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281. Organic Lawn Care | Hippie Fertilizing | Arthur Olson Jr. | League City, TX
6th March 2019 • GREEN Organic Garden Podcast • Jackie Marie Beyer
00:00:00 01:00:49

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Welcome to the Organic Gardener Podcast today it is Thursday, February 28, 2019. I’m so excited to talk to my guest from Texas because I’ve been looking for someone to talk to us about Organic Lawn Care! So from Hippie Fertilizing here is AJ Olson!

What would you like to know, actually how you found me was you shared a micro prairie article that I had had shared on my Hippie Fertilizing Facebook Page.  So you posted something and I shared it and you liked it and I sometimes look at who like’s my posts so I can figure out what people like and look for more things like that to help them.

Hippie Fertilizing Natural Organic Lawn Care

I’m a H town baby

Im 31, I grew up here Houston in between here and Galveston

I’ve been in lawn care and tree service. I thought how can I learn something and grow as I learn?

Lawn-care seemed to be something that would keep me moving, because I  hate to sit still. It’s been really successful over the years. I started out doing what we know and often that’s what we see on TV on commercials or what friends tell us.

I found out the hard way that doesn’t work very well! Put down some weed and feed, burn some lawns, spray some weed killer,  get very sick! No that doesn’t look like a good idea anymore! I’m gonna get older one day I don’t want to kill myself to make a living.

Hippie Fertilizing Natural Organic Lawn Care

That’s where I found out about organics and every since I did it’s been such a wonderful thing!

Not only a great way for me to have a business where I can do something positive.

Also it’s been a fun amazing way to educate others on the 

  • importance of our environment
  • how we effect ecology
  • supporting soil biology is the best way to go! 
  • It’s the most environmentally supportive and supports our own health!

That’s good to hear because the number one question I got last summer was How do I take care of my organic lawn? Do you want to give some tips for how do we build soil health in our lawn?

Can I say what the biggest question I got last summer was?

How do I kill the weeds?

That’s always the top questions

Yeah they say the same thing to me? What do I go buy?

And heres what you do. A lot of people don’t like my answer in the beginning because it’s an education process.

  • Why is it a weed?
  • Why do you want to kill it?

You know most of the weeds have benefits to the soil, so they’re not really weeds you just see so many silly commercials from those big companies out there that want you to buy their stuff and it’s not worth it!

alright?

How do you take care of an organic lawn?

You sit back and relax and let it grow!

A good way to start this, because I know there are lots of people who are like I have to do something?! 

Go to the store and and get some organic molasses!

Molasses has

  • iron

  • calcium

  • magnesium

  • potassium

  • B vitamins

  • lots of sugar that feeds the soil microbes

I know people are like I need to jump on this and do something so grab some molasses and sweeten up the day.

You know what’s awesome about that, I put a tiny shot of molasses in my coffee each day and I put that on my plants at the end of the day I wonder if that helps them grow?

Well the molasses, and the coffee, coffee has a very low consistent rate of nitrogen. If  you have 

  • roses
  • azaleas
  • other acidic types of plants.

I actually put it in my basil, lettuce, whatever is in my window. I love that idea! Go get some molasses, like a cup of molasses and a gallon of water. 

8 oz of molasses?

I have a tank, so typically I’m putting a quart, which is 32 oz reservoir

A gallon is 128 oz. So I use about a quart (1/4 of a gallon) of molasses  for about 50 gallons of water. So for home gardeners usually has a 32 oz reservoir I recommend 8 oz of molasses

Organic Lawn Care Natural Spray

Spray it on anything to your hearts content, it won’t hurt anything it will just make your plants and grass greener!

This is so fantastic! I am so glad I talked to you! So what else do you tell people for their soil health?

I follow a couple of Rules for Organic Lawn Care

#1 if I can’t touch it with my own hands I don’t use it!

If you think your following an organic program

Let’s say your using a pre-emergent,

read that package

if it says you can’t touch it with your bare skin maybe you should wonder why you are using it at all? 

  • We walk on our lawns, we have pets
  • They have smaller kidneys etc
  • Pets can’t handle stuff the way we can, they can be 5 times more affected by it!
  • “No it’s not that bad!” someone will say
  • You need to wait 24 hours before you go on the lawn, ok pup?!

yellow flags

I know I hate  those little flags that say don’t walk here! 

 

little yellow flagsmore yellow flags

Besides pets, where do babies crawl in the summer. Exactly!

I remember before I started Hippie Fertilizing I had a lawn maintenance company

I had a customer

using organic products on her lawn, she was like look AJ it’s looking a lot better but how do I kill these weeds.

