cross-posting: Anyone up for Experimental Organics?

serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)March 31, 2010

Hi, everyone. I am doing a poll on who is going to be doing Organic experiments for 2010, LOL! I posted an identical post at a wonderful site in England so that we can do a cross-comparison. It seems so far, however, that Americans are the ones going hog wild with all kinds of homemade recipes so far, LOL! Here is what I wrote on the English rose site:

I thought this would be a fun post for those who are up for experiments with organics and how their garden is progressing with those organics....Sometimes with organics we have to a test-and-try whenever we hear about certain organic remedies. We have to figure out is this really hearsay, personal anecdote, what works and what doesn't in our particular organic garden.

There are two main things which people drive people crazy---blackspot and insects.

My friend Jim and I have heard a couple of hearsay methods and am willing to give it a spin for the year 2010.

My experiment with blackspot is this...using a foliar feed of fish emulsion oils with Greencure (potassium bicarbonate) all mixed in together and seeing how well the buffer works. Again this may only lessen blackspot about 45%-70%. My application will begin tomorrow. Last year I only used Greencure. My roses remained pristine until the heavy rains fell at the end of August. Blackspot gradually kept attacking because the rains kept washing everything out. So I'm upping the amp now with the fish oils/Greencure combo.

I had scented geraniums below my Lincolns. They were the slowest to get blackspot and had the least blackspot out of my roses, but I'm not sure whether this was because Lincolns are pretty resistant to blackspot. Geraniums are supposed to help buffer against blackspot. This year I won't be growing the scented geraniums, because I'm too lazy! I only like perennials because I don't have to keep replanting over and over again. Anyone up for a geranium experiment and can report???? Since I'm not growing geraniums this year I will let everyone know if I get more blackspot on my Lincolns compared to last year.

Jim's experiment will be using cornmeal on his soil as well. We heard that this was a good deterrent from blackspot overwintering in the soil. I would like to try the cornmeal but I keep forgetting to do this.

My year 2009 experiment against thrips was this and it worked for my hybrid teas. I use hot pepper wax spray as a repellent just for the blooms themselves. I spray in incremental measures as the bloom is developing up until the point when the bud opens and the color starts to show. Once the sepals open I stop spraying the buds with the hot pepper spray because I want the bees to continue visiting my flowers. This has proven to be 65%-100% effective. I have pretty heavy thrips infestations because I made the huge mistake of planting gladiolus (thrips magnets) with my roses last year. I'm quite happy with the hot pepper wax spray.

Anyone up for a black citrus fly experiment using ginger??? I heard this from a very nice gentleman who works for Walmart. He grew orange trees when he lived in California and at first he had a problem with black citrus fly (aphids) and those caterpillar types of worms. Now every season he'll spray this ginger root liquid and he says all those aphids and caterpillar worms will fall off immediately and won't bother his trees for the rest of the season.

Anyone else doing any organics experiments? It doesn't necessarily have to do with just insects and blackspot. Just as long as it's an experiment! I'm going to also place this experiment list on the American side so we can do a side-by-side comparison with what's going on in Europe and abroad and their ideas.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The current issue of Fine Gardening magazine has an excellent article by Paul Zimmerman on growing Roses properly. Pretty much what I have been telling people here for years, a good, healthy soil will grow strong and healthy plants that are better able to withstand insect pests and plant diseases.
I doubt that there is very much "experimentation" in organic practices needed, except by those that have not studied the works of Sir Albert Howard yet.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

LOL, this isn't a healthy soil debate. Healthy soil is critical for growing healthy roses. This thread is for people who have BS vulnerable roses and are attached to certain roses that don't have very good BS resistance for example.

A key point in mind is Zephirine Drouhin. People grow it because they are crazy about its wonderful fragrance, beauty, but it is also a rose notorious for being a mess--attacked constantly for powdery mildew and BS. Some people love their lavender roses, which are very fragile. Same goes for a lot of hybrid teas.

