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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Organic Gardener’s Composting

Posted by admin on June 10, 2011

Organic Gardener's CompostingHave you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn’t know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner!

Introducing… Organic Gardener’s Composting!

Absolutely everything anyone would ever need to learn how to successfully make organic compost is contained within this impressive work.

Take a look the specifics contained within this amazing book:

* A simple explanation of composting; how it works, why it’s necessary and how to do it!

* A season by season explanation of composting

* Tips on Turning Compost

* How to Make Humus-step by step!

* Understanding how Temperature Effects Composting

* FAQ about Organic Composting

* How to find more organic composting than your home/land produces to grow even larger gardens

* How to keep down the smell of a compost/waste bucket

This newly released work called Organic Gardener’s Composting is the quickest and easiest way to begin successfully gardening today!

Price: $4.67

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Composting For Sustainable Organic Gardening

Posted by admin on October 1, 2010

SUSTAINABLE SOIL building for organic gardening begins after the initial garden soil testing and the addition of fertilizers and conditioners. It is very important to maintain and improve the soil when trying to garden organically. Sustaining the soil means that you have a means of replenishing the garden soil with what you have at hand – compost, beneficial microbes, enzymes, and earthworms. Ideally, once your organic garden is established it could be sustained with garden compost alone – by removing garden soil and layering it in your compost. This method uses the microbes in your soil to inoculate your compost, which in turn will feed your soil. SHREDDED ALFALFA HAY is one of the secrets of great compost. It is worth it to rent a shredder for the weekend, and shred up a few bales of alfalfa hay. Worms thrive on it, and it provides the best mulch and soil additive for your garden soil.

BUILDING YOUR PILE

BUILD YOUR PILE about four feet in diameter, and four feet high, on a well-drained site. A ring of hog wire with a ring of chicken wire on the outside of it works well – providing air circulation, keeping the pile contained, is easily taken apart for turning or sifting, and, it is economical and very easy to maintain. We let our piles set for a year and then sift them in the spring when we are adding compost to our garden beds. No Turning! If you want to turn your pile, let it set 3-4 months, remove the wire and set it up next to your pile. Take the pile apart, mix it, and add it to the new pile, moistening it as you go. You may do this as often as you like. This will speed up your composting process.

FIRST LAYER on the bottom should be about three inches of roughage – corn stalks, brush, or other materials to provide air circulation.

SECOND LAYER is two to four inches of dry vegetation – carbon-rich “brown” materials, like fall leaves, straw, dead flowers shredded newspaper, shredded alfalfa hay or dry manure. Water well.

THIRD LAYER should be two to four inches of green vegetation – nitrogen-rich materials, like grass clippings, weeds, garden waste, vegetable peelings, tea leaves, coffee grounds, and crushed eggshells. Kitchen waste may be added but never use meat scraps, diseased plants, dog or cat manure, or poisonous plants, plant-based kitchen waste. Water until moistened. (Too much water will compact your pile and reduce available oxygen.)

FOURTH LAYER is garden soil, two inches thick. It is important to add garden soil because it contains a supply of microorganisms and nutrients, which will inoculate your compost pile. As microorganisms grow, they collect essential nutrients containing antibiotics, vitamins, and catalytic enzymes in their body tissues and release them slowly as they die and decompose.

REPEAT LAYERS of dry vegetation, green vegetation, and garden soil – moistening each layer – until the pile is three or four feet high. To insure enough green vegetation one can plant extra garden greens, or devote one of the garden beds to the growing of compost. Good composting greens are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, comfrey (grow it in an isolated spot, and do not disturb the roots, because it can be invasive), peas, beans, and all the rest of the garden weeds and greens.

COVER THE TOP of the pile with three to four inches of garden soil, making a ridge around the outside edge to prevent the water from running off. Use a broom handle or iron bar to make air holes from the top, deep into the pile every eight inches or so, for ventilation and water. Top off the pile with two inches of shredded alfalfa hay. Water regularly to keep moistened.

