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Where in the world is Randy Lemmon…
Here’s your chance to talk to Randy one-on-one, or bring your plant and pest samples by for Randy to look at. These are the upcoming appearances scheduled for Randy at local nurseries, garden centers and special occasions.(Subject to change!) The Talkradio 950 KPRC Prize Wheel will be at each of these locations! Some come on out and get you free KPRC goodies and get your gardening questions answered in person.
SATURDAY APRIL 27--
Lowe's Home Improvement (Amdro Appearance),1 - 3 p.m.
1000 Gulfgate Center Mall on I-45 at the 610 Loop
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||Organics vs. Inorganics|
Randy is pro to 'balance'...
Organics versus Inorganics!
Synthetic versus Organics!
Natural versus Manmade!
You’re going to see more and more of these kinds of debates
and headlines in the coming years. Which side do you come
down on? I hope you said both, because that’s what I want to
talk to you about today -- which is sort of my take on this whole
issue as well. There should be a balance between the two. I
don’t like extremism, and I’m not just talking about the hard-core
organic person either, because there’s extremism on both sides.
First, keep in mind that while I dispense a great deal of
“gardening” information to you, I don’t consider myself a
just a horticulturist. I’m an Information Specialist, if you will.
And as such, I do my darndest to give you information from both sides
– warts and all!.
Does it seem as if you’re hearing more about organic-based
products lately? You are! Even on my radio show. I suppose
the real question is will true organic fertilizers ever gain a
foothold in this market? Right now, in Houston, less than 1% of
homeowners use organic fertilizers. In Dallas, that number is
considerably larger – more like 10% -- and it does seem that
organic products are gaining more and more ground.
However, it is interesting to note that while the organics market
has grown considerably, the synthetic market hasn’t dwindled at
all. Proving once again, that there’s actually room for both
It’s sort of interesting to note the difficulty that commercial
landscape/landscape maintenance companies are having with
“going natural.” In an effort to be environmentally friendly, they
try an organic program if their customer asks for it. But most
consumers/homeowners don’t understand the difference in
response time. When the “delay” in greening and thickening up
is longer than anticipated – a serious drawback to the
organic/natural method – the contractor is often left holding the
bag. And if given the opportunity to return and correct the
situation, rather than losing the business, the contractor generally
returns to synthetics.
Clearly, the synthetic fertilizer industry has to do a better job of
communicating the safety and the benefits of professionally
manufactured fertilizers, rather than stewing over the debate of
synthetic vs. organic. And I have to give kudos to one of those
manufacturers that just also happens to be a GardenLine
sponsor, and that’s Easy Gro. I applaud their approach in their
recent advertising campaign, in which they announce in their ads
that not only do they strive to improve their product each year
but “when applied according to label instructions, they will never
harm the environment.”
The fertilizer market in Houston is definitely on the move. And
several organic manufactures are building name recognition as
legitimate alternatives. This is different from the “BLACK
HOLE” reputation Houston’s had in the past, where organic
products would come in and disappear into oblivion. To me, the
reasons organic fertilizers came in and went away with a
whimper were three-fold.
1. They smelled bad.
2. They cost too much for the square footage they covered
3. They were often impossible to spread.
That’s all changed
recently. Many of the “organic” alternatives I speak of don’t
smell so bad, are more cost-effective and are easier to use in
In the meantime, as your “Personal Gardening Information
Specialist” (That’s almost as long as my former business card at
A&M) here are some of the pledges I give you…
I promise that if I ever find out that something is truly bad for
the environment, I’ll be o the first person to tell you about it. I
will not, however, spread misinformation or twist the truth to
bolster one side or the other. The Dursban Phase-Out is a
great example, and a horrible mixed message by the
government. They take it away from the homeowners and pest
control operators, but they still allow it to be used agriculturally –
see the mixed message. The ban came about because tests
showed that “over-use” at 500 times the recommended dosage
caused developmental abnormalities in baby rats.
ENVIRONMENTALIST TRANSLATION: DURSBAN CAUSES BRAIN DAMAGE IN BABIES.
That’s what I mean by twisting and misinformation.
I promise to introduce to you the latest in synthetic and organic
technology in a timely cost-effective manner. In other words, it
not only better do what it claims, but it needs to be cost-
effective too. You see, organicides don’t have to be tested by
the EPA the way synthetic chemicals do. That also means that
organic products can make all sorts of claims without having to
back it up with efficacy studies etc. Another issue that is finally
being overcome in the organic marketplace is what I call “taking
advantage of your fears financially. An example that still exists
today is a bag of organic fertilizer that retails for $25, and covers
only 1500 square feet. Thankfully, more cost-effective brands
have entered the market for 15-18 bucks a bag and cover up to
3500 square feet.
Bottom Line: Just because it says "ORGANIC" doesn't automatically make it a good thing. Especially if the product is ripping you off financially just to take advantage of your environmental fears. During the past few years, the public has become increasingly concerned with health issues and the protection of our environment. And rightly so. While soil scientists and knowledgable gardening experts agree that organic matter is a key to gardening success, what they are mostly talking about is additives and ammendments to the soil. This does not mean that organic fertilizers are automatically good, nor does it mean inorganic fertilizers are automatically bad.
Finally, if you are suffering from what I refer to as "CHEMOPHOBIA", the fear of anything chemical -- remember, that you are made up of chemicals, I am made up of chemicals, organic fertilizers are made up of chemicals.
Until next week, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
exclusively weekend mornings from 8 to noon
on Talkradio 950 KPRC.
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