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Indoor herbs stay tastiest if they receive at least five hours of direct sunlight every day. Turn the pots regularly to prevent the plants from leaning too much toward the light, and don’t let the leaves touch the cold windows. Fluorescent lights (warm or cool) hung 6 inches above the tops of the plants and left on for 14 hours per day will provide a more ideal growing environment. It helps if the lamps are adjustable to keep up with the plants’ growth.
Most indoor herbs do best at temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees F, but are adaptable to the somewhat lower temps near the windows at night. If you want to provide them with extra humidity, place the pots on a tray with moistened gravel up to, but not over, the bases of the pots. Protect them from drafts from open doors, but give them good air circulation by allowing some space between plants. Overwatering ruins a potted herb, so let the soil surface dry out before each thorough watering (until water exits the bottom of the pot). If you see the beginnings of an insect infestation, a good shower in the sink or tub and a foliar spray of 1⁄2 ounce AGGRAND 0-0-8 Kelp and Sulfate of Potash and 1 ounce of AGGRAND 4-3-3 Fertilizer mixed together in a gallon of water will give plants a boost. This also works well as a monthly soil treatment combined with 4 ounces per gallon of AGGRAND Natural Liquid Lime.
Common windowsill herbs:
Basil: Regularly snip sprigs to keep from flowering. Will produce until it becomes woody. Use clippings to root new plants.
Chives: Cut foliage as needed. Fertilize after completely cut.
Mint: Likes cool humidity. Does well in a wide, shallow pot.
Oregano: Likes it dry and well drained. Keep it trimmed regularly.
Rosemary: Likes humidity and well-drained soil. Don’t let it get too dry.
Sage: Can be allowed to dry out. Clip regularly.
Thyme: Doesn’t need as much sun. Trim regularly.
27-3-3, 6-12-0, 8-8-8, 4-3-3. Fertilizer numbers are becoming more and more confusing as an increasing array of chemicals, designed to solve every agricultural problem, floods the market. What do these fertilizer numbers mean? What should they mean to the farmer or gardener seeking to increase yield and reduce the use of chemicals?
The numbers expressed on the label of a fertilizer are called the grade. The numbers refer to the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (known as NPK) contained in the product. For example, 8-8-8 signifies that the fertilizer contains eight percent nitrogen (N), eight percent phosphorus (P) and eight percent potassium (K) by weight. So 100 pounds of an 8-8-8 fertilizer would contain eight pounds each of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3, like chemical free products, is considered a “low analysis” fertilizer. Its guaranteed analysis provides that it contains four percent nitrogen (N), three percent phosphorus (P) and three percent potassium (K). AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer’s analysis is based on the fact that it contains absolutely no chemicals, which are normally added to boost the NPK level of a product. Does this mean AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer is less effective than a chemical fertilizer with a larger NPK designation? Absolutely not. In fact, testing has demonstrated that AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer is more effective than the chemical fertilizers it has been tested against.
What does this mean? To gain some insight into the origin of the “numbers complex,” it is valuable to look back on the evolution of agricultural research.
Agriculturalists once believed that plants literally “ate” the soil. But Justus von Liebig in the early nineteenth century planted the seed of radical change in the agriculture world. Among the discoveries backed by his chemical laboratory was the fact that plants merely extract certain substances from the soil, particularly nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (Richard W. Langer, Grow It!, 1972).
From Liebig’s new theory there were several corollaries to be drawn, and the nineteenth-century assault on traditional agriculture was soon in full swing. They learned that if you added enough of the right chemicals, you could even grow a bumper crop in sand or a water solution. After World War II, the chemical industry rose to the challenge (Langer, Grow It!).
Chemical fertilizers alone were suddenly deemed essential ingredients of agriculture. No heed was paid any longer to the tilth, or physical quality, of the soil. If the corn isn’t growing just add more chemicals, they thought. But as more chemicals were added over the years, the organic quality of the soil was lost. Once rich, friable earth was turned into hardpan. The essential chemical ingredients were there, but high crop yields weren’t. Why did this happen? Because you can’t grow abundance on asphalt (Langer, Grow It!).