CURED COMPOST

CURED COMPOST has almost all the nutrients the crops contained, and so many beneficial microbes that it is one of the best things you can do for your garden. It also contains enough humus to replenish your soil’s supply. Your compost is ready when it is dark, rich looking, broken down, crumbles in your hand and smells like clean earth. Parts of the compost pile along the outside edges that have not completely broken down will be removed when your pile is sifted and can be placed at the bottom, and between the layers of the next compost pile.

SIFTING COMPOST

SIFTING COMPOST is easily done by placing a 4 x 4 foot square of ½ inch wire mesh over your wheelbarrow and bending the edges over the sides. Then a shovel full of compost may be placed on top of the wire mesh and rubbed. The siftings fall into the wheelbarrow and the lumps will remain on top. One side of the wire can be lifted from the wheelbarrow and these clumps will fall to the ground into a pile. When you are done, these can be shoveled into a new compost pile, and be layered accordingly.

COMPOST PROBLEMS

PROBLEMS can occur if conditions are unfavorable. Some of the problems are:

BAD ODORS indicate that there is not enough air in your pile make more air holes in your pile, or turn the pile, or start a new one.

CENTER OF PILE IS DRY means there is not enough water in your pile. Make more air holes, and fill them with water, and the water will disperse throughout the pile.

PILE IS DAMP BUT ONLY WARM IN THE MIDDLE indicates that your pile is too small. Increase the size of your pile to at least four feet high and four feet wide.

PILE IS DAMP AND SWEET SMELLING, BUT REMAINS COOL indicates a lack of nitrogen, not enough green matter or manure. Cover the pile with black plastic for a few days, but be careful not to cook all your microbes. The pile also may need more water.

SPEEDING UP COMPOSTING

TO SPEED UP THE COMPOSTING PROCESS and increase the decomposition rate you can add extra nitrogen, fishmeal or blood meal, to your layers. Using a metal rod to make holes in your pile will increase the amount of oxygen and stimulate aerobic activity. You can also shred your components fine, which causes faster decomposition. Compost innoculants can also be used to add nitrogen fixing, decomposing, and other soil bacteria, enzymes and hormones.

VERMI-COMPOSTING

VERMI-COMPOSTING is another organic gardening technique, which uses earthworms to make compost, which will be rich in organic matter and worm castings, and is one of the best soil builders available. Worms can eat their body weight daily in organic matter and convert it into dark, soil enriching castings full of live micro organisms, growth hormones, and nutrients, humic acids which condition the soil, and a neutral pH. Worm castings are free from disease pathogens, which are killed in the process. They prefer a temperature range of 60 to 70 degrees, but will tolerate 32 – 84 degrees. They require a moist, pesticide free environment with plenty of organic matter to eat. There are two types of Vermicomposting, indoor and outdoor.

OUTDOOR VERMI-COMPOSTING, ABOVE OR BELOW THE GROUND

ABOVE THE GROUND BIN: composting red worms are an excellent addition to a compost pile. The worms help to process the pile by eating the decayed matter and turn the waste into fine topsoil in approximately 2 to 3 months, depending on the quantity of worms introduced into the pile, the outside temperatures, and the time of year. A compost heap that is 4 x 4 x 4 should have a minimum of 3,000 to 10,000 worms introduced into the pile – about two pounds. Add them to your compost pile when it has broken down and is warm but not hot in the center. Dig down about a foot and add the worms. Keep the pile moistened, but not soggy wet. This pile will be your “breeding area”.

WHEN YOU WANT TO REMOVE some of the worms for next compost pile, begin feeding the worms at one spot near the edge, and when the worms move to this area after a few days, add some of the worms to your other compost pile. At this time you can also remove some of the soil and worm castings for your garden lowering your pile a foot or so. Keep feeding the worms in the breeding area by adding greens and shredded alfalfa hay to the top of the pile every few weeks. Be sure to add four or five inches of shredded alfalfa hay for winter protection, and keep the pile moistened, but not wet.

BELOW THE GROUND BIN: Dig a 2×8 foot trench two or three feet deep into the ground below frost level. Place a six-inch layer of peat moss and shredded newspaper or cardboard on the bottom, and water until evenly moistened, but not soggy wet.

