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free falling organic fertilizer  RSS feed

 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i read somewhere in a rodale book that snow is the best fertilizer a farmer can get.

well we are getting a lot of it..we have turned the corner into our Michigan winter over the last 48 hours..our first snows all melted but this is going to be a "sticker"..and should last most if not all winter..

it has turned cold and nasty and the birds are stripping the feeders in les than one day..is that an omen? hope not..

guess i have to put the sandals away?? (still ran out to fill feeders, fire and get mail in shorts though)
 
Jami McBride
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Enjoy some of that snow for us Brenda!

Winter has hit here too, but it's only cold and grey, with heavy fog and general dampness.
Just covered the rabbits in straw so they are cozy.

I remembered when I visited Michigan asking my friends about their snow and if it came up to their door and stayed.  They looked at me strange until I explained all my life we have driven for hours to get to the snow, it's very hard to picture it around one's house - snow is on a mountain top way off in the distance *grin* I can't picture living in it....

Jami
 
Brenda Groth
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last year we got 141" of snow..so i guess..yeah it not only comes up to the door but covers the house ..

fortunately our roof is fairly easy to access so shovelling it off is ..although a job when it is four feet deep on the roof..not impossible..

when i can get on the pc i'll include a few photographs from last year's snow..
 
paul wheaton
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Kelda Miller
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I've heard that too, that snow has some nitrogen in it. It maybe 'fixes' some on its downward journey.  Along that thought I've also heard that lightning strikes make available tons of nitrogen as well. And of course in our Northwest forests, it was tons of salmon carcasses circulating through the food chain that made nitrogen available.

I tend to think in terms of 'nitrogen-fixing plants', but eye-opening to realize that it doesn't necessarily have to be plants, or manure, but a handful of phenomena...
 
Leah Sattler
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that is interesting! I never really though in terms of nitrogen and snow.

141"!!! my daughter is jealous. she keeps asking "will I ever see snow again?"  it wasn't a regular phenomenon in tulsa and now i am sure the chances are less.
 
Brenda Groth
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i can't really remember much about what i read about it..but they did say it was the best fertilizer in the article..but that was a long time ago..and it might have been a real stretch.

i do know that years that we get a lot of snow we also get a lot of good growing in the plantlife, and low snow years we lose plants..but that is probably more or less the insulation factor of the snow as well as the moisture it brings

yeah that 141 " was in March and we did get some small snows after that so it was more..but that is high for our area..i do remember one day that the Mackinac bridge area got 4' of snow in one day..that I think was a record for MY MEMORY..anyway.

fortunately it was by the lakes so they just pushed a lot of it into the water to get rid of it
 
Fred Morgan
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When the rain is right, we have rain with volcanic ash. Beat that!  Somehow I don't think we are missing minerals for sure. Tropical volcanic soil is pretty hard to beat.

I would prefer to shovel manure than deal with snow. 
 
paul wheaton
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Hmmmm .... I would like more info on that. 

I do know that rain brings a trace of N.  And I know that lightning does something to help bring N to the soil.  But my understanding of it is really weak. 

But if snow is a significant source: I would really like to get my head wrapped around that.

 
Gwen Lynn
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Fred Morgan wrote:
I would prefer to shovel manure than deal with snow. 


I'd rather shovel manure too! 
 
Jeremy Bunag
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Interesting...

This one talks about late snow:
http://www.weathernotebook.org/transcripts/2001/04/17.html

And this one's a bit more talk-y than prove-y:
http://www.adn.com/gardens/story/550298.html
 
Brenda Groth
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thanks for the links..maybe i'm not crazy as a loon..blizzard coming tonight
 
ronie dee
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I used to know the fertilizer content of snow, but i cant find it anywhere...the gist of it was that snow provides very little.... just a trace... I am guessing that it picks up some organic material from microbes in the air - this wud break down to a little N,K, P  for yer garden.

You wud be able to get more from picking up a handful of dirt from the ditch and throwing it on yer garden..

A snow cover is good for the soil as it keeps the soil warmer than if the soil was not covered... I think that warmer soil has more activity - microbes reproducing dying and decaying etc.
 
Jordan Lowery
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I believe snow is a good fertilizer, or fertilizer stimulant I should say. in the way that it breaks up cells of organic matter when they freeze, then when they thaw the soil micro organisms have an advantage over before it froze. creating what we call plant food.
 
