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Compo

Organic gardening

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I like to garden in an organic manner as far as possible. Alas, this year I am having to resort to a little chemical additive to my greenhouse and tunnel. Over the years the soil has become impoverished and despite the addition of lots of garden compost and horse dung, the Nitrogen level is so low that nothing has grown properly for two seasons now.

I tested the soil over Xmas and found that everything is in balance except Nitrogen so I have bought a box of Sulphate of Ammonia and at 20% Nitrogen and bugger all else it should do the trick - fingers crossed!

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Have you had a look at seaweed or chicken pellets they might go better with your organic ethos.

Me I am bone idle and use Miracle grow for lots of N

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If you want to add nitrogen organically you could grow beans and dig them in. Maybe grow aquadulce as an autumn sown bean and then dig the roots in before spring planting your normal crops. Legumes are nitrogen fixers.

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I always used to grow comfrey and dig in the leaves. Good results ensued.

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The problem with growing comfrey in the greenhouse is that it's taking up space during the growing season. Autumn sown beans on the other hand don't stop you growing your usual summer crops. I did used to surround my greenhouse tomato plants with comfrey leafs from outside though.

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I grew comfrey outside only. I once got six plants from the Henry Doubleday Organic Research Centre at Ryton on Dunsmore. They were brilliant and within a couple of years had multiplied to about twenty really healthy plants.

The foliage that I didn't dig straight in, I chopped up and put on my compost heap as it's a really good activator.

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You can make liquid plant food by putting Comfrey leaves into a container and letting it sit in water.I think you need to dilute before use.

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It does smell rank though as it rots. It's also not a major nitrogen source but is a better provider of potassium which is why it's so good for tomatoes. Borage is another one that's worth digging in to supply nitrogen. It also attracts bees which is great for the garden.

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I keep chickens, but their litter is "too hot" for plants straight from the chickens, just acts like a herbicide, kills everything. It has to be left outside to weather a bit before use, but is rich in nitrogen..

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I always used to put my chicken droppings on the compost heap in order to dilute the strength of it.

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I stack it outside the chicken coup, not a weed will grow within feet of it until it "cools off" some, after a few weeks.

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We don't have enough stuff for a compost heap, green off cuts go to the chickens as a treat, just the two of us, so don't generate much waste of any sort.

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#1

I like Comp tend my allotment as oganicly as possible.

I generally spread about five tones of shit, crap manure on my plot each year

I have never used a weed killer of any sort favouring the spade & hoe method of weeding :)

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If anyone wants to use their car to good effect, the best results I've ever had where when I covered my allotments in 6 inches of spent hops available for the asking at Blue Monkey or many other micro-breweries. As a bonus, the first week I fetched hops from there I spotted a wedding ring sparkling in the hops, It turned out to be the brewery manager's and he gave me 24 bottles for returning it.

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ICL which used to be Cleveland Potash, sell crushed potash, unprocessed to organic farmers, it contains some sodium salt, but it is below the level to damage plants. Probably available at garden centres??

The potash is Muriate of Potash, a nice pink colour.

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Thanks for all the tips gang. I have several large comfrey plants, the leaves of which get cut down and immersed in one for the water butts for summer feed. I also put my spent hops and grain from my brewing into the compost bins along with all the kitchen scraps etc.. My problem is one of N deficiency rather than P or K. So what I want is something that will improve the N without causing an imbalance in the other essential nutrient types - hence the quick-fix Chemical option. This is intended as a one-off fix only.

Typical NPK values of organic feeds are:

Comfrey: 1.8-0.5-5.3.

Home-made compost: 0.5-0.5-0.5 to 4-4-4

Kelp seaweed: 1.0-0.5-2.5

Urine: 10:1:4

Chicken pooh: 1.6/1.0-1.5/0.6-1.0

From this we can see that Urine is by far the best of the common organic nitrogen providers but alas, SWMBO frowns on the idea. I do confess to using it surreptitiously on some of my onions though ;)

I have several tons of horse pooh awaiting collection locally. All I need is a dry spell so that I can get onto the field with a car and trailer to collect it. Meanwhile, I am still using last year's crop of horse muck from my local vet's horses.

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I've got to ask the question Compo. Do you put horse muck on your rhubarb?

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You could try that additive they put in diesel vehicles now to cut down on emissions "Ad Blu", it's laboratory produced pig urine,just remember to dilute it

Rog

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#22 I wondered who would be the first.

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