Need some help moving to organic
Summarizing my lawn: 2nd year of KBG sod, self-installed on site of new construction - 50% of the topsoil left from former home and 50% imported. Performed soil tests in 4 quadrants, typical low Jersey pH, lacking nutrients, variable percentage of organics, and soil ranged from sandy loam, to loam, to silt loam. Tilled in lime and peat moss to address. Followed sod farm's recommendations to the letter for fertilization and watering during first year. Sod was gorgeous and roots were 5-6 inches deep by year's end.
This year, green up was slow, but we had a warm winter and my winterizer might have been too early, but then two severe ice storm events, back-to-back, just before spring kept the lawn under ice for 2 weeks each storm. I fertilized once this year in mid-April using a combo fertilizer and pre-emergent (Lesco product) and the lawn responded OK, but didn't look as thick and lush as last year. Also, I have considerable thatch, which I've been told is common to KBG, especially sod. This tells me I don't have enough micro-organisms to keep up... I know I have earthworms, which is good, but I think I need more of the little guys working.
I was given the advice to apply a "soil activator" which seems to be nothing more than food for the microbes. I bought and applied Nature's Magic from Nature's Lawn (humic acid and kelp).
If I follow the synthetic schedule, it's time for an application, which would be 24-5-11 that is 50% slow release nitrogen and includes 5% iron. I can tell you my sod is starving for nitrogen because it's very obvious where my dog has visited - lush, thick green. I'm not surprised as I know my soil type tends to leach. I have also been bagging my clippings for the last month because I have some poa annua I don't want to spread. I will return to mulching when the heat kills off the poa annua. I water at a rate of 1 to 1-1/2 inches per week in the spring and fall in two applications and 2 inches of water per week in the summer with three applications (my lawn is 90 percent full sun).
Now the questions. What should I do to move towards and organic program now? Reading the threads, soybean meal seems right... I can get it at the local Agway, well probably anywhere in Jersey considering our soybean farming. However, if corn gluten meal is a better choice, that might be impossible to find. As a kid I worked at Schalick Mills in Elmer and slung 80# sacks of it all day long, but they don't have it now. Can't say I'm surprised with dramatic decrease in farming and stock raising here in New Jersey where once thriving fields are now replaced with farms of McMansions...
Please help guide me to a better lawn!