So again, let's just stick to the topic of organic experiments for those of us who are interested. Those who aren't needn't respond. Thanks all!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 1:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

P.S. Paul Zimmerman also protects his roses with lime and sulfur applications.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 1:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Until someone grows roses in all 50 states and all different garden areas of those states, studies mean nothing for real life situations.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 8:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Personally, i'm trying to plant roses that get little to no blackspot in our garden, so, I do not have to spray the leaves with anything. I did spread cornmeal around the roses bases. And I do realize that each growing season will be different in terms of climate, extended rainy times, etc., so, the roses will have to be very disease resistant.
The soil here is very good, so, that's not a issue.

KIMMSR, a person needs to grow all types of roses in all 50 states to realize and understand that blackspot disease pressure and insect problems are way different in some areas of the countries in spite of how great the soil is.

My suggestions for people who live in really bad Blackspot prone areas or any area is to build a great healthy soil system, plant very disease resistant roses, plant in full sun of over 6 hours of direct sunlight, (early morning sun would dry the leaves faster), provide good air circulation for the roses
and if Blackspot is still a problem, try using organic type fungicides before turning to stronger chemical sprays.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

I'm going to read the works of Sir Albert Howard.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2010 at 10:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I correspond with people all over the world that do grow roses and every one agrees that growing roses in a good, healthy soil will greatly aid in not having roses with Black Spot, people that tell me that if your plants are bothered by insect pests or plant diseases you need to look closely at the soil for the reason.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Kimmsr - a quick visit to the Antique Rose Forum (where many are organic gardeners), will show that you are wrong.

The need for "good, healthy soil" is obvious. But the next step to ensure healthy roses is to choose varieties that will be BS-resistant in your area. People need to get over the idea that they can grow perfect, modern-shaped, just-came-out-of-the-florist-box roses in their gardens.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 9:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.

Quotes from Works of Sir Albert Howard: pargraph 3, he mentions unsuitable varieties. Indeed some roses can be classified as unsuitable varieties for some areas of the country.
"Humus and Disease Resistance. The evidence in favor of the view that disease resistance in plants and animals depends on soil fertility is considerable.

My own experience in India from 1905 to 1931 was recently summoned up in a paper on the Role of Insects and Fungi in Agriculture, published in The Empire Cotton Growing Review, XIII, July, 1936, page 191. In this paper I gave a short sketch of my experience of disease from my student days till now. I concluded the paper as follows: --

"Insects and fungi are not the real cause of plant diseases, and only attack unsuitable varieties or crops improperly grown. Their true role in agriculture is that of censors for pointing out the crops which are imperfectly nourished. Disease resistance seems to be the natural reward of healthy and well-nourished protoplasm. The first step is to make the soil live by seeing that the supply of humus is maintained."

The most striking confirmation of my views has been supplied by commercial vegetable growers who use humus only, for growing their produce. Near Flushing in Holland, Dr. Pfeiffer informs me that insect and fungus diseases are negligible and that no poison sprays are ever used. Captain Wilson's experience at Surfleet in South Lincolnshire, where the Indore Process is in operation, is still more striking. I have never seen healthier crops than those at Surfleet, or crops freer from disease. Mr. Secrett's results at Walton-on-Thames are much the same as those at Surfleet.

In regard to animal diseases my experience in India was very similar. In 1910 I was allowed to have my own oxen at Pusa, and at once decided to make use of these animals for the study of disease. The greatest care was taken with the selection of the breed and of the type of animal; the feeding, hygiene and management were as near perfection as I could make them.

I had my own oxen at Quetta and at Indore, and managed them on lines similar to those adopted at Pusa.

For twenty-one years -- 1910 to 1931 -- I was able to study the reaction of well-fed animals to the epidemic diseases such as rinderpest, foot-and-mouth disease, septicaemia, and so forth, which frequently devastated the countryside. None of my animals were segregated; none were inoculated; they frequently came in contact with diseased stock. No case of infectious disease occurred. The reward of well-nourished protoplasm was a very high degree of disease resistance, which might even be described as immunity." [ibid].