Finally, in the past few decades, agriculturalists have rediscovered soil; good, natural, organic earth, the way it used to be, and the natural cycle that nourishes it.
But now many organic, chemical-free growers suffer from a “number complex.” An expert told them to use 8-8-8, so they struggle to match that grade with organic fertilizer rather than chemicals. In addition to this problem, there are other disadvantages (Robert Rodale, The Basic Book of Organic Gardening, 1971).
It is often difficult to equate the organic rationale with the chemical one. The result may be that the “new” organic method is difficult or confusing.
Perhaps the most common problem is that a lot of organic gardeners and farmers make the big mistake of not using organic fertilizers heavily enough on their first application. Chemical companies with a new expensive mix or super blend may advise applying at the rate of 200 pounds per acre, or a pound or two for the whole vegetable garden. Then when the organic grower wants to convert, he still thinks in terms of such applications.
The best advice is to forget about the numbers and concentrate on a long-range fertilizing program. Once this is begun, the result will be better, healthier plants and higher yields.
AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 is the first step on the road to a long-range, comprehensive fertilizer plan resulting in stronger, more disease resistant plants, increased soil fertility and greater harvests.
Farmers have used an increasing amount of conventional fertilizer since the end of World War II. Initially, huge yield increases were realized, but over the last few decades, yields have leveled out and, in some cases, declined despite numerous advances in seeds, pesticides and equipment.
With increased consumer concern about residues and hazardous run-off combined with tougher government regulations, farmers have begun using more natural fertilizer products. Most of these products are incorporated into their existing practices and they report many benefits from their use.
Replicated research trials and actual field use trials conducted on AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 were used to determine the effects of AGGRAND when incorporated into crop production systems in the following areas:
1. Seed germination
2. Plant growth stimulation
3. Disease suppression
AGGRAND applied in the amount of two gallons per acre in the furrow increased the size of soybean plants compared to traditional treatments. There was a yield increase of five bushels per acre where AGGRAND was used.
Lab tests showed that where AGGRAND was added to the soil, there was a significant reduction in verticillium dahliae microsclerotia (MS). Field trials (tomatoes) showed that incorporating AGGRAND in a weekly one percent foliar spray solution resulted in a 51 percent increase in total yield.
A tomato farmer included AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer in his transplant solution (two percent) and added two foliar sprays of one gallon per spray. The AGGRAND treated portion of his field yielded four additional tons per acre.
Under severe disease pressure, AGGRAND treated peppers showed reduced incidence of disease and significantly increased total yield.
Tests conducted to measure the effects of AGGRAND on suppressing and/or controlling seedling diseases demonstrated the following:
1. Increasing the rate of AGGRAND increased disease control.
2. Increasing the rate of AGGRAND provided the required nutritional needs of the plant.
3. Increasing the incubation time of AGGRAND in the planting medium increased disease control.
4. In all treatments at all time frames, AGGRAND clearly outperformed conventional fertilizer alone.
AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer is an emulsion, made from 100 percent whole menhaden fish. Its nitrogen is derived from protein. The product also contains key amino acids that have been recognized to benefit plant growth in the areas of seed germination, plant growth stimulation and disease suppression.
In addition to the original goals of the tests that were conducted, the researchers noted the following observations:
1. Some tests showed increases in the soil’s ability to retain nutrients where AGGRAND was used.
2. Changes in soil acidity were measured in the Ontario trials.
3. Better cell membrane permeability was noted in two rate study trials, both in root cells and leaf tissue.
These different tests suggest that the benefits measured in these trials exceed what would be expected from a fertilizer product alone. They further suggest that AGGRAND positively affects the plant in at least three different modes of action.
• More uniform application
• No dust during application
• Finer particle size
• Quicker reaction
• Greater vertical movement
• No heavy bags.
