Re: whole soybean / soybean meal..update on going organic

minal(6)August 1, 2011

I have been reading previous posts about what kind of organic fertilizers to use. My options are:

1) To use feed store products. I did find a local feed store. On the website they mention they sell whole soybean, I am assuming thats different from soy bean meal. Has anyone used whole soybean?

The feedstore also sells organic "natures best" alfa alfa pellets in 50# quantities, cracked corn (50#), kelp, oats and organic rabbit pellets. They have not mentioned prices online because of changing prices. So will visit the store over the weekend to find out prices.

2)I also looked at the Scotts organic lawn fertilizer at home depot..not sure about that yet and checked out the broadcast rotary spreader..which I will need to buy.

3)I am also having a soil test done over the weekend, so will know the pH and NPK values. Not sure if they will give me the organic matter content info

4)I still do not know what kind of grass I have and not sure how to find out. I will check the original papers of the house if I can find some info about what kind of grass was planted.

Please let me know if I have overlooked anything else.

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Keep in mind that most all soybeans grown in the USA are genetically engineered to be resistant to glyphosate products and there is more and more evidence that this is haarmful to humans long term. Since the concept of genetic engineering is anathema to an organic gardener/farmer the use of those products probably should be also.
Usually zone 6 grasses are cool season grasses, Kemtuky Bluegrass, Perennial Rye, one or more of the Fescues, although people do seed other species. Possibly your state universities Cooperative Extension Service people couild help you identify what you have.
Sometimes those that do soil tests do give organic matter levels, often, lately, they do not. These simple soil tests can help you determine that, and some other soil related information.
1) Soil test for organic matter. From that soil sample put enough of the rest to make a 4 inch level in a clear 1 quart jar, with a tight fitting lid. Fill that jar with water and replace the lid, tightly. Shake the jar vigorously and then let it stand for 24 hours. Your soil will settle out according to soil particle size and weight. For example, a good loam will have about 1-3/4 inch (about 45%) of sand on the bottom. about 1 inch (about 25%) of silt next, about 1 inch (25%) of clay above that, and about 1/4 inch (about 5%) of organic matter on the top.

2) Drainage. Dig a hole 1 foot square and 1 foot deep and fill that with water. After that water drains away refill the hole with more water and time how long it takes that to drain away. Anything less than 2 hours and your soil drains� too quickly and needs more organic matter to slow that drainage down. Anything over 6 hours and the soil drains too slowly and needs lots of organic matter to speed it up.

3) Tilth. Take a handful of your slightly damp soil and squeeze it tightly. When the pressure is released the soil should hold together in that clump, but when poked with a finger that clump should fall apart.

4) Smell. What does your soil smell like? A pleasant, rich earthy odor? Putrid, offensive, repugnant odor? The more organic matter in your soil the more active the soil bacteria will be and the nicer your soil will smell.

5) Life. How many earthworms per shovel full were there? 5 or more indicates a pretty healthy soil. Fewer than 5, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicates a soil that is not healthy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Genetic Engineering

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 6:38AM
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Thanks for the tip about the state university for confirming grass type. I will find out about that. About the soybean, I was skeptical because of the whole soybean availability. So I will go with the alfa alfa pellets and then maybe rotate to something else next season. I will be buying a clear jar today from Walmart, I did see you had posted the organic matter test on a different post, so took a print out. Will try that in the next few days along with drainage, tilth and smell test. In terms of earthworms, they were about 1-2 when I dug up soil for the pH test. So I guess the soil is ok.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 8:34AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Your soil might be perfect but it helps to know what the mix of sand, silt, and clay are.

Where do you live?

If you spread whole soybeans you will have a crop of soybeans. You don't want that. That's why we get it ground up.

What kimmsr says about genetically modified beans is right, but I would still rather use organic anything than pure chemicals.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 4:17PM
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I live in Buffalo, NY. I did try contacting the local university for grass type, but havent heard back from them yet. I am planning to take a small piece of grass with me when I go for the soil test this weekend and see what they say.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 4:20PM
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Cornell Cooperative Extension Service should have an office in Buffalo.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell CES

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 8:06AM
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Thanks, yes I did send them an email, but they didnt reply back and the phone lines were busy. This the same organization which will be performing the soil test at my local farmers market this weekend, so lets see what they say when I show them a slice of lawn.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 2:46PM
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ok so I went to the feed store (which was just 20 min from my place). I bought 2 50lb bags of alfa alfa pellets. They were $13.80 each. The organic alfa alfa was $38 per bag, which was a little too expensive I thought. So anyway will this season with the non-organic, if it goes well then next year will consider the organic alfa alfa.
I did have one more question, I know its summer and in the mid 80s to low 70s, so should I wait till Sept to add the alfa alfa or can I add it tomorrow. Its going to rain tomorrow so I thought that would help dissolve the pellets. Any recommendations welcome.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 5:01PM
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You can apply those pellets to your lawn anytime, as long aas you do not apply them so thickly that they would bury the grass.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 7:21AM
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Great!. First I have to remove a few more weeds from the lawn and then apply today. Thanks a lot for everyone's help.
Oh and I did try that soil sedimentation test, but I used a small pint jar and no soil sediments formed. After a day the jar was filled with brown muddy thick solution. Anyway today I transferred everything to a larger jar, added a little more water, shook the jar and now will wait for something to form. Otherwise I will start over again with the bigger jar.
In terms of smell, the soil smelled great when I first filled it with water in the jar..I felt like eating eat. But after a day it had a weird smell.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 10:54AM
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