Just got a flyer via sail mail about a new book Jerry Baker is hawking,
"Terrific Garden Tonics". I'm sure many of these potions are in his "Impatient
Gardener" text, but I never tried any of them. I was thinking about his lawn
potion, 1 cup dish soap, 1 can of beer and fill the remainder of the quart hose
end sprayer with ammonia. Can anybody see any harm this could possible do to a
lawn? I'm willing to give it a go, (to supplement my 1/2 rate fertilizer
program), but not at the expense of damaging my lawn.
In general what is the opinion of this guy? Is he well respected or what ?
:) Just got a flyer via sail mail about a new book Jerry Baker is hawking,
:) "Terrific Garden Tonics". I'm sure many of these potions are in his
:) Gardener" text, but I never tried any of them. I was thinking about his lawn
:) potion, 1 cup dish soap, 1 can of beer and fill the remainder of the quart
:) end sprayer with ammonia. Can anybody see any harm this could possible do
:) lawn? I'm willing to give it a go, (to supplement my 1/2 rate fertilizer
:) program), but not at the expense of damaging my lawn.
:) In general what is the opinion of this guy? Is he well respected or what ?
It might depend on what the setting/at what dilution rate the mixture is
coming out...the soap can be a non selective insecticide and the ammonia
can burn some plants... I've always put him into the "or what" group
Not to get into an organic vs. chemical debate but household liquid
ammonia is ammonia gas dissolved in water. Farmers have been doing this
to add nitrogen to the soil for over fifty years that I'm aware of.
Right, and they make the soil ammonia gas junkies. The soil is virtually dead
and without adding that synthetic nitrogen, they can barely get anything to
grow. This is not about organic vs. conventional, rather it's about soil health
vs. soil death.
And organic? If you grow crops you use up soil nutrients. Soil
maintenance is a part of farming or gardening. Whether you do it with
chemicals or compost you are going to have to amend the soil. If you
don't get nitrogen into the soil someway sooner or later you are barely
going to get anything to grow. I guess this makes your soil "compost
Um, no. That would not be correct. Farmers, before Leibig came on the scene
and took the staunch position that NPK are all plants need to survive, then
invented synthetic nitrogen, there was manure and vegetative matter enriching
soils. That is soil management. Soil management is not using synthetic nitrogen
rendering the soil dead. Soils rich in micro and macro organisms supports
itself in a far superior way than do soils doused with synthetic N. These biota
create waste of their own, thus, add N to the soil by their mere existence.
Hardly a junkie for this. Rather, it's quite natural. Forests are not fed.
Haven't seen anything convincing either way. I looked at the dethatching
tonic a while ago, and in "theory" it looked okay (however I neglected to
consider the effect of chlorine/chloramines that are invaribly in municipal
What's the lawn potion supposed to do? Seems to be the same minus the
cola. 1 cup of dish soap seems a bit much even if it's going 8(?) oz to 20
gal water. Plus you never know what kind of crap is going into dish soap
these days. If you can't convince yourself, you probably shouldn't do it.
Even if it doesn't have an immediate deleterious effect, make sure it
doesn't come back to bite you or someone else down the line.
I don't know enough chemistry to comment on his concoctions, but when I saw
him hitting his trees, I changed channels.
I also notice that none of the presenters on shows like This Old House and
Victory Garden pour beer on their lawns.
Wasting good beer is a sin.
They probably do water the lawns with it indirectly, of course. That is,
after ingesting it and when nature calls. If you know what I mean. They
aren't going to show that on public TV.
The kindest thing I can say about Jerry Baker is that he's a crackpot -- and
awfully good at self-promotion. There is absolutely no proof that any of
his concoctions work, which he will be the first to admit.
Some years ago when he was in town for the annual home & garden show, some
Extension Service Master Gardeners I know had an interesting conversation
with him. It seems he stopped at their booth and asked what they thought
about "this Jerry Baker guy," as if they didn't know who he was. They played
along and said that he might claim to be America's master gardener, but they
had solid info and he didn't. His reply was to the effect that "he sure is
a good businessman, tho, isn't he?" True story, cross my heart and hope to
In any event, isn't it interesting that while he hypes all the homemade
remedies, the products sold under the Jerry Baker label are the same
chemicals the rest of the industry sells??? Hmmm.
Suzy O, Wis., Zone 5
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