FILL THE BIN ¾ full with a mixture of 2/3 corrugated cardboard and 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, shredded newspaper, shredded leaves, or shredded alfalfa hay, add a little crumbled aged or composted manure, and a cup or so of fine sand mixed with equal parts of wood ashes, and ground limestone. Mix well, moisten, and add two to three inches of a mix of finely chopped vegetal kitchen wastes, garden waste, and aged manure to one end of the pit.

ADD ONE POUND of red compost worms, which can be ordered through the mail. (When your worms first arrive they may be dehydrated, you can feed them a light dusting of corn meal before you cover them.)

LOOSELY COVER worms/waste with a 2-inch layer with shredded alfalfa hay. Water and feed two or three times a week – adding vegetable waste under the alfalfa layer to keep the process going. Each time you feed your worms place the waste mix next to the previous feeding area, working your way toward the opposite end of the pit. When you get to the end of the pit, feed back towards the beginning. As you continue these layers and reach the top, leave a four-inch space between the cover and the mixture for ventilation.

COVER THE TOP of the pit with a sheet of plywood to keep out the elements and critters, and weight down with rocks.

IN A FEW MONTHS and under the alfalfa layer you will have worm castings, which can be transferred to your garden beds. To harvest your worm castings wait until the worms are being fed are at one end of the pit. You can remove the castings from the opposite end of the pit. Replace the castings with the mix of 2/3 corrugated cardboard and 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, shredded newspaper, shredded leaves, a little crumbled aged or composted manure, and a cup or so of fine sand mixed with equal parts of wood ashes, and ground limestone. Cover with the 2-inch layer of damp shredded newspaper or cardboard mixed with straw.

INDOOR WORM BINS

COMPOST CAN BE MADE INDOORS by using wood, metal or plastic bins with lids. Special worm composting bins may be ordered through the mail, or you can easily make your own. Special worms are used in Vermicomposting: Eisenia foetida or Lumbricus rubellas, which can be ordered from worm farms, or some nurseries. Start with about a pound or worms, around 1000. They can multiply quickly, and the surplus can just be added to your summer garden, or given to friends.

BUILD OR BUY A BOX:

FOR TWO PEOPLE, a box 2′ x 2′ x 8″ deep, or so, wood, metal, or plastic, will suffice. For a larger family, make it 2′ x 3′ x 1′ deep. There should be some small ¼ ” holes in the bottom for drainage, and the box should be set on a tray with 1″ spacers between the tray and the box, for aeration and drainage. A garden shed would be a useful to hold all of your extra supplies and gardening tools.

LINE THE BOTTOM with shredded 1-inch strips of newspaper, inch wide strips of cardboard boxes, and peat moss. A mix of 2/3 corrugated cardboard and 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, or newspaper, is a good bedding mixture. You can also add shredded leaves and a little aged or composted manure, and a cup or so of fine sand, ashes, and limestone. Moisten the bedding, mix it well, and add the worms. Let it set for a few days before kitchen waste is added. Your worms will happily feed and make castings.

ADD KITCHEN WASTE every day or so, by burying it a few inches or so in the bedding mix in one end of the box. Kitchen waste can include: vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds and the filters, tea bags, without the tags, any vegetable matter, bread scraps, dried and crushed eggshells, and small amounts of finely chopped meat scraps, garlic and onion.

COVER THE TOP of the compost bedding with a layer of damp newspapers, and a loosely fitting lid with holes for air. Every time you add waste, work your way to the other end of the box, so you will have about 8 or 9 different adding areas. When you get to the end of the box, start over at the other end. Worms will eat the bedding along with the scraps, and you may need to add more. Keep the bedding mix/scraps moistened, but not soggy wet. In a few months you will be ready to harvest your compost.

TO HARVEST COMPOST castings, follow the same procedures for gathering outdoor castings. Only add the castings to your garden beds, these special worms live indoors only.