Liquid lime not only provides convenience, but also added performance. Liquid hose end application gives the control needed for a uniform application of the lime without the dust or need for rainfall associated with dry lime products. But ease of application and convenience are only half the story. Performance is also improved with the AGGRAND fine-grind 325 mesh suspension. The improved technology offers a quicker pH adjustment. More importantly, it offers greater vertical movement into the soil profile. This corrects the pH not only in the top one inch, but also to a depth of four to six inches where it is most needed. This allows for a greater nutrient availability and microbial activity all through the root zone.
Because lime is being applied for the soil’s sake, not for the plant, it isn’t critical when it is applied. So as an annual application, spring or fall would be equally acceptable. If you determine through soil tests that a significant adjustment is required, a monthly application throughout the growing season may be necessary until the adjustment is acceptable. This is preferred over a one-time heavy application to allow soil microbe populations to transition to a higher pH regime rather than a rapid adjustment upsetting the biological balance in the soil.
Robert Benson of West Milford, West Virginia has been using AGGRAND products for 11 years and he has seen spectacular results. In his first AGGRAND year alone, he saved over $6,000 by using AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and Liquid Lime on his 100 acres. The product also yielded more hay than ever before.
“Chemical fertilizer prices keep climbing,” said Benson, “so I decided to try AGGRAND. I ordered 10 gallons of Natural Fertilizer and some Liquid Lime. It really worked. In the previous year I had 103 1,000 lbs. round bales. After using the AGGRAND products I got 218 1,000 lbs. round bales.”
Benson has over a decade of AGGRAND experience, so he’s had some time to see how well the products work. “Of course your results will also depend on ground quality and how you’ve maintained the land, but over the years with AGGRAND I’ve gotten more hay per pasture and the cows go through fewer magnesium blocks. I’ve gone down to about half the magnesium blocks I used to go through. The cattle just aren’t eating as many blocks. They only eat what they need, and if they get enough in their diet they’ll quit eating magnesium blocks. The AGGRAND Liquid Lime label says it has magnesium, so that must be the reason they stopped eating so many magnesium blocks. Thanks to AGGRAND, my cattle are already getting enough magnesium in their diet. Altogether, AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer and Liquid Lime save me about $5,000 a year on average.”
Once he started using it and seeing how well it worked, he began telling other people about it. If anyone doubts the power of AGGRAND, he simply asks, “Why would I still be using it after 10 years if it didn’t work?” Benson used to put 30 head of cattle on 150 acres. Thanks to AGGRAND products, he was able to raise that to 50 head of cattle on the same number of acres.
“I actually get that much more hay from each pasture with AGGRAND,” says Benson. “You can use AGGRAND for $6 to $11 an acre, compared to using 19- 19-19 chemical fertilizer when you might pay about $16 per acre. Big savings! AGGRAND can save you as much as $10 per acre and it will not burn vegetation. There’s no leeching and no runoff and it won’t pollute rivers. You can put it on whether it’s wet outside or dry. You can even put AGGRAND Liquid Lime on in the rain and you can’t do that with bagged lime. AGGRAND is a lot easier to store and handle."
"I would say my animals are healthier. Usually when I turn cattle out I can run them in the field for 30 days before rotating. One of my fields has 14 acres and I can run 15 head on it, which is pretty good."
"The 19- 19-19 chemical fertilizer has gone from $200 to $310 a ton and that doesn’t count the cost of applying it. And I’d use a quarter of a ton per acre. Lime pellets cost $125 a ton and I’d use three tons per acre. With AGGRAND my cost for liming and fertilizing 100 acres is only $900."
