Organic Rose Food

alameda/zone 8August 17, 2013

At the risk of asking a dumb question, I have been reading about different potting soils and fertilizing techniques and many mention "organic rose food". No names or brands are mentioned, though one person said Rose Tone is only 50% organic. I am curious as to what constitutes an organic rose food. I have Mills Magic Rose Mix, just bought Milorganite but have no idea what brands might be called an organic rose food. Can anyone help explain this? Thanks!
Judith

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roseseek

Easy, Judith. An "organic" food comes from something formerly living, plant or animal based. Blood, bone, hoof and horn meal; manures; cotton seed, alfalfa meal, etc. An "inorganic" fertilizer doesn't come from any living things. They are mostly manufactured chemical combinations created in factories. There are several which are combinations of organic and inorganic types. Which is best? Experimenting in your garden to see which you like the cost, smell and results of will show you that answer. Generally, organic sources are slower acting but last longer and are of lower guaranteed chemical analysis. Inorganics work much faster, for shorter lengths of time and are frequently of higher guaranteed analysis. There is Grow More Organic All Purpose 5-5-5 and many inorganic formulations up to 20-20-20. In that example, the inorganic product is four times stronger concentration than the inorganic, but usually, organics offer lower guaranteed analysis than inorganic. Of course, there are a few exceptions. Urea is often 43-0-0, but it isn't a balanced "blend". It is often the nitrogen component in many organic blends. Kim

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 12:16AM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

In addition to what Kim said, the definition of "organic" for farming and gardening purposes also includes natural minerals such as limestone and rock phosphate, although chemists would call these materials "inorganic."

Rose Tone formerly contained some manufactured fertilizer, but for a few years has been certified organic, as are all the Tones. Rose Tone and Plant Tone are excellent for roses.

Bagged potting mixes all contain some manure or compost that would justify the claim of "organic fertilizer," unless they also contain some manufactured fertilizer. But actually, manufactured fertilizer is not necessarily bad.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 11:10AM
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roseseek

Simply as a point of interest, there are "vegetarian" organic fertilizers. Combinations created to provide as balanced feeding as possible using no animal sources. For many, it is as offensive to use the products generated through the death of the animal as it is to eat the flesh of the animal. I had a client who demanded both, organic and vegetarian. It took some looking, but I found a premixed vegetarian blend for her. Kim

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 11:55AM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

Kim, what was it? I have to find something to pass on to the new owners of the 'Lyda Rose' I was growing for them. They're turning a blind eye to what was already in the pot, but moving forward, they want to feed it something without animal products in it.

:-)

~Christopher

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 6:18PM
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roseseek

The product I can purchase easily here, Christopher, is Grow More Organic Vegetarian blend. The components are all plant based with no animal products included. The link below is a blog discussing several brands of Vegan blends. It might give you ideas or suggest brands more easily purchased elsewhere. Grow More is major here because they are (or were) local. I used to assist the owner at the beach as he lived there. Nice guy. His old Land Rover had the plates, "FUBAR" and that is exactly what he meant by them! LOL!

Even if you can't find a premixed Vegan blend, mixing your own from the listed ingredients wouldn't be too daunting. Just not as convenient. Would the new owners accept an animal manure as part of the feeding? There's always bagged bat guano, chicken, steer and sheep poop. Kim

Here is a link that might be useful: Gentle World guide to Vegan organic fertilizers

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 6:57PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Christopher, alfalfa with no salt added is a complete fertilizer with an appropriate 3-1-2 analysis plus trace and minors. An average plant could use a cup for every 6 weeks of growing season. Wet it and cover with mulch.

"Vegan" fertilizers will contain only slow release nitrogen, so it takes a while to get the conveyor belt rolling.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 11:27AM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

Thanks to you both! I'll let them know.

:-)

~Christopher

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 2:40PM
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KarenPA_6b

Does anyone know where I can obtain alfalfa meal? Thanks

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:25PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Alfalfa meal or pellets are widely sold as horse feed by feed-and-seed or farm supply stores. Hereabouts, it's the Southern States chain, mostly.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:54PM
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kstrong(10 So Cal)

Well, not meal, but you can get alfalfa pellets (same thing in pellet form) at the nearest place that sells food for horses and rabbits. Just check the ingredients -- when they make it for rabbits, sometimes they put in a lot of salt. You don't want that.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:54PM
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roseseek

I haven't looked for it in a while, but garden centers have regularly sold alffalfa meal for years. Green Thumb here in SoCal carried it for the longest time, they may still. Meal is the best way to use it because it is easier to distribute mixed with other meals or fertilizers. As a meal, it's not quite as attractive to every rodent within twenty miles. Rats and rabbits will crawl through fire on their bellies for alfalfa pellets! Kim

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 8:23PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

Organic can mean so many different things

If I want to be a 'certified organic garden' and sell at our local farmers markets, all those 'poo's' are off limits. Because the animals might have been wormed or gotten a shot or the feed that they ate might have been sprayed. So all the horse manure I bring home and put on happy roses is not considered organic for that program.

Like wise, to be stamped organic, there are tests that need doing and fees paid. So the fish fertilizer I purchased one year is not considered organic the next year because they did not pay the fees. And if I buy more and use it, I am not organic either. Same with organic chicken eggs, one pellet of regular feed and your free range chicken eggs are not organic any more.

It helps to decide where you draw that organic line.

(fyi you can buy organically grown alfalfa hay horse pellets that are steam pressed with out added salts)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 10:47PM
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bluegirl_gw

Ugh, I never could use blood (or feather, or bone) meal after witnessing how they are collected. No snark to people who do, I just don't want to use them. Yeah, they are by-products of the slaughtering, so they might as well be used, but..

Anyhoo, it's easy for me to get nitrogen from alfalfa, cottonseed meal or whatever.

Yeah, feed stores are a great resource for organic fertilizers.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 12:21AM
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roseseek

I know what you mean, bluegirl. That's why I have problems with "predator urine." The thoughts of keeping any animal caged and catheterized kind of freaks me out. Kim

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 12:50AM
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