Organic Fertilizers

Organic Fertilizers

Soil & Compost
When used in reference to fertilizers, the word organic generally means that the nutrients contained in the product are derived solely from the remains or a by-product of an organism. Cottonseed meal, blood meal, fish emulsion, manure and sewage sludge are examples of organic fertilizers. Urea is a synthetic organic fertilizer, an organic substance manufactured from inorganic materials. When packaged as fertilizers, organic products have the fertilizer ratio stated on the package label. Some organic materials, particularly composted manures and sludges, are sold as soil conditioners and do not have a nutrient guarantee stated on the package, although small amounts of nutrients are present. Some organic fertilizers are high in one of the three major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, or potash,) but low or zero in the other two. Some are…
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Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management

Organic Pest & Disease Control
Quick Facts... Many disease problems can be prevented or controlled without pesticides. Always choose plants that are adapted to your local growing conditions. Avoid bringing diseases into the garden or moving them around within your it. Eliminate the disease-causing organism after it has become established on a plant. The Garden as Ecosystem Twenty five years ago, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) seemed a utopian dream to mainstream agriculturalists. The idea that plant pests could be kept at acceptable levels without large amounts of chemical pesticides ran counter to everything they had been taught. But now IPM is embraced by nearly everyone involved in the field. What has caused this turn around? Chemical Miracles First... When chemical pesticides were first introduced in large quantities in the 1940s, they were seen as miracles…
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Growing Tomatoes

Growing Tomatoes

Growing Food
This is a series of articles with information on how to grow tomatoes; from sowing seeds through to how to use up all the fruit you can't eat fresh at the end of the season.... it's all here! Starting Tomatoes from Seed What could be more delicious than fresh tomatoes straight from the garden? If you agree, read this article on sowing and planting tomatoes. Tomato Diseases Although growing tomatoes is relatively straightforward, they can be attacked by a number of pests and diseases. Find out how to identify these and how to treat them. How to Grow Tomatoes Once your tomatoes have germinated and been planted, then comes the good part! How to Choose Tomato Plants Choosing a good tomato plant is determined most by what you like to…
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What is a Trap Crop?

What is a Trap Crop?

Organic Pest & Disease Control
A trap crop is a plant that attracts agricultural pests, usually insects, away from nearby crops. This form of companion planting can save the main crop from decimation by pests without the potential issues and controversy involved in using pesticides. Trap crops can be planted around the circumference of the field to be protected, or interspersed among them, for example being planted every so many rows. Benefits of trap cropping Better quality of main produce Attract beneficial organisms Enhances biodiversity Reduce dependence on insecticides How to use a trap crop. There are two ways you can use trap cropping: One may use the same plant cultivar as a main crop and a trap crop. The trap crop is planted much earlier than the main crop in order to serve as…
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Growing Communities

Community, Food Supply
Imagine a city in which every neighborhood is filled with healthy street trees, attractive parks, and productive gardens; where the air and water are clean; where neighborhood youth take an active role in improving their environment; and where diverse residents come together to build their city stronger through community stewardship. America's urban environments have become our most important ecosystems. In addition to the fact that more than 75% of us live in cities, the condition of the urban environment affects our economy, our culture, our society and our natural resources on local, regional and national scales. Garden Simply is taking action to improve public education and bring to attention this urban environment to help revitalize our urban communities. Community gardens empower individuals, knit together a stronger community, beautify local areas,…
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How to Grow Horseradish

Herb Gardening, Organic Gardening
In 1995 the International Herb Association started naming a Herb of the Year. This practice brings focus each year to a particular herb so herb enthusiasts, groups and gardeners can learn more about an individual herb. This year, 2011, Horseradish, Armoracia rusticana, is the herb of the year. So, let's explore this pungent, powerful herb. Want to clear you sinuses? Prevent scurvy? Bring tears to your eyes? Then Horseradish is the herb for you! Botanical Info: Considered a bitter herb, helping digestion and appetite. Family: Brassicaceae- related to mustard, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Genus and species: Armoracia rusticana Other common names: Scurvy Grass, Mountain Radish, Great Mountain Root, Pepperroot Horseradish is a root crop that is thought to be native to Northern or Central Europe. It is…
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How to Find your Soil’s PH

How to Find your Soil’s PH

Soil & Compost
Sometimes plants grow poorly for no apparent reason. A healthy plant can be set in what seems to be a good soil, can receive plenty of sunlight and water and still look sickly and perform poorly. If you have areas around your home where plants react this way, check for a soil problem, especially the wrong soil reaction or pH. Now, your next question, what is pH? Well, pH is nothing more than a chemist's shorthand for describing the amount of hydrogen in the soil. The capital letter "H" is the chemical symbol for hydrogen and pH is a figure describing the concentration of hydrogen in the soil, which in turn determines the acidity of the soil. Simple explanation of pH: pH is a measure of its ratio of hydrogen…
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