4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Chemical Fertilizers

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These white petunias are ONE PLANT. And guess what… I didn’t use any chemical fertilizers!

1. They Harm The Soil

This is actually true. For truly healthy plants to grow, you also need bio-active soil. When chemicals are applied to the soil, they kill the fungi. The same thing happens when the soil is exposed to the sun’s UV rays. But why you shouldn’t till is a story for another time. So while your plants might get a temporary boost, this will not be maintained throughout the growing season and more chemicals will need to be reapplied. The problem is, every time you reapply the chemicals, the soil conditions get worse and worse. The key to a healthy soil is organic matter, which feeds the bacteria and fungi, and they feed the plants.

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Mulching the soil like we did here protects the soil, adds to the biomass, and holds in water.

2. They are not Cost Effective 

You sure can spend a lot of money on fertilizers, especially MiracleGro. And knowing it just makes your situation worse, why would you keep throwing money down the toilet?? Even if you have to go out and buy manure or compost, at least you are investing in soil building materials.

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Chickens can help build up the organic matter in your soil.

3. They Don’t Build up the Soil

Organic matter builds up soil, not some blue powder in a box you got from Walmart. Chemical fertilizers typically give the soil one blast of nutrients. If these aren’t used up right away, they will usually run off because there is no organic matter anchoring them in place. When you feed your soil with compost, or rotted manure, the soil is slow-release fed the nutrients and there is no fear of them leaving since the organic matter binds it down.

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Who doesn’t love seeing butterflies and bees on their flowers?!?

4. Chemicals can Harm Local Wildlife

I mean, if bugs are directly exposed to chemical fertilizers, they could sustain life-ending damage! Don’t think you won’t harm the earthworms. And if it isn’t all consumed by the plants, it could work its way into bodies of water and harm wildlife there! Manure if properly used won’t cause these problems.

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Chickens are handy little manure producers!

What can I do About it?

First off, don’t blow any more money on chemical fertilizers. Secondly, start composting NOW! This is pretty easy to do. Also, I highly recommend getting a flock of chickens. I’m serious! Their manure can be composted with materials high in carbon to create a very high quality organic fertilizer. If you can’t get chickens, I would look into starting a worm bin (video below) for worm castings. If that also isn’t an option, look into purchasing some manure or compost from a local farmer or gardener. They may even be happy to give you some! (Always make sure all manure is fully composted and broken down before using on plants grown for consumption.)

Thanks for reading!

 

My Top 3 Posts of 2019

 Post Number Three: 

This post received 8 likes so it’s my 3rd most liked post of 2019!

3 More Perennials to Consider Growing This Year

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Number One

New England Asters

I have blogged about these twice before, and I believe they are a great addition to any garden.

Asters are drought tolerant, native to North America, and provide flowers when everything else is pretty much done for the summer. Most native plant nurseries offer them.

Number Two

Wild Geranium

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These grow quite good, either in full sun or full shade or in between. I like them so much, I even featured them as Flower of the Month, one time this past summer.

Wild Geraniums are very hardy, reseed a lot, and are also native to North America. I think you could grow them in Europe, too.

Number Three

Lilies

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I talked about daylilys last time, but lilies are different in many ways.

Lilies create more plants every year, look great, and are decently hardy. One pro is that they are widely available at most garden centers.

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Post Number Two:

This post received 9 likes so it’s my 2nd most liked post of 2019!

4 Perennials to Consider Growing This Year

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NUMBER ONE: Pink Coneflowers (pictured above)

Or any other coneflowers, for that matter. Coneflowers are good for supporting local wildlife, including bees and butterflies. They are very cold hardy, make more plants every year, and if they are not hybrid, they will even drop seeds that will germinate.

NUMBER TWO: Bearded Iris

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I don’t have any photos of it in bloom, but if you’ve ever seen it in bloom, you know why I included it in this post. Bearded Iris is SUPER hardy-at least in the winter- and doesn’t require a lot of care. It also creates up to ten plants from one plant in one year’s time. (See clump pictured above.)

NUMBER THREE: Shasta Daisy

I wanted to get these for several years now. In 2018, we finally got our first two plants. This year I plan on dividing them, and we will have more daisies! Hopefully they come back this spring!

Shasta Daisies are easy to care for, and they bloomed multiple times over this past summer.

NUMBER FOUR: Daylilies

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There is multiple varieties to try with these, so you’ll have a lot of vibrant choices. You can divide these every few years, and hummingbirds may drink from their flowers. Most kinds bloom all summer long.

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Post Number One: 

Growing Guide: Sunflowers

This post received 14 likes, making it my most popular post of 2019!

Sunflower Overview

Sunflowers are great plants that are very easy to grow, heat tolerant, and are awesome as cut flowers.

Planting Process

Direct sow the seeds in warm soil, in a very sunny spot. Don’t plant them indoors, and then transplant, because they don’t like the stress. If you HAVE to plant them indoors, put them in biodegradable pots. Water well until they have been out of the ground for two weeks-unless you live in a desert. I recommend giving them as much sun as possible.

