Container Gardening – Easy Steps To Successful Container Gardening

Container Gardening – Easy Steps To Successful Container Gardening

One of the more popular forms of gardening as of late is called container gardening. Its popularity is based upon the fact that you can bring almost any type of vibrant arrangement into your garden, home, deck or patio, bringing life to your surroundings in a very neat and tidy way. By adding different types of flowers including perennials, garden variety plants, or herbs of your choice, container gardening will create an inspirational treat for your family and friends alike. Here are a few ways that you can successfully grow plants and create treasures throughout your home with this new gardening fad.


The main focus of container gardening at first is choosing the type of container that you would like to put your plants in. Depending upon your particular interest or taste, you may want to use a variety of different kinds of containers including metal, concrete, and even plastic. Very popular models are would or would tone materials that look organic in nature. Also very popular are containers made of stone which give a very earthy feel to any area of your home or even outside your home.


When choosing a gardening container, you must also think about price and weight. Most plastic containers are very affordable and can be found in hundreds of different colors to match any particular setting that you may have in mind. If you are going for a stone motif, if you have had a bad back before or back surgery, perhaps a better choice would be something lighter than stonework, perhaps plastic replicas of stones in a container format that will give the same look and feel as the real thing.


The other thing to consider is the weight of the dirt that you are going to be putting into the container. If you are an organic gardener, and you are using worm castings or some other form of compost that is rich, this will help lighten the load as this material is light and fluffy in the beginning. Although you can grow plants of almost any type in your worm compost, it is better to mix it with regular soil which will add density and weight to the container that you are placing it in.


If you are concerned about the quality of containers, you may think about the price you are paying for each one along with the style of each gardening container. Terracotta and concrete, depending upon where you buy them and who has made them, will probably last several years. Prices, due to the exponential popularity of this type of gardening, have gone down and you can also count on them not weighing as much as they did in years past with the added benefit of being weatherproof and possibly even more sturdy than before.


Going back to basics, what in gardening containers are still very popular. If this is your choice, it is a good idea to make sure that the wood itself is made and they rot resistant wood. Types of wood that are good for this are Cedar and Redwood because they are made of a higher density would then say your typical pine tree. Folk may be a poor choice due to the acidic levels in the wood itself. Either way, make sure that you can live with your decision based on price and appearance before you choose a wooden container that may not be there in just a few short months due to natural decomposition.


When choosing plants for your container, your best bet is to choose something that is colorful and matches the surroundings that you are placing it in. Some people, however, like their planters to stand out and will choose very bright colors for the planter as well as the flora that they plant within it. If you are using them inside, make sure that the plant you use are geared to live in warmer climates and likewise the ones outside should be designed to live in colder weather conditions. Also consider where you live and how long you would like your plants to grow. Replacing plants can be costly and therefore you should consider these options before making your purchase.


Overall, like most fads, container gardening may pass in just a few years. However, with the advancement of most people toward a more organic society that grows its and food and creates its own compost to ensure healthier and better food for themselves and their family, using containers may play a large role in this advancement and may go a long way into the future as a permanent mainstay in most people’s households that are organically oriented. Choose wisely, and make your home a better place by adding a gardening container that is just right for you.

Chris Dailey is the owner of Super Organic Gardening Secrets, a free online service that provides valuable information on organic gardening and container gardening. To download his 7 free organic gardening reports, go
to http://www.superorganicgardeningsecrets.com

Garden Composting – The Easy Way To Compost

Garden Composting – The Easy Way To Compost

Garden composting has been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. Due to the exponential increase in population and the demands that a industrial civilization require in order to sustain itself, the natural processes have been set aside in regard to fertilization of our soil in an attempt to ramp up the production machine and at the same time forget how we used to simply go outside and begin to plant our garden during the planting season.


With the rise of increasing amounts of pesticides and other chemical imbalances in our industrialized food, there is a quiet movement that is growing more loudly each day that is moving toward a more naturalistic society which involves remembering how we used to create the food that we ate everyday. Here are a few tips on how you can begin to create a very rich soil for your new garden through composting the easy way.