“Worms seem to be the great promoters of vegetation, which would proceed but lamely without them, by boring, perforating, and loosening the soil, and rendering it pervious to rains and the fibers of plants, by drawing straws and stalks of leaves and twigs into it, and, most of all, by throwing up such infinite numbers of lumps of earth called worm-casts, which, being their excrement, is a fine manure for grain or grass.” The Rev. Gilbert White of Selborne, 1777

Resources for compost supplies

Home of the Organic Gardener Planet Natural Peaceful Valley Farm Supply Fertile Garden Harmony Farm Supply All Natures Safeway Extremely Green Gardening Company

Frank and Vicky Giannangelo
Copyright (c) 2008 Giannangelo Farms Southwest

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My Garden keeps me humble.

Posted by admin on September 28, 2010

Every year I start with plans – big plans. This year the big change was the new tomato plot. We planned ahead, set it up as a large triangle with layers of cardboard and newspaper covered with compost in the style of a lasagna garden. When spring came, we braced the three sides with boards donated by a generous neighbor and then covered the area with about 4 inches of soil trucked in from a local nursery. Then I planted: tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli, with a few wildflower seeds scattered across the back. Fleet Farm had the tomato supports I wanted, and we were set. Then I got sick. The bathroom/bedroom/laundry remodel ran overtime. And the weather? Heat, humidity, rain, heat, humidity, rain. The tomatoes loved it. So did the weeds. So did the neighborhood wild bunnies, when they found out that Chuck hadn’t had time to fence it in. The small furry creatures hid in the tomatoes and ate the broccoli. All of it. Eventually, I had surgery. Recovery was quick, but the weeds were still growing. I finally had a chance to weed, pulling some odd invasive plants that must have come in with the soil, as they only turned up in the triangle. One of the storms came complete with hail and bent several tomato vines, so I pruned and tied them up as best I could. One cherry tomato plant had spread its wings, er, branches so far that it put the banana pepper in its shade. I put in a second support, tied it up with t-shirt strips from Chuck’s old Survivor t-shirt (the irony was not lost on me), and then let the pepper plant grow. Again. It’s doing fine now. Nature does humble a person. No matter how much research I do, online or in books, no matter how many experts I ask, the weather will take its own course. No matter how healthy I am or vice versa, the plants and weeds will keep on growing. They’ll fall over before the wind, and I’ll pick up what I can, but the storms will arrive when they will. When it’s super hot, I’ll drain the rain barrels to water the plants. When it’s rainy, I’ll squash mosquitoes. If I’m lucky, we’ll get just enough rain to refill the barrels and all will be well with the backyard gardening world. Then harvest time arrived. Peas didn’t do well. Beans didn’t do well. Something feathered or furry ate the spinach. Zucchini came late, but seems to be okay. The tomatoes, at long last, were (and still are) my pride and joy. Flushed with excitement from my jam-making success, it was time to can tomatoes. I gathered supplies, pulled together my jars and lids and water-bath canner, examined the recipe, stepped back to look it over with pride and excitement, and then weighed and measured the tomatoes. I didn’t have enough. I’d gathered slightly less than half what I needed, not counting the plum size that were generous, but still small enough to be a hassle to peel. Heaving a deep sigh, I bought several pounds of large tomatoes from the midweek farmers’ market. Despite my new plot, composted soil, lots of rain and sun, the backyard-grown tomatoes had to be supplemented with those purchased from someone else. A farmer, yes, not a store, but they weren’t mine, and I felt disappointed – and humble. The stewed tomatoes, mine & the farmer’s, cooked up nicely, but not without drama. I found out that my water-bath canner isn’t big enough for quart size jars. It can handle half-pints (as my jams showed) and pints (barely – the water nearly overflowed). The pot and the rack are both too small for quarts. This discovery was also, you guessed it, humbling. Beginning canner and food preserver that I am, I have a dozen wide-mouth quart jars in the basement and no way to heat them – if I had enough tomatoes. Sigh. Finally, last but not least, the clear jars with their heat-sealed lids humbled me one more time. The stewed tomatoes finished up with a case of Fruit Float; the tomatoes floated on top of an almost-clear liquid. I went to my sources again (Twitter and Plurk and my best canning books) and found out that as long as the seal is complete, this is not a problem. There are ways to avoid it, which I might try next time, but it doesn’t indicate trouble or predict spoilage. Maybe next summer will be the one when I fully take control of the garden – or not. For now, I’m grateful that my garden is a hobby, albeit a productive one. I’m glad I still have the farmers’ market and the grocery store as resources. Maybe next year will be the year I humbly join a CSA. Labels: garden, kitchen stories, Random Thoughts

Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

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Composting To A Successful Garden

Posted by admin on

Have you ever had really great soil for gardening around your house? Few do. In my case, the clay-like soil prevented good water drainage and was difficult for cultivating new plants. At other times the sand content was too high, providing the opposite problem – water retention. Additionally, a proper soil nutrient for great plants was missing. One could replace all the soil – a very expensive time consuming process, build raised beds or work to improve existing conditions. To do this, composting is the answer.