Brenda Groth
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well so far 18 to 20 " of the stuff on the ground and tons more in the air and forcast..
 
                          
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yeh it looks petty nasty on the Australian news, how much of the country is copping it?
 
Brenda Groth
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well i guess there are storms everywhere..but we are getting mostly just snow here..we are around 2' and more coming all the time now..so if it IS fertilizer..we are getting some.

myself i'm just thankful to have a blanket on my perennials..

they say you should knock it off the evergreens..but i have tons of evergreens and they are buried..no way i can knock it off..they are huge tall..ok if we don't get too big of winds
 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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your right about storms everywhere, im at other end of scale, cyclone going past 300km out to sea. so good heavy rains and winds supplying mulch by the truckloads better than having cyclone close and turning houses into mulch, any one know how to compost large, growing pile of coconuts
 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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what a bounty, under $10 fuel costs - approx 20 cubic meters free mulch, over 300 coconuts and plenty of fresh plant materials to start cuttings from, now thats what i call free falling organic fertilizer
 
Brenda Groth
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Location: North Central Michigan
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the mid part of our midwestern states are having a simliar "wind storm" which is taking down a lot of trees and blowing things around as well...and this happened last year too as well as ice storms that removed trees and branches..

unfortunately the area really doesn't need this to happen year after year..my friend living there is elderly and hasn't got the ability to remove the trees that continue to fall across her driveway and on her stuff..

too bad us "wood heating states" couldn't ship all that up here !
 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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my first priority after storms is to check on my elderly neighbors, give help cleaning up if needed, then its off to roadsides for the free mulch, firewood not needed here but always has other uses like construction, hugelkuture, of work today so a few more large compost reserve piles on the way
 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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I can think of a few things the snow cover helps with.

1- the trace fertilizer (not just the N from the air and the P and K but probably trace amounts of dust from far away that will have trace nutrients that might not be common in the area.)  This combined with the way show lands and melts can deposit the minerals/dust on the ground rather than it simply washing away the way it usually does with rainl

2-Snow cover means the ground isn't being eroded away by wind during the cold season.

3-The simple fact of snow means lots of bugs and diseases are being reduced in numbers.  (We don't get a real long freeze for winter so the natural pest/disease control of winter with a snow cover is missing.)

4-Blanket of snow means the ground temperature is moderated compared to bare frozen ground.

5-The freeze thaw effect helping with break down and composting of the organic mulches left over the beds for winter.

6-Farmer can stay in shape shoveling and doing snow sports.  (The other half is really pushing for us to go somewhere Snowboarding now that there are some real snows setting in up North.)
 
                          
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Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
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so snow keeps ground from freezing, like an insulation blanket iv'e always thought that the ground would be frozen solid. never had to deal with snow, so when melt run off starts the ground is able to take up what it needs moisture wise? doe's one ever stop learning ops:
 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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Where I grew up, we often got lots of snow before it got too terribly cold so yes the snow would act as an insulator to an extent.  The very top surface of the dirt would still freeze a bit so you still would mound mulch over tender plants or crops that you might come out and dig from under the snow through the winter but in North West lower Michigan, the ground didn't tend to freeze too solid under the snow and in the spring much water could soak in instead of running off.

However, it is possible to get really cold weather before snow covers the ground and those are the seasons when many of the perennials that need to be protected, might not come back.  In places where the ground tends to freeze solid without the blanket of snow you see things like frost heaves changing the landscape, knocking down walls, toppling cemetary monuments etc.
 
Jeremy Bunag
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Yup, it all depends on when you get your snow.  Technically, when it is snowing (with flakes, not ice balls) it is above freezing air temperatures.  So if you have nice now before brutal cold, you got yourself a blanket of sorts!
 
Brenda Groth
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in Michigan more than 1/2 of our snow in OUR area is called Lake Effect..it is when the cold air blows over the still unfrozen Lake Michigan and picks up the water and dumps it on our land..

most of our snow is NOT when air temps are above freezing..but below freezing..From November through March it would be rare for our air temps to ever go above freezing yet we might get 150" of snow or more..easily
 
                          
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so frozen ground really depends on conditions before first snow, and a good thick mulch can help protect plants. Thanks

one more question - how would you describe the difference  in run off on frozen ground compared to ground that was not frozen?
 
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