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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Hops Growing > Organic vs. chemical fertilizer for hops
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Old 04-05-2012, 01:41 PM   #21
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For what it's worth, I use compost I made, worm castings, and composted manure on my hops. I use an organic spray on them for pests.

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Old 04-05-2012, 01:55 PM   #22
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To say that you should only use synthetics in containers is silly.
No. Actually, it's not. Containers plants are contained within a soil structure that doesn't have the benefit of in-ground tilth. If you put compost or manure in a container, the mix doesn't have the opportunity to recycle itself and change. It's stuck in the container and the amount of nutrients is either way high, or way low. You never know where you are. Synthetic fertilizers along with a well-aerated potting mix are king for container plants because you know exactly what you're putting into this closed soil structure that doesn't recycle itself. I urge you to read a few of tapla's posts at gardenweb.com - After reviewing that one members advice, particularly tapla because he IS an expert, you may very well do a 180. You can continue to put compost in a container if you wish. I never said it cannot be done. It's just not the best method that will yield the best results. Fact.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:05 PM   #23
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It's just not the best method that will yield the best results. Fact.
No, actually, what you are talking about is a practice, not a fact. it may be a 'best practice' in your opinion and others, and be supported by evidence, but that's not a fact.

Plus, it's just being a little unpleasant to say it that way, in my opinion, intended to
put another member in his place.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:10 PM   #24
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so what organics can be picked up at Lowes,HD and WMart? I saw Osmocote organic food pellets at WM but it was 7-7-7..
The Lowes and HD around Charlotte carry the Alaska Fish Fertizer which are high in nitrogen and good for early season plant growth. Miracle Gro Organic is also high in N for initial growth. They also have some of the Espoma line of fertilizers, which are usually organic or mostly organic. Lowes and HD should have like a whole block of organic ferts in their store with the plant supplies, and are usually priced about the same as synthetics. Bone meal can be mixed in the soil and will break down over the season to provide calcium and phosporous during the cone producing phase. Compost is a great source of micronutrients and beneficial microbes.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:12 PM   #25
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The fact is that his method is not the best method and it will not yield the best results...I provided reasoning for this. And I never said that his practice wasn't a practice at all.

I suggest you read more into the in-depth reasoning the member at gardenweb.com provides for organic vs. synthentic and containers vs. in-ground. No need to waste more time trying to convince you myself. It's his research, not mine. But he is an expert and does explain very well that feeding "container" soil with compost and other organics is kind of like running a Ferrari on organic corn oil instead of gasoline. Sure it works, but there are an array of issues that you'll end up having to face. Organics are much better suited for "in-ground" plants where the soil tilth is constantly changing and thriving on the organics you feed it. Synthetic fertilizers provide a timed, controlled, direct feeding in one application which subsequently becomes diluted and runs out of the soil through watering - Organic fertilizers provide a very general, uncontrolled, indirect feeding over time... you constantly have to feed the soil, which is alive. Container Bonsai growers almost exclusively use synthetic fertilizers for a few of the facts mentioned here.

To the person who saw Osmocote time-release at 7-7-7... they also make 12-4-8 time-release.

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Old 04-05-2012, 02:23 PM   #26
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No. Actually, it's not. Containers plants are contained within a soil structure that doesn't have the benefit of in-ground tilth. If you put compost or manure in a container, the mix doesn't have the opportunity to recycle itself and change. It's stuck in the container and the amount of nutrients is either way high, or way low. You never know where you are. Synthetic fertilizers along with a well-aerated potting mix are king for container plants because you know exactly what you're putting into this closed soil structure that doesn't recycle itself. I urge you to read a few of tapla's posts at gardenweb.com - After reviewing that one members advice, particularly tapla because he IS an expert, you may very well do a 180. You can continue to put compost in a container if you wish. I never said it cannot be done. It's just not the best method that will yield the best results. Fact.
Hmm, so when I add Alaska Fish Ferts to the soil, which have a NPK ratio of 5-1-1 and are completely organic, I have no idea what I'm adding to the soil? And when I feed the plants with compost tea to boost microbe life in the container, that doesn't help the soil regenerate/recycle?

Gardening is a lot like home brewing. There are a lot of different ways to end up with the same results. I've seen lots of people yell and scream that their way is the only way and best way of brewing, only to have someone else use the complete opposite method and win a best of show medal for their beer. I have grown plants organically, with synthetics, and even with hydroponics using aeroponics and deep water cultures (I was growing lettuce by the way, not hops cousin plant). I prefer organics in and out of containers both for environmental reasons but also because of the healthy plants I've grown using this method. But apparently I'm the closed minded one in this discussion LOL.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:30 PM   #27
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Closed-minded people refuse to change their ways even though factual evidence explains why another method is better. Please, if you're interested, go to gardenweb.com and read up on what tapla has to say about the issues mentioned in this thread - If not, no sweat off my back. Just trying to help.

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Old 04-05-2012, 02:33 PM   #28
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Once your hop plants are established, all you can really do to add organic compost to them is to put the compost on the top around them right? How can you mix the compost into the soil once the hop plants are already established in the soil?