I said, let me ask you why do you want

My little one year old is learning to walk, I want her to walk on these weeds in her bare feet.

I said, hold on, let me explain this to you and ask you some questions?

So you want your little baby girl with her little baby feet on the lawn you want me to poison because of the weeds?

I heard her pause for a moment

I could hear in her voice it clicked, Oh, I get it! 

Your little baby girl is more important than what you feed weeds are.

So for me it’s about sharing that message so

feed soil first

relax guys

I hear it all the time, AJ, my lawn is killing me! No, it’s not.

You’re really funny and that’s a super powerful story about the baby and her mom.

So, to go on to how to feed soil biology

what i’ve learned and experienced

humic  acid it’s amazing

If you heard good stuff it’s true

If you heard bad stuff they weren’t using it right or enough. to spray on everything with the molasses

What’s humic acid?

it’s a by product or it’s a product typically from what’s called Leonardite ore

  • chelates minerals
  • opens up clay
  • neutralizes toxins
  • benefits in the soil are such a long laundry list

I couldn’t explain it all in a little talk, I’d have to go back and make a whole script

serious stuff

It’s good for

  • trees
  • roots
  • feeding microbes
  • boost fungal activity in soil

people get freaked out! 

bacteria

fungus

nasty

we see 3-4 types that are bad

100s that are good

before you get rid of the bad stuff ask yourself are you even working on feeding the good stuff?

humic acid is great!

plant based amino acids!

  • alfalfa meal
  • cottonseed meal

Not a big fan of soy bean or soy fertilizers, they’re ok definitely better then a big brand chemical fertilizer

Plant based amino acids and they don’t smell like manure based which I’m not against

AJ you do organic fertilizer so you say you spread crap everywhere?

Not cause I’m against them but they tend to smell more and customers tend to not like that.

I know when Mike makes his chicken manure tea, I’m like how can you smell that, it makes me want to gag when he just opens the lid. It smells really strong, give him a lot of kudos. 

poultry litter is great

it’s a good nitrogen source, when it’s diluted well because high nitrogen can burn things a little.

it’s excellent

more of a true slow release

here a lot about that

I used a slow release fertilizer

Was it really? I never heard of a slow release red bull, from what I’ve learned, there’s not really a quality slow release chemical fertilizer

Organics

They’re all slow release because they have to be utilized and eaten up by bacteria

I haven’t heard of any of that stuff, slow release, but I’m not in the lawn care business. This is fascinating ot hear all of this, I think most people don’t even pay attention to what their landscaper does.

Organic goes back to you only do what you know. It’s important to get the right info out there.

If you did a google search right now, you could look up 

how to treat brown patch.

That’s a common one.

It’s all over my mom’s town, they kept telling me it was crab grass, and I kept telling my mom, you should take your soil over to the extension office and you should plant clover in our lawn. Cause the other thing all over her town is this bindweed vine all over.

I’m not a super plant expert, It may be invasive

I’m just starting to learn about

  • native plants
  •  prairies and wetland

get more knowledge

emphasize hey

pointing at your neighbor

environmental green space and how we’re impacting our community.

Check this out I want to give you some numbers.

on 4000 square feet of turf do you know what the average rainfall is?

I have no idea?

1” per week

Is that average? That sounds like a lot.

Its’ been wet.

We’ve had snow all February! I remember months where Mike was like I want to go out an turn the beds and it’s just been cold and snowy all month!

For 4000 sq feet 1 inch per week that equals up to almost 10,000 gallons

It’s 9920 gallons in one month

I know all about water that way because we hauled water for years. We had a 1200 gallon water truck! 

let’s take another look at our lawn for the 4000 sq foot,  if we can absorb if we can 8” in a single day, that’s over 27,000 gallons on that same turf

Here in Houston we’ve had lots of flooding. 

I’m sure you heard of Hurricane Harvey

It flooded a lot of stuff! I continue to bring it up and mention it in a lot of my articles It was a huge impact.

It devastated a lot of people. Quickly people forget the tragedies that happened but I don’t forget because I work in this stuff.

People say well it has’t rained for 3 weeks we’re going for a drought. Then when we get rain, I say don’t worry we’re gonna get 6 weeks of a drought it’s gonna dry up

passion and love for soil biology is how much it can take a load off of our infrastructure and our sewer and drainage if if we could absorb 27,000 gallons of water! That would reduce so much of our flooding.

I interviewed Anastasia from the Brooklyn Grange and they were able to start because they got like a $200,000 infrastructure grant. But I’m confused how do you absorb all that rain in a single day? It seems like a huge amount? Do you get that...

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