"When I was going to start using it, I talked to county agents and they said it won’t work. I went back to the county with all the facts and figures from using AGGRAND and they just shook their heads. They couldn’t deny how well AGGRAND worked. The 19-19- 19 is a fertilizer flash in the pan, but over the long run natural fertilizer is much better all around. Saving thousands of dollars a year is big money, especially with the small profit margin any farmer has these days. Last year I completely sold out of my AGGRAND inventory. It’s a quarter of the cost of the chemical fertilizers. AGGRAND is more economical than anything around and it’s organic. Those are the two main things I really like about AGGRAND.”
Traditional lawn fertilization practices certainly cause surface and groundwater pollution, but banning the application of certain nutrients is not the answer.
The application of both nitrogen and phosphorus can be problematic. Chemical fertilizers that are highly concentrated cause water pollution even when they are applied at the recommended rates if exposed to heavy rain or excess irrigation too soon. However, many homeowners do not calibrate their fertilizer spreaders or just throw fertilizer on their lawns by hand, which is the most likely cause of most of the nutrient loading in lakes.
The real answer to this dilemma is to start using more sustainable practices and natural products. The recycling of nutrients through the return of grass clippings (using a mulching mower) stimulates soil biological activity and supplies at least two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per year without causing any pollution. The application of low levels of natural forms of nutrients such as fish, kelp, humates and corn gluten meal stimulates the proliferation of microbes and earthworms, which readily fix these forms of nutrients before they ever get into lakes. As the creatures in the soil multiply, they excrete nutrients and die or are eaten and digested and excreted by other organisms, which releases nutrients slowly as plants need them.
An actual comparison of two types of fertilizer, one that is natural and one that is chemical, illustrates the difference. One homeowner applies 30-5-10 fertilizer to his lawn at 20 lbs. per 5,000 square feet and his neighbor applies one quart of (2.3 lbs) of 4-3-3 fertilizer per 5,000 square feet. The natural fertilizer puts .0184 lb. and .013 lb. of phosphate per 1,000 square feet into the soil. The naturally fertilized lawn is more drought and pest resistant and uses less water so it needs to be irrigated less often. The natural fertilizer stimulates biological activity, which creates stable soil aggregates enabling the roots to go deeper and become better developed, keeping nutrients in the root zone. The chemical fertilizer puts 1.2 lbs. of nitrogen and .2 lb. of phosphate per 1,000 square feet into the soil (65 times more nitrogen and 15 times more phosphate then the natural fertilizer). The chemically fertilized lawn is water hungry and needs constant irrigation because the grass relies on the chemical to supply the nutrients. The chemical toxifies the soil, inhibiting biological activity, which results in compacted soil and an unhealthy root environment. Most of the nutrients are free to flow over the compacted surface into the surface water or past the restricted root zone into the ground water. Research shows that from 92 to 96 percent of high analysis chemical fertilizers are not taken up by plants.
Fertilization in itself is not inherently bad, but the type and amount of fertilization is the key to producing healthy lawns and eliminating water pollution. Remember, nitrogen and phosphate are present in all ecosystems, but nature knows how to hold them and make them readily available when they are needed. We need to learn how to work with nature, not against it.
Since water is required for lime to react with the soil, effects of a lime application will be slower in a dry soil. It often takes a year or more before a response can be measured even under perfect conditions. However, a response may be observed within weeks of the application when soil pH is extremely low. It is important to apply lime immediately after the growing season or crop removal to allow lime to react, correcting soil pH before the next growing season. The reactivity time also depends on the type of lime used. Liming materials differ widely in their neutralizing powers due to variations in the percentage of calcium and/or magnesium. Usually, liming materials with a high calcium carbonate equivalent, or CCE (the percentage of usable lime in a liming product), tend to neutralize soil acidity faster than those with a low CCE. The coarseness of the liming material will also influence how fast the lime will react. In other words, the finer the liming material, the faster it will influence the soil. AGGRAND Liquid Lime is very fine lime held in suspension so it works immediately when applied to the soil. AGGRAND Liquid Lime can work alone or in addition to a regular liming program.