The principle underlying this power of the plant and of the animal -- or man -- consuming it to resist disease came to light in his researches on tea and other tropical plants and in those of one of his colleagues, Dr. Rayner, on forestry: --

"How does humus affect the crop generally and how does a factor like this increase resistance to disease? The large-scale trials of the Indore process now being carried out on tea, coffee, rubber, cacao and other crops in the tropics have furnished some interesting information on these questions.

In a number of cases in tea and rubber in particular, very striking results followed closely on one dressing of compost applied at the rate of five tons to the acre. There was a marked improvement in growth and also in resistance to insect pests such as red spider, Tortrix and mosquito blight (Helopeltis). Two applications of compost have also transformed a derelict tea garden into something above the average of the locality. In a recent tour of tea estates in India and Ceylon I have seen these results for myself, and have discussed matters on the spot with the men who have obtained them.

When these cases were first brought to my notice towards the end of 1936 and during 1937 I found considerable difficulty in understanding them. If humus acts as an indirect manure by (1) recreating the crumb structure and so improving the tilth, and (2) by furnishing the soil population with food from the use of which the soil solution eventually becomes enriched to the advantage of the crop, such factors would take time and we should expect results, if any, to be slow. The improvement following humus was the reverse of slow -- it was immediate and spectacular. Some other factor besides soil fertility appeared, therefore, to be at work.

After much thought it occurred to me that the explanation would be found in the active root system of tea and rubber, and that the remarkable results recently obtained by Dr. M.C. Rayner on mycorrhiza in relation to forestry at Wareham in Dorset would apply to tropical crops.

The simplest and most obvious explanation of the sudden improvement after one application of compost is the well-known effect of humus in stimulating the mycorrhiza which are known to occur in the absorbing roots of tea, and which in all probability are to be found in rubber, coffee and other cultivated plants in the tropics. Now compost is essential for the full activity of these mycorrhiza -- a fact which has been strikingly brought out by the recent work on conifers in this country. How the compost acts is a matter which is certain to engage the attention of specialists for some time to come. I have been in touch with these investigations and have confirmed their great importance by independent observations in the nurseries of the Liverpool Corporation at Lake Vyrnwy. Compost leads to the formation of numerous mycorrhiza and to exceedingly well-grown nursery plants. Where no compost is used the growth is poor and the stock is unhealthy.

The mycorrhiza appears to be the machinery provided by Nature for the fungi living on humus in the soil to transmit direct to the active area of the roots the contents of their own cells. Whether this is the only means by which such things as accessory growth substances can safely pass from humus to plant, or whether the fungi provide essential materials for their manufacture in the plant itself, has yet to be determined with certainty. Some such explanation of what is taking place seems exceedingly probable. If the accessory growth substances contributed by humus were to pass from the soil organic matter into the pore spaces of the soil they would have to run the gauntlet of the intense oxidation process going on in the water films which line these pores. In this passage any substance of organic origin would be almost certain to be seized upon by the soil population for food and oxidized to simple substances, such as the plant ordinarily takes in by the root hairs. If, as seems almost certain, freshly prepared humus (obtained from animal and vegetable wastes) does contain growth-promoting substances (roughly corresponding to the vitamins in food), it would be necessary to get these into the plant undamaged and with the least possible delay. The mycorrhiza association in the roots, by which a rapid and protected passage for such substances is provided, seems to be one of Nature's ways of helping the plant to resist disease.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 12:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jim1961 Zone 6a Central Pa.


I agree with you that healthy soil is #1 before planting anything and maintaining that healthy soil. I just do not agree that it helps everywhere with every type of rose by preventing disease.
I feel it takes a combination of very healthy soil and picking the correct rose with the greatest disease resistance for your garden.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It makes me a little sick to hear someone say that there is no need for experimentation.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anntn6b(z6b TN)

the problem is that there are different kinds of experiments. Some are so ill conceived as to be misleading.
An example would be the Iowa State tests on Rose Rosette Disease and its spread to ornamental roses. Under the conditions of their tests they reported that ornamental roses are seldom susceptible to RRD. This has lead to many, many misunderstandings. They now say that it ONLY applies to the conditions of their tests.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 4:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Of course there are different kinds of experimentation. Bring 'em on! The faulty ones won't bear up under scrutiny. But without those with inquisitive minds and curious natures in our midst, we won't progress very far as a society.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 1:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would like to see pictures of roses in August. We could have a "2010 Foliage Award".

