ratio higher than 30 to 1 the decomposing process is going to pull nitrogen out of the soil, exactly what you DON’T want to happen.
  3. Plant Nutrients – This can be broken down into four categories of Primary, Secondary, Macro and Micronutrients.
  •  Primary – Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K).
  • Secondary – Calcium (Ca), Sulfur (S), Magnesium (Mg).
  • Macronutrients – Silicon (Si).
  • Micronutrients (Trace Elements) – Boron (B), Chlorine (CI), Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Molybdenum (Mo), Nickel (Ni), Selenium (Se) and Sodium (Na).

The amounts of these nutrients vary with the type of plants you are growing and the soil pH.  Some plants want an acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 or lower, others need an alkaline soil with a pH of over 7.0.  These nutrients function differently at higher or lower pH levels, so pH changes can cause plants to become starved of one nutrient and have an over abundance of another.  It is very difficult to keep all nutrients in balance at all times so I use foliar sprays to compensate for some imbalances.

  1. Soil Biology – This category is so very important and can be destroyed by misuse of synthetic fertilizer, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides.  Healthy soil with a good balance of nutrients and plentiful supply of organic material can produce the beneficial soil biology to grow healthy plants that can resist insects and disease. This biology breaks down the minerals and organic matter to forms that plants can use.  They work with plant roots to extend the roots ability to gather food and moisture.  When they die they become food for plants and other biology.

Summery: Any time you harvest anything from your soil you are removing nutrients; vegetables, flowers, grass clippings or anything else you remove is depleting the soil and you need to replenish it.

TurfPro liquid and AgriPro Dry products can help you keep your soil healthy by adding a wide range of trace elements that are readily available to soil biology and plant roots. They both can furnish a wide range of beneficial soil biology to aid in keeping your soil healthy and they are one of the few products that contain lignin. Lignin can hold many times it weight in water and can naturally help to keep your soil moist.  Our products are verified 100% for organic growing.

(For more great information on the Soil Health Wheel click here.)

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TurfPro USA – The AgriPro Advantage


The natural 100% organic three use addition for your plants

 Soil Inoculant  –  Soil Amendment  –  Soil Conditioner

 

Let us take a look at TurfPro USA’s base product. AgriPro is the all natural dry product as it comes from our unique deposit of ‘Ancient Humus’. The only processing is the screening it gets to remove any debris.

It is shipped to nurseries to add into their potting mix to enhance plant and root growth while providing protection against a number of diseases.

TurfPro on Potted Hydrangea

Potted Hydrangea

 Left – 10% Canadian Peat and 90% Bark                Right- 10% Canadian Peat, 88% Bark and 2% AgriPro

  • Farmers are using it in planting holes to help spread roots faster, as side dressing for row plants and as a general top dressing in fields.

Agripro provides one of the highest levels of Humic acid on the market at over 67%. AgriPro provides many of the minor and trace elements that plants need for healthy growth in a form that they can readily use. AgriPro has a wide range of natural beneficial soil biology including mycorrhizal fungi and symbiotic bacteria that work with plants in many ways from providing them food and help inhibit diseases (Most of your Humates are made from coal and have no natural biology). Agripro contains lignin a substance that can lock up chemicals to where they can be broken down into simpler forms and lignin can store large quantities of water for plant and soil biology use.

Benefits of Soil Organic Matter: (Soil Conditioners) Soil organic matter is the storehouse for the energy and nutrients used by plants and other organisms. AgriPro provides bacteria, fungi, and other soil biology that transforms and release nutrients from organic matter. Organic matter helps soil hold moisture and opens it up to let air into the soil. http://soils.usda.gov/sqi/concepts/soil_biology/soil_food_web.html

Nutrient Cycling: (Soil Amendments) Plants need nutrients from the soil to grow, just like people need food. Soil nutrients mostly come from the breakdown of mineral-bearing rocks and from organic matter, which comes from the decomposition of plants and animals. The nutrients that plants get from the soil are stored in all plant tissues, such as leaves, stems and flowers. When these tissues fall to the ground they start to break down, and together with decomposing dead insects, dead animals and animal feces, they are eventually re-incorporated into the soil by rainfall and earthworms. There, the organic matter is further broken down and slowly transformed to become nutrients that are available to growing plants (and the cycle continues). AgriPro provides many of the nutrients that plants need plus the beneficial soil biology that work with the plants roots to get then into the plant in a form the plant can use. http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/nutcycle.html

Soil Biology: (Soil Inoculants) Soil biology is what makes the whole soil system work. It breaks down organic material, provides nutrients to plants in a form they can use, it can prevent diseases and stores water for plant use. AgriPro furnishes beneficial soil Biology such as mycorrhizal fungi can extend the area that plants can obtain both moisture and nutrients from by many times in both width and depth. AgriPro also provides symbiotic bacteria that change nutrients such as nitrogen into a form plants can use.

