Last Spring, we got the gardening bug when we decided to put a small ornamental pond in our yard. We also listen intermittently to a weekend talk radio program on organic gardening called The Natural Way with Howard Garrett (more on him later). This program is dedicated to education and tips on organic gardening, landscaping, pest control, soil conservation, etc. After seeing and hearing such positive results and benefits of doing things the natural way, we decided to go the organic route with some of our own gardening efforts.
Recommend this product?
We chose to plant a variety of caladiums, elephant ears, and a few flowering annuals to start. After conditioning our soil and getting everything into the ground and organically fertilized, we turned our attention to the foliage. For this, we chose to use Garden-Ville Garrett Juice.
What is this stuff?
Commercial Garrett Juice is a concentrated mixture of manure-based compost tea, molasses, apple cider vinegar, and dehydrated seaweed not very pleasant smelling stuff, but not offensive. It is used mainly as an organic foliar feeder that is completely non-toxic safe for use around kids and critters. It has a very low Nitrogen content, which is much more beneficial to the overall plant, especially the roots. High Nitrogen fertilizers can be destructive to the important fungi on roots. Garrett Juice is ideal fertilizer for vegetables, leafy plants, roses, etc., but it is not recommended for orchids.
Total Nitrogen (N) 0.2%
Avail. Phosphate (P2O5) 2.5%
Soluble Potash (K2O) 1.25%
The concentrate is available in quart, gallon, and even 55 gallon quantities. We started off with a quart last year, and we still have plenty left for this season.
Add 2 ounces of concentrated Garrett Juice per one gallon of water. This solution should be applied early in the morning or in the evening not during the hot part of the day. You may begin applying this foliar feeder when new plants have about 3 or 4 leaves applying once every couple of weeks for best results, or at least once a month.
Garrett Juice is a simple compound, available in selected nurseries and online at http://www.garden-ville.com/Liquids/Garrett_Juice.htm . So simple, in fact, you can even make it yourself. To make the ready-to-spray solution, add the following ingredients to a gallon of water:
1 cup manure-based compost tea
1 ounce black strap molasses (even plain-jane store-bought molasses will work)
1 ounce natural apple cider vinegar
1 ounce liquid seaweed
Compost tea and liquid seaweed can be purchased at almost any garden center. Ive even seen them at Wal Mart, Lowes, and Home Depot.
Garrett Juice is a very versatile fertilizer, which can be mixed with other ingredients for treatment of diseased plants, garden pest and fire ant control, bio-stimulation, and even as a part of sick tree treatment regimens.
For disease and insect control, you can add either a ¼ cup of garlic tea, ¼ cup garlic/pepper tea, or 1 ounce of orange or citrus oil to your gallon of ready-to-spray solution. For fire ants, add 2 ounces of orange oil (but no more than 2 ounces per gallon). You can even control grasshoppers and locusts by adding ½ cup diatomaceous earth (DE) to a gallon.
We spray all of our plants with Garrett Juice, and have had wonderful results. Our caladiums, for example, grew very quickly. The colors were vibrant, and the overall health of the leaf was just beautiful. We were concerned that the waterproof nature of the elephant ears would prevent the benefits of the foliar feeding, but we found that spraying the underside (where the leaves have more absorption) was the ticket. Those plants produced some of the largest, healthiest leaves Ive seen in an elephant ear. Now that Spring has come, the elephant ears are beginning to emerge, and were almost ready to begin the foliar feedings again. Im not sure how the caladiums are going to do, as they havent sprouted out again yet. I have the Dr. Kevorkian black thumb of death, so Im not holding my breath. . .
The health of our 13 tiny lemon trees is coming along quite nicely, too even when it came time to re-pot them. The roots were strong and healthy, and they transplanted well without a loss. I attribute that stroke of good fortune to our organic treatments.
We had some sort of garden critter attacking the leaves of the baby lemon trees. Im not sure what it was some sort of worm or bug never saw the pest, just the damage. The damage looked to be some sort of brown cocoon-like scabbing on the tender leaves. Whatever it was, we added the orange oil into the mixture, and within a month, there were no more signs of pest damage, and the leaves were healthy-looking once again.
As far as fire ant control, it doesnt do a whole lot for the mounds, but the orange oil kills the free-roaming ants by contact while protecting your plants. Chemical fire ant killers are definitely harmful for plants and other vegetation, plus they are harmful to us and critters. But I must admit, to kill a mound, we still go the chemical route with Bayer Advanced Lawn Fire Ant Killer. The organic methods take too long, and the mounds just seem to move from one spot to another before those treatments have a chance to work. Living in North Texas, we have big problems with these pests, and I cant afford to have my yard overtaken with them.
Weve not tried growing vegetables yet, but I believe the same great results could be achieved as with the ornamental plants. The non-toxic and all natural composition of the Garrett Juice and the natural pest control additives would certainly produce a healthier, safer vegetable. Maybe well try that this year provided we could keep our overgrown poochie from digging it all up. . .
Why go organic?
Its safer for you and for the environment. Since were talking about foliar feeders/fertilizer, Ill concentrate on those benefits. Garrett Juice is a low-Nitrogen fertilizer. Sure plants need Nitrogen, but the chemical fertilizers that are high in Nitrogen are overkill. Not only can it burn your plants, it is dangerous to the environment, and disrupts the natural Nitrogen cycle. When you fertilize with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, less than half is actually absorbed by the plant. The rest escapes not only into the atmosphere (greenhouse gasses), it leeches into the groundwater because it can't be retained by the soil. It also leaves undesirable salts in the soil, actually shortening the life of your plants. In doing research, I found this case and point: Roses, while using soluble nitrates helps control when they bloom and how long you want the stems to grow, you end up using more pesticides to control all the infestations caused by the excessive growth. Its a vicious circle that ends up with shortened plant life, bad soil, and disruption of the natural Nitrogen cycle. . . The high-Nitrogen fertilizers will eventually destroy the beneficial microbes in the soil, and nothing will grow in it.
Taking the organic route is somewhat slower, but the benefits of the healthy garden and rich, healthy soil are better for all involved.
So, whos this Howard Garrett guy anyway?
Paraphrased from his website, www. Dirtdoctor.com
Howard Garrett AKA The Dirt Doctor is a landscape architect, ISA certified arborist and horiculturist who has devoted his career to educating the public on organic gardening, farming, and land management. Hes written several books on the subject, writes a weekly newspaper column for the Dallas Morning News, has a weekend radio program, publishes a monthly organic living magazine, and even does a weekly TV segment on a Dallas station. Whew. . . busy and highly respected guy!
If you get the chance, you should visit his web site (dirtdoctor.com). There you will find out even more about Garrett Juice, organic gardening and research, and see the photo galleries of his own amazing gardens. Hes a smart cookie, and his product is A+.
Wind it up already, will ya?
As our gardening efforts expand this year, we will be incorporating even more organic methods and will definitely continue the use of Garrett Juice. Weve been most pleased with the results, and the fact that it is safe.
My sources of info? Most of this stuff I remember from my college Botany class, but I do want to include some credit and web site references I used during my organic gardening research and the writing of this review that were very helpful for us:
And a great basic organic gardening guide written by Howard Garrett:
Good luck with your gardening efforts, and thanks for the read!
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