you have any idea that there is a source for organic fertilizer right in southeast michigan? neither did i until i was in detroit farm and garden the other day and jeff pointed out that the fertilizer i was looking at, organically done, was from a facility in pontiac. i was intrigued, and jeff mentioned that he and his co-worker brian were planning a trip to visit the facility, i asked if i could tag along.
a few weeks later we were meeting rick the founder, and talking about his products siting at a picnic table outside a nondescript warehouse building.
rick was pleasant, honest and forth coming, and was happy to explain all his processes. he doesn’t use any manures because he is concerned about gmo contamination, heavy metals, and possible pathogens. his alfalfa meal is from organic producers, and he doesn’t use any soy or cotton seed meal because he can’t get it organically produced. in other words rick is holding himself to a higher standard than the national organic program standards. he seems to have spent a good amount of time researching other products comparing and testing, and was proud of his products without being cocky. most of the products in his mix were not coming from michigan or the midwest – something i was disappointed about. he seemed very open to sourcing more product locally, it just seemed that the local capacity was not developed. anyone want to help him?
inside he took us to the rather dingy warehouse facilty. in the basement was bulk stock, pallets of 50 pound bags and totes full of powdered material.
before getting into the bagged blended products rick tried doing a residential organic treatment service, utilizing mostly compost teas to treat the yards. after some time he decided that wasn’t the direction he wanted to go in, a compost tea bubbler sat in the corner gathering dust, but the worm bin used to make castings for tea was still active.an engineer by trade, rick had put together this fancy worm bin himself. he was using the casting for his fertilizer blends, though not enough for current needs. he plans to move to a larger facility and expand his worms. in order to gather the castings, the bin had a system of gears and chains on the side which would draw a bar across the bottom of the worm bin. on the underside the casting would fall though the slats and onto the floor where they would be gathered up to dry.
upstairs in a more well-lit, but small area was where the mixing and processing is done. the materials get loaded into this drum to mix and then continue to turn until the proper moisture level is developed. he uses no heat in the processing preferring air drying for what he considers a better product. after it’s all mixed and dried it goes into bags, is weighed and sealed. i can’t say that i’ve tried organically done’s products, but after having toured the facility, i’m looking forward to trying it and seeing how it works.
have you tried their products? thoughts? other soil amendments you use and recommend?