Gardening on a Time Budget
How to Grow Healthy, Eye-Popping Roses Without Spending All Day at It
By Paulette Mouchet
Originally published in "The Rose Garden"
Thousands of rosarians have discovered that organic culture is the key to growing outstanding roses on a time budget. Organics work with nature to help stop pest and disease problems before they occur. When you build healthy, biologically active soil, plants are naturally more resistant thus saving you the time required to spray pesticides and the money to purchase them.
One of the most labor intensive aspects of growing roses with chemicals is the weekly spraying of pesticides. This spraying is in addition to the time consuming task of applying large quantities of various fertilizers. In a typical spring month, chemical gardeners will
- spray fungicide two to three times to prevent mildew and blackspot
- spray insecticide two to three times to get rid of aphids and thrips
- spray miticide one to two times to kill spider mites
- apply snail bait every 2 weeks
- rotate feeding with fish emulsion, Epsom salts, and a chemical fertilizer
In a similar spring month, organic rosarians will
- feed their soil once with organic fertilizer
- add mulch as needed
- apply organic fungal control as needed
- spray hose water as needed for aphids
- put out wild bird seed
That's it! The organic rosarian is done with their gardening tasks before the chemical gardener shimmies into his bio-suit. And the time savings continue as spring becomes summer.
During the summer, organic rosarians will apply an organic fish product such as fish hydrolysate or fish emulsion approximately six times, and they will feed the soil once with organic fertilizer. During this time, chemical gardeners continue their weekly assault on pests and disease in addition to weekly and bi-monthly rotations of various fertilizers.
Fall marks a slow down for organic gardeners. They make a final application of fertilizer and then peruse rose catalogs and wait for winter pruning. Chemical gardeners continue to spray for pests until winter dormancy.
Winter brings pruning - the only task that takes the organic gardener as long as the chemical gardener.
Organic gardening is the best way to give yourself the gift of time to enjoy the fruits of your labors.