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I loved this article. More, please. Here at the Inn on Thistle Hill B&B, we garden organically and don't put any commercial pesticides, herbicides or any other 'cides and spring, summer and fall constantly get compliments on our gardens. Would love to know about a natural remedy for poison ivy, by the way.
Regarding newspapers/cardboard. I considered it briefly, once. But then, I smelled it. Major chemicals. Even the soy ink is mixed with who-knows-what. Felt kinda silly even thinking about it. One winter, to save money, I decided to start my seeds in little paper cups. They were stunted or didn't grow at all. Eeww, and we drink from these cups?
Regarding bonemeal. Knowing what I do about how badly cows are treated, and the antibiotic saturation along with all the chemicals they're fed, I just couldn't. There are other ways.
About Hydrogel. Now this item makes no sense to me. If it's so absorbent, why oh why, when it gets dry would it release its liquid to plants. Personally, it seems that in dry conditions it would steal moisture from the plants. Here's an unnatural, chemical-company-made sales item for us to spend lots of money on and no way to know if it actually works or, if found harmful, how would we get it out of our gardens?? My husband and I went round and round about this when I refused to buy potting soil with it in it. I dug my heel in, stuck out my chin and he knew he would not win. Actually, I found a great organic potting soil which is all we use now, or we mix our own.
This is a great article. Thanks for sharing! I have long wondered about the point and use of bonemeal. It never really made much sense to me, I never bought it and any that was given to me, I just sprinkled randomly. I guess if I ever have a place with poor soil, I'll spread some around just to give it a start. I've used newspaper in my compost but never directly in the garden. I like the way it breaks down and helps control the bugs in the composter. Cardboard is pressed into place using glue, isn't it? I don't understand why someone would put this into their garden then. I've never heard of hydrogels, so I guess that's a good thing now. Can't say I would have tried them anyway. Thanks again for this article, it cleared up a few of my wonderings!!