ORGANIC Rose Gardening

I’m just curious to see how many others are trying ORGANIC Rose Gardening.

Last year I began a transition to use more organic products in my garden with a focus of improving my soil and feeding the organisms in my soil. I brought in quality compost and spread throughout the garden. I added a product by Microlife that is currently in use at the ARS rose garden. I do add worm castings each year - a product sold as a fundraiser at our local rose society. Great results in the garden without the use of much synthetic fertilizer - although I did not have a test and control section of the garden to confirm one approach over the other. I am planning on using the same approach this year.

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I’ve found like you, that the healthier the soil, the healthier the roses are. I don’t use any synthetics or harsh chemical sprays. Every year the plants continue to amaze me with how much happier they are. Also for me, using a simple water filter has been a game changer.

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Do tell us more about your water source and water filter.

I use the AQUACREST garden water filters. They attach to the water spigot. I have 4. My house has a complete water filtration system and these are like a “BRITA” filter on top of that. Since I’ve started using them…since 2017, my roses and garden have transformed. I can’t recommend them enough.

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So what does the filter do? How does it benefit your roses?

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It removes all chemicals: chlorine, fluoride, lead, and microplastics. It’s the next best thing to rainwater.

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I have well water - I wonder if I would see the same benefits?

I have always been an organic rose gardener and as a Master Gardener I grow all my veg organically and I believe companion planting make a great difference for my vegetables so I am beginning to do some companion planting for my roses that is a little more intentional. I have always companion planted with salvias and marigolds but this year I’ll try some nitrogen fixers like red clover as well as others…

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Most of my roses are in rose only beds but I am interested in adding companion plants to support my roses. Interested in what others have found to be successful to support and improve my rose growing environment

Companion plantings are a must. I just finished getting all of mine planted yesterday afternoon. African Marigolds, Pelargoniums [Japanese beetle lures], and Society Garlic. It’s so worth the extra effort and they make such a huge difference.

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Marigolds, nasturtium, Sea Holly, lavendar, salvia, veronica….,Favorite color is blue so I plant a lot in blue…

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I grow organically too! Having free range poultry makes it very important to limit any products that might impact my girls or their eggs. I grow in raised beds with companion plants and am constantly building my soil. I use a lot of organic fertilizers, worm castings and compost. I only use organic fungicides when necessary, and will shovel prune any roses that are not generally disease resistant. I think with careful plant selection, companion planting, and soil building, you can achieve great roses. I’d love to hear more from those who are like minded and I am always interested in learning from you all.

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Hi Christopher, what is the pH of your water? What part of the country do you live in? Here in Albuquerque, our municipal water is 8.4, like our soil.

My water pH is 6.7 after filtration.

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You sound like my clone although I don’t have chickens yet, the coop is just now being built!

That’s exciting! Chickens are a gateway animal. Once you have them, you start wanting more chickens, and then other animals too. I also have ducks and geese, and one guinea hen. We always have fresh eggs and sell the extras. Dairy goats are in the future.

One benefit of having free range hens is that you can train them to eat Japanese beetles. My hens devour them, hundreds at a time. It makes the eggs even better, too.

One thing that I wish I had started earlier on my Homestead is having an LGD. We got our first Livestock Guardian Dog last year after a series of fox attacks that were devastating. These dogs are specific breeds and once trained, patrol and protect all of your animals. It’s a game changer.

How many roses do you have, and how many chickens will you be getting? I’d love to hear more!

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I have an urban garden and so I am only allowed up to six chickens and no roosters.
I just moved to Hampton Virginia from San Antonio. I had 150 roses in SA but only moved 3 here and I’ve added 20 so far. I had over 250 in Omaha Ne…so far I now have my best soil!!!
We have 2 4x8 and 4 4x 4 raised beds for veggies and my husband is building me a coop and geothermal greenhouse. So I will be digging up existing shrubs in the border to plant roses. A little at a time!

Where do you live? How much land do you have?

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I also grow my roses organically and have for the last 5 or 6 years. While I grow my roses in dedicated beds I maintain perennials within just a few feet of the beds. I have those planted with daisies, salvia, geum, delphinium, foxglove and guara. I have found that since I began paying more attention to the soil I don’t have as many issues with disease and since I live in the Pacific Northwest disease pressure is high.

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Hi! Sorry for the late reply, things have been busy around here. Life on a Homestead! I have a little over 5 acres, fully fenced. Since my hens, geese and ducks free range, the fence is critical to their safety, as well as my livestock guardian dog and my two livestock guardian puppies. They’re Great Pyrenees and we’ve just started training, which is a lot of work.
I live in Nashville, NC, about 2 hours south west of you, right off of 95 south., And in the early 90’s I used to live in Suffolk and Chesapeake VA, so I know your area pretty well. You indeed have some great soil, and of course the Norfolk Botanic Garden is wonderful.
Good luck with your hens, and make sure that coop is like Fort Knox. Keep an eye on your raised veggie beds too. Lots of varmints in your area. Lots of varmints everywhere these days.
I’m excited to hear what roses you have now and which you are planning to add. Building a rose bed is truly a joy!