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Who is John Galt?
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Are there alternatives to Miracle Grow? We use it but was wondering if there is a more "natural" alternative OR a recipe to make a homemade version?
 

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Good ole compost is the original miracle grow.Start making up a batch now for next years garden/lawn. It cost very little,is all natural, actully quite rewarding knowing you made it your self. And very easy. Plus with fall fast approaching you can reeley build up a pile to be proud of. Then come next summer make a batch of compost "tea" and get ready to be suprised.
 

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Sugar-free
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Miracle gro is the stuff, though. Nothing that's organic will quite trigger your plants' growth response like a shot of 20-10-10. It really does work, and it allows you to grow vegtables in poor soil, without the hassle of amending the soil.
 

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The problem with Miracle Grow and ANY other soluble fertilizer (i.e blue water) is that they are a fertilizer bonded to a salt for the sake of solubility. The fertilizer only dissolves because it is attached to a salt. As you water with MG the salts continue to accumulate unless you periodically flush the soil with lots of plain water.
For a liquid alternative try making some compost tea. Place some well aged compost in water for a day. Strain out the solids and put the liquid into a spray bottle. Spray it on your plants to give them a great kick in terms of growth and health.
 

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Certified Organic Grower
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If room permits, a compost heap is they best way to naturally boost your soil and in turn, invigorate your roots.

The sooner you start one, the sooner you can reap the rewards.

Simple organic materials like horse manure, green waste, saw dust, cow manure, rabbit manure, dry leaves, grass clippings, peat moss, etc can make a big difference.
I can't say enough about horse manure.
Pile in layers and wet each layer as you go. Water the top.
Allow all your materials time to "cook" and breakdown before use.

You can make compost tea while the breakdown occurs:
drill 1/4" holes in bottom of a 5 gal bucket & place inside another (non-drilled) bucket
fill bucket with some of your organic materials - cover with plastic and allow to sit

You will have usable liquid booster in the bottom bucket within days - refill bucket and keep damp for more tea
Just be cautious... compost tea is strong and can burn if not careful.

Well rotted compost added regularly to your soil will provide steady benefits, lasting longer than a miracle grow type of chemical which can deplete soil levels with extended use.

Organic garden methods are always best for the soil/roots/plants/harvest/food.
Continued use of organic boosters raises the soil potency by the season.
 

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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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For a liquid alternative try making some compost tea. Place some well aged compost in water for a day. Strain out the solids and put the liquid into a spray bottle. Spray it on your plants to give them a great kick in terms of growth and health.
That works wonders, but it's really only feasible in gardens that are so small as to not be able to feed the family in a crisis anyway. Amending the soil is probably the only effective way to manage on a large enough scale to produce enough food. I've always been a hybrid gardener. I amend the soil, but I also stock chemical fertilizers. They have their place too, in my opinion. And combined, they work together really well.
 

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Are there alternatives to Miracle Grow? We use it but was wondering if there is a more "natural" alternative OR a recipe to make a homemade version?
The best fertilizers available and natural are horse poo, rabbit poo and chicken poo. Make sure when you compost the rabbit and chicken poo you put wire around it or else the raccoons will eat all the good stuff.
 

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Wanderer
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Miracle Gro makes plants grow amazingly well, but you're creating a drug addict when you use it. The plants get so much nutrition with so little effort, they don't grow an adequate root structure, so don't get nourishment they need unless you keep their "fix" coming regularly.
Much better to use mulch, compost, manures, etc. and spread it around and water some distance from the plant to encourage strong root grownth. That will tide the plant over when/if there's a dry spell or other "hard times" come for the plant.
 

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The Mountaineer
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The best fertilizers available and natural are horse poo, rabbit poo and chicken poo. Make sure when you compost the rabbit and chicken poo you put wire around it or else the raccoons will eat all the good stuff.
Rabbit manure can be applied without composting, just don't overdo it.
Rabbits and chickens are perhaps the best livestock to have around.

My soil is about 70% clay... the gray stuff.
This year (actually started this last fall) we added the rabbit manure,
course lime, and stove ashes to the soil... It worked wonders, and my garden soil is no longer 70% clay.
 

