With Spring just around the corner it is time to start your spring organic program. These two things will make your time outside much more enjoyable. Let's start by attacking the weeds by applying Corn Gluten Meal. It is the organic yellow powder created as a by-product during the milling process of corn; it contains 60% protein which converts to 10% nitrogen by weight. The analysis of corn gluten meal ranges from 9-0-0 to 10-0-0.
I have tried both the powdered and the granulated corn gluten meal but I prefer the granulated simply because it easier to use. The granular is a little less effective, but much less messy and it can be applied on a day where there is a brisk wind. Apply CGM about two to four weeks before germination of unwanted spring and fall plants. Easy rule of thumb is to apply the first application in early spring, after the snow has melted.
CGM inhibits the root formation of seedlings. If a root can't grow then a seed cannot obtain water from the soil, it will dry up and die. Do not use CGM prior to planting any seeds. You should wait until your seeds have germinated and our plants have grown to about one inch tall before broadcasting the corn gluten meal. It is best used in yard and garden by broadcasting 20 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. You will be very impressed by the end result! The time savings was great, less hoeing and pulling unwanted plants and stickers. You don’t worry about your children and pets being exposed to unknown effects of chemicals when playing in the yard. And you know that your fruits and vegetables are 100% all natural and organic.
Next let's work on those fleas, ticks, fire ants, grasshoppers and other nasty insects that bug us all year by apply Beneficial Nematodes. Beneficial Nematodes are simple parasitic roundworms that are microscopic so you will never see them. They are the natural predator of a whole host of unwanted insects. They are not harmful to pets, people, beneficial insects or anything except the insect pest that they target.
Entomopathogenic nematodes are extraordinarily lethal to many important soil insect pests, yet are safe for plants and animals. This high degree of safety means that unlike chemicals, or even Bacillus thuringiensis, nematode applications do not require masks or other safety equipment; and re-entry time, residues, groundwater contamination, chemical trespass, and pollinators are not issues. Most biologicals require days or weeks to kill, yet nematodes, working with their symbiotic bacteria, kill insects in 24-48 hr.
Apply Beneficial Nematodes to your soil when the temperature gets to between 50 and 85 degrees. If your soil is dry be sure to water in the nematodes after application. They are easy to apply with just tepid warm water and a watering can. Complete coverage is not needed as they travel to where the food source is. These can be purchased in most Garden Centers and should be kept cool until used. The recommended package size: Small - 1/8 to ¼ acre; Medium – ¼ to ½ acre; Large – ½ to 1 acre. Just follow the instructions on the package and you will have less fire ants, fleas, white grubs, ticks and others pest that lay their eggs in the soil.