Composting is the decomposition of plant remains and other once-living materials to make an earthy, dark, crumbly substance that is excellent for adding to houseplants or enriching garden soil. It is a great way to help the environment. Composting is nature’s process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost.

Composting is a lot like cooking, and the easiest compost recipe calls for blending parts of green or wet material, high in nitrogen and brown or dry material, high in carbon.

Materials – Materials that are excellent for composting are kitchen waste, like coffee grounds, wastes, things you might throw down the garbage disposal. Meat, bones, eggs, cheese, fats and oils are not recommended for backyard composting because they attract animals. Composting materials are divided into two types, green and brown. Green materials include green leafy plant residues like weeds, grass clippings, vegetable tops and flower clippings. Brown materials include fall leaves, straw, sawdust, wood chips and shredded newspapers. To speed up decomposition, use two-parts green material to one-part brown material. For best results, mix materials high in nitrogen such as clover, fresh grass clippings, and livestock manure with those high in carbon such as dried leaves.

Compost Bin – First, choose a location for your compost bin. Place the bin at least 20 feet away from the nearest house. Avoid placing the bin against a tree or wooden building; the compost could cause the wood to decay. Bins can be built from scrap lumber, old pallets, snow fence, chicken wire, or concrete blocks. When building a composting bin, such as with chicken wire, scrap wood, or cinder blocks, be sure to leave enough space for air to reach the pile. Usually when building a composting bin, one side is left open or can be opened to facilitate turning the materials. Once your bin is in place, you can begin immediately to fill it with yard wastes and kitchen scraps. While a bin will help contain the pile, it is not absolutely necessary – some prefer to compost in a large open area.

Process – Basically, backyard composting is an acceleration of the same process nature uses. If left alone, these same materials will eventually break down, decompose and produce soil rich materials. Eventually, the rotting leaves are returned to the soil, where living roots can finish the recycling process by reclaiming the nutrients from the decomposed leaves. Home composting provides ideal conditions to greatly reduce the time it takes

Cooking refers to the process where the compost heats up and breaks down, which is necessary before you can use it as soil additive in the garden and on your house plants. The cooking process takes about 4-8 weeks once you stop adding to the bin. Don’t be surprised by the heat of the pile or if you see worms, both of which are part of the decomposition process. If you want to accelerate the process, turn it every four days, but more frequently than that is not recommended.

Carbon – Carbon and Nitrogen are the essential elements of a compost pile. Carbon rich materials are referred to as “browns”. Carbon-rich, relatively low-nutrient material are slow to decay. The rate at which breakdown occurs depends on several factors – oxygenation, temperature, water content, surface area size, and the carbon to nitrogen ratio Soak high carbon materials with water before composting. Alternate six to eight inch layers of high carbon materials such as leaves and other dry plant debris, with layers of high nitrogen material such as grass clippings, kitchen waste or manure.

Nitrogen – Nitrogen is the most important food nutrient, because a nitrogen shortage drastically slows the composting process. Brown materials composted alone require supplemental nitrogen to feed the decomposing bacteria. Greens are quick to rot and they provide important nitrogen and moisture. Add one-quarter to one-half cup nitrogen fertilizer per bushel of brown material. If you are low on high-nitrogen material, you can add a small amount of commercial fertilizer containing nitrogen. In other words, the ingredients placed in the pile should contain 25 to 30 times as much carbon as nitrogen. Some ingredients with higher nitrogen content are green plant material such as crop residues, hay, grass clippings, animal manures.