 http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/a0100e/a0100e05.htm

AgriPro is not fertilizer, but a unique blend of soil conditioner, inoculants and nutrient converter from a rare, ancient humus deposit. It has proven effective for agriculture, horticulture and pollution control. It comes from a single deposit found in the southeastern USA. It is a surface deposit that has never been hardened, so it has not been subjected to heat or chemicals that kill biology like most Humate products on the market. A natural depression was formed in the ground and it filled up with organic material. Laboratory test have shown that it is over 94% organic material with the rest being plant available trace elements. Of the 94% organic matter over 67% of it is Humic acid. The plant available trace elements include Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Boron, Copper and Sulfur. The other thing that AgriPro has that coal derived Humates do not is lignin which naturally helps the soil hold moisture and it can contain chemicals so they can be broken down before entering the eco system.

AgriPro is 100% organic.  All of our agricultural products are verified to meet WSDA standards for organic growing.

Our manufacturing process begins by clearing the surface brush from the area. We then remove the top few inches of material. The material is then put through a number of screens to remove any roots or other debris and to size for the dry product. This is the extent of processing our dry product receives. It is totally natural as it comes out of the ground. No grinding, heat or chemicals used in the process so it is 100% naturally organic and because of the low amount of hydrocarbon fuel used in its making a very green product.

Because the deposit has never been overburdened or subjected to modern day pollution runoff it mixture of available elements are very light in heavy metals. The pre-ice age organic material has a wide range of beneficial elements in it that are in a form that soil biology and plant roots can easily work with. Many products are adding ground rock for trace elements that are very difficult for soil biology and plants to change into a form plants can use.

Our liquid products all formed using a cold water extraction process that preserves its unique and valuable micro-biology and give you a highly concentrated liquid for use in all types of applicator.

The TurfPro USA difference:

v    All natural from a single source.

v    Contains one of the highest levels of Humic acid at 67.7%.

v    Contains many of the trace elements that plants need in a form that is readily available to plants.

v    Contains a wide range of beneficial plant biology such as mycorrhizal fungi and symbiotic bacteria that work with plants to provide the plants with food and to control diseases.

v    Contains lignin which can hold many times it weight in water to and will hold elements to where they stay in the plant root zone longer.

v    Naturally Green. Our mining and processing is minimal so our products come to you having used very small amounts of hydrocarbon fuel.

v    All products are E coli free.

v    All products are safe to use around children, pets, and wildlife.

v    Shelf life is two years or more if not subjected to excessive heat.

Make a difference in your environment, buy Green, go Organic!

 

Available in 2, 5 and 40 pound bags.

Comments and questions to:  sales@turfprousa.com or call (407)340-7639

jfuller@ecofriendlyonline.com        (877)331-5077

B008                                                          Product of the USA                                                                                                         7/8/2011

The TurfPro USA Difference

Let us take a look at TurfPro USA and what makes it different from other soil amendments and inoculants on the market.

TurfPro USA products are not fertilizer, but a unique blend of soil conditioner, inoculants and nutrient converter from a rare, ancient humus deposit. It has proven effective for agriculture, horticulture and pollution control.  They come from a single deposit found in the southeastern USA. It is a surface deposit that has never been hardened, so it has not been subjected to heat or chemicals that kill biology like most Humate products on the market.  A natural depression was formed in the ground and it filled up with organic material.  Laboratory test have shown that it is over 94% organic material with the rest being plant available trace elements.  Of the 94% organic matter over 67% of it is Humic acid.  The plant available trace elements include Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Boron, Copper and Sulfur.  The other thing that it has that coal derived Humates do not is lignin which naturally helps the soil hold moisture.

All of our products were developed in partnership with the US EPA and their carry the “Design for the Environment” Seal (http://www.epa.gov/etop/connect_private.html ). All of our agricultural products are verified to meet USDA standards for organic growing.  They also meet Canadian, Japanese and UAE organic standards.

Our manufacturing process begins by clearing the surface brush from the area.  We then remove the top few inches of material.  The material is then put through a number of screens to remove any roots or other debris and to size for the dry product. This is the extent of processing our dry product receives.  It is totally natural as it comes out of the ground.  No grinding, heat or chemicals used in the process so it is 100% naturally organic and because of the low amount of hydrocarbon fuel used in processing the result is a very green product.

Because the deposit has never been overburdened or subjected to modern day pollution and runoff, it is a mixture of available elements and very light in heavy metals.  The pre-ice age organic material has a wide range of beneficial elements that are in a form that soil biology and plant roots can easily work with.  Many products are adding ground rock for trace elements that are very difficult for soil biology and plants to change into a form plants can use.

Our liquid products are all formed using a cold water extraction process that preserves its unique and valuable micro-biology and give you a highly concentrated liquid for use in all types of applicators.

