Soil and Compost forum: Lawn - alternative to Chickity Doo Doo?

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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 22, 2016 9:58 AM CST
We've had great success using Chickity Doo Doo on our lawn - fescue blend in a shady yard on clay soil. Due to avian flu concerns, production has been suspended. Can anyone recommend a substitute? We use it once in the spring and once in the fall and it's getting close to fall application window. TIA
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 22, 2016 8:47 PM CST
Hi Cindy

If you're buying it, the main question is "what's affordable where YOU live?" But I would look for words "manure" or "compost:" on the bag. If it were me, I would buy one bag each of the cheapest few, take them home, and figure out which looked junky and cheap, and which looked richly organic.

I think even lawns need organic matter added to soil. Manure and compost provide that. Also, leave your grass clipping s on the lawn, or rake them around and in after they've dried up. Removing the clippings is like harvesting the organic matter from your soil and throwing it away.

I think any product made from chicken poo would be high in nitrogen, which lawns need. So I would look to provide something high in N, since your lawn seemed to appreciate the addition.

Figure the true price of the N by multiplying the weight of the bag by the first number of the "N-P-K" numbers , reduced to a fraction.

Say you pay $20 for 20 pounds of 10-10-10 "lawn food". That's $1 per pound of "stuff.
But change "10" to "0.1" (divide by 100 to change % to a fraction) and multiply 20 pounds by 0.1.
You paid $20 for just 2 pounds of "N". $10 per pound of N.

Say you pay $30 for 20 pounds of 23-16-19.
20 pounds x 0.23 = 4.6 pounds of N
That's $30 for 4.6 pounds of N, or $6.5 per pound of N. A much better value!

Just don't add too much! Concentrated fertilizer can "burn" roots and leaves, especially anything high in N.

Any kind of compost would be great. It could be made from any kind of manure, grass clippings, coffee grounds or other organic waste. But it won;t have concentrated N.

Organic sources of N will have the "N-P-K" numbers on the bag if you look close enough. They may be down around 1 or 2 or even lower. A 50-pound bag of Dr. Earth Whatever might have an "N" number of 2, for "2% N". Even if it only cost $20, 50 pounds x 0.02 = 0.1 pound of N. That cost $200 per pound of N.

Fresh, pure chicken poo with no straw or sawdust has an N number around 1.6% (multiply by 0.016).
That's wet, not dry. Dry poop is around 4%.
"Chemical" fertilizer usually has N numbers from 10% to 23%.

The advantage of manure or compost is that they have a lot of organic matter, and bagged "chemical" fertilizer has none.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 23, 2016 7:01 AM CST
Rick - thanks for all of the wonderful info. Trying to stay non-chemical here as we've had such good luck with the Chickity Doo Doo - no burning, no explosive growth and the lawn seems to survive weather extremes much better. Clay in the shade is challenging for a lawn but we've been winning the battle. We'll have to go on a quest to see what's available locally but I think we'll have to go beyond the boundaries of the big box stores. Compost would be lovely but I can't make enough and not sure that I want to go the local municipality route as I don't want all of the residual chemicals. We do use a mulching mower and some of the shredded fall leaves remain on the lawn in the fall as well. Will definitely take your calculations along on the hunt!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 25, 2016 2:47 PM CST
Once you go non-chemical, I don't have much advice. Lawns typically need N most of all (plus organic matter, especially with clay soil).

Other than grass clippings and coffee grounds, what relatively-concentrated organic sources of N are there?

Blood meal 12-1-0
fish meal or fish emulsion
guano
crab or shrimp waste
feather meal

Often, once you multiply the number of pounds in a bag of organic fertilizer by the "N number", (like 0.12 for 12-10-0 blood meal) and find out how few pounds of N you are getting, many organic fertilizers look very expensive compared to chemical fertilizers plus bagged compost or bagged manure.

Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 25, 2016 3:57 PM CST
You're right about the expense. The pelleted chicken manure hasn't been that expensive. I'd use some on the list for my gardens but too expensive to do a lawn with them.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 26, 2016 4:10 PM CST
>> too expensive to do a lawn with them.

Lawns: never has so much money been spent, and so much water, labor and fertilizer wasted, on something so useless.

But not everyone agrees.

I think that most of the criticisms I've heard leveled against "chemical" fertilizer are addressed or mitigated by simply applying them lightly, i.e. not wastefully. A light addition of soluble fertilizer is very rapidly taken up by soil microbes and lawn roots.

Only excessive fertilizer is wasted or burns or discourages MR (mycorrhizae, but I have to look that spelling up every time).

My theory is that many Doctor Earth products can be made more effective and less expensive by just shredding $1 bills and mulching with those before applying the REALLY expensive Dr. Earth products.

Or save even more by replacing the $1 bills with old shredded cardboard or newspaper..

And replace most of the Dr. Earth bag with composted manure and the rest with a tiny amount of "chemical" fertilizer chosen to supply the specific deficiencies that YOUR bed has.

Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 27, 2016 8:06 AM CST
Rick - yep, I get that lawn expenses can be insane and unrealistic. I think I heard somewhere that the origins of lawns started with wealthy landowners as a sign that they were wealthy enough or had enough land that they didn't need to use the land for growing food.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jul 27, 2016 9:28 AM CST
When we had sheep we had the perfect solution, electric fence around the part that needed mowing, a couple of sheep in there to mow and fertilize at the same time, then move the fence to the next spot when it was done. Smiling
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 27, 2016 9:43 AM CST
Sue - that is the perfect solution. Don't think that will fly here in my city though, especially when they're still arguing about backyard chickens. Smiling
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jul 27, 2016 2:33 PM CST
Rabbits then? Hilarious!
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 27, 2016 3:17 PM CST
I did have a rabbit or two when I was a teen but they need way more care than I want to do at this point. After 40 years of pets, we are now petless.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jul 27, 2016 3:29 PM CST
Kind of wishing we were petless right now - puppy with "digestive upset" Sad
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 27, 2016 4:20 PM CST
Had a husky that had "issues" with standard (at the time) dog food. No corn for that one. And she failed obedience class. And she was a "runner" - couldn't ever let her loose outside. Had birds, fish, cats, hamsters, gerbils. Nope - done for now.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 27, 2016 4:45 PM CST
Shadegardener said:Rick - yep, I get that lawn expenses can be insane and unrealistic. I think I heard somewhere that the origins of lawns started with wealthy landowners as a sign that they were wealthy enough or had enough land that they didn't need to use the land for growing food.


I'm impressed! A form of deliberate, conspicuous waste to puff the ego!

I have a "down" on lawns, and that interpretation suits my prejudice perfectly!

(So it must be true, right?)

Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 28, 2016 7:37 AM CST
Rick - Hilarious! I do believe that I heard that "fact" on a program about British estates but, since I never researched it, I cannot attest to its truth.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 28, 2016 12:16 PM CST
I'm OK with double-quote "facts" as long as I know which are real facts and which are just want-to-think-so "facts".

I guess I was not cut out to be an aristo or flaunt wealth. If I had sheep and a lawn, I would NOT own a lawnmower!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Jul 28, 2016 12:33 PM CST
I had thought that lawns originated with the sheep, and other livestock, grazing land around country estates. According to this article it was originally an open space to keep the land clear so they could see an enemy approaching. One ram that we had would have taken on the enemy himself! I had to make a run for safety more than once.
https://planetearth5.com/2015/06/08/the-origin-of-lawns-and-...
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
Image
RickCorey
Jul 28, 2016 12:39 PM CST
Thanks for the real facts, Sue!

Maybe I should tell neighbors: "Say, your killing zone is really green and weed-free! I bet not even the smallest Mongol could sneak up on YOU!"
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 28, 2016 1:03 PM CST
Hilarious! Funny facts.

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