The answer to this question depends on a variety of considerations. A soil with a low CEC (cation exchange capacity; the capacity of a plant and soil to exchange nutrients) does not require a lot of lime to correct soil pH but may need to be limed frequently. A soil with a high CEC requires a large amount of lime to initially correct pH, but it may be several years before another lime application is needed due to its high buffering capacity. As fertilizer is applied to enhance forage or crop production, the removal of essential plant nutrients from the soil also increases. As a result, lime may be needed more frequently to replenish removed nutrients. For example, the rate of nutrient removal from a pasture being hayed is much greater than a pasture being grazed. Therefore, the hay field may need to be limed more often.
Bill McCarthy uses AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 on his garden with stunning results. His flowers look better and the vegetables taste great. The plants even stand up better to heat and drought.
“Each spring we rake off the flower beds as winter resides and the first signs of spring growth appear,” said McCarthy. “Then we apply AGGRAND 4-3-3 with the hose end sprayer. It is just a given that you can see the rapid response to the fresh application of the 4-3-3 as flowers sprout faster, healthier and more vigorously. Our neighbor’s flower beds parallel my wife’s beds, so we give the neighbor’s beds the 4-3-3 treatment when we spray ours. Our neighbor has remarked that she has had to move some species. I have seen my wife’s flower beds gradually grow in size over these years and the constant repositioning of plants is pretty evident.
“My wife often hosts visitors who come to walk past her gardens in the spring. These visitors often remark about how healthy and large our plants look compared to theirs.
“We even notice a major difference in the soil texture of our garden. With AGGRAND it’s just easier to work with the soil. The stamina and durability of our plants is also obviously a result of using AGGRAND 4-3-3. Our area was hailed on earlier in the summer, causing leaf damage in the flowers, yet ours recovered remarkably well.
“Normal annual plantings of petunias and impatiens are always anchored by filling in the hole before setting the plant into the earth. The response from the plants is remarkable from both flowers and vegetables.
“The summer has been both hot and dry, mandating supplemental watering. But it’s clearly evident how our plants tolerate the heat and drought conditions. This can only be from the use of AGGRAND 4-3-3.
“As summer turns to the inevitable frost and periods of garden inactivity, our program is simply to rake the beds and then apply a fresh application of 4-3-3 on the beds so as to put them to bed for the winter. That is all I do.
“Regarding hanging baskets such as fuchsia, I apply some 4-3-3 when my wife brings them home and then once a month or so a pint of mixed 4-3-3 and water. Just keep them watered.
“Over the last 15 years I’ve been gardening,” said McCarthy, “I’ve had many remarks from other gardeners about how healthy my plants look and how fast and tall they grow. Just like our flowers, all my vegetable transplants get AGGRAND Natural Fertilizer 4-3-3 as I plant them. Tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, basil, potatoes and anything from the greenhouse, it all gets AGGRAND 4-3-3.
“Many of our neighbors want me to apply AGGRAND 4-3-3 to their plants as well. I just sink a shovel into the ground next to the root, which opens up a crease big enough to fill with AGGRAND 4-3-3 solution. In two weeks the difference is very noticeable in how green and healthy the plants are despite how hot and dry the summers are.
“We usually grow a late row of tomatoes to tempt the frost. These tomatoes often ripen on our kitchen counter, and not even our neighbors, who really love our tomatoes, have any idea they didn’t ripen on the vine. Our tomatoes are simply great-tasting jewels!
“The stamina our plants have in these hot and dry conditions is obvious. Even our green bean crop was marvelous and the reason is also obvious: AGGRAND 4-3-3.
“The part of our neighbor’s lawn that lies next to our garden gets enough residual AGGRAND 4-3-3 that the positive effects are very obvious. AGGRAND 4-3-3 really does work wonders!”
AGGRAND application rates and experiences featured here have been submitted by sources independent of AGGRAND. Your experiences may vary. Optimal application rates can vary due to soil condition, crop type, weather patterns and many other factors. AGGRAND recommends and supports soil analysis to determine optimal application rates.