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Organic Fertilizers

Mulching with Grass: Grass clippings will also produce lots of organic fertilizer as worms and molds break it down and carry it's decomposed by-products into the ground.  You may have heard of using worm wee or doo-doo for fertilizer, worms love grass clippings and in the winter they will feast on leaves.  Leaves are also a great organic fertilizer, we once covered our garden in about 6 inches of leaves in the fall, and by spring there was a small ground covering less than 1/8 inch thick, in some area's the leaves were entirely gone, and the ground looked like Swiss Cheese where the night crawlers came through, and surprisingly there was little or no weed growth where the leaves were spread.  When we tilled, there were worms in countless numbers as they multiplied on their own in vast numbers due to the rich supply of food.  Needless to say the Robins loved us. One garden shovel full of dirt would commonly turn up 5-10 night crawlers, and the soil was soft, moist, and rich looking and our gourd vines were the healthiest vines we had ever grown.

Mulching with grass is tremendous, it provides lots of nutrients, the worms will multiply and take care of the excess, and if applied deep enough, it will keep the weeds out of your garden as well as putting a burden on your cucumber beetles.  It is natural and will not harm the ground, as long as you apply it to the surface of the ground it will provide nitrogen and other essential components your gourd vines, (and vegetables) need.  During the season, you will need to continue adding more mulch as it will decompose, and the worms will eat it faster than you might realize.

Fish Emulsion: Another tremendous fertilizer is fish emulsion.  We use a liquid fish emulsion in liquid form that is used as a topical fertilizer.  In other words, you spray it on the vines and leaves, and the gourd vines will absorb the fertilizer.  The actual chemical numbers are low in fish emulsion, like 1's & 2's, but the fact they are topically applied make them very effective.  Another nice thing about natural fertilizers like this is you cannot burn your plants with them. We purchase concentrated fish emulsion to which you only ad a few ounces per several gallons, and use and Ortho Garden sprayer that attaches to your hose.  I have actually spilled the concentrated fish emulsion on my gourds, and it had no ill effect.  Once you spray the vines with this, you just might see a dramatic effect in 2 to 3 days, especially if your having a problem due to poor soil conditions.  I've sprayed stunted corn that was 1/3 the size of the rest of the crop, and within a week the stunted corn shot up to nearly the size of the rest of the crop.  It was too little too late, but what a dramatic effect.  You might notice your vines taking on a deeper green, growing faster, etc.  Although the instructions say to spray every few weeks, I found that spraying once a week helped to continue a healthy crop, and a very productive fruiting season.

There are lots of other fertilizers, however the organic fertilizers seem to be the safest, and even the most effective to use.  Mulching with grass, we've found you can grow the same crops year after year in the same area, and have very healthy vines. 

Gardener's Supply Company


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