Frequently Asked Questions

It seems that dogs are really attracted to the organic fertilizer. It may be of interest that the blood meal and bone meal used in our fertilizers are “food grade” and also used in pet food. While we don’t recommend that you feed it to your dogs, I’ve answered many, many questions about pet getting into the fertilizer. In some cases, pet owners have found their dog with their head in a bag of fertilizer. The worst reaction reported back was an upset stomach for a day or two. If you’re concerned, a quick call to your own vet wouldn’t be a bad idea.

There is no difference between the two products. The same chicken manure is in the bag.
We’ve changed from the organic label to the natural label because the rules have changed.

In a nutshell. We are registered in the state of California; thus, need to follow all the laws regarding sourcing organic inputs. California Department of Food and Agriculture, (CDFA), bases their organic input law on the NOP (National Organic Program) a division of the USDA.

It has never been part of the organic rules that manures come from organically grown animals. It used to be that if the manure came out of the south end of a north bound animal, it was considered organic. That part hasn’t changed. What has changed is how the manure is handled after it comes from the animal.

Now in order for it to be considered organic, it must be “composted” in a certain way. The piles are run out in long windrows, its temperature taken on a daily basis and the rows turned on a regular schedule. All of which must be logged for state inspection. Or, the chicken manure must be run through a heat drying process. Very few chicken or dairy farmers want to be a composting facility. The manures are waste products that they would haul to the landfill if people like us didn’t buy it.

The way we handle the product used to be considered composting. We have long piles of each raw material and we turn them to let it age and break down, but the definition has changed. We are not a composting facility, so now we refer to our process as “aging”.

When the new rules went into effect, we elected to move those products into an “aged” and “Natural” label. We just felt that the cost of bagging “organic” manures would be too much for the market to bear. Using composted manures would raise the price about 3 times what it is now.

The organic laws in the state of California are really written with the organic farmer in mind. They need to know what the rules are so that they are all on a level playing field. So the CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) can still use the fresh manures on their crops as long as they do not harvest before a prescribed number of days for each crop. Both the E.B. Stone Chicken Manure and E.B. Stone Steer Manure have been approved by CCOF for use on organic farms.

The other acceptable organic manure is one that has gone through a heat drying process that kills any pathogens that may be contained in them. This is the chicken manure that we use to blend into our organic soils and fertilizers. Using this chicken manure for our “chicken manure” would just be too expensive for the consumer, so we use the aged chicken manure.

We have sold chicken manure for about 100 years now. We still feel that it provides great benefit to your soil. It’s has good nutrient value, it contains many micro nutrients that plants need for growth and it also contains beneficial microbes to feed the soil.

You could have a few things going on. If the leaves are a washed out uniform yellow color, the tree could need to be fed or you may have an issue with water.
The nitrogen in fertilizer (the first number) is used by the plant to produce the green color of the leaves. If your plant is nitrogen deficient, the leaves will begin to yellow. The solution is to feed your plant.
Citrus plants will want ample water, but will want to dry out between watering. Give them a good soak, and then let them dry out before the next application of water. You will want the soil near the roots to dry out, not just the surface of the soil. If you’re unsure, you can pick up an inexpensive water meter that has a long probe that can reach below the soil surface to tell you what’s going on near the roots. If you’re giving them too much water or water too often, the solution to the yellow leaves is to back off the water. Water them on their schedule, not yours.

If the leaves are a washed out yellow color with dark green veins, that’s usually a symptom of iron deficiency. Citrus are high iron feeders. Organic fertilizers do not contain iron. Because iron is a mineral, it’s not considered “organic”. For this reason when using organic fertilizers, we recommend a supplemental feeding of Iron. We make two products for this purpose. Our Greenall FST is a granular Iron, Sulfur, Zinc and Manganese product. You will want to apply twice a year. Once in early spring and again in the late summer or early fall. The other product is our Greenall Liquid Chelated Iron.
The liquid Chelated Iron, will work faster than the FST, but because it’s in a liquid form, will probably need to be use more often to keep the nice green color.
Our Greenall Citrus and Avocado Food, our traditional synthetic fertilizer, does contain Iron and other trace minerals, but you may still need a supplemental feeding of Iron occasionally.

