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I used miracle gro to make my transplants take. I hated doing it. Help.  RSS feed

 
Mike Guillory
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I want to go totally organic with my gardening.  The current problem Im having is with my cabbage transplants.  I moved a pile of grass mulch to put down some cardboard and plant my transplants, cutting a hole for each one.  The ground was extremely rich with worms, castings, and organic material.  I transplanted the cabbage and watered it good, thinking it was golden, and the next day instead of springing up, my cabbage transplants were all wilted down.  I had some miracle grow and mixed it up, not knowing what else to try, I applied the miracle grow.  Like magic a few hours later the plants had started rebounding.  The question I have for you gurus out there, is this: Is there any natural miracle gro compound that I can make to give my plants a super charge when transplanting?  I hate using any kind of fertilizer and I wouldn't have done it, if my plants weren't at deaths door.
 
ronie dee
Posts: 619
Location: NW MO
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This isn't really an answer to your question. When transplanting I've found that the plants do much better if I put a white 5 gal bucket over the plants for a couple weeks. Remove the bucket for a little longer each day to lessen shock of the full intensity of the sun. 

The bucket protects from the sun and helps keep the moisture near the transplants. (If the weather is cool a black bucket works good.)

As for a substitute for miracle gro,  I suppose a green tea or aged manure tea, might work - anything that will provide N,K,P should replace miracle gro.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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i bet they were getting more effect from the water you put the fertilizers in rather than the miracle grow.
 
Thelma McGowan
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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Just becasue it is called miracle grow....does not mean it really is a miracle. I learned that this year with my tomatoe starts.
I have never had as good of luck as i did with worm castings and compost tea.

I did not get too fancy.....we have a pile about 2 years old that we toss the grass clippings on. at the bottom of the pile and near the edges I discovered this last spring that it was crawing with worms...just where the grass was turning to soil. I made a tea with a shovel full of this composted earth (and a few worms that I could not get out of the dirt :0(    ) The compost teas had superior effect on my seedlings. They were greener, stouter, had beter roots.

I think that even marginally worming dirt has more miracle in it than the  advertised Miracle Grow! Most Of my garden budget was going to miracle grow...that stuff is really expensive! Don't belive the hype....nearly false advertising!

After My experience, this summer I set some of my kitchen scraps asside for a small worm bin and now I have awsome compost with worms galore making their castings......of course I do not know why I did that since the product is  currently being made under my Grass clippings.


 
Mike Guillory
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Thelma McGowan wrote:
Just becasue it is called miracle grow....does not mean it really is a miracle. I learned that this year with my tomatoe starts.
I have never had as good of luck as i did with worm castings and compost tea.

I did not get too fancy.....we have a pile about 2 years old that we toss the grass clippings on. at the bottom of the pile and near the edges I discovered this last spring that it was crawing with worms...just where the grass was turning to soil. I made a tea with a shovel full of this composted earth (and a few worms that I could not get out of the dirt :0(    ) The compost teas had superior effect on my seedlings. They were greener, stouter, had beter roots.

I think that even marginally worming dirt has more miracle in it than the  advertised Miracle Grow! Most Of my garden budget was going to miracle grow...that stuff is really expensive! Don't belive the hype....nearly false advertising!

After My experience, this summer I set some of my kitchen scraps asside for a small worm bin and now I have awsome compost with worms galore making their castings......of course I do not know why I did that since the product is  currently being made under my Grass clippings.


I actually
ronie wrote:
This isn't really an answer to your question. When transplanting I've found that the plants do much better if I put a white 5 gal bucket over the plants for a couple weeks. Remove the bucket for a little longer each day to lessen shock of the full intensity of the sun. 

The bucket protects from the sun and helps keep the moisture near the transplants. (If the weather is cool a black bucket works good.)

As for a substitute for miracle gro,  I suppose a green tea or aged manure tea, might work - anything that will provide N,K,P should replace miracle gro.


Im wondering if I start a worm bin and water it, leaving a drain with a bucket to collect the "tea" as it filters out would work as a substitute for the miracle gro.  I can't think of any concoction more potent than a casting tea.  It would be worth a try.  Thanks guys for the ideas.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I think Hubert's comment re the water is important.
Is it hot where you are?
I find transplants really struggle if they get hit by direct sun within about 12 hrs. I try to transplant after the sun's gone down or when the weather's reliably overcast.
And I give them a really good water when I plant.
We don't have miracle gro here (in fact, that's the first time I've typed it ), I don't have a worm farm and I do plenty of successful transplanting, so I'd look at cultural issues first.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I have the same suspicion as Hubert.  Nutrient avail/deficiency is not an overnight kind of thing.

Makes me think of the importance of growing seedlings in full sun.  It's hard enough to be transplanted without having to ramp up the composition of your leaves at the same time to deal with a slug of UV radiation!  In transplant season I'm always looking for a nice string of cool moist days.  Timing is everything.
 
Mike Guillory
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Leila Rich wrote:
I think Hubert's comment re the water is important.
Is it hot where you are?
I find transplants really struggle if they get hit by direct sun within about 12 hrs. I try to transplant after the sun's gone down or when the weather's reliably overcast.
And I give them a really good water when I plant.
We don't have miracle gro here (in fact, that's the first time I've typed it ), I don't have a worm farm and I do plenty of successful transplanting, so I'd look at cultural issues first.