Manure – Manure may be used to increase your compost piles nitrogen supply. Animal manure should only be collected from vegetarian animals, such as horses, cows, sheep, poultry, etc. Sheep and cattle manure don’t drive the compost heap to as high a temperature as poultry or horse manure, so the heap takes longer to produce the finished product.

Moisture – Moisture and oxygen are important factors in the composting process as both influence temperature. An active compost pile will be warm – frequently between 75 – 85 degrees. Every time you add fresh grass or kitchen waste you add some moisture retention to your compost pile. Moisture is provided by rain, but you may need to water or cover the pile to keep it damp. To test for adequate moisture, reach into your compost pile and grab a handful of material and squeeze it; if a few drops of water come out, it’s probably got enough moisture, if it doesn’t, add water.

Eliminate Odor – The most common problem is unpleasant, strong odors. To prevent this ensure a good flow of oxygen in the compost, don’t overload the pile with food waste so that the food sits around too long, and if the bin contents become too wet add in more dry materials.

Home composting is both fun and easy to do, and does not require large investments of time, money and effort to be successful. Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into valuable food for your garden. Composting is a way to reduce the volume of organic wastes and return them to the soil to benefit growing plants. Your garden will love you for it.

Robert Schpok is an avid gardener who has used his gardening skills to greatly enhance his culinary techniques and ability to create great new recipes. Gain valuable gardening [http://www.got-eats.com/gardening.html] insight and make cooking fun at his newest site Got-Eats [http://www.got-eats.com/].

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Organic Gardening With Compost – Using Compost For a Naturally Healthy Lawn and Garden

Posted by admin on September 23, 2010

‘Mature’ organic compost is a natural and simple choice for solving those problems. An application of ‘mature’ compost, along with periodic applications of compost tea, will improve the overall health & vigor of your landscape. It will also lower your overall maintenance & water requirements for the summer & thereafter. Compost is simply good for your family, lawn, & gardens.

Why use compost?

It’s simply the most natural choice available. Mature compost is safe for you and your family. It contains nothing unnatural or poisonous. Your garden & lawn will be safe for you, your children and your pets to use during and immediately after application. Compost improves your lawn & gardens’ drought tolerance and reduces watering requirements by improving the plant’s root systems and the soils’ ability to retain water. Mature compost can safely be applied around pools and applied directly into ponds, streams and rivers without risk to the environment. It also promotes & creates an environment in which birds & butterflies thrive. Your lawn & garden will have fewer weeds, insect pests or diseases. Compost allows the soil to gain strength naturally and the plants grown it will naturally thrive. Compost gives you healthier and more attractive soil, grass, trees & plants. You will need no synthetic chemical fertilizers or poisons. Co

Can using compost save me time, money & labor?

Yes! You will no longer need to bag the grass clippings or to remove thatch as compost aids in their rapid assimilation. The compost will also reduce the amount of water needed. Compost improves the heat and drought tolerance of your lawn & garden thus decreasing loss and replacement costs. Healthy plants simply require less maintenance. These facts alone save you much time, money and labor.

Does compost improve the heat and drought tolerance of my plants?

Yes! The organic materials in compost, in conjunction with the rhizobacteria and rhizofungi, naturally loosen and aerate the soil. This allows greater water & root penetration. The same combination works together to encapsulate and hold moisture in the soil by creating soil aggregates. Soil aggregates are a naturally occurring microcosmic system that rhizobacteria & rhizofungi produces in order to keep themselves from drying up and dying. The plant roots grow into these aggregates and are provided a natural reserve of nutrients and water that otherwise would have dissipated from the soil.

What is compost?

According to Webster’s dictionary “a mixture that consists largely of decayed organic matter and is used for fertilizing and conditioning land.” Properly composted material is heated by the decomposition process and does not have any weed seeds, nor, will it burn your plants as chemical fertilizers do.

Does compost smell bad?

No! not if it’s fully ‘matured’. We advise that you only use fully composted material. Fully composted, organic material smells like rich organic garden soil. If it smells like anything else, do not use it, as it is not mature and can cause harm to your lawn & garden. Not all composts are created equally and we suggest that you fully investigate the source of the supplier. Truly mature, “organic”, compost is totally safe & nontoxic to your family and the soil in which the plants grow.