Yes you can. There are instructions on the back of the box for all kinds of different fruit trees, berries and grapes.

Yes, our packaging is recyclable in areas that allow for bags to be recycled. We use #4 poly for our bags.  Most recyclers who would accept it would ask that it be cleaned out of soil or other debris and turned in as reasonably clean plastic.

All judgments with regard to whether a product can be used on an organic farm and approved for use on organic farms are governed by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).  Farmers have Accredited Certifying Agents (ACAs) which the USDA has given authority to for determining if a crop can be Certified as organic.  An ACA can independently approve a material for use on an organic farm–they don’t need OMRI to do that.

As a result of the passage of AB856, the CDFA fertilizer program was given the legal authority in the State of California to regulate organic input materials (OIM).  The program is required by law to review materials to the standards of the NOP—the same guidelines and standards that OMRI uses.  Any material sold for use as an organic input in California is required by law to be reviewed by and registered with the CDFA OIM program.  As part of that process, CDFA must ALSO INSPECT annually, any facility in the state that produces OIM products.  So, in addition to reviewing materials to the same standard as OMRI, they also inspect the facility to verify that all processes and procedures ensure that there is no possibility of contamination of an organic input.  We were inspected last year, and we expect to be inspected this year.  OMRI is not currently doing site inspections.

The goal of CDFA is to be equal to OMRI, but with the legal authority of the State government to prosecute offenders—OMRI is a nonprofit with no ability to seek criminal or civil prosecution.  CDFA can seek criminal or civil penalties for cheaters.  And they have done so.  So, they review materials to the same standard as OMRI—the guidelines under the NOP regulations, they inspect facilities, and they can prosecute offenders.  OMRI reviews materials, they don’t conduct inspections, and they certainly cannot prosecute anyone


Why don’t we do OMRI?  Each one of these reviews costs money.  For all of our products to be reviewed by OMRI it would cost us around $50-75 thousand a year.  OMRI is an optional review.  CDFA OIM is MANDATORY.  It is required by law, under penalty of criminal prosecution, and it costs us around $30 thousand a year.  As a small company we didn’t feel, since CDFA reviews to the same standard as OMRI, that we should spend that money twice.  We put the money into better quality products with more nutrients at a lower price.

We adjust the pH for our potting soils and planting mixes to be right around 6.5pH

Generally speaking, there are 3 cups in each pound of the E.B.Stone organic blends, and two and ¼ cups in the Greenall traditional synthetic blends.

You can use Potting soil, but we recommend E.B. Stone Raised Bed and Potting Mix. This mix was formulated with lots of organic nutrients for these fast growing plants. You can use it just as it comes from the bag, no mixing necessary.

Don’t forget to feed your vegetables throughout the growing season. Think about it this way, we ask a lot of a vegetable plant (or annual flower, for that matter) It will start from a seed, grow to maturity, bear wonderful fruit for us to eat and die, all in one short season. It takes a lot of energy (food) to do that, so don’t forget to feed every 6 to 8 weeks during the season.

Yes, you should refresh the soil each year before you plant your new vegetable or flower garden. As your plants grow, the soil will become depleted of nutrients. You will notice, as time passes, that the soil level in your raised beds will subside. That is the organic matter in the growing medium breaking down. For those reasons, you should add a soil amendment such as E.B. Stone Raised Bed and Potting Mix. Add a few bags and mix into the soil to add nutrients and organic matter. Don’t forget the Sure Start fertilizer when first planting. Sure Start will insure that your plants get off to a good start.

You really should. The organic fertilizer needs good contact with the soil for it to begin to break down into a usable form that the plant can absorb. It also keeps the fertilizer from being exposed to direct sunlight, which can degrade the fertilizer.
We realize that this is not always possible. If you have bark or rocks, it can be hard to do. You can apply the fertilizer over the top of some types of mulch then wash the fertilizer off the surface of the mulch and onto the soil surface with water.

You should if you can. Organic fertilizer needs a variety of factors to help break them down into a usable form for plants. It takes soils microbes, moisture, and soil temperature. We want the fertilizer to have good contact with the soil so that this process can begin. Also, scratching into the soil helps to keep the fertilizer in place, so it won’t wash away with water and it makes it harder for pets to get into it.

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