The fact that the sun is blaring all day can definitely be a variable.  We are in a midst of a drought here in Louisiana and it gets to the upper 80's still in the daytime.  I've been fighting water issues with my fruit trees and other plants all year long.  This is the worst drought I've seen around here.  Thank you so much for the helpful advice.  I will know next time to not transplant until a rain event.  Unfortunately we aren't getting them.
 
ellen rosner
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I cover my transplants with a chair for a few days if it is very sunny.
Or you can use row covers.

And I water them daily til they are established.

someone gave me this metaphor for miracle-gro (MG)-
mg is like taking steroids - it will give a quick boost to your plants, but in the long run they will suffer.
Better to build strength slowly with organic amendments in the soil, and if necessary an organic fertilizer.
 
Hugh Hawk
Posts: 225
Location: Adelaide, South Australia (Mediterranean climate)
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Plastic milk or soda bottles can be cut in half to make 2 translucent transplant covers.  This lessens the intensity of the light and retains moisture (but I have an air hole to avoid getting too hot or moist in there).

Worm juice seems to substitute pretty well here for reducing transplant shock.  One thing you can do is soak the whole punnet in a bucket of worm juice for 15 mins before you plant.  This ensures good saturation of the root system, even with hydrophobic soils.

We also have seaweed based products here, which are an expensive but organic alternative.
 
                              
Posts: 12
Location: Eastern Texas - zone 8a
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I will agree, it was likely needing relief from the sun and moisture more than miracle grow.

I am in a similar climate and similar drought in east TX.  I've found the two things that help are providing improved composted soil to plant in and shade until your plants are established.  If you don't have shade, improvise by making it. 

I have found a spot that receives evening shade and you can see the plants sigh in relief in the afternoon. 
 
George Lee
Posts: 539
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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kelp emulsion.. no "miracle" gro..

Kelp is the best for seedlings.

Seedlings need warmth and water for quite a while...

When they get their set of true leaves, start kelp/water feedings..
 
                                  
Posts: 5
Location: Australia
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leave some dandelions in a bucket of water for a week, that smelt good/bad enough that it had to be good for the garden
 
Troy Rhodes
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There are several techniques that can reduce transplant shock.

How much did you harden off your plants before transplanting?

What kind of containers were they started in?  What I'm getting at, is how much trauma does the root system undergo when you transplanted?

Did you water them well the night before you transplanted?

What kind of light conditions were they raised under?

What kind of soil mix were they started in?


I can help you with the physical act of getting the plant out of the pot and into the soil with virtually no root trauma.  Here's a whole post on my blog where I show you how to use 2" pvc pipe to start your plants in.  There are two very short video clips of how the transplant itself works.  It's very slick.

Just cut 3" lengths of 2" pvc pipe (which is widely available as short scraps, ask any plumber or electrician and you'll like get a few hunks for free.

My favorite planting mix is 1/2 peat moss, and 1/2 vermiculite.  Water with an organic liquid balanced fertilizer in the water.  Put a bunch in a plastic sterilite box so it's easy to carry them around and inside/outside.  That also makes them super easy to water, you just dump your water in the sterilite box and since the "pots" have no bottom, they soak the water right up.  This doesn't disturb the very fragile baby plant like watering from the top does.

http://superinsulatedfarmhouse.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html

Scroll down to the may 25th entry and watch those two little video clips.

The one place where I use a little artificial fertilizer is in the water for the starts.  Fertilizer is rated as N-P-K.  N = Nitrogen, P = phosphorus and K = Potassium  (the K comes from the german word for potash, for those who were curious).

The key point is, brand new plants have a desperate need for phosphorus, the middle number.  You can buy a little bag of x-40-x and the extra phosphorus will really help the new plant establish a better root system.  I am looking for a better (non-artificial) source with high phosphorus, but this has been working well for years, and a pound will last the rest of my life I'm sure. 

I'm sure we'll get this sorted out for you.

Finest regards,

troy
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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If the problem with transplanting is consistent, consider changing your methods.  Chemicals vs natural nutrients may not be the problem.  The problem could be mechanical.  Let me explain.

Commercially available growing cells and plant pots are usually produced with a bottom that is smaller than the top.  This makes it easy for the plants to fall out when tipped upside down.  Also, the traditional literature will mention 'shaking out' the roots, then tamping down the soil around the newly transplanted plant.

I find 2 issues with this method
1] plant roots want to grow outward but are restricted by the tapered shape of the container
2]shaking out the roots and tamping down the soil disturbs the roots and dislodges the microbes which have already established themselves around the roots

I gave this problem some thought.  An inverted cone or pyramid shape really is not practical, so I tried a tube.  I cut a length of 4" PVC pipe into sections 6" long.  Used them as plant pots.

The roots can't grow outward as they would like to, but there is much more freedom than a tapered pot.  When I go to transplant the seedling to the ground, all I need to do is dig a hole, set the tube at the desired depth, then tap the sides to get the plant to slide out.  The roots and microbes are not disturbed with this method. 

Note1: if the leaves have grown well, guard them against damage as they move through the top of the tube.
Note2: there is some claim that PVC can produce outgassing which could be undesirable.  Perhaps a different material could be used.




 
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