I just spent (too much) on 4 boxes of E.B.Stone Organics fertilizer for
different uses. Examining the formulae on each box, I wondered if there is
really enough difference to justify separate purchases.
Your experience, as well as general input and references appreciated.
Any general input and references appreciated
1. Rose & Flower Food: a. Total Nitrogen 5:00%
b. Available Phosphate 6.00%
c. Soluble Potash 3.00%
d. Calcium 4.00%
e. Sulfur 1.00%
(Plus, on each box, various organic, bacteria, mycorrhizea, etc.)
2. Citrus & Fruit Tree Food: a. 7.00%
3. Tomato & Vegetable Food: a. 4.00%
4. Azalea, Camelia & Gardenia Food: a. 5.00%
for different uses. Examining the formulae on each box, I wondered if
there is really enough difference to justify separate purchases.
I feed my roses separately from other plants. As my roses start to leaf
out, I give them ammonium, iron, zinc, and magnesium sulfates, about a
handful of the first, decreasing with each, until only a tablespoon of
the last. Starting then, I feed them monthly, alternating between
Bayer's 2-in-1 rose and flower food (which contains a systemic
insecticide) and just ammonium sulfate. The last feeding is no later
than 15 October.
About once in 10 years, I take a piece of steel rebar and poke 3-4 holes
in the soil around each rose plant, about 1.5-2 feet from the base and 2
feet deep. I fill these holes with superphosphate (see below about OSH
lawn food and phosphorus). This promotes flowering.
I start feeding my dwarf citrus around 15 March, starting with a
commercial citrus and avocado food plus two pinches of zinc sulfate.
Every three weeks, I then alternate between ammonium, iron, and zinc
sulfates and the commercial food with added zinc. When I feed my
citrus, I also feed my gardenia the same with slightly more zinc. The
last feeding is no later than 1 October.
Citrus requires an acidic fertilizer. I avoid the commercial foods that
indicate "fruit tree", sticking only to those specifically for citrus
Note that three of my dwarf citrus are in very large pots with a
fast-draining mix. The fourth citrus is in a raised bed, again with a
fast-draining mix. Thus, nutrients tend to leach away
My only vegetables are perennial: artichoke and asparagus. They get the
same once-a-year feeding that I apply generally to my garden.
Ugh! Azaleas and camellias prefer a very light feeding with a
slow-release fertilizer. Gardenias, however, prefer much more
nutrients, enough that can harm azaleas and camellias. Gardenias will
drop their flower buds if they do not get enough zinc, but azaleas and
camellias don't need added zinc. See above regarding citrus for how I
feed my gardenia, which is in bloom right now.
I feed my azaleas and camellias once a year, right after all blooming is
done, with a commercial azalea and camellia food, avoiding anything that
also mentions gardenias. I also give them an occasional dose of gypsum,
but this is to improve the soil and not to feed them.
For the rest of my garden, I use the house-brand lawn food from Orchard
Supply and Hardware (OSH). I do this once a year, sometime in the first
half of March. Overfeeding promotes leaf growth over flowering; it also
promotes so much growth that more water is required. (Water is my most
The OSH lawn food has NO phosphorus. Phosphorus is wasted if it is not
dug into the soil, down to the roots; it does not readily dissolve and
must be place where roots will find it. Also, phosphorus in runoff
water is a significant pollutant.
For a new flowering plant, however, I place a small handful of
superphosphate at the bottom of the planting hole. For bulbs, I use
bone meal. Both contain phosphorus, which promotes flowering.
When I prune my shrubs in the spring (other than dwarf citrus, azaleas,
roses, or camellias), I give them an additional feeding to speed their
recovery. Depending on the plant, I use more OSH lawn food or ammonium
Every fall, I dose the soil around my liquidambar tree and Australian
tea tree with sulfur. Both of these tend to get chlorotic and need more
acid. Soil bacteria very slowly convert the sulfur into sulfuric acid.
Finally, every other year, I apply a large amount of gypsum to my entire
garden in November, to take advantage of whatever rainfall we might get.
My soil is heavy clay. The gypsum reacts with the clay to make it
granular and improve drainage. I never place gypsum on my hill in back
because this reaction can destabilize the slope. Last November, I used
about 200 pounds of Bumper Crop gypsum, about 90% calcium sulfate. When
I bought Home Depot's gypsum, it was only 70% calcium sulfate and
contained many worthless pebbles.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
Also, I do not specifically feed my loquat and peach trees or my guava
bush. These get the same once-a-year feeding with the OSH lawn food.
My hugh ash tree has roots throughout my back yard and thus gets fed
from the once-a-year general feeding, the monthly rose feeding in back,
the camellia and azalea feeding, etc, etc.
