Growing Organically

We are working toward being certified as an organic nursery in the hopefully not so distant future. It’s a long process but it assures that the products are naturally grown without the use of pesticides and non-organic materials. We are getting closer but are not quite there.

The biggest thing I want to go into here is about our success with castings tea or as some call it “worm tea”. We started a small but growing “worm farm” last year and have identified an excellent source of organic worm castings. We are conducting many experiments with these castings but more importantly, we have already incorporated the castings into our production program.

Specifically, we use castings tea in our seed germination program and are growing all of our seedlings that we sell and those that we are putting into production in our nursery. When you order plants, we will include a FREE sample with each order with complete use instructions. You can also order a FREE sample when you order seeds. Click the pay button for your free sample on the seed ordering page. A brewing kit will be sold shortly on the Organic Products Page.

So, here’s what we’ve found. We brew a batches of tea in 5 gallon buckets with aeration. We normally do not dilute the tea with water, but rather apply it as a drench over the top of the seedlings at full strength. We apply tea for two waterings. The third watering we use water only. The results have been astounding. Within a very short time the seedlings responded to the tea and seem to double in size quickly. Tests that are underway will quantify these observations. The leaves are a healthy green and the root system fills the cells quickly. Try your free sample and share your observations with us.

Producing strawberries organically has many challenges. We don’t have many primary insect type pests but disease is always a threat, botrytis (gray mold) in particular. We use a number of cultural practices to control disease. For seedlings we use good air circulation by using fans. We also try not to over-water and we irrigate early in the day so that there is time for the leaves to dry by night time.

In the nursery for production plants we cannot use fans but we optimize the spacing for the plants so there is adequate air circulation. We also irrigate early in the day for the same reason as with seedlings. In addition, it is reported widely in the literature, both in print and online, that castings tea has suppressive activity against both diseases and insect pests above and below ground. We will be developing a spray schedule for applying the tea foliarly. At this stage, our operation is too large to be able to brew enough tea to irrigate the crop but increasing brewing capacity is being planned for the future.

As we develop more data on the subject we will share it with you. If you have specific questions about what we do please don’t hesitate to contact us.