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Organic Garden Fertilizer Update-Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow

Are you the kind of gardener that doesn't think too much about what kind of fertilizer you use in your garden? I have to admit I used to be that kind of gardener. I would buy whatever was cheapest, and at one point even used a popular fertilizer made by a chemical giant. Yes, I am ashamed of my past. But I think now that I've been doing this for a few years I know better, so I do better. If you haven't read the first post on Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow fertilizer, please do so you can compare the results so far. This is Part II of the experiment and trial of this organic fertilizer.

Earlier in the spring I was contacted by a representative of Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow, and asked if I would be interested in trying some of their organic garden fertilizers and soil amendments. So we came to an agreement where I would be contracted to try the fertilizer and write about my experiences. I chose the all-purpose fertilizer because I knew I would be tending one of the plots at the community garden that we use to grow food for the food pantry, but I didn't know what I would be growing this year.

The fertilizer arrived and I had to put it to use and start my trialing of the product. And I have to say that I'm pretty impressed with the results in the community garden. Compare the photo above with the photo from Part I of this experiment. In Part I, I amended the raised bed with compost from the garden and then I added the all-purpose garden fertilizer I received from Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow to half of the bed. Then I planted the tomato seedlings in the half that had been amended with fertilizer.

Here is what the raised bed looks like from the other side. Notice a difference? This side of the garden bed isn't as green or lush as the other side. This is the half of the raised bed that I didn't fertilize with the Organic Healthy Grow fertilizer. The plants look pitiful. The other day when I was talking with another member of the community garden about my experiment, she pointed out that even the weeds on the side that had been fertilized were doing better than the weeds in the unfertilized half. And this is after I had just weeded the bed the prior week.

What the photographs above doesn't really show you is just how much healthier the plants with the Healthy Grow fertilizer look up-close. The photo above is one of the plants that didn't get fertilized with Healthy Grow. Yellowing on the edges of tomato plants can mean several things. From sunburn to nutritional deficiencies to not being watered enough.

Now compare the photo of the tomato plant above to this tomato plant that is growing on the side of the raised bed I amended with Organic Healthy Grow. The plant is much bigger, fuller, and greener. There are no signs of distress or nutritional deficiencies. I have been diligent about watering all the plants in this bed equally and making sure they get a deep watering down at the roots.

Another example of the plants doing better in the half that was fertilized is in the amount of flowers being produced. I already have several tomato fruits growing in the half that was fertilized, and plenty more flowers on this side too.

If I had to do the experiment all over again, I would have chosen the tomato fertilizer produced by Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow. Because if the results are this good with just the all-purpose fertilizer, then they must be even better with the fertilizer designed for tomatoes. Yes, there's a difference. Fertilizers made for tomatoes provide the nutrients needed to produce blossoms and produce fruits, and help prevent many of the common tomato problems we encounter. Like this blog? Please visit the links for Dave Thompson's Organic Healthy Grow and see where you can buy their products near you.

Do you use a fertilizer designed for tomatoes, or do you use an all purpose fertilizer?


Chive Flower Vinegar Recipe

Do you grow chives but don't know what to do with them? What about when the plant flowers? Do you ignore the blooms, cut them, or let them go to seed and spread all over your garden? Chive flowers are edible and have many uses in the kitchen. One easy thing you can make with chive blossoms is chive flower vinegar.

Chive Flower Vinegar

Chive flowers are beautiful, easy to grow, and they are a great food source for tiny pollinators, but I hate seeing the lavender-colored flowers just go to waste. So recently, I harvested chive flowers for my vinegar from the community garden I'm a part of and from a friend's edible parkway planting.

Chive flowers are edible

For this chive flower recipe I harvested 2 1/2 cups of chive blossoms to get a really rich hue. Remove as much of the green stems as possible for a subtle flavor for your vinegar.

Toss your chive flowers into a bowl of cool water, swish them around to remove dust and any tiny bugs. Let any garden debris settle at the bottom and scoop out your blossoms. Place them in a colander and give it a few shakes to remove any excess water. Or, put all the blooms in a salad spinner if you own one and give it a few spins. Place them in your canning jar.

Pour 1 1/2 cups of white wine vinegar into a sauce pan and warm it up over a low heat. NOTE: You are not looking to bring the vinegar to a boil. We are just warming it up ever so slightly; remove from heat if you start to see bubbles.

Pour the warm white wine vinegar over the chive flowers in your canning jar. If you have any blooms that are not submerged in the vinegar, you can push them down with a spoon or other utensil.

Chive flowers in vinegar

Set your concoction aside to cool down. Enjoy the chive-y scent already emanating from your jar as the blooms begin to steep. Feel free to give it a few swirls to make sure all the blooms are submerged in the warm vinegar and releasing their flavor.

Edible chive flower vinegar

After the vinegar has cooled down (you'll notice there's no steam condensing on the inside of your canning jar) you can place your lid on your jar. I used a canning jar that is taller than I needed because I didn't want the vinegar or the blooms to touch the lid and start to rust and ruin my chive flower vinegar. But if you have glass canning jar lids you can use them, or place a piece of parchment paper over the jar's mouth before screwing on your lid.

Now place your tightly closed jar of chive flowers steeping in white wine vinegar in a cool and dark place for anywhere between 1-2 weeks. Yes, it seems like a long time, but the longer the blooms steep the more of their flavor they will impart on the vinegar.

You may notice at this point that there is more debris at the bottom of your jar. That's OK. After you have left your flowers to steep to your preferred flavor strength, pour out the content into a fine sieve to filter out any debris, chive stems, and spent flowers. Now you can pour your chive flower vinegar into a glass bottle or container (that has been sterilized) and enjoy it wherever you want to add vinegar that has a nice chive flower profile.

Making your own chive flower vinegar is really easy, and is a good way to preserve the taste of spring in your garden. Have more chive flowers than you know what to do with? Break the blossoms apart and add them to soups, salads, and sandwiches where you want to add a light chive taste.

What's your favorite way to use chives you grow in your garden?