Cottage Creek Gardens is committed to maximizing our organic growing practices. We don’t use pesticides (including herbicides like ‘Round Up’, or anything containing neonicotinoids) on any of our nursery plants – ever. In fact, you may notice that many of our plants have that lovely chewed-upon look toward the end of the growing season. We’re proud to have our stock plants constantly contributing to a thriving backyard ecosystem that supports pollinators, birds and other wildlife.
We’re interested in how plants behave naturally in the landscape, in our native soil, and in our local climate. This is hard to determine if plants are frequently pumped up to perform with synthetic fertilizers or shielded with pesticides. Unlike most garden centers, we use minimal fertilizers and treatments so that our plants are ready to weather the natural conditions in your garden, without much help from you.
Instead of bringing in commercial compost and mulches, we use woodchips, as well as on-site leaves, sticks, pine needles and other household waste to mix our own organic compost and mulches, which we blend into our potting media, and use to topdress our plants. We use a bagged potting mix, ProMix HP with mycorrhizae for seed starting and pot up with ProMix BK 55, which has a higher percentage of bark for drainage.
We use only organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, Canna and ‘Plant-Tone’ on our edible plants. Some ornamental potted plants that must overwinter in pots receive Milorganite or Osmocote Plus, a granular time-released fertilizer. Some of our newly rooted cuttings and seedlings get a water soluble fertilizer formulated to stimulate root growth during the early life of the plant.
So far we’ve been lucky with only occasional visits from aphids, japanese beetles and leafhoppers, which we remove manually, and we employ preventative cultural practices rather than chemical pesticides. We’re also learning about ways to use Integrated Pest Management (IPN) in the future. For example, we used green lacewing wasps to control a recent population of aphids on our brassicas.
If you have questions about any particular plant, where it originated, or how it has been managed/fertilized/treated, just ask!