The valley white oak, rosemary bush, and lavender in front do quite well
without any fertilizer, but I suspect their roots now go under the roses
in front and under my neighbor's front lawn, where they find nutrients.
These actually do quite well in "lean" soils and can be damaged by
The Japanese zelkova in the parkway never gets fed. Other than treating
it for chlorosis, the liquidambar in front merely gets the once-a-year
feeding, as do the three podocarpus (without chlorosis treatment).
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
The University of California recommends 125 - 250 lbs of nitrogen per
I calculate that at 2.6 - 5.2 lbs of chicken manure/ 10 sq. ft. At that
rate you will also have more phosphate and potassium than you need.
Recommended P: 60 - 120 lbs / acre
Recommended K: 0 - 120 / acre
Chemical fertilizers either quickly concentrate nitrogen in fast growing
soft leaves of the plant, which attract insects, or runs off as
pollutants with rains or irrigation, and fouls the local water table.
Chicken manure also contains no systemic insecticides, but if you wish,
you can always add insecticides to taste.
For ornamentals, you can use chemical fertilizers freely to rid your
soil of beneficial microorganisms that make the soil fertile. Or you can
join those who are trying to create topsoil for the good of the planet,
and free yourself from corporate, environmental terrori$t$.
Billy, you missed, "organics fertilizer" in
Higgs, is there a pH adjustment needed?
sulfur is ok for some acid loving plantings,
but i wouldn't just scatter it on everything.
in sandy loam, good topsoil or garden soil it
may form sulfuric acid which can leach nutrients.
otherwise, i didn't see much of a difference
between a few of those formulas, but perhaps the
box contains different application rates (and the
other ingredients remain unspecified)? if they
are using the common wisdom the perennial mixes
should be infused with beneficial fungal species
and the annual and veggie mixes would favor
beneficial bacterial species.
i don't supplement any plantings with commercial
fertilizers any longer. i add worms and worm
castings for the heaviest feeding annuals and
veggies and then rotational plant the following
seasons to different crops. for the perennials
they may get a top dressing with a green manure
and other mulches. the lack of $ spent on such
additional fertilizers is well worth the added
time i have to spend cutting green manures or
feeding the worms. i have the time, i don't have
Bird, I wasn't addressing myself to our local IDF representative, but to
David E. Ross' reply. I was just running the numbers for my tomato
amendments when I saw his response. I thought it was pretty neat that
using the recommended amount of chicken manure, also gave me more than
the amount of phosphorous that I needed.
Recommended N: 125 -250 lbs / acre
125 lbs/ acre = 43,560 sq.ft.
1.302800734618916 g / sq.ft.
13.02800734618916 g / 10 sq.ft.
Chicken manure N =1.1
1.1g / 100g = 13g / x
xg / 13g = 100g / 1.1g
x = 1182 g or 2.6 lbs of Chicken manure per 10 sq. ft.
Since 125 -250 lbs were called for per acre
10 sq.ft. will require 2.6 - 5.2 lbs of chicken manure/ 10 sq. ft.
Recommended P: 60 - 120 lbs / acre
approx. = 1.3 - 2.6 lbs / 10 sq. ft.
Chicken manure P = .8
Weight of chicken manure for N = 2.6 to 5.2 lbs
(2.6 to 5.2 lbs) X the proportion of .8/1.1 = 1.9 to 3.8 lbs of chicken
[1.1 %N, and .8 %P]
Recommended K: 0 - 120 lbs / acre
approx. = 0 - 2.6 lbs / 10 sq. ft.
Chicken manure K = .5
I've already prepped 2 beds, but I did it by eye-ball, which I find is
an untrustworthy approach. I used most of a 1 cu. ft. bag of chicken
manure for just 36 sq. ft. Now I need to go get a second bag for the
other bed. For the prepped beds, I'll need to be diligent with the fish
emulsion in order to compensate.
Well, back to thinkin' about workin'.
You are correct sir
0.002869605142332 lbs/sq.ft. = .459 Oz/10 sq.ft.
or about a half oz./10 sq. ft.
It appears that I was calculating chicken manure as if it were 1.1%
chicken manure. Don't ask.
In any event that is why we have wrecked gardens, to catch mistakes.
Thank you, bird.
On Saturday, April 6, 2013 7:09:45 PM UTC-7, Higgs Boson wrote:
David and Songbird, thanks for the awesome expertise. I suppose you arrived at your regiment over time via experience? I have neglected my roses too much over the years; must shape up and tune up.
Re: buying rose & flower fertilizer I just went to clean out the junque area which has been overgrown since it rained while I was out of the country. Found several HG buckets full of my usual treatment of worm castings, compost and perlite. My bad! Cast me not into outer darkness.. mea culpa, mea maxima culpa
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