The first thing you should know about the purpose of compost is that it is used to enhance the very structure of the soil itself. For instance, a good garden soil does not have a hard, dry consistency to it but it is loose and capable of holding enough water for the plants as well as providing an adequate exit route for excess water and drainage. Good quality compost can even be added to the most clay filled soils and improve their soil structure enough to yield high producing quality crops. Moreover, garden composting will take your average garden and make it into an extremely fruitful and profitable garden if you choose to market your excess yields.


Another important aspect of the composting process is the release of necessary nutrients such as nitrogen to the soil and many who use compost produce excellent garden soil without the need of any kind of fertilizer at all. And while you are doing this, you realize that not only are you saving money by creating compost with recycled garden waste, but you are helping the environment at the same time by not utilizing our many landfills for the organic material that we are accustomed to throwing away.


Now let’s get into how we can use space in our garden to begin the composting process so that later we can begin to mix it in and easily move into the planting process.


Most organic materials will decompose. You should use in your compost pile things such as leaves, grass clippings, and any substance that is organically based such as straw or hay. From your kitchen, you should add things such as coffee grounds, egg shells, and that any organic material such as left over vegetables that were not eaten.


If you are a contractor, you can even add a little sawdust if you believe that your nitrogen to carbon ratio will be too high. Obviously, do not add residue from pets such as dogs in that they are very capable of passing disease into your compost pile. Also do not add things such as grease or any milk products as this will attract any nearby rodent populations which will again add diseases such as Haunta virus to what you are trying to create.


Once you are in a routine of adding these materials to your pile, you will have to wait several weeks for your ingredients to reach a certain temperature. It is during this stage that any remaining disease or organisms will be eliminated because the pile can reach temperatures of 160 .


Basically, this becomes kind of a balancing act between the ingredients that you have added and the results that you wish to achieve. For instance, if you have too much carbon-based material such as paper or well aged cow manure your in your pile, your compost pile will have trouble reaching optimal temperatures in order to eliminate the bacteria that you are trying to kill. Likewise, if you walk past your pile and smell the fresh scent of ammonia, more than likely you have too much nitrogen in the pile. However, in the end, given enough time, your compost will be created.


Once the compost pile is finished, you can then begin mixing this with your soil to enrich your garden area so that your crops produce bountifully and in record time. Other possibilities are that you could use a trashcan or a structure such as a box that you could make in order to hold your compost but if all you have is a tarp that you can place over the compost so that it does not dry out, you are in business in creating the best material on earth for a successful garden venture. Either way, following this very simple system for creating your own compost will take very little time or effort and will generate high yields for you and your organic gardening family.

Chris Dailey is the owner of Super Organic Gardening Secrets, a free online service that provides valuable information on organic gardening and garden composting. To download his 7 free organic gardening reports, go
to http://www.superorganicgardeningsecrets.com

Stop Weeds With Organic Compost

Stop Weeds With Organic Compost

One of the largest time consumers in the organic gardening arena is taking care of weeds. Most regular gardeners will go to the store and buy several containers of herbicides and pesticides and weedkiller in an attempt to thwart these evil intruders that will inevitably overtake your garden area and possibly kill off all of the plants that you are nurturing. If you decide to take the time every day to pull the weeds, depending upon the size of your garden area, this could take several hours a day. If you are a working person, this is probably not a good choice in that your time is limited but you do want your organic garden to grow and flourish. One of the easiest ways to combat weeds is with organic compost. Here are a few tips on how to use organic compost to help battle weeds that will pop up in your garden.


Every person has the ability to start their own mulch pile. Mulch is simply the result of your organic waste from your regular eating habits that you place into a pile with soil and other organic materials. Over time, this next year will begin to decompose as a natural process and will eventually lead to a dark brown material that you can place in your soil or on the topsoil as you are about to learn. Composting is the process that actually will create the organic compost that you will need. The mulch is actually the non-processed early configuration of your organic waste as it begins the decomposition process. Either one is fine to use as a way to cover your crop but you may decide on which is better for you based upon the amount of time that you have during the day.