What is Compost Tea?

A simple definition of compost tea is that it is a water extract of organic compost that is brewed in a similar way that your morning tea is made. It contains natural soluble nutrients and a great diversity of beneficial, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes. It is a totally organic, living, synergistic microcosm that introduces renewed life to the soil and plants. From our many years of experience we’ve found that compost tea supercharges new compost applications.

How does compost/tea help to suppress disease causing bacteria and fungi?

The rhizobacteria (good bacteria) controls the growth of the “bad” bacteria by keeping the soil aerobic so that the ‘bad’ bacteria cannot live & prosper. Likewise the “good” fungi compete with the “bad” fungi and keep them under control as well. Healthy soil makes for healthy plants in the same way that healthy food makes for healthy people and animals.

What do beneficial bacteria do for plants?

Beneficial bacteria make essential soil mineral elements available to the plant by decomposing organic matter and improving the physical properties of the soil. Trees, flowers and lawns that have an abundance of rhizobacteria live longer, need little to no chemical treatment, as they suffer from very few disease problems.

How does compost/tea reduce thatch?

“Thatch” is simply a layer of dead un-decayed plant material. The rhizobacteria breaks down the thatch into organic humus that is then reintroduced naturally into the soil to feed the grass.

Why not use chemical fertilizers?

Synthetic chemicals sterilize the soil and make more and more applications of chemicals absolutely necessary. This is like putting your plants on continuous life support. They may stay barely alive, but they will never thrive. Your lawn & garden will suffer from continuous problems which will require more water, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides & ever greater amounts of fertilizer. It’s very important that you don’t use synthetic chemicals on your lawn or garden.

What about weeds?

Long term use of compost and compost tea while avoiding chemical fertilizers can prevent weeds naturally. According to Dr. Ingham of Soil Foodweb Inc.: “Weeds all require high levels of nitrates, so nitrogen fertilizer actually selects for weeds, If you drop your nitrates to less than 10 ppm, the weeds leave. When you have mycorrhizal fungi directly feeding plants, you can drop soil nitrate levels below that threshold level and thistle, johnson grass, and nightshade all disappear. If you have good calcium levels, you decrease the composites, because they can’t tolerate calcium. Next time you want to get rid of crabgrass, mix egg shells into the ground.” Reprinted from the Maine Organic Farmer and Gardener. Dr. Ingham Puts Soil Life to Work – Maine Organic Farmer ’99′

We also recommend periodic Corn Gluten meal applications. Corn gluten meal is a useful, natural, pre-emergent pesticide that works very well in controlling weeds and greatly compliments the usage of compost and compost tea.

What about insects?

Any naturally healthy environment has a great need of bio-diversity. Chemically treated gardens create an unnatural and imbalanced state. Using compost and compost tea instead of chemicals promotes natural bio-diversity and a subsequent growth of beneficial insect populations. The beneficial insects prey upon the harmful pests & naturally keep them from overwhelming the garden ecology. In urban settings, it’s often necessary to reintroduce beneficial insects into your lawn & garden from outside sources.

How long will it take to see results?

You can see results within two weeks after the first application of compost. Using a combination of compost & compost tea, we have seen results in as soon as four seven days during the growing season. Your lawn & garden will continue to improve each day thereafter as the soil becomes more alive. Even greater improvement will be noticed with additional compost and compost tea applications.

Conrad Cain is the President of Home & Garden Design, Inc.
Home & Garden Design supplies residential landscape design and installation and promotes naturally organic, lawn and garden reclamation in the Atlanta Georgia area. In conjunction with his life partner Danna Cain, ASLA landscape Architect, they have more than 50 years experience in the Green Industry. Their mutual creations have been featured in national & regional magazines, local garden tours and numerous feature articles. For additional Green Living information please visit: http://www.mygreennetwork.com and http://www.home-garden-design.com

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Homemade Drip Watering System

Posted by admin on January 20, 2009

Now I know what to do with all those plastic soda and water bottles that my son leaves laying all around the house.

Check out this webs site that shows how to make those bottles into a drip irrigation system.  Keeping my garden watered just got easier.

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