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Spring is the start of a new growing season. Time to get your garden ready for planting and finish what you couldn’t get done before winter set in.

Soil is the key to having a successful organic garden. The first and most important part in preparing your garden for a new growing season is to know what you are working with. Testing your soil is very important and even more important if your crops the year before didn’t do as well as you would of liked them too.

Once your soil has been tested and you know what you need for soil amendments you can start working the soil in your garden to get ready for planting. Turning your soil over by tilling, plowing or by hand with a spade aerates the soil by exposing new soil to the air, which will activate microbes that are in the soil and other organic matter to help make fertile soil. You want to make sure that your soil is dry enough before you start working with it. If you take a hand full of soil and squeeze it and it stays in the form of a solid ball the soil is to wet. Working wet soil will destroy the texture of the soil. The soil will just be full of clods when it dries and the restoration of the soil can take a lot of work and time that you don’t need to lose out of the growing season. If the area that you plant your garden is usually wet in the spring and dry in the fall you should consider a fall preparation of your garden. This way in the spring there will only be a minimal amount of hand work needed to prepare and start planting.

Now that the soil in your garden has been turned over it’s time to add a layer of compost to feed the soil. A good healthy soil structure is one that will retain moisture, drain well and a lot of nutrient rich humus to feed your plants. Feeding the soil is different that feeding your plants. When you feed the soil the nutrients are there for the plants to feed from as they need too. When fertilizing you are applying nutrients to the soil and the plants will only take what they need when they need it and the rest gets diluted or evaporated away. Having a good nutrient rich soil is the best way to supply the plants in your garden the nutrition they need.

Now that you have your garden prepared and a good healthy nutrient rich soil it is time to start planting. Don’t be afraid to add compost to the hole you dig for your new plants. The plants will love you for it.

A environment friendly and healthy way of gardening. Organic Gardening is away of gardening in harmony with nature. Growing a healthy and productive crop in a way that is healthier for both you and the environment.

John Yazo

[http://www.organicheirloomgardening.com]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Yazo

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Worm Castings or Vermicasts

Using worm castings, or more correctly vermicompost, as organic fertilizer adds more nutrients for your plants and in a plant available form.  Worm castings or vermicasts are just one component of what makes up vermicompost.

Here is how Wikipedia explains it:

Vermicompost is the product or process of composting utilizing various species of worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast. Vermicast, similarly known as worm castings, worm humus or worm manure, is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by a species of earthworm.[1] These castings have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than do organic materials before vermicomposting. [2]

Here are some of the benefits of using vermicompost in your organic garden, per Wikipedia:

  • Improves its physical structure
  • Enriches soil with micro-organisms (adding enzymes such as phosphatase and cellulase)
  • Microbial activity in worm castings is 10 to 20 times higher than in the soil and organic matter that the worm ingests [27]
  • Attracts deep-burrowing earthworms already present in the soil
  • Improves water holding capacity[28]

It takes about 20 pounds to treat a 12′ x 20′ garden area.  Its fairly inexpensive, running between $1-$1.50/lb.

Prices accurate as of 5/9/2013

Make Your Own

For a standard size composting bin you will need two pounds of worms for every one pound of raw material you add.  The earthworms you will need (known as red wrigglers) do not go very deep underground so your pile or bin should be between 8-10 inches deep.

You may be tempted to go to your backyard and start digging up some worms, but you really should invest in the proper kind.  The worms in your backyard are not the recommended breed for composting.  You will need to buy worms that bear the name of red wriggler (also known as redworms) or brandling worms.  But, you should also be aware of their tolerance temperature range.

Redworms or brandling worms can be purchased from a bait shop, some local gardening centers or by mail order.  An average worm can eat its own weight in material in 24 hours; keep this in mind when you are determining the size of your compost bin and the amount of worms you will need.

With the rate at which the worms consume the food waste, the timeline of getting from raw organic material to mature compost is relatively short.  The same principle applies as for regular composting – you need a good mix of green food and brown food (this can be in the form of shredded newspaper).  The finished compost is known as worm castings, worm humus, worm manure, and worm compost.

You should also be aware of the temperature range that various types of worms can survive.  Nothing smells worse than a worm compost bin filled with dead worms!  So, take some time to find what type of worm would work best for your location.  This post is not intended to give you all the information needed to make your own worm compost bin, but rather to let you know what’s involved.  If you’re interested, here are some resources for you.



You can also purchase and download the Kindle version of The Complete Guide to Working with Worms: Using the Gardener’s Best Friend for Organic Gardening and Composting (Back to Basics) for $11.99.

Prices accurate as of 5/9/2013.

Misconceptions About Composting

Composting can benefit your garden and the planet (when done on a large scale) in many ways.  A lot of people may shy away from composting because of common myths and untruths.  Listed below are some of the most common misconceptions about composting followed by the real information.