If you are limited by time, one of the easiest ways to use organic compost to prevent weeds is to start a mulch pile several months before you are about to begin planting. Because it would be at the very least unsightly to throw your organic waste on top of your planted garden area, starting a mulch pile so that the composting process may begin, months later you will have, depending upon the size of your pile, enough mulch and compost to begin covering the topsoil in your garden.


There are various reasons that you would like to cover your crop. This could be due to weather or a need to retain water in your garden area, but for this particular purpose, you want to lay on a thick layer of compost on top of the soil on and around your plants in your garden area in order to stifle the growth of weeds.


Weeds are a very prolific plant which can grow in areas that most plants cannot. You might even see them growing out of the sides of walls or on the sides of buildings where it would not be logical for any kind of a plant to grow or have the ability to grow. Weeds, however, are not completely indestructible and do require the same basic needs that most plants require including sunlight, soil, air, and of course water.


By laying a very thick layer of compost on the topsoil of your garden, you will be eliminated in a very crucial element that is necessary for all weeds to grow and that is adequate sunlight. By removing their ability to quickly get to the sunlight, we needs will inevitably die because they cannot get above your thick organic compost layer.


In essence, not only will the mulch keep the weeds from the sunlight but at the same time we’ll provide protection for your crops as you grow them in the form of weather erosion protection and keeping the ground level at an even temperature so that the real crops can begin to grow. Likewise, essential nutrients in the ground that would be taken by the weeds will now be safe as the weeds again to die and only your organic plants begin to flourish.


Therefore, by taking the time to plan ahead and creating your own little system for taking your organic waste outside and placing it into a bin or a covered pile so that it can begin to decompose, you will create for yourself a natural and free layer of protection for your up and coming garden. You could also go to your local store and purchase humus or some kind of composting material in a bag which would also work in the same manner.


The bottom line is that either one will protect not only your plants that you are growing but also give you many more hours of free time that she would otherwise lose trying to protect your organic garden by stopping the inevitability of weed growth.

Chris Dailey is the owner of Composting For Profit and Super Organic Gardening Secrets. You can download more valuable info on organic compost weeds as well as the first 5 chapters of his ebook on composting for free. Visit Composting For Profit today!

Simple Organic Methods to Combat Pests in your Veggie Garden

Simple Organic Methods to Combat Pests in your Veggie Garden

Organic gardeners always prefer to use methods that have the least negative effect on the environment. By growing strong healthy plants we eliminate the threat of having large scale pest invasions. But when some pest populations do build up in our garden we should be asking “how can I encourage more predators?”, rather than “what should I do about all these pests?”

For every pest you have in excess there is at least one, and probably many predators that would happily relieve you of the excess. Sometimes is takes predator populations a little longer to build than it does the pest it feasts on, so give it a little time before pulling out the big guns – insecticides.

Remember that ‘organic’ does not mean less poisonous and that most sprays are indiscriminate. Bearing that in mind, here are some organic ways to deal with a few persistant bug problems.

Bug Juice – A very effective insecticide. Collect an assortment of pests – grasshoppers are excellent – from wherever you are having pest problems in your garden. Liquefy them in a blender with the addition of about a third of the volume of bugs. Strain and dilute to about 5ml of bug juice per 1litre of water. Spray on affected plants.

Snails and Slugs. Fortunately there are a few easy ways to deal with these ravenous creatures as they can devour your tender seedlings overnight. Ducks are great snail and slug hunters and will delight wandering around the garden in search and destroy mode. The only minor damage you can expect is from their heavy feed, but they’ll generally not eat your greens as chooks would. Of course you can collect the snails and slugs and throw them to your chooks if you keep them – they’ll be delighted! The best time for collection is dawn and dusk when it is moist. You can also make this job easier by having cardboard or similar on the ground where they will gather.

