Watering, part two

photoThis year I’m trying two new aids to watering. I’m still gathering data — since I’m still gathering food from the garden — so I’ve only my observations to share.

First, I’m watering my garden with the Gard’n’Grow, a garden dechlorinator. It’s an apparatus that attaches to the garden faucet and removes chlorine from tap water. Periodically you must reverse and replace the filter. The chlorine added to tap water actually kills some of the beneficial bacteria that you want in healthy soil and, as we know, healthy soil is a healthy, thriving, disease-free garden. (See my earlier rants about healthy soil.) I have to say the garden is thriving, has significantly more benevolent insects and a higher pollination rate than last year, and looks very happy. Based purely on observation, there’s some thing good happening because the water from the hose is more like pure rain water, free from the chemical additives of city living.

Second, I’m faithfully fertilizing my clients’ kitchen gardens weekly with an organic fish fertilizer, Schafer Liquid Fish. (I’d be fertilizing my vegetable garden too but I never seem to get around to it. Spectacular results on my patio container garden!) Fish fertilizer is a natural, organic, age-old and highly effective fertilizing formula. It increases chlorophyll, promotes germination, root and leaf growth, boosts yield and promotes healthy soil by increasing organic matter in the soil.

I’m very impressed by Liquid Fish and I like that it’s a local Illinois, family-owned business. I ordered the 2.5 gallon jug along with the 1 quart sprayer bottle.  The fish fertilizer is diluted in water, and the powerful sprayer distributes evenly over the garden. I did splurg and upgrade to a Gilmour metal, no pre-mix, hose-end sprayer because I can put undiluted fertilizer in the bottle, set the ratio (teaspoons or tablespoons/per gallon) on a dial, and let the sprayer do the work. This sprayer has metal parts which make it feel sturdier than the all-plastic sprayer. Both sprayers work well and need to be dismantled, soaked and washed after each use. Otherwise they clog up. If you spill fertilizer on your hands, fresh lemon juice and a good scrub with a brush will get the smell off your hands.

The Schafer Liquid Fish fertilizer clearly is boosting plant growth, health and yield in all my clients’ gardens. Once I mulched, the combination of the two was dramatic and immediate. A few gardens that were struggling because of years of weed-killer leeched in the soil really started to take off and flourish after a couple of applications. I highly recommend this product for kitchen gardens and flower gardens. It’s terrific.

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