  •  Composting is creating new dirt.  Actually composting is not dirt, soil, or earth but it is humus – decayed matter that provides nutrients to soil.
  •  It takes a lot of time and effort to compost.  Once you have your compost bin set-up all you will only have to add new materials and turn or rotate the piles once in a two day period.
  • Having a compost is too smelly.  If your compost bin has a bad odor, something is wrong.  You need to ensure there is enough air circulation and the right combination of green and brown foods.
  • If I have a compost in my back yard, animals are going to come and dig through it.  If you have a cover for your compost bin and ensure a good layer of brown food (at least one inch) is on the top you will not have any animal control problems.
  • If I don’t measure the exact ratio of green to brown food it will not work.  Composting is not an exact science if you add more green food one week and then balance it out with additional brown food the next week – that is fine.  You will be able to tell with time what your compost pile is lacking or needing.

Composting is easy, environmentally-friendly, and an inexpensive way to fertilize your lawn, garden, or house plants.  With some time, patience, and a bit of effort, your mature compost will be ready to use anywhere from one month to one year (hot versus cold composting).  There are more benefits than drawbacks when you reconsider many of these common misconceptions about composting.

Hot Composting

Hot (or active) composting uses microbes to breakdown the matter. Some experts recommend you inoculate the compost with live organisms in order to speed up the process. While others will recommend adding in healthy top soil as it also contains live organisms that will convert your organic matter into compost material.

Either way, once the process is started your compost pile will generate heat. You should tend or check on your pile every second day to ensure good air circulation is maintained and that the right level of moisture is kept.

Here is a list of the most commonly used hot compost items from the kitchen:

* Vegetable peels and seeds
* Fruit peels, cores, and seeds
* Coffee grounds – you can compost the paper filter too
* Tea bags or loose tea leaves
* Crushed egg shells – do not add left-over eggs cooked or raw
* Breads

You may be tempted to add other food scraps into the bin, but don’t.  You should not add any animal meat or bones, oily products, or fish remains.  Not only will they attract unwanted pests but they will make your compost smell bad.

It is a good idea to have a container with an airtight lid to store the food waste in your kitchen. You don’t want to attract insects or pests inside your home nor do you want to be running to your compost bin every time you make a meal or snack. If your kitchen container is airtight you will also cut down on unpleasant odors.

Non-Edible Composting Items

In addition to the acceptable food scraps you can use to hot compost, there are many different organic items you can add too. Some of the items on the list may surprise you while others will be ones you have heard of before. Just remember, by composting these items you are reducing the amount of waste that your home produces.

  •  Lint collected from your dryer (only from natural fibers, such as cotton – avoid man-made materials as they will not breakdown in your compost pile,)
  •  Cardboard, cut into strips or small pieces
  •  Hair, make sure that is isn’t put in as one large clump
  •  Manure (from a horse, pig, or cow, preferably aged)
  •  Tree leaves, cutting or chipping them helps them break down faster
  •  Newspaper (considered brown food), cut into strips. Do not use the glossy pages and do not add too much (it can dry out the pile)
  •  Pine needles and pine cones
  •  Sawdust and wood chips (or shavings) as long as it is from untreated wood
  •  Straw – even better if it is used straw from horse bedding
  •  Grass clippings (green food), IF your lawn has not been treated with commercial fertilizers, weed or bug killers
  •  Seaweed or algae (you can get these from your home aquarium)

Larger items should be broken down as much as possible to speed up their decomposition.  Here are some additional tips to help you with your composting efforts.  http://www.onestoporganicgardening.com/composting/how-to-make-and-use-your-own-compost/

*Most of these items can also be used in the cold composting method.  The main exception being manure.

Cold Composting

If you do not have the desire or time to maintain a regular compost bin, starting a cold compost (or slow compost) may suit you better.  In a cold compost, you are only using your yard waste and grass clippings instead of a combination of outdoor material with your kitchen scraps.  All that is required of you is to pile your leaves and grass clippings into a pile and wait.  The process is slow and long – it will not yield usable compost for up to one year.  Be careful not to put in any weeds or other undesirable plants, as there is no heat they will survive the composting process and can grow again when you use the finished material.

If you generate quite a bit of yard waste and it is too much to include in your regular compost bin consider using both hot and cold composting methods.  You can have the best of both composting methods.

Biozome added to your compost helps your garden grow!

In a recent post, I talked about adding Azomite to your organic garden to provide necessary micro-nutrients and minerals that most soils are sorely lacking or completely void of.  This post discusses yet another little known, but potentially helpful additive for the organic gardener, in particular, for anyone who is wanting to improve their soil condition with the use of compost.

You can consider Biozome to be a super compost booster.  Basically, it accelerates and improves the compost process by providing bacteria that help to release the nutrients.  It is considered to be a compost inoculant, which when added works by freeing up soil nutrients and making them more bio-available for plants to access or creating symbiotic relationships with the plants root systems.