If you don’t have chooks or ducks another method is similar to the bug juice above. You need to gather some snails and/or slugs into a container with some sugar and water. Allow it to ferment for a few days then place in the blender. You can dilute it with water if you don’t have much ‘juice’ and sprinkle it around problem areas.

Another method is to make a coffee spray. This works by spraying it thoroughly on and around the seedlings you want to protect. When the snails or slugs cross areas that have been sprayed they absorb the caffeine and die. Dilute one part strong espresso coffee to 10 parts hot water. When it’s cool, pour into a spray bottle and spray on plants that you want to protect and the immediate area around them.

Then there’s the time honoured traditional snail catcher – yes, the beer in the jar trap. Partly fill a jar with beer (stale of course, you don’t want to waste the good stuff) and lay it on its side where they are most active. They are attracted to the beer, get drunk and die. What a way to go! An alternative to this is vegemite dissolved in water. They are attracted to the yeast.

Mealy bugs look like white, fluffy slaters. They are sap-sucking insects that cause leaves to wilt and go yellow. You may find them feasting away on your fruiting plants and ornamentals such as palms, ferns, orchids and succulents.

They prefer the sheltered conditions of a glass house or indoors. Mealy bugs exude a sweet, sticky substance called honeydew which can lead to sooty mould fungus and ants (ants feed on the honeydew).

The best way to deal with them is to prune off the most damaged parts of the plant and then kill any remaining bugs by dabbing them with a cottonwool ball dipped in methylated spirits. This will dissolve their waxy protective coating, they will dehydrate and die.

Scale are sucking insects that feed on plant sap. They form in thick clusters on the leaves and soft growth of many garden plants. They also produce honeydew as a waste by-product of their feeding. Heavy infestations can cause stunted growth and wilting.

If you only have a small infestation you can scrape them off your plant with your fingernail or a toothbrush. Larger numbers can be sprayed with a solution of homemade oil spray. You can also use the oil spray to eliminate citrus leaf-miner and red spider mite. When you coat them thoroughly, the pests are suffocated by the oil.

Home-made oil spray.

1. Add 500ml of vegetable oil to 250ml of pure liquid soap to a bowl.

2. Mix together in a blender and then store in a jar.

3. Dilute 1tablespoon in 1litre of water. Spray, making sure you get under all the leaves.

Have kitchen utensils and a blender that are dedicated specifically for the purpose of spray preparation.

Use all sprays with extreme caution and do not eat from any plant that has been sprayed for at least two weeks.

Julie is an avid organic gardener and recycler, living on a small country property in South Australia. Her mission is to encourage as many people as possible to garden organically. Please visit her website for great organic gardening tips & info or Companion Planting Guide

www.1stoporganicgardening.com

Improving Garden Soil

Improving Garden Soil

Perfect soil

What is the function of soil in our yards and gardens? Simply put, soil provides plants with mineral nutrients, water and anchorage. The basic types of soil are clay, sand, and silt. The percentage of each determines whether you have sandy clay loam, silt, loam, etc.  There are so many variables that affect soil that your yard may have a different soil type than the one across the street.

Some soil properties that are influenced by the texture of soil include aeration, drainage, water holding capacity and temperature. For example, sandy soil has excellent aeration, warms quickly in spring and has a low water-holding capacity. The exact opposite is true for clay. It has poor aeration, warms slowly, and has high water-holding capacity.

Here are the four major components of soil:

The solid portion, or rocks and minerals Decaying organic matter, microorganisms, living or dead plants and other organic matter Liquid Soil air

 

Amounts of each of these components determine whether or not plants will grow and thrive in the soil. Ideal or perfect soil consists of 25% air, 25% water, 40% mineral matter and 10% organic matter. As you already know, this never happens!

However, what we do to improve our soil will affect our plants.

