Is miracle grow is the only plant food out there?

Lalamtx24869(Fort Worth, TX)May 27, 2004

I am looking for other alternative of miracle grow plant food.

Is there anything else out there that is natural as a plant food? If I don't have to buy and pay for it that would be better. Thanks.

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I use Alaska Fish Oil 5-1-1 in addtion to MiracleGro, but of course it's not FREE. I suggest using compost (if you can get it free) and make compost tea.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2004 at 8:46PM
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SirTanon(z9 AZ)

Alaska also makes another product that is 0-10-10 that's great when you want to encourage blooming and fruiting :)

I have a farmer friend who insists on using leftover fish guts and pieces in her garden. She just buries them down in the dirt. I don't know how sanitary it is, but she swears by it. If you live anywhere near a wharf or a fish market, you might check around there.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 10:14AM
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Do they sell Espoma products in TX? If so, I recommend Tomato-Tone and Tomato-Tone.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 3:01PM
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Tomato-Tone and Garden-Tone. Here's the website.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Tones

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 3:03PM
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Lalamtx24869(Fort Worth, TX)

I am not sure if they sell Epsoma here in TX. I will definitely check the The Tones Website. Thanks everyone for your help.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2004 at 8:11AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

If you go to the tomato forum there's a thread on the first page right now about Miracle Grow and many excellent posts have followed.

More to the point, many excellent suggestions have been made, particularly at the end of that long thread, about alternatives to MG.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2004 at 10:47AM
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Lalamtx24869(Fort Worth, TX)

Thank you. Sorry....I could tell you are very organized.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 8:36PM
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I've been using Fish Emulsion, and am having my best crop of tomato plants yet!! Also-I followed the suggestion of sprinking epsom salts in the soil before I planted each seedling, and they took off much better than other years!!! greenwitch

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 10:29PM
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Lalamtx24869(Fort Worth, TX)

Missouri G.

I will try the epsom salt & fish emulsion next year. I just didn't have enough experience before I started my garden. I am a new gardener and still trying to's not easy.

Anyway, do you buy the fish emulsion at the store or you buy the fish? I don't know how it works. Please give me more info about this. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2004 at 11:39PM
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Coming late to the party here - but I used to swear by Miracle Grow until I got more into "natural/organic" gardening.

I then started using more natural fertilizer products from "Gardens Alive", which worked very well for me.

However, now that I have my own farm where I also raise horses, I spend the late fall/winter dumping all my horse manure & used stall bedding in my garden area. I stop in mid/late February, & by planting time in my area (April/May), I have a garden that is nearly 100% compost. Not only have I not yet had to use ANY supplemental fertilizer, but absolutely everything I've grown has grown stupendously.

If you can contact any horse farms/horse owners in your area, you will most probably find that they are more than willing to give away as much manure as you want to take.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 11:16AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Miracle-Gro, Rapid Gro and Peter's have their uses. They provide essentially the same molecules as more "natural" nutrients, but in a different way. The blue stuff is useful for:

Convenience - Ever try to use horse manure on orchids, African violets or seedling flats?

Quick Action - When something needs a quick boost, time release fertilizers won't do. Blue stuff works fast.

Good Control - A weak dilution of blue stuff with every watering gives very predictable, good results.

In my garden, I like to use lots of compost as well as cotton seed meal, rock phosphate, green sand, stuff like that. I keep some blue stuff on hand also. For potted plants I alternate it with occasional doses of fish emulsion, which provides all the trace elements.


    Bookmark   January 23, 2005 at 7:50PM
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OOH! you can also get some redworms, and maybe a bit of dirt and lawn clippings to start with, ocasional paper towel rolls, and have your own worm farm! Feed them all your non-meat food scraps... Ive even seen greenhouses in Wisconsin ( using half-rotted, still "hot" veggie compost with a mix of redworms as the base of beds- growing arugula and baby lettuce in February with no additional heat! but thats a bit more involved than just fertilizer ;-)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2005 at 7:58PM
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There are many organic options available. Look up "organic fertilizers" on google. I'm fortunate to have adopted a rabbit so she provides plenty of fertilizer for my small garden :) There are rabbit rescues around us that offer free manure for gardeners. Rabbit droppings are probably the best manure fertilizer as they do not need to be composted before use and have a relatively balanced composition. They act as little time released pellets.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:09PM
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taffyj(8b LA)

This year I will try starting with cottonseed meal and lime, then a thick hay mulch over the entire garden. I'll just rake back the hay where I want to plant. After that, I'll use hardwood ash which I have been saving from the fireplace, composted chicken manure, and diluted, composted urine.