What is Biozome?

This question is more easily answered by telling you what it is not, it is not a fertilizer, a pesticide, nor a genetically modified organism.

BioZome is a highly concentrated blend of natural microorganisms put together by Dr. Carl Oppenheimer after 40 years of research. It has been proven to triple the growth rate, decrease seed germination time, produce more flowers and increase crop yield. Plants grown using BioZome produce healthier roots and show increased disease and pest resistance. The micro-organisms are primitive “Archaea” collected from salt pans, hot springs, and volcanic regions all over the world.

“Archaea”, for the scientifically inclined, as defined by Wikipedia:  (/ɑrˈkiːə/ ( listen) ar-kee) are a group of single-celled microorganisms. A single individual or species from this domain is called an archaeon (sometimes spelled “archeon”). They have no cell nucleus or any other membrane-bound organelles within their cells.

Biologyonline.com adds:  One in the three-domain system (the other are Bacteria and Eukaryota) which includes halophiles (microorganisms that may inhabit extremely salty environments), methanogens (microorganisms that produce methane), and thermophiles (microorganisms that can thrive extremely hot environments).

That’s the long answer.  The short answer is, I don’t know!  What’s more important is that:

  1. *its not harmful to you,
  2. it accelerates the composting process, and
  3. works to make your plants healthier and more productive when added to your garden soil.

And, by added, I’m referring to using the compost that you have souped-up by adding Biozome to.

BioZome is a great compost starter.  It works in your compost pile in several ways; it greatly accelerates the breakdown rate, it uses very little water, and it can work in very low oxygen situations.  And, remember, your compost material will be filled with these “archaea” organisms that will continue to do their work on your garden plants when you mix your compost in your garden.

And, its wallet friendly! There really isn’t any reason not to super charge your composting with Biozome, readily available as Jobe’s Organic Compost Starter 4-Pound Bag

Prices current as of 11/19/2012.

*HAZARDOUS INGREDIENTS and IDENTITY INFORMATION

BioZome – an enzymatic mixture of active hydrocarbon oxidizing natural single celled organisms. The enzymes and cells are contained in an inert preparation of natural clay. The mixture has no chemical impact. The mixture should be handled with the normal precautions of a hydroscopic powder. In enclosed areas protective eye and mask covering is recommended. This mixture has been tested by human contact for over 20 years with no direct or indirect impact.

WarningThis clay product contains a small amount of crystalline silica which may cause delayed respiratory disease if inhaled over a prolonged and extended period of time. Avoid breathing the dust.

 

Biodegradable Bags For Compost: In This Case, Tree Leaves

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What is made of a biodegradable recyclable material called jute, is environmentally and user friendly, and totally useful and fertilizes the yard? A product for collection and composting of leaves called garden composting leaf sacks.

In the fall season of the year mother nature begins preparation for the winter season. In many areas the obvious change taking place is the color of the leaves of the trees. And alas with the gorgeous panorama of autumn, reds, golden, oranges and browns comes the inevitable falling of those deciduous pieces to the ground. No longer green the wind has scattered them about the landscape, or to be more precise, your lawn.

An inevitable autumn chore is to rake all those specimens into piles. A few brave souls will mound them high and jump dive and roll through them to be piled again. Putting the piles of leaves into bags is easier said than done. Plastic bags are not made for natural breakdown. This process can contribute to organic landfill waste or worse if left at curbside they are ugly and can cause storm drain clogging which may lead to flooding.

The bio degradable leaf collecting sacks made especially for composting are perfect for those who are environmentally conscious and want to recycle nature. Rake the leaves, place in the bags, made of totally recyclable, decomposing material called jute, pile them in a corner of the yard or better yet the garden to be used as soil enhancement next season. These sacks are hassle free, no double work of collecting then piling, only to have them blow away. Put the leaves in the large jute sacks and take them where you want extra soil nutrients for next growing season. The sacks degrade at the same rate as the leaves letting the leaves stay right where you put them, not scattered about by the wind, dogs, vermin or other critters.These bags or sacks as they are called are great for someone who is environmentally conscious but doesn’t want to maintain garden composters full time or even if you do not have enough space to keep garden composting bins you can still save space in the landfill and fertilize your lawn or garden and at the same time follow codes for inside city limits. Bags are sold in packages of 2.

Every year cool weather brings autumn and the beautiful color changes many of us love. However this beauty brings with it a chore to be accomplished. While a few are able to just enjoy the fun of playing in the piles most of us have to think further than simply raking the leaves into piles. We can use the option of biodegradable leaf collection sacks for a win -win situation. The environment wins in two ways. First composting the leaves means no added organic waste in the landfill and second the decomposing leaves add all those rich natural nutrients right back into the soil by composting.