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Potential Problems

Bugs

Sunflowers are really quite hardy and even if something eats them, their leaves are so big and tough, they are generally okay. However, the Japanese beetles have been getting worse in my area, and were all over almost everything in the garden this past summer.

Luckily though, we figured out a solution. Every time we saw a beetle, we grabbed a chicken, and showed it the beetle. They then ate it. If you aren’t lucky enough to have Chicken Patrol, you can handpick the beetles, or just leave them.

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Thanks for reading my Top 3 Posts of 2019! I hope you enjoyed.

Flowers That Save You Money (Part One)

Making use of old content… Hope you enjoy.

Gardening for America

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I am reusing some content… Hope you enjoy this post from May 2018!

In this post I will discuss flowers that save you money.

Johnny Jump-ups

I know, I know, I include Johnny Jump-ups in my blog way too much. Here’s the reason why. They self-seed, which means if you buy twelve, next year you’ll have like a hundred. Just keep in mind that they can seem like weeds when they take over your flower garden and start moving into your yard. In my flower garden, they have moved from their neat little patch from last year and started encroaching on the path. I still love the crazy hybrids they create every year, though.

Cosmos

I’m sorry I couldn’t include a photo of my cosmos in this post, hopefully I’ll be able to post some soon. I love this flower because they require absolutely no fertilizer to look amazing. They…

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Why Haven’t I Posted Regularly?!?

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The current view out my window.

The reason why is simple, really. Time. Back when I started the blog, I didn’t have a YouTube channel, didn’t have another blog, and I didn’t have a flock of chickens to care for. Lately I’ve been posting more on Homesteading for America, so this blog kind of got the bad end of the deal. Plus as you can see from the photo above, there aren’t any plants growing outdoors this time of year so I kind of lack new gardening content to post about.

This winter I hope to make more time to produce content for this blog – thanks for sticking around!

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New England Asters

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The butterflies love these flowers!

Now is the time of the year for Asters! Read about them here.

This year my Aster colony is bigger than ever, with the main plant’s 2018 children blooming this year. Also the white asters that grow by themselves in the wild around here are also blooming.

20190915_153807.jpgAsters provide nectar for butterflies and bees during a time of year when nothing else is flowering.

The New Flower Garden

20190825_094808So last fall we ripped out some evergreen bushes were the new flower garden currently is. In this post I’m going to tell you how to design and plant your own.

20190823_185249First, choose an area. It needs to get as much sun as possible. Clear the area of any weeds, rocks, or bushes. We cleared the bushes ourselves, then let the chickens take care of the weeds. We then planted flowers (all annuals for maximum color) then put down cocoa mulch 2 or so inches deep. This is important for keeping weeds down until the flowers fill in the garden, and it also keeps the ground moist.

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This is just ONE plant!

Just so you know, I have not fertilized at all, not counting the chicken manure from when they were weeding it. And it is still the most amazing flower garden I have ever seen!

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Petunias, both the spreading kind and the regular kind.

Zinnias. Add lots of these for plenty of color.

Coleus. These fill space and are very colorful.

Cosmos. These are great for the middle of your flower garden.

Thanks for reading!

3 Flowers That Attract More Bees and Butterflies

20190731_1346141: Butterfly Bush

This one should be obvious, but it’s still a good one for the list. Bees and butterflies both enjoy this plant. It’s very easy to grow, just give it 8+ hours of sun a day. It’s only rated for zone 5 winters, but one of my plants survived a very harsh zone 4 winter. So give them plenty of mulch and they may just make it!

20190731_1345492: Coneflowers 

These are pretty drought tolerant, bees like them, and butterflies like them, plus they look good, so why wouldn’t you grow them?

20190727_154726.jpg3: Daisies 

Daisies are native to North America and are cold hardy, so why not give them a try? Read more about them here.

Flower of the Month – July 2019

20190729_095230Daisies! I chose this flower since they grew and spread this year a lot! Their flowers are also spectacular as you can see from the above photo. If you don’t already grow this plant, I hope you consider getting some. They support butterflies, and bees, and are a native plant to North America. I recommend checking out your local garden center or nursery for plants.

Thanks for reading!

Growing Guide: Sunflowers — Gardening for America

Here’s the first of many growing guides to come: Sunflower Overview Sunflowers are great plants that are very easy to grow, heat tolerant, and are awesome as cut flowers. Planting Process Direct sow the seeds in warm soil, in a very sunny spot. Don’t plant them indoors, and then transplant, because they don’t like the […]

via Growing Guide: Sunflowers — Gardening for America

Flower of the Month- May 2019

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Tulips! I chose these because of their hardiness, and because of their fantastic blooms! I hope you have the opportunity to grow them, because they bloom so early in the year.

I currently have around 20 plants, and they make more every year, so I bet I’ll have 25 or so next year.

Don’t forget to like this post- it helps get it more widespread. Thanks!