Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Finding a liquid fertilizer for boosting nutrients in an EarthBox in a long season

I generally do not like liquid fertilizers because my goal is to feed my soil and then let the soil feed the plant. That is the basis of a good organic garden; the soil is the most important thing.  I normally use only organic granular fertilizers, compost, and worm castings to build and feed my soil.

The reason why we were even considering a liquid is because some of our EarthBoxes needed a nutrient boost. Our growing season is much longer than average so while the granular fertilizer that you add to your EarthBox initially is sufficient in most places, it became apparent to me that some of our pepper plants needed a nutrient boost if they were going to produce to their full potential. We put them in during March and in our warm climate, on the rooftop, with full sun, they should have no problem producing into November if they have enough food.

My first thought was to dig out the trench that contains the granular fertilizer and add more to it. I did that with one of the boxes and about 6 days later, the plants look much better with lots of new blooms. The day I did this, I got nervous because EarthBox says you should never do this, so I called them for advice before doing the same to my other boxes.

This is the box where I dug out the trench and added more organic granular fertilizer 6 days ago
The person on the phone at EarthBox was trying to convince me that the plants had all of the fertilizer they need and proceeded to explain that the cold weather was fast approaching so these plants wouldn't stay productive much longer anyway. It was a bit of a frustrating conversation because I know we have plenty of warm enough weather left to keep these plants going for at least another month, if not more but they need food. She decided to have an expert call me. When that expert called me the following day I was not at home so she left a message and said that if I really felt the plants needed more food I should use liquid Miracle Gro! Can you imagine?

Miracle Gro is not allowed in my garden as it is connected to Monsanto which is the company that I believe is doing their best to completely destroy our food, not to mention it is not organic.

We believe EarthBox knows what's best as far as method for their boxes, so we set out to find an organic liquid that we could use to boost the nutrients in our EarthBoxes. Farmer D went to the nursery and found a FoxFarm product called Beastie Bloomz. I generally trust FoxFarm for our organic garden but I was slightly skeptical about this product, is it really organic? The misleading label led Farmer D to believe it was because it says; "for use with organic soils."  

The label on Beastie Bloomz says; "for use with organic soils."
I am a little frustrated about this because Farmer D used it based on this misleading label. I should have done more homework on it first. Some of our EarthBoxes and a couple of our planter boxes got a dose of it. We have a few cucumbers, one of our tomatoes, and a few of our peppers that can no longer technically be called organically grown. The plants do look great now though.

This is a mistake I will not make again. We later learned when a knowledgeable friend came to visit that it is not actually organic and if you go to FoxFarm's website they clarify this. You can use it with organic soils but they will not technically be organic anymore. 

I wish I would have checked the website before we used it but what is done is done. I feel a responsibility to post this because while we are not "certified" organic, we do grow using organic methods and I do not want to mislead anyone. We used this product on only a few plants once and will not use it again. This is still not as bad as using Miracle Gro as far as I'm concerned but I do not want to use anything that's not completely organic in our garden.

I am frustrated with the confusing label but I'm not ready to give up on FoxFarm because they do offer many wonderful, completely organic products. I did place a call to FoxFarm to tell them that I thought the label was misleading and they were very kind and helpful, they may even try to make up for it some way so I look forward to hearing back from them.

I couldn't return the Beastie Bloomz but I did pick up another FoxFarm liquid called Big Bloom that is completely organic. We will not water through the tube when using the liquid in the EarthBox, we will water the top of the soil with it.

Beatie Bloomz on left is not organic Big Bloom on right is
Gidget says; "Don't let this happen again!"


UPDATE: Fox Farm Rocks! They totally took care of us and made up for the confusing label! 

3 comments:

  1. Cool blog. Found it while looking for EB fertilizer tips. I don't claim to grow organically, but I try to keep it natural and avoid Monsanto products. I'll look for the Fox Farms stuff in the future! Thanks.

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  2. Thanks! I'm new with EB's but I just new that our long California growing season would need more fertilizer.

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  3. If you are really that committed to organic you should be reading the ingredients and know what is and is not organic. Never thrust the marketing points that are on the front label.

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