I do this annually in my garden as it gives the roses something to strive for. The winners are always modest and everyone is encouraged to do better the following year. Last year the co-champions were Henri Martin ( moss) and Alice Vena (gallica). The remontant winner was Prairie Harvest (Buck shrub).

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 9:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

Rhizo-1, yes, I too love experiments. But granted these are not serious experiments, just fun things to do for people who enjoy the process. It's fun to play around with organics I feel! You might as well make things fun while waiting. I expected tons and tons of BS to overwinter since I didn't get blackspot until the rainy fall and I thought hmmm, since this is my second year of rose-growing in my garden I expected an onslaught because I didn't clean up my BS ridden leaves until March 1st 2010, and never was any sulfur applied to the soil either plus I have tons of rotting composting annuals in my soil. But so far everything looks great! I still FORGOT THE CORNMEAL! lol! We'll see, not an ounce of powdery mildew or BS yet. But just wait until I get the onslaught of fall rains, lol!

AnnTN I definitely agree that true experiments involve very tight control groups. Everyone has different soils and different roses so this can tremendously impact the effectiveness of the experiments. The only "accurate" experiments I've ever tried was doing a test group of 6 transplanted baby lavenders. Each of those lavenders was placed in the exact same soil and were of identical sizes and came from the exact same organics grocery store. I fed 1/2 of those transplanted lavenders with B1 vitamin and the other 1/2 with Gardenville sea tea. I quickly concluded that B1 vitamin didn't do a whit for my baby lavender-they remained tiny for two weeks, whereas the sea tea fed lavender doubled in size. Hence I concluded that B1 vitamin was a bunch of bogus in terms of "helping with transplant shock" or being a plant nutrient.

But again these organic experiments are just for fun and for curiosity's sake.

Maureen, fantastic idea! A Foliage Award, I love it!.

Let's add this foliage award for 2010...I expect to be the last-in-place, lol! Also the Foliage Award gives more motivation and gives visual "proof" of one's experiment.

O.K. here is how I would describe my soil...heavy clumpy clay. My climate is hot in the summer 85-100 degrees in August, winters used to be mild with only 3 snow days, but not this year! Record-breaking snows and cold. Spring has been very reasonable in terms of rain, lots of clear skies so that is why I am guessing there is no blackspot or powdery mildew yet (last year my full-sun roses remained BS-free for Spring and Summer only because my roses are 1st year roses). Two of my newly planted roses receive shade, but there will be 4 total with shade. In the backyard there will be full sun for half of the day during summers, when fall comes they will be in partial shade because the direction of the sun will shift and the shade growing roses will actually increase in sunlight just a little bit.

Next I will categorize the health of my vulnerable hybrid teas versus my resistant OGRs separately so that we don't confuse issues. Unfortunately the OGRs will experience their 1st year of growing so that there is no comparison between past performance and new performance. My goal is to remain BS free during the fall rains, FAT CHANCE, but at least I can entertain myself, hee-hee!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I believe this would be organic. I've been curious if anyone has tried dish washing liquid soap such as Dawn to help prevent black spot from contaminating new leaves. I'm interested in trying out water mixed with a decent amount of the soap. To the point where the solution is bluish. Would it be harmful to the roses to use this amount? I also want to grow a couple tomato plants nearby. This wouldn't harm the tomatoes in any way would it if it gets near them or make the fruit unsuitable for consumption? my idea is that the solution would leave a film which would prevent black spot from both leaving infected leaves and preventing attachment to new ones. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 8:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not much of an experiment, but I am introducing a lot of hummingbird-attracting companion plants in my rose bed as well as scattered around my property. The thought being that the hummingbirds will help to control the aphids. We'll see.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 11:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

Interesting Rob, I never realized that hummingbirds ate aphids, but I did google search and they said hummingbirds indeed need to eat bugs to supplement their need for protein and that the assumption that hummingbirds only consume nectar is a false misconception. Hummingbirds do like aphids. Thanks to you, I learned a few things!