From what I know, nutrients from the compost will still run down into the soil below just like with artificial fertilizers, just more slowly.

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Old 04-05-2012, 03:08 PM   #29
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Closed-minded people refuse to change their ways even though factual evidence explains why another method is better. Please, if you're interested, go to gardenweb.com and read up on what tapla has to say about the issues mentioned in this thread - If not, no sweat off my back. Just trying to help.
I actually already read the articles you linked this morning, and do agree with many things the author says. Where I disagree with you and the author is in the opinion that you cannot control what is going on in a container using organics. I call bullsh*t, because using completely organic nutes you can control the nutrient contents in the container soil. Here's a whole site full of organic nutrients that will provide the exact NPK ratios so that you can control exactly what goes into your container soil. And I like gardenweb.com too, it's a great gardening resource, but when reading I allow myself the right to disagree with some things that are written there that contradict my personal experience.
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:11 PM   #30
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I'm an experienced hydro/soil/soiless mix grower. I've been growing since I was a kid and started studying horticulture about 10 years ago. I can tell you in all my humble experience, I have yet to see a noticeable difference in anything I've ever grown based on mineral/chem ferts over "organic" labeled store bought ferts in a bottle. There is a huge inconsistency on the labeling of organic ferts in the world of so-called "organic" ferts, the same as there is in the food end labeling of the world of "organic" foods. Just because the label says it's organic, doesn't mean it is. In fertilizers there is a pretty good way of identifying good organic ferts and that's by looking for the OMRI logo. https://www.omri.org/ I am pretty sure fox farm nutes are mostly non-OMRI recognized, which doesn't necessarily mean it's non-organic, it means it's what FF calls organic, which can be vastly different from another manufacture's definition. Ya see, there is no universal standard in organic labeling.

Not to mention, there are so many things that can negate being certified organically grown once you have grown your harvest. Just because you feed it organic nutes doesn't mean it can be labeled or refereed to as "organic" food. Any number of things can disqualify a true organic grow. You'd have to do soil testing, all your pesticides would have to check out and even a little thing like pressure treated lumber in your grow area can cancel you out, if...that is, if you really are concerned with all the technicalities.

Not me, I grow using a balance of nature and technology. I try to keep it organic and natural as much as possible but I don't split hairs over just how organic I am growing. I've used every store bought liquid fert from fox farms to advanced nutrients to botanicare, general hydro yada yada yada...they're pretty much all the same when you compare each company's apple to apples. No matter what you grow and no matter what you feed it, the MOST IMPORTANT THING is a healthy rhizosphere, the word literally means root-ball. Because, no matter what you feed your plants (chem/mineral or organic) the plant doesn't really know the difference because roots don't "eat" the organic matter, they absorb liberated molecules from decayed organic matter or derived from minerals, the absorbed molecule is still the same. Things like Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K) and a host of other elements are all found on the periodic table. Plants don't eat the coffee grounds or the banana peel you throw at them, the absorb the nitrogen and the potassium molecules that are released once it's decomposed by millions of hard working living organisms. Those organisms, like their cousins we love so much called yeast, are our friends. In fact we owe everything to them.

Which brings me to the best advice I can give you. If you've ever made a yeast starer you know how to make a compost tea. You may have already heard about compost tea but just in case you didn't or for those who don't know, it's easy to do. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket, a $10 air pump from a pet store and a $2 air stone and some earthworm castings in a silk screen sock or women's nylon. No need for me to write the entire directions for how to make compost tea since youtube can tell you more than I care to type and it's pretty basic and fool proof anyway. Just do it! Make some compost tea!

I will will say this: Be sure to off-gas the chlorine by waiting 10 or more hours before you add anything to the water and add a carbohydrate! I use molasses or if you can get it, jagery sugar is best actually because it has more useful minerals in it. I use a cup or more in a 5 gallon brew. I also use a cup of earthworm castings and several readily available beneficial bacteria, fungi and trichoderma. Look for products with the following and/or other cultures of microbes such as Bacillus Subtilis, Bacillus Licheniformus, Bacillus Azotoformans, Bacillus Megaterium (bacteria), Glomus Intraradices, Glomus Aggregatum, Trichoderma Koningii (fungi). I use a product called Roots Oregonism Xl because it's got all those and more and also has Yucca extract in it which is great for plants as well. Add that to your tea brewer along with the carbohydrates and sugars and throw a bubble stone in the bucket at about 75-78 degrees for a day or two and guess what happens? LoL! Yep, microbe propagation just like a yeast starter. Once your tea has "krausened" well (18-24 hours @ 75F-78F is usually about right), you are good to go. Dilute the tea 50/50 with declorinated, tepid water and root drench.

Once you start brewing teas you'll never need or want to do anything else. You can even make your own base fertilizers with various types guano and compost. Remember, it's the microbes that do all the work especially if you are growing organic. A good healthy beneficial microbial culture in the rhizosphere means a healthy, more disease resistant plant with larger yield!

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