Will Garrett Juice harm lawn?

sunfire01(z8 TX)April 23, 2006

I know garrett juice sprayed on foliage and plants is safe and good but what about lawns? With vinegar in it I was wondering if it would kill the grass? or is apple cider vinegar different than white vinegar which is natural "roundup"

Thanks, Jason

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What is it this is supposed to do?
I don't see enough of any one thing to either harm or do good. Far better is to just get enough orgnaic matter into your soil and forget guys like this.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 7:12AM
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Garrett Juice won't harm your lawn. It will encourage microbial action and attracts helpful earthworms in the soil.

It is expensive though if you buy it from the garden centers or the feed stores. The Dirt Doctor has a lot of good ideas and is very helpful and is a regular Texas good ol' boy. But he is making a very good living off of his products.

If you log onto his web site you can get the recipe for Garrett Juice and make it yourself. Garrett doesn't believe in keeping any secrets when it comes to organic methods and he freely shares all his concoctions methods and techniques. You can even listen to him on the radio for an hour on Sunday mornings if you want to. He has seminars annually where organic gardeners in the DFW area get together and share all their info and meet Garrett and other well-known organic proponents.

Kimmser probably never heard much about him because he usually works just around the DFW area. But he's a good guy and I like his philosophy about organic methods. Knowledge is power, but he's not after any power, because he shares every scrap of knowledge he has with anyone who asks him.

When you put vinegar in your soil and water it in, it won't kill the grass or the roots. Your average apple cider vinegar probably isn't strong enough concentration to kill anything. But save the Garrett Juice for the garden plants anyway. Cheryl

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 4:58PM
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squeeze(z8 BC)

as someone who makes apple cider vinegar, I'll have to disagree mommy - any vinegar is acetic acid, and any vinegar for sale has to be a minimum of 5% acid - all vinegars range from 5-6.5%, and while common vinegars are diluted to 5 or 5.5%, an unaldultrated natural cider vinegar can easily be 6 or 6.5, making it somewhat stronger than commercial vinegars [including commercial "cider vinegar", which is most often white vinegar with coloring and "apple essence" added]

I'd never use vinegar on anything I didn't want to set back a lot - normal strength vinegar, even diluted, will kill the top growth of most weeds, agricultural strength [~20%] will kill all but the deepest roots as well

vinegar has no bacterial benefits as acetic bacteria feed on volume alcohol, and while it may have a temporary spot effect on pH, doesn't provide any benefits by it's acidity either - save it for better uses


    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 7:27PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Before we get any further away from the answer, let me interrupt. The commercial version of Garrett Juice is made at Garden-Ville outside of San Antonio. I've visited with them to see how it's made and asked the questions you're asking. The ONLY reason there is any vinegar in the bottle at all is to make the product last longer on the shelf. It is a temporary organic preservative. It is used in such small quantities that the soil microbes will digest it like the sugar it is in a day or so. It is not there as a defoliant. I think Garrett Juice was created in response to the supposedly natural "tonics" from Jerry Baker.

I don't always agree with Howard Garrett, but I have moderated his lawns form for the past few years. His intentions are very good. Homemade Garrett Juice is a much better product to use than the store-bought stuff, but if it is inconvenient to make, it is better to use the bottled version than nothing at all.

I am absolutely NOT shilling for HG when I say I think Garrett Juice has earned a place in the catalog of organic materials that are useful in the garden. Do I use it? No, but it still has a place.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 8:11PM
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If your soil does not have sufficient levels of organic matter these types of products may stimulate the soil bacteria and earthworms for a short time but once that is gone and there is no more food for them they will become dormant again and be of no value to you or your soil.
If you have enough organic matter in your soil so the soil bacteria and earthworms are already active there is no need for that stuff because it will simply do nothing. These products lull people into thinking they are being organic without really being organic, without having to do the little bit of work required to get organic matter into their soil. If you do not have enough orgnaic matter in your soil it will not be a good, healthy soil no matter what expensive "stuff" you spray around.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 7:15AM
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Visiting with several profs from different universities, they all tell me that they "strongly" disagree with HG. But this is America.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 11:45AM
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culdeus(z7 Dallas)

I was under the impression that GJ was primarily a foliar feed and not a soil drench. The "auntie-fuego" is the soil drench that he calls out.