link on hummingbird diet

Savinia, be verrrry, verrrry careful about that dishwashing liquid. Soap is safe in terms of human consumption when it is washed off, but leaves are highly sensitive to the "drying" action of soap. There are a few people who use this method for cheap insect control, but this is the first time I've heard people trying to use it for BS control.
I just don't have any real insect problems. Even my problems with thrips are very minor--the roses bloom like crazy and leaf out like crazy--I've never had to use actual insect killers like soap so I can't tell you the "safe" amount. The best article I could find was this from the Colorado State University...

link on soap concentrations

Anyway, may everyone have fun and great luck with their experiments! And yes I'm looking forward to the Foliage Award! and everyone's results!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 3:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Whats a Foliage Award ?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 1:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ohh I get it now..... Foilage Awards

I guess that means this one wouldn't qualify then

Opps silly me that was three weeks ago so lets try that again shall we.

I know I know the prize check is in the mail LOL

Dont write it out yet thou cause I broke one of the golden rules

Maybe not, as mentioned it's all about the foilage and not proper cane growing. Notice how some of these are crossed or soon will be. Perhaps when it's bigger it'll be lopsided if anything this one shouldn't qualify. Not to worry thou I'll fix that right up as soon as it can.

Then theres the other 63 roses here that might have a chance of winning a foilage award, from me that would only put everyone to sleep and there must be others out there that should get a chance to win.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 4:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
serenasyh(was 5/now Z 8-Kans)

Hi, Mrlikeu2, to clarify, the Foliage award is [b]Maureen's idea [/b] about having beautiful, healthy, Blackspot-free roses towards the full growing season. LOL, no cash awards but just the fun satisfaction of which rose did fantastic and blackspot/insect free using organics. Usually for many of us, blackspot is very slow to appear until late in the year. Mine don't come until mid-September. So usually the test is reserved for when the roses are in the prime blackspot season. But then some people get tons of blackspot in Spring as well, so you have to keep in mind your usual climate performance. I'm not posting photos of my foliage until either summer or fall. My rose leaves look gorgeous right now because it's too early in the year (not yet fall). But I still might post a few just for fun during the summer.

P.S. one of my new experiments is transplanting all 19 gladiolus bulbs away from my roses, haha! I read that gladiolus are thrips magnets, and all 19 of those gladiolus' were surrounding my roses! But in spite of those thrips my roses did terrific unlike my Asiatic lilies which were eaten alive, haha! I forgot to add this experiment. Thrips come in at the beginning of June-August, so I will report on whether this made any difference by getting rid of the gladiolus.

But as is, nice spring leaves you've got going, Mrlike27!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 6:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes spring foliage is always a nice start and an interesting idea but like any other experiment in a "normal lab" being conducted I too thought it would be a good idea to show a starting point. A before during/ after picture display.

LOL I don't think anyone was expecting an actual check or cash prize

For black spot control with organics. For now we all see the foliage as it is here, and later we will see them again. I'm not worried thou, seeming as it is a rose forum I am sure someone will volunteer to be a judge and critique as I post seasonal foliage pics.

PS 2 u 2
Good idea on moving gladiolus, they and Asiatics, Oriental lilies are beautiful but unfortunately they're are also very good at being thrip magnets. I think you may want to conduct a different experiment for them ? Maybe you could attract something that must eat because it's always hungry. May I suggest a flying machine that's also a complete carnivore ?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 10:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Regarding the prevention of black spot: Neem oil has shown to be effective in preventing the germination of fungal spores on healthy leaves.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 11:12AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Weed killer & Round-up: eczema, cancer, aborted pregnancy
Here's an excerpt from "Exposure...
strawchicago 5a IL
Bouquets of no-spray roses
Roses can be beautiful with no-spray, less chemicals....
strawchicago 5a IL
Rose pruning help
Hello all, Thanks for the wonderful forum, I really...
good tasting rose hips
On Antique Rose Forum I asked if anyone had found the...
Vinegar for black spots
I just received my Gardening Life magazine and noticed...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™