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Rabbit manure can be applied without composting, just don't overdo it.
Rabbits and chickens are perhaps the best livestock to have around.

My soil is about 70% clay... the gray stuff.
This year (actually started this last fall) we added the rabbit manure,
course lime, and stove ashes to the soil... It worked wonders, and my garden soil is no longer 70% clay.
now this fall take all your leaves grass clippings normal waste and toss if on the garden. gate about 10 bails of hay. soread the straw hay and what not over the garden. cover the garden with plastic.

next spring take enough straw to cover your garden 8 inchs deep. pull the mulch back from the rows and plant your seed/seedlings. the multch will settle. if anything like grass or weeds grow just flip the straw over.

you wont need any fertilizer. you will also not have to use as much water. get lady bugs to love your garden. get garder snakes to love it as well.
 

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Mom Walton
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Compost made from farm waste that includes kitchen vegetable and fruit peels etc. has more than NPK for fertilizing. It also has all the trace minerals and live microorganisms that help your garden be more resistant to disease, fungus, and even insects.

You can make enough compost for large survival gardens if you have livestock bedding, yard clippings, and kitchen scraps, (Do NOT put animal products in your kitchen scraps.) I compost my annual weeds I pull from the garden too. If you live where your neighbors rake leaves and put them in bags, ask if you can pick up the bags when they put the out.

If you have large live stock you can just add the manure when you till in the garden and old mulch at the end of the year, early in the spring, or both. It will compost by spring planting time. Before we had large live stock we asked people who kept show horses penned up and dairy farmers. We got pick up loads.

I suggest you build your survival garden's soil now. If you are not planting the whole area in veggies now, you can plant "green manure crops." Google it. If you have the space, it is best to rotate you plants, and leave a spot for "a green manure crop" in the rotation. I have a large family, but in the future when I only need half of my garden spot, I will plant a half each year in a green manure crop and alternate the garden.
 

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Another cool thing about a big ole pile of compost compared to Miracle Grow is on a cold winter morning I have yet to smile at a steaming box of Miracle Grow...
 

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Certified Organic Grower
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Yep.... it's hard to smile at chemical farming...

But the joy of adding another layer to the heap is hard to keep down!! :)
 

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Miracle Gro makes plants grow amazingly well, but you're creating a drug addict when you use it. The plants get so much nutrition with so little effort, they don't grow an adequate root structure, so don't get nourishment they need unless you keep their "fix" coming regularly.
Much better to use mulch, compost, manures, etc. and spread it around and water some distance from the plant to encourage strong root grownth. That will tide the plant over when/if there's a dry spell or other "hard times" come for the plant.
Around here, the growing season is short. Our goal in the vegetable garden isn't necessarily to have drought resistant, deeply rooted plants. Our goal is to "push" the plants (usually with miracle gro) from May through August. Push them hard so you can get the produce out of them before the first killing frost. Believe me, they get their "fix" very regularly. The plant doesen't know the difference. You can over-do it though, and end up with 9 foot tall tomato plants with marble sized tomatoes!
 

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LASSIE! (I did it again)
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If you're looking for a natural alternative, we grew up using something my parents called "barnyard tea". They simply put a couple shovels of cow manure in a suitable bucket/barrel and added water almost to the top of the container, then covered it. Dad rigged a spigot and hose so we could draw off the liquid fertilizer as needed. The vegetables and flower blooms responded very well. Ours was a family of 12 children so we relied heavily on the vegetable garden for the meal table and canning needs.
 

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Miracle grow is not sustainable - long term. So, depends on what you want, a fast, easy garden, or put some work into it to build soil that is alive and healthy. My DH did not believe veg could be grown without miracle grow when he first met me. He's a compost believer now, LOL!
 

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I agree completely about the manure and compost.:thumb:

I do use some miracle grow (or other brands of water soluble fertilizer) as a temporary boost for my transplants and seedlings and even for further along plants if they aren't thriving.
My garden area is in its first year and the soil is not a good garden soil yet. I am tilling in lots of manure and compost, but some of it is a little too fresh to have broken down to where the plants can use it.

I expect it will be a few years before my soil is up to par, so meanwhile, I'll use added fertilizer to supplement the improving soil.
 
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