Organic Rose Gardening

Roses are one of the best medicinal and culinary plants in the world. This being the case, they should only be grown organically. When roses are loaded with toxic pesticides and other chemicals, their medicinal and food value is compromised. Drinking rose hip tea or using rose petals in teas or salads after spraying the plants with synthetic poisons is not a great idea!

For best results with organic roses, here's the program:

Rose Selection

Buy and plant adapted roses, such as antiques, David Austins and well-proven hybrids. The old roses will have the largest and most Vitamin C rich hips. Of the old roses, Rosa rugosa has the most Vitamin C.

Planting Roses

Prepare beds by mixing the following into existing soil to form a raised bed: 6 inches of compost, inch lava sand, inch of decomposed granite, 30 lbs of wheat/corn/molasses soil amendment, and 20 lbs of sul-po-mag per 1,000 sq ft. Soak the bare roots or root ball in water with 1 tablespoon of seaweed per gallon. Settle soil around plants with water. Do not tamp.

Mulching & Watering

After planting, cover all soil in the beds with one inch of compost or earthworm castings, followed by 2 to 3 inches of shredded native cedar. Do not pile the mulch up on the stems of the roses.

If possible, save and use rainwater. Otherwise, add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 oz liquid humate per gallon of water. If all else fails, just use tap water, but dont over water. Avoid using salty well water.

Feeding Schedule

Round #1
February 1-15 Organic fertilizer at 20 lbs/1,000 sq. ft, lava sand at 80 lbs/1,000 sq ft, and horticultural cornmeal at 10-20 lbs/1,000 sq ft.

Round #2
June 1-15 Organic fertilizer at 20 lbs/1,000 sq ft, Texas greensand at 40 lbs/1,000 sq ft, or soft rock phosphate at 30 lbs/1,000 sq ft, if in acid soil areas.

Round #3
September 15-30 Organic fertilizer at 20 lbs/1,000 sq ft, sul-po-mag at 20 lbs/1,000 sq ft. Apply wheat/corn/molasses soil amendment at 30lbs/1,000 sq ft.

Foliar feed with Garrett Juice twice monthly.

Organic Pest Control for Roses

Add the following to Garrett Juice and spray, as needed:

  • Garlic teaApply at cup/gallon or per label directions for minor insect or disease infestations
  • Citrus oil, orange oil, or d-limoneneUse at 1 ounce/gallon of water as a spray, 2 ounces/gallon of water as a drench
  • Potassium bicarbonate1 rounded tablespoon/gallon for fungal diseases
  • Liquid biostimulantsFollow label instructions
  • NeemSpray per label directions for serious insect and disease infestations
  • Fish emulsionUse at 2 ounces/gallon for additional nutrients
Apply beneficial nematodes to the soil in early spring for thrips control

Do your first spraying at pink bud in the spring. The first two sprayings should include Garrett Juice and garlic tea. Apply additional sprayings, as needed. For best results, spray every two weeks, and at least once a month. When soil is healthy, nothing but Garrett Juice is needed in the spray.

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