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SustainAbility Newsletter

Fertilizer Buying Guide

FertilizerA sustainable lawn or garden starts with healthy soil. Natural fertilizers promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, earthworms and fungi that build soil structure and foster healthy plants.

The best fertilizer for your lawn and garden is homemade compost, made from food scraps, lawn clippings and fall leaves. If you still need store-bought products, here are a few tips.

Compost: Commercially made compost has high levels of naturally occurring phosphorous and nitrogen that is released gradually and is absorbed more easily by plants. Other soil improvers, such as worm castings, Epsom salts and decomposed organic matter called humates, add nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Watch out for commercial fertilizers, even those labeled "organic," that contain harmful ingredients, such as animal byproducts or sewage sludge. Animal byproducts, such as bone meal or fish meal, may have come from industrial farming operations, and sewage sludge, could be contaminated with diseases or heavy metals.

"NOFA Approved" and "OMRI Listed": The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) and the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), an accredited certifying agency for the USDA National Organic Program, approve products that have been composted according to USDA Organic standards. The only synthetic materials that can be added to NOFA approved compost are those allowed in organic crop production.

An organic lawn or garden starts with healthy soil. Natural fertilizers promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, earthworms and fungi that build soil structure and foster healthy plants.

  1. Have your soil tested by your local USDA Cooperative Extension Service to determine pH and what nutrients, if any, your grass is missing, or test it yourself with a soil testing kit.
  2. Once you know the pH, you can add organic matter to help balance it. Lawns prefer slightly acidic soils with a pH range of 6.5 to 7, but flowers, shrubs and trees vary in their pH preferences. Lime helps balance acidic soil, while sulfur helps with alkaline.
  3. To find out the nutrient content of a fertilizer, look for the "NPK" number (NPK stands for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). A "5-6-5" NPK number, for instance, means that a fertilizer is 5 percent nitrogen, 6 percent phosphorus and 5 percent potassium with the remaining 84 percent representing filler material.

 - excerpted from NG's GreenGuide for Everyday Living


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References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon Lifestyles
www.audubonlifestyles.com

The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org  

The Reserve at Lake Keowee
www.thereserveatlakekeowee.com

The Old Collier Club
www.theoldcolliergc.com

The Rim Golf Club
www.therimgolfclub.com

Golfpreserves
www.golfcourseproject.com

Coke
www.coke.com

 

Energy Star
www.energystar.gov 

The Village of Blume
www.taylorpropertiesgroup.edu 

Taylor Properties Group
www.taylorpropertiesgrp.com  

Nike
www.nike.com

National Geographic
www.nationalgeographic.com 

American Society of Golf Course Architects
www.asgca.org

The United States Golf Association (USGA)
www.usga.org

    

SustainAbility Newsletter Archive Article (random)

Recipes for SustainAbility - Pumpkin Risotto

Pumpkin RisottoThere are many risottos that can be made sustainably. Use authentic risotto rice or basmati if you prefer. Try this easy pumpkin risotto and serve it with a green salad.

Serves 4.

Fry 1 tsp chopped thyme, 1 clove garlic (peeled and chopped), 1 small onion (peeled and sliced) in a little olive oil. Add 500g pumpkin or squash (peeled and cubed into 1cm squares). Cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the rice. Ladle in stock a little at a time, every 2-3 minutes and stir often. Keep going until the rice is cooked (18-20 minutes for risotto rice). Shake parmesan over the top.

Always try and use organic or sustainably grown products!



Fast Facts

  • One gallon of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water. so dispose of properly!

  • Here is an example of the water we use everyday:

    3-7 gallons for toilet,
    25-30 gallons for tub,
    50-70 gallons for a 10 minute shower,
    1 washing machine load uses 25-40 gallons,
    1 dishwasher load uses 9-12 gallons

  • Here is an example of how long it takes some things take to break down:

    plastics take 500 years,
    aluminum cans take 500 years,
    organic materials, take 6 months,
    cotton, rags, paper take 6 months.

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE NEWSLETTER IN PDF FORMAT

References and Sources used in this issue of SustainAbility Newsletter Include:

Audubon International
www.auduboninternational.org

The International Sustainability Council
www.thesustainabilitycouncil.org

About.com
www.about.com

Pioneer Thinking
www.pioneerthinking.com

EarthCraft Homes
www.earthcrafthouse.com

The Natural Step
www.naturalstep.org

Animal Aid
www.animalaid.org.uk

Recipes For Sustainability
www.veganrecipes.org.uk

  

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ISC-Audubon is proud to extend the opportunity to select businesses and organizations to become sponsors of our sustainability education and advocacy programs. As a sponsor, your business or organization can realize significant value.

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A Coalition for Good - Spreading the Seeds of Sustainability

ISC-Audubon is a coalition of non-profit organizations and initiatives that include The International Sustainability Council (ISC), Audubon Lifestyles, Audubon Outdoors, Planit Green, Broadcast Audubon, and the Audubon Network for Sustainability. 

Funds generated through memberships and donations are used to provide fruit & vegetable seeds, wildflower seed mix, and wildlife feed & birdseed to urban and suburban communities around the world. These seeds are used by communities to establish fruit and vegetable gardens, bird and wildlife sanctuaries, and for the beautification of urban and suburban landscapes by creating flower and native plant gardens.

Read more