The TurfPro USA difference:

v    All natural from a single source.

v    Contains one of the highest levels of Humic acid at 67.7%.

v    Contains many of the trace elements that plants need in a form that is readily available to plants.

v    Contains a wide range of beneficial plant biology that work with plants to provide food and to control diseases.

v    Contains lignin which can hold many times its weight in water and will hold elements to so they stay in the plant root zone longer.

v    Naturally Green. Our mining and processing is minimal so our products come to you having used very small amounts of hydrocarbon fuel.

v    All products are E coli free.

v    All products are safe to use around children, pets, and wildlife.

v    Shelf life is two years or more if not subjected to excessive heat.

Make a difference in your environment, buy Green, go Organic!

E-mail comments and questions to: sales@turfprousa.com or call (407)340-7639

B005          

Dog Spots

Dog Urine Spot Before TurfPro 

A Better Understanding of Dog Urine Spots on Grass

To be able to deal with dog spots you first need to know why they happen and the effects they have on grass and the soil.

  • Dog urine whether it is from a male or a female is 95 percent water and 5 percent water-soluble organic materials and ions.  The amounts of substances present in urine vary with time of day, diet and nutrition, but the chemical structure of dog urine is fairly constant.  Beside the water, urine contains; urea, creatine, uric acid, carbohydrates, enzymes, fatty acids, hormones, sodium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, calcium and ammonia.  It is the hormones that makes dog urine different from human.  Any dog can tell the sex, health and even the breed from smelling the crystals that are left when it dries.
  • Lets look at what a ‘Dog Spot’ is.  You will hear people say that the grass or plants are is burnt.  Actually what happens is the salt in the chemicals drawing all of the moisture out of the plant leaves, its roots and killing the beneficial soil biology by dehydration.  Technically it is called ‘hygroscopic’ action.  You will notice that at the edge of a ‘Dog Spot’ the grass is very green and healthy.  This is where the amount of nitrogen is down to a level to where there is enough water available so the nitrogen is feeding the grass instead of damaging it.
  • We talk mainly of the damage to lawns that are more likely to be caused by female dogs than males but shrubs and other tall plants can be damaged by male dogs, if they are located where dogs regularly mark them.  The other thing that can reduce damage is to install a post of some type at a critical point so the male dogs will use it instead of your plants.  Female dogs can be trained to use specific areas if you have the time and the patience to do it.
  • Dog spots in lawns vary with the type of grass you grow and the type of soil you have.  Because of the varied climate conditions we have in this country you need to get with a local expert as to what grass is best in your area.  Keeping a healthy level of organic material in the soil and doing what you can to get the grass roots to go deep can make a difference.
  • The first thing you need to do when you see a new dog spot is to thoroughly water the spot to dilute the urea to where it cannot remove all of the water from the plant.  In most cases you are still going to get crown burn but you will save the roots and soil biology.  The thing you do not want to do is put any type of fertilizer on these areas. It will just compound the problem.
  • You will hear that things like saw dust will help.  It does because of the lignin in it can bind up chemicals and it helps store water the plants will need.  Worm tea and compost tea if fresh will replenish the soil biology so it can work with the roots.  The other thing you have to fight is the chemical imbalance that locks up many of the other nutrients that plants need plus the nitrogen chemically breaks down the organic material in the soil thus reducing its fertility.  This can be corrected in part by adding Humates.
  • The reason we recommend TurfPro USA products for use on dog spots is that it is a 100% organic material that has all of the things we talk about above.  It contains lignin, beneficial soil biology, trace elements and has one of the highest levels of Humates available. It also will diminish the odor that is caused by the ammonia and sulfur in the urine.

Treating Dog Spots:

v    For the fastest recovery dog spots need to be treated as soon after they happen as possible.  I recommend using an adjustable rate hose end sprayer set at 2 ounces a gallon or one of EZFLO’s hose bib units EZ Flow Fertigation set on fast.  In coastal regions of the country and from the Rocky Mountains west I would recommend Turf and Garden Pro with Iron and for the rest of the country Turf and Garden Pro works well.  Water the spot down to where you dilute the urine and give good coverage with TGP.

v    For older spots where the grass is dead you need to remove surface thatch to allow good aeration of the soil.  For best results I recommend spreading some of our AgriPro on the area at a rate of 1/4 cup per every one (1) square feet of area. This adds a high level of biology to the area to hasten recovery.  It is available in 2 pound bags that can cover 20 square feet. Also available in 40 pound bags.

After spreading the dry product soak the area down well using our liquid product at a rate of 2 ounces per gallon of water.  Do not water to where you get runoff.  If your soil is real dry you may have to water a little bit at a time till it loosens up enough to hold water.

v    Do not get fertilizer on these areas till you see good recovery or you could reverse the entire process.

