Frequently Asked Questions
If you have questions about our organic garden products, please browse the list below for quick answers. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why aren’t all natural organic materials OMRI listed?
The Organic Materials Research Institute (OMRI) has two lists, a generic materials list (GML) and a brand name list (PL). The GML contains materials by generic name that are allowed, restricted or prohibited. If the material is allowed with restrictions, those restrictions are described. You can search both the OMRI GML or PL online. The brand name list contains only the names of products reviewed by OMRI at the manufacturer’s request. The application for OMRI review can be lengthy and expensive so manufacturers have to weight cost against gain when they apply. Just because a product is not OMRI listed does not preclude it from use on a certified organic farm. There are other reviewing agencies that can determine whether a product should be allowed, restricted, or prohibited. A manufacturer may choose not to apply for OMRI listing because their product is inappropriate for used on organic farms but is nonetheless organic.
Why is it that organic fertilizers have such a low analysis and why is the coverage per bag so low?
The analysis on a bag of fertilizer refers only to the amount of plant food inside. There is no practical way to quantify or qualify the materials inside the package that benefit the soil. Organic fertilizers approach the question of fertility from the soil up, not the plant down. Applications of organic material are heavier but are done fewer times per year. The materials are designed to feed and stimulate all the organisms in the soil, not just the plants.
Since this stuff is organic can I apply as much as I want without causing any problems?
The notion that “if a little is good, more is better” doesn’t fit in gardening (or anywhere else). Applying more than is needed or recommended can only lead to later problems whether it is with fertilizers, soil amendments, or pest controls, no matter how safe and natural they may claim to be.
My dog ate some of your fertilizer. Will it be okay?
We get at least one call a year with this question and the fertilizer is usually Pro-Gro 5-3-4 and the dog is usually a lab. There’s nothing in Pro-Gro that will harm a dog but, unfortunately, most dogs don’t regulate the amount they eat very well and, if it eats too much, it will probably get sick. The common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, or both. The same thing could happen if it ate too much dog food.
How long can I store your fertilizers
NCO dry fertilizers have an indefinite shelf life if stored in a cool, dry environment. Particle size may slowly decay but all the nutrients will still be in the bag. Liquid fertilizers typically have a 2-year shelf life.
If this organic pesticide is so safe, why does it have so many warnings and cautions written on the label?
Pesticides are products that kill pests. Organic pesticides may claim to be safer that their chemical cousins but should still be used with caution. The label is there to inform the users as to the proper procedure, so that neither they nor the environment are harmed.
Why are organic fertilizers more expensive than chemicals?
Most of the ingredients used in organic fertilizers are also used in animal feeds which, pound for pound, sell for a much higher price. But the many benefits to using organic fertilizers make them pay for themselves over a surprisingly short period of time. On turf, for example, mowing high with a sharp blade, leaving the clippings behind, and fertilizing with quality organic fertilizer can, over time, eliminate the need for dethatching, aeration, disease control, much of your insect control, and most of your weed control. Organic programs will also reduce the need for lime because the material does not acidify the soil.
Do you have an organic fertilizer that will give me a fast green-up?
Some of our natural fertilizers contain a small amount of water soluble nitrogen. This is the part that will implement a quick green-up. If you look at the Guaranteed Minimum Analysis on the bag, it should tell you how much of the total nitrogen is water soluble. If less than 5 percent of the total nitrogen is water soluble, then it may take a couple of weeks to see results. However, a fertilizer with more than 40 percent water soluble will run out of steam too soon. NOTE: Protein nitrogen has very little soluble nitrogen. Many companies add either natural nitrate salts or urea to insure a quick green-up.
Does Pro-Gro 5-3-4 mean that there is 5 percent nitrogen available?
It means 5 percent total nitrogen, some of which is soluble and the rest is insoluble. To calculate the pounds of product needed to supply x pounds of nitrogen, divided the pounds of nitrogen needed by the percent. Example: 1 lb nitrogen/1,000 ft2 divided by .05 (or 5 percent) = 20 lbs/1,000 ft2 (which, by the way, is our standard recommendation). If the customer is using Pro-Booster 10-0-0, the equation would be 1 lb ÷ 0.1(or 10 percent) = 10 lbs.
Is it better to add phosphate rock & greensand to topsoil or spread it on after the topsoil has already been spread?
It depends. If you need the phosphate rock to correct a phosphate deficiency, it should be applied after the topsoil is put down and lightly worked into the surface. If you are using the phosphate rock and greensand as a soil conditioner, you can mix it with the soil.
Do some of the ingredients in Pro-Gro contain iron which would cause a lawn to green up well?
There is inherently a lot of trace elements (iron being one of them) in the raw materials we use to create our natural fertilizers. It would be difficult, however, to quantify or qualify the iron content. Greensand, for example, is an iron-potassium silicate but much of the iron is bound in a tight mineral formation which, under sterile conditions would never be released. But since we provide food for soil organisms in our fertilizer blends, the resulting microbial activity not only releases the iron that is in our raw ingredients but also some of the huge warehouse of iron that is already in the soil. In an average acre of topsoil (~6 in. deep), there is ~100,000# of iron that can only be made available as an indirect result of biological activity.