4 Ways to Make Better Compost

4 Ways to Make Better Compost

Soil & Compost
Whether you are a hobbyist or someone serious about gardening, the ability to make your own compost will be very helpful. This article will assume that you have the basics of composting down and give you a few tips on how to make better compost. Composting is one of the best ways to recycle food waste and scraps into a soil amendment your plants will thrive on. In fact, most gardeners are always looking for good compost to help their plants flourish. Making your own compost is the most sustainable, self-reliant option, but there are people who make good money selling compost to commercial farms and gardening enthusiasts. Look at these four ways to make better compost... The Location or Your Compost Bin Matters The composting process takes time and…
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How To Build a Compost Bin

How To Build a Compost Bin

Soil & Compost, Sustainable Landscaping
Learn how to build a compost bin for your garden suited to your needs. Wire Mesh Compost Bin Wire mesh compost bins are versatile, inexpensive and easy to construct. They may be used as holding bins for composting moderate amounts of yard wastes or as turning systems for quick composting of larger volumes. Holding compost bins are a convenient way of composting yard wastes with little effort: Simply add wastes as they are cleaned up from the yard. With no effort besides occasional moistening compost will be ready in 6 months to 2 years. Attention to chopping materials, maintaining moisture by watering and covering piles with plastic, and occasional turning will produce compost in less time. The compost bin can be easily moved to turn piles or to harvest finished…
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Facts About Composting

Facts About Composting

Soil & Compost
With these composting principles in mind, everyone can make excellent use of their organic wastes The Biology of Compost The compost pile is really a teeming microbial farm. Bacteria start the process of decaying organic matter. They are the first to break down plant tissue and also the most numerous and effective composters. Fungi and protozoans soon join the bacteria and, somewhat later in the cycle, centipedes, millipedes, beetles and earthworms do their parts. [caption id="attachment_3143" align="alignright" width="300"] finishing side of our compost area[/caption] Materials Anything growing in your yard is potential food for these tiny decomposers. Carbon and nitrogen, from the cells of dead plants and dead microbes, fuel their activity. The microorganisms use the carbon in leaves or woodier wastes as an energy source. Nitrogen provides the microbes…
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US First and Last Frost Dates

US First and Last Frost Dates

Growing Food, Soil & Compost, Starting Seeds, Weather, Year Round Gardening
USDA Hardiness Zone This information is useful for at least two reasons, to calculate when to plant seeds or plant seedlings outside in the garden to figure out how late in the growing season you can plant certain perennials, trees, and shrubs Dates on this chart are approximations, no one can KNOW the weather, every season is different. Most years, the first and last frost will fall within two weeks of the date on the chart, but some years, we get a very early frost or a late snow storm that throws the dates off. Please use discretion (and your local weather forecast!) along with this chart to plan your seed starting and planting. First, click on the map if you need to enlarge it and find your zone if…
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Seed Starting Mix

Seed Starting Mix

Organic Gardening, Soil & Compost, Starting Seeds
What is a seed starting mix? Not all the ingredients listed here will be in ALL seed starting mixes. One may have perlite, the other vermiculite, but this is the basis of most prepared seed starting mixes. Many "top" brands have chemical fertilizers added that are not necessary and will defeat your purpose to grow organically, so be sure to read the labels! Before discussing prepared seed starting mixes, it is important to understand the process that is going on and what you will need this seed starting mix to do for your plants. Let's start by defining a few gardening terms... The first thing, when thinking about seed starting mixes, is to note that (... and especially if you are new to gardening...) "seeds" do not require fertilization until…
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Not at Home on the Range

Community, Food Supply, Soil & Compost
Subsidized Fracking Hits Colorado This is an interesting article documenting the connections between tax subsidies, oil and gas fracking, and harms to the public health. And this article indicates that this kind of extreme oil production is NOT a free market activity, but is possible/profitable only because of subsidies. Repeat: this kind of extreme energy exploration is NOT a free market activity. Yes, this affects soil fertility. Yes, this is a gardening issue. Yes, this is a food issue.
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Scientists Discover That Plants Communicate via Symbiotic Root Fungi

Soil & Compost
I rarely recopy articles in their entirety to share on this blog, but this one is so awesome, I wanted everyone to see it for sure. Organic gardening is NOT over-rated. It is not strictly for "tree huggers" and vegetarians, it is not a fad or "so 70's", it is critical for health and the well being of humanity. By Dr. Mercola Human arrogance has always assumed we are evolutionarily superior to plants, but it appears that modern science may be the antidote to this egocentric view. Researchers in the UK have discovered an extensive underground network connecting plants by their roots, serving as a complex interplant communication system... a “plant Internet,” if you will. One organism is responsible for this amazing biochemical highway: a type of fungus called mycorrhizae.…
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Using Worm Castings

Using Worm Castings

Soil & Compost, Vermicomposting
Worm castings are a useful additive to any garden. You will see exceptional results in the color, quality and quantity of all your fruit, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants. Castings are interesting in that they can be used pure as organic fertilizer or as an additive to you own favorite potting mix. You cannot harm plants by using worm castings. The pH is neutral (7) and therefore suitable for most types of plants form azaleas to orchids. [caption id="attachment_3140" align="alignright" width="300"] earthworm castings can be collected from your yard after a good rain.[/caption] Castings are a great way to incorporate the beneficial effects that earthworms can bring to your garden in a convenient, cheap and easy manner. The following methods are typical of the many different ways to use worm…
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Grow Your Own Nitrogen

Grow Your Own Nitrogen

Soil & Compost
Nitrogen (N) helps plants use carbohydrates to gain energy, like certain foods we eat help us to gain energy. Nitrogen controls how plants take their form and how they function inside, and nitrogen helps plants make protein that help them grow strong and healthy. Humans and animals benefit from eating vegetables and plants that are rich in nitrogen because proteins are passed on to humans and animals when they eat vegetables and plants. Leguminous plants such as beans, peas, clover, alfalfa and vetch actually generate nitrogen in the soil. Rhizobia bacteria that grow on the roots of these plants take nitrogen from the air and make it available to the plant. In turn, the plant gives the Rhizobia the carbohydrates they need to grow. This give and take between different…
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Summer Heat and Organic Gardening

Summer Heat and Organic Gardening

Organic Gardening, Soil & Compost, Weather, Year Round Gardening
It was nice while it lasted. The spring, I mean. If I had been one step ahead, I would have had everything planted sooner. Who could have known that it was actually May in March? I mean... really. I really didn't want to tell you all the drivel you can find on a zillion other websites about how to "Beat the Heat" of summer in your organic garden. We all know, mulch is our friend. Period. Water deeply and less often. "Easy." Water in the morning. "We know." I hear you all chime. My friend Theresa Roman had an interesting twist this year... umbrellas for shade. If it is wilted, water? There are two schools of thought. During high heat watering must be thorough and deep. If you can't water…
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