It has taken a lot of reading to get to this plan. I had to think of something, cause I can't afford and don't want factory made fertilizer. I'm still fine tuning the ratios for all this stuff by cross referencing several sources. And all that will depend on the results of the soil test, too.

But, yeah, in short, I want to stay away from miracle gro too.

Last fall I covered my entire garden with a foot deep of leaves. I had very few weeds this summer and the ones I had were easy to pull. The soil stayed cool though the sun was blazing. The garden did better than all my neighbors who had bare baked soil, though I never watered mine. (just rain) So I already know the mulch works well for me here.

Now I need some experience using ash, manure, and urine.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 3:57AM
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Lalamtx24869 WROTE: >> I am looking for other alternative of miracle grow plant food. Is there anything else out there that is natural as a plant food? If I don't have to buy and pay for it that would be better. Thanks. Here is the deep dark secret and the mystery of compost and compost tea revealed. This might not be common knowledge because no one has figured out how to make a buck out of it yet. Please, for goodness sakes, tell as many people as possible. Its simple, its straightforward, its proven and it actually works on ANY plants, whether they are vegetables or shrubs.

If you or someone in your family cuts the grass on your lawn, you can make your own COMPOST and COMPOST TEA to use both as plant food.

Apply the compost and "tea" straight out of a watering can every seven to ten days. Obviously, don't try drinking the stuff.

To make COMPOST, pile old grass cuttings (clippings) into a pile and as you build up the pile every six or so inches, VERY LIGHTLY sprinkle some water over the top. You want slightly moist, NOT wet. Use some chicken wire to make a cylinder about two feet across to pile the grass cuttings in.

Use a garden fork or a pitch fork to turn the entire pile every 7 to 10 days and re-pile it into to chicken wire cylinder. Don't forget to LIGHTLY sprinkle water on every five or six inches over the top of the pile as you re-build it up. The idea is to work the OUTSIDE brown edges into the center of the pile.

If you have some egg shells, crush them up into a powder and throw them on top of the pile also. CALCIUM. Its good composting stuff.

You will probably notice after a few days the pile may likely give off steam from the heat inside. That is a GOOD THING. If you follow the above instructions, the pile will not smell.

After 35 to 40 or so days, at the very bottom of the pile, you'll find rich dark COMPOST. Remove it and using the garden fork, turn the remaining part of the pile and add some new cuttings to it if you want, then re-pile it and also re-sprinkle the rest of the grass cuttings pile.

From the compost you have collected, spoon about a fist-full or two of it into an old knee high NON-DYED nylon sock. Tie a string to the sock and suspend it above the bottom in a small two or three gallon pail that is full of ordinary room temperature tap water. Use a small aquarium pump (from Walmart) and a five inch air-stone (from Walmart) to bubble the mixture in the suspended sock for about 12 hours and then remove the sock and toss the mixture in it on the garden soil around your plants.

In the brownish liquid that remains in the pail, leave the bubbler air-stone running for another 24 hours. Use clean coffee filters to pour the resultant COMPOST TEA through to filter and apply a couple of ounces of this "tea" directly to the soil around each plant. Its plant food !

Thoroughly clean the bucket, air-stone(s), socks and clear plastic air-hoses in hydrogen peroxide and rinse them in tap water to ready them for the next time around.

That is all there is too it. Please don't mystify this simple process. Just tell as many people as possible. Compost tea works.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:27PM
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Good for you. Fertilizing can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. In our area, there are a lot of farmers who offer free composted manure to people who will haul it off. I went the worm bin route because I didn't want to use miracle gro and It is one of many easy compost methods! I like your idea of putting out hay and raking it back.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 6:01PM
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