You can re-mineralize your soil by adding Minerals Plus or Texas Greensand. You can increase organic matter by adding a good organic compost. This also increases earthworm activity and beneficial bacterial growth.  Spray-N-Grow increases microbial activity that helps keep air and water moving in the soil. To find out more about your soil, use the Sunleaves Three Way Meter.  It allows you to test your soil for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and will give you immediate results.

Naturally, some soil needs more work than others, but with a little work and some good organic garden products, you can pretend that your soil is perfect! All of the gardening products listed in this article can be purchased from Spray-N-Grow.  

I am a gardener who enjoys growing vegetables, herbs and flowers. I believe in using organic methods and products when gardening.

Prepare Compost for Organic Gardening

Prepare Compost for Organic Gardening

By organic planting, we understand growing fruits and spices without the use of any chemical aid. It is best if you desire to rescue the earth and eat nutritious at the same time. An untreated plantation is triumphant on the foundation of the methods used for the dynamic progress of fruits without using artificial farming germicides.

An vital angle of this dynamic development is the earth. The earth in your farm transforms to be moist, fruitful and ventilated when fortified with organic matter. These are found in manure that also supports the growth of effective earthworms and plant-friendly bacteria useful for prohibiting insects.

We will now advance to understand how you can prepare compost and use it for developing a fruitful orchard in an chemical-free method.

?X If you wish to prepare compost without attending extensively into it, simply arrange a level of vegetation, lawn shrub clipping and kitchen waste. Next you rest it alone till it is entirely done. environment has its individual helpers for reusing that will transform this waste into black and rich compost. This compost creation will need a some extra while if left uncared for.

To begin with, pile away farm refuse substances in a faraway orchard area. The efficient mixture for this would be same amounts of garden substances including of muck and fresh leaves and soil-like material consisting of lifeless shrubs and chopped twigs. You can as well try storing these substances in a wire net drum. If this container has additional opening at the base, it will be easy to take out handful complete fertilizer as it is all set and allow the remaining of it to rot fully.

?X You can add in compost starter or little good earth from the farm to a recent compost stack. This will encourage the rotting of macrobiotic matter hastily.

These compost developers are effortlessly bought from farm stores or even from direct-to-home farm lists and consist of micro-organisms that help the route of rotting. Few producers also include nourishment providers, hormones and proteins to the starter to aid decaying as fast as doable. If you are using wood shillings, wood powder or brownish foliage in the compost, you can choose for tailor made blends for them.

Organic earth may not include latest technical advancement as the compost starter, still it consists of natural decaying agents that help create compost similarly finely.

Besides than this, you can anytime employ ventilated PVC ducts to freshen the pile of compost. This way the external warmth contacts in the pile and helps a lot in destroying bad bacteria, prohibiting bugs and wild flower seeds as well. Another method for allowing more room is stacking a compost mound by placing it above a surface of few twigs and then inserting a airy tube in the center. You can then add worn out shrubbery, cut pasture waste and remaining of the farm waste near it.

Trees demand air, irrigation, light and fruitful earth to bear fruit. Organic farming calls for making sure that we supply all these things in necessary amount to the shrubs for a beneficial progress.

Owner of MishoBonsai, he has been practicing bonsai for over 10 years. Found a distinct interest in propagation, especially bonsai tree care. Mishobonsai sells tree seeds and provide bonsai tree information for beginner to advanced bonsai enthusiast. Mishobonsai sells bonsai seeds from tropical, deciduous and evergreen species. Many bonsai care species growing guides.

Ways to Get your Kids Into Organic Gardening

Ways to Get your Kids Into Organic Gardening

Give them their own ‘patch’. This is a great way for kids to learn to be responsible for something. It’s best if their patch is small, at least in the beginning. If they love it and want to do more, you can always make it bigger.

You want to encourage them by getting results as quickly as possible. When I was a little tacker it seemed like time almost stood still especially when I was waiting for something. Start with seedlings of lettuce, cherry tomatoes or snow peas foods that