My name is Patricia Bass. I am so fortunate to live in a rural area where i can enjoy and experience nature each and every day. From my porch i can listen to the creek for which Buck Branch Enterprize is named while watching my horses graze or play in the pasture. I sometimes see the wood chuck who has a path he travels down to the creek. I hope i don’t see the rascal of a opossum who seems to like chicken eggs fresh from the coop. Please visit my store http://www.compostingplace.com for garden composting bins,barrel composting,and compost bins tumbler as well as decorative rain barrels.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Patricia_D_Bass

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How To Make And Use Your Own Compost

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A compost heap not only enables you to produce your own compost, it also gives you somewhere to dispose of your garden and kitchen waste. Whether you buy a ready-made compost bin, make your own, or just create a heap in your garden, the rewards for both you and your garden will be great. Here are a few tips on creating and using a successful compost heap.

How to pick the right spot for your compost heap

The site you choose should have good air circulation all around it; it should be out of direct sunlight, the wind and the worst of the rain. The base should be bare earth so that worms can penetrate the compost. In order to work effectively and kill off weed seeds the compost heap should be moist but not too wet and have good air circulation. An old carpet spread over the top will keep out too much rain and ventilation can be improved by adding air holes or making the compost bin out of slatted wood.

You can add a compost activator such as chicken manure which will speed up the process, but leaving it to do its own thing is also fine, it just takes a bit longer. Having more than one compost heap or bin helps as you can be filling up a second while the first one gets on with the process of decomposing the waste.

What can you put on the compost heap?

Any soft vegetable matter from your garden is ideal. However, try to avoid virulent perennial weeds as the seeds are often difficult to decompose and you will only spread them to the rest of your garden. Also, try to avoid hard woody matter such as rose or tree prunings as these also don’t compost well.

Uncooked kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings and tea bags are also effective. Fresh coffee granules will act as an activator. Don’t try and compost meat products though as you will only attract rats. Small amounts of grass cuttings can be added, but be careful, too much and you will turn it into a slimy mush. Fresh bonfire ash or sawdust can also be added.

Dung from herbivores such as horses and chickens is also good. And believe it or not, human urine is brilliant for compost – yes, peeing on your compost heap can actually speed up the process!

Remember never to add any diseased material to your compost, you will only spread the disease later.

Looking after your compost heap

Stuff on the outside of a compost heap rots much slower than the material in the hot centre of, so it is very important to turn your compost heap regularly. Start turning your compost a few weeks after you have finished adding material to it. If you have a large space, it might also be worth transferring the whole heap to another location, mixing and turning it as you go.

Good compost when ready can be put to many uses in the garden. Use as a mulch in early spring to keep down weeds and help with water retention during warm weather. You can also use your compost to fill outdoor planters when you are ready to plant up your spring and summer arrangements. Whatever uses you find for it, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have created an organic growing medium all your own and done your bit for recycling in the process.

Garden Planters source unusual outdoor and indoor planters, and other garden related gifts – whatever your taste, be it traditional, modern or just a bit quirky, we will have something for you. Run by two qualified and creative gardeners, Garden Planters will also plant up your chosen planter with an arrangement of your choice. We believe garden planters are an integral part of any garden – they enhance the overall design and say a little something about the person to whom the garden belongs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jo_Poultney

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Achla CMP-05 Spinning Horizontal Composter

Gardeners have long understood the importance of composting. It provides a cheap way to convert kitchen scraps and garden waste into food for microorganisms. They, in turn, enrich the soil with healthy nutrients which function as fertilizer for plants. Made from recycled plastic. 7 cubic feet capacity. Minimizes landfill waste. Rodent proof. Features easy access sliding door. Mixing fins break up clumps.

Sale Price:$130.00 as of 11/19/2012

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Lifetime 60021 75-Gallon Compost Tumbler

Why spend money on expensive fertilizers when you can create your own composting and reduce landfill waste as well? With a Lifetime Composter you can easily reduce, reuse, and recycle kitchen and garden waste into a rich organic soil conditioner. Compost helps retain the moisture in your soil and adds rich nutrients for healthy plants. The Lifetime Composter is designed with black, double-walled panels to absorb and retain the heat that decomposes the material. An internal bar mixes the compost

Sale Price:$179.99 as of 11/19/2012

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Sterling’s EZ Composter Jr. helps you clean up your yard and save the planet. The composter comes fully assembled with a 1 year warranty. The 7-cubic foot capacity composter is crafted in the U.S.A. from 98% post industrial polyethylene. Recessed handles and a wheeled base make turning almost effortless. The low profile provides easy access and the black color heats compost for quick compost with low maintenance. The unit is child and pet safe, weighs 27-pounds (empty), and measures 30-inches lo

Sale Price:$119.00 as of 11/19/2012

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