Our web site is  www.turfprousa.com  or contact me at  jloepp@turfprousa.com

B007                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4/14/2011

Microgreens

MicroGreens

Want to add fresh greens and fantastic fresh tastes to your off season cooking? MicroGreens are the way to go!

What are MicroGreens?

Microgreens are young edible greens produced from the seeds of vegetables, herbs or other plants. Unlike sprouts which are grown in water and you consume the roots, microgreens are grown in soil and you consume the new tender leaves. They have more developed flavor, color and texture than sprouts. Microgreens have great flavor even at their small size, though not as strong as mature greens and herbs.

A microgreen consists of a central stem having two fully developed cotyledon leaves (the leaves that first show on a plant), and usually one pair of the plant’s true leaves. They can range in size from 1″ in height for some lettuce to the extremely tiny leaves of mint.  An average size and leaf configuration for a microgreen such as basil is about 1-1 1/2″ in height, having the cotyledon leaves and one set of small true leaves.

They are easy to grow indoors in any weather, take up very little space and in most cases you can start harvesting in 10 to 15 days depending on what you decide to grow.  The short growth span makes it possible to produce microgreens on the darkest winter windowsill. Those of you with no experience can easily grow microgreens because the plants only need to be kept alive for a few weeks and most of the growing needs are within the seed. Don’t worry if they grow a little leggy in the process, it does not hurt the flavor.

Nutritional info:
Vitamins A, B, C, E and K
Calcium, Chlorophyll, Iron, Lecithin, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium
Amino Acids
Trace Elements
Antioxidants
Protein: up to 30%

http://www.sproutpeople.com/seed/microgreens.html

We recommend using organic growing techniques.

Here is the list of things that you will need:

  1. A container (can be most any material) that is at least 4 inches deep with or without drainage holes in the bottom. Size will depend on how much you plan to grow.
  2. A tray that is bigger than the container, if you are using one with drainage, so it will contain any water overflow. We like to use small rocks or in it to hold the bottom of the tray up for good drainage.
  3. A flat, smooth piece of wood of other material that will fit into the container so you can press the potting mix flat.
  4. Natural unbleached paper towels or coffee filters.
  5. A spray bottle with a misting type head, this can be the small cup size if you are growing just a single container.
  6. A clear piece of plastic a little larger than the container to put on top to give the seeds a micro greenhouse atmosphere.
  7. A bag of organic potting mix. Many garden centers now carry organic products.
  8. We prefer organic seeds that we get online from seed companies like Johnny Seeds, but you can get regular seeds for most garden centers.
  9. A small container to put the seeds in for soaking.
  10. Turf & Garden Pro to mix with water for soaking seeds for faster and better germination.

Stage 1:

Preparation Stage:

Fill your container with your organic potting mix. Take the block of wood or other material you have selected and press the soil down to where it is level and firm but not too tightly packed.  Spread you seeds evenly as possible on top of the potting mixtures surface.  If you are using very small seeds it helps to mix them with a small amount of sand so the will spread more evenly.  Take your spray bottle and mix 1 teaspoon of Turf & Garden Pro for every cup of water. Spray the surface of the potting mixture so it is just moist. The Turf & Garden Pro speeds germination and give the seeds needed nutrient and beneficial soil biology for stronger growth.  The water you use does make a difference.  We collect and use rainwater but any good clean water is OK.  If you are using city water that is chlorinated put is in an open container overnight so the chlorine will dissipate.

Stage 2:

Seed Germination Stage:

It may take a couple times to get the right amount of seeds for the container you are using. You can get too many so do not completely cover the surface with seeds.

Next cover the inside of the container evenly with the unbleached paper towels or coffee filters so it lays flat on top of the potting soil.  Use the spray bottle to wet the paper towels until are they are moist.  Place the clear plastic cover over the container to create your mini-greenhouse. Mist the paper towels daily till the seeds geminate always putting the clear plastic back in place.

Stage 3:

Growth Stage:

After the seeds have sprouted into the two-leaf stage, carefully remove the paper towel and remove the cover so they get plenty of light and air. Keep the potting mix moist using the Turf & Garden Pro mix you have in your spray bottle.

We have used the leaves from the two-leaf stage up to five or six, and have found them very tasty and high in nutrients.  This is a great way to have fresh greens for salads and cooking year around. There are a number of sites with information about all of the greens that you can grow and the different taste effects you can come up with in your cooking.

Other sites to look at for microgreens:

http://www.yougrowgirl.com/2009/03/11/growing-food-on-a-windowsill-microgreens/

http://sproutpeople.org/

http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/easy-grow-micro-greens-00400000016081/

http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Gardening/2009/0205/sprouts-and-microgreens-edible-houseplants

http://www.ehow.com/how_4861969_grow-micro-greens-culinary-chef.html

If you need further information write me at jimloepp@turfprousa.com .