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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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. Materials for Composting 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 with the raw element of proteins to build…
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Organic Gardening and Bugs

Organic Gardening and Bugs

Organic Pest & Disease Control
You CAN balance organic gardening and bugs! I have focused on the soil for the last (large) number of years always hoping to get it just right, to have an exceptional year. Truth is, as I re-examine this idea, I have begun to realize that I want to validate something; many things. Time spent. Composting. Hauling off every single bag of leaves and grass clippings I have found on every curb I drive by. Tediously pulling and fighting bermuda grass. Reading and studying. Hours spent poking through every single inch of the many gardens' soil I have started, nurtured and left behind. Perhaps a better mulch would be the secret. Maybe crop rotation would prove to be the secret ingredient, even for the home garden. While you won't fool the…
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Identify Your Soil Type

Identify Your Soil Type

Soil & Compost
Soils are generally described according to the predominant type of soil particle present - sand, silt, or clay. By conducting a simple soil test, you can easily identify your soil type. You may want to repeat this test with several different soil samples from your lawn and garden. Fill a quart jar about 1/3 full with topsoil and add water until the jar is almost full. Screw on the lid and shake the mixture vigorously, until all the clumps of soil have dissolved. Now set the jar on a windowsill and watch as the larger particles begin to sink to the bottom. In a minute or two the sand portion of the soil will have settled to the bottom of the jar (see illustration). Mark the level of sand on…
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April Gardening Calendar

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Organic Gardening, Year Round Gardening
The gardening calendar for April provides a list of recommended food growing tips and <sigh>gardening chores. If you haven't started your organic gardening adventure yet, it is HIGH time! April is a wonderful time for growing organic food. More people garden in April and May than any other time of the year. Winter is over, the hot months of July and August are not pounding you.... it is just a fabulous time to be outside. The date of last expected frost has come and gone (for most). Consult the growing zone maps to determine your garden's date of expected last frost. Early in the month there is still time to plant the cool season vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, lettuces, greens and onions. (if you haven't already!) Corn and beans…
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Farmers Are Flocking to Manure

Farmers Are Flocking to Manure

Farm Animals, Organic Gardening, Small Scale Farming, Soil & Compost
The closest thing I can find to a directory on getting local manure is CraigsList. I am sure if you look hard enough you can find a location or farmer in your area that will happily supply you with enough manure to use for home organic gardening Then, I ran across this article, Why Farmers are Flocking to Manure that throws out this common statistic... "It has taken us about 100 years to reduce soil organic matter to dangerously low levels from about 5 percent, on average, to below 2 percent." That blog article was adapted from the book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind" So they are running out of chemical fertilizer. Go Figure. And how fast could our commercial farming industry make the move to organic farming?…
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Using Worm Castings For Your Indoor and Outdoor Plants

Using Worm Castings For Your Indoor and Outdoor Plants

Vermicomposting
Worm castings are one of the few available resources today that offer numerous proven benefits while offering no bad side effects. Not like pesticides and fertilizers with special hazardous handling advice, worm castings promote plants and root development without the side effects of ingesting malicious chemicals. Compost and worm castings are not one in the same.. Instead they are a biological process that takes place within the worm's digestive method. In fact composted material is what is actually fed to many worms in order to generate worm castings. [caption id="attachment_3140" align="alignright" width="300"] earthworm castings can be collected from your yard after a good rain.[/caption] This brings me to a second point that the worms should be cultivated in a controlled environment where the temperature is above seventy degrees Fahrenheit in…
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How to Make Composting Simple as Dirt: My Top Tips

How to Make Composting Simple as Dirt: My Top Tips

Soil & Compost
All right, let's make this really easy. I promised to make composting simple as dirt. I want you to devise a home composting program. I know it sounds all technical, but the reality is that it's extremely simple to do. If you don't compost, you're a bad person--no, I'm kidding! However, you are missing out on the many benefits such a minimized amount of trash in the house, great gardening soil and another thing you can make the kids do if you don't feel like it. I'm going to break down the different types of composting for you to get an idea of which one works best for you. Dig a Hole in Your Backyard. Or Your Neighbor's Depending on how your living situation is laid out geographically, you need…
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5 Easy Steps to Sustainable Gardening

5 Easy Steps to Sustainable Gardening

Organic Gardening, Sustainable Landscaping
1) Observe your space Where is the sun / shade? (watch the patterns during the growing season throughout the day) How is the land sloped? (south faces warmer & sunnier than north - use to your advantage!) Is it windy? (plant some trees or shrubs to act as a windbreak!) 2) Think about what you like to eat and see! plant some of your favorites! choose varieties that are suited for your climate (local garden stores usually specialize in these!) plan plantings that compliment each other (grow sunflowers as a trellis for pole beans!) 3) Soil is the start work soil in spring only when it begins to dry (not when soggy you'll lose important soil structure!) add Organic Matter! add Organic Matter! add Organic Matter! (in the form of…
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Soil, Foundation Of Your Garden

Soil & Compost
The foundation of any garden, be it organic, container, square foot whatever, is it's soil but how many of us actually understand how these soils develop into the different types we have in our garden, mine is almost solid clay.  It is my frequent mutter that you could take a spade of soil and dump it straight onto the Potter's Wheel! Soil is created from the primeval actions of the earth in its growth and development. Formed of rock mixed with vegetable and animal material over eons of time it becomes the friable and crumbly humus we like to have in our gardens. As the rocks moved and collided they were gradually ground down to form the fine particles that we associate with our soil, and so it still goes…
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