Not sure what profs would disagree with HG about. From listening to him on the radio every other call is about exposing root flare of deeply buried trees. The rest of his stuff comes from universally used organic products and methods.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 11:50AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I agree kimmsr. Once you have the organic matter going good in your soil, you don't need to add more. You just need to keep what you have well fed. That can happen naturally or sometimes you need to supplement - just like with livestock.

The profs universally disagree with Howard on the subject of paramagnetism (me too). It's hooey in my book. Now having said that, K Chandler from the Texas Plant and Soil Lab, tests soil for paramagnetism when he is asked. He is finding that the soils that have above average levels of paramagnetism also are above average in plant production. He, too, is (or was) a skeptic of paramagnetism. He's still not sure what effect he's seeing.

Another thing the profs disagree with him on is his dogmatic belief that all synthetic fertilizers kill soil microbes. Another topic of disagreement is that all the popular herbicides cause cancer in everyone. If Howard could scale back his organic absolutism a notch or two, he might make more headway outside of Dallas.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 6:28PM
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squeeze(z8 BC)

dchall - this direction of the thread I can understand and agree with, but about vinegar, I have to point out "microbes will digest it like the sugar it is in a day or so" is misinformation - the amounts may be trivial, but vinegar is definitely not sugar [in a properly made, finished product], it is an acid, and it's preserveative properties are dependent on quantities sufficient to create a pH that won't support microbial life


Here is a link that might be useful: vinegar

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 11:59AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I agree with some of that Bill, you don't want strong acid on the soil unless you have a good reason. Carbohydrate acids can be sugars in the sense that carbohydrates are divided into sugars and starches. In any case, both are food for bacteria. But I understand your point. That's the reason I like the idea of making your own Garrett Juice rather than buying it. Once you dilute the store bought GJ in water, the pH will tend toward neutral. I think the primary targets for high pH would be the fungi, which you really want all you can get. I believe the bacteria are the ones that will digest the vinegar (and other simple sugars).

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 9:55PM
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I am wondering what products Howard benefits from the sale of (sorry about the prepositions at the end).

I did not know he had a financial interest in any products, except the books.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 9:36PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

seamommy said...
Garrett Juice won't harm your lawn. It will encourage microbial action and attracts helpful earthworms in the soil.

It is expensive though if you buy it from the garden centers or the feed stores. The Dirt Doctor has a lot of good ideas and is very helpful and is a regular Texas good ol' boy. But he is making a very good living off of his products.

and anotherview asked about that statement. I'm not sure he has any financial interest in any of the materials he promotes. As far as I know all he personally has for sale is books and memberships to his website. He's trying to syndicate his radio show, so that would be another source of income. Other than that, I believe he's in the landscaping business.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 1:04AM
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If you can get to Field Roebucks web site you will find that he, Field, tends to think Howard is dangerous.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 7:14AM
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I read the roebuck pages. I had to use Google cached pages becuase Roebuck has not paid his bill (according to the web page host).

OK, so he hates Howard. Not sure why becuase it is obviously personal.

On the other hand, a search of Howard's page shows no mention of Roebuck. At least in the battle of the web pages, Howard looks like the adult.

However, that is beside the point. Someone said that Howard makes money off of the products he promots. I suggest that is not true which would make it slander or something like that. I am only asking that person to name the product that he directly benefits by the sale (I concede his show benefits by advertising other people's products).

Actually, I think he is the most polite, patient talk show host ever. For example he lets people ask multiple questions, and he answers all questions of people who are on hold at the end of the show. That beats the other guys I have heard--including political shows, and car shows, and other gardening shows.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 11:15PM
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synger(MD z7)

Hmm.. I'd never heard of Garret, or Garrett Juice, but when I went to his site and looked at his recipe, I cant' see a whole lot wrong with it. It's basically manure tea, fortified with a bit of molasses, vinegar, and seaweed, mixed together and diluted with a gallon of water. The amount of vinegar is pretty small -- two tablespoons (one ounce) to the gallon of water.

Don't see what's so different between this and regular manure or compost tea brewed with molasses and seaweed, really.

And yes, he recommends that as his "basic organic foliar spray". I didn't see anything about soil drenches on the site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garrett Juice Recipe

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 1:49PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

90% of landscape services could use a lesson from Garrett on how to plant trees properly! And how to mow and water lawns properly too. That alone would make it so much better for us....

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 2:34PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Field is a lone (and loud) voice in the wilderness. With just a few exceptions, I think Howard is pretty much on the button. He is much more helpful or harmless than dangerous. Unlike Jerry Baker's concoctions, nothing Howard suggests is poisonous to soil microbes.

And to synger, Howard would NEVER suggest "manure" tea. NEVER EVER! Manure comes from the rear end of livestock. Compost comes from a pile that is at least 6 months old and more likely a year old. "Manure-based" COMPOST is compost made from manure that is at least 6 months to a year old. There is a very clear distinction in organic gardening.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 11:15PM
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This answer I wrote in another thread might help with a few of the questions. On syndication, yes I am now on 22 stations from coast to coast and growing. The list is on the web site. The show is also streamed live and archived for your listening pleasure anytime.

Hey, I love all this. The only thing I have read that surprises me is that I am a coward! That's a first. When a vet wrote that I was dealing in criminal activity by recommending feeding animals DE, I invited him on my show that week end. Turned out he didn't even know what feed grade DE was. When Ashton Richie of Scots Bonus S fame wanted to come on the show to promote his turf book, he was on that week end. I have publicly offered to debate the other radio guy at a venue of his choice. Although we could sell a lot of tickets to that event, it will never happen.

Since my favorite critic was mentioned, thought you might want to know a few facts about Field Roebuck the "open minded scientist." I hope he is OK, haven't talked to him years and not much seems to be happening on his site. My attorneys wanted to sue him for slander by I kinda enjoyed his rantings - thicken my skin for real criticism. He even wrote that I lied about being an arborist. It's his only inaccuracy that he recanted - even apologized. The other bizzare inaccuracies are too numerous to go into.

His main hang-up about me relates to lava sand. It kills him that so many homeowners and so much of the industry is selling and using lava with great success. He hated my teacher, Phil Callahan and never even met him. Best Field story for you - Malcolm Beck and I were with him at his house one day looking at plants and talking roses, when all of a sudden I looked down and saw lava rocks in his beds. Sneaking lava in here huh, Field? "Harrumph! Those are just for decoration"!

I'll only bore you with one more point of clarity to his disquisition on the dirtdoctor. I did take the full compliment of horticulture classes at Tech. That's where my introduction to plants and landscape design happened. Profs Reed, of Llano Estacado, and Zucockis (sp? sorry) hooked me completely. It was at that point I began to educate myself with everything I could find. My junior summer semester was spent in St. Thomas where 2 fellow students and I researched and wrote the problems course photo essay Plants of the Virgin Islands.

I have now written 14 books on plants, insects and organic programs. Texas Gardening - the Natural Way is the largest selling book in the history of UT Press. Several additional publications are at various stages of completion. My columns in the Dallas Morning News exceed 800.

And a final point. I don't have any gardening products. Garrett Juice is produced by at least 3 different companies and the formula is available to anyone who wants to make it. My name and seal are used on produces where we help with specifications and marketing.

There is one criticism of me that is correct - I make mistakes, admit them, adjust my recommendations and continue to learn and spread the word. I promise that will never change. hg

Here is a link that might be useful: Dirtdoctor

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 5:08PM
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sloppy_joe(8A/7B NC)

Garrett Juice will not hurt the lawn; it is a good foliar-feed in my experiences. That being said, I use compost, compost tea, and green sand primarily. Sometimes I'll buy different compost types (cotton burr, manure-based, etc.) or will use my own (limited in space so I never have a lot to use). Using compost mainly and other organic additives (especially seaweed) should take care of all the nutrient needs. For veggies especially (but for everything, really), I use compost tea (mixed w/ some seaweed) as a foliar-feed and soil drench every few weeks in the growing season w/ great success.

As for the opinions and perceptions of HG, I have to thank him for making me aware of organic methods. Although we all may disagree with some of points or perspectives, I appreciate his open attitude and willingness to accept criticism.

HG, thanks for addressing and being an open-minded voice for organic gardening. Your encouragement of people to seek their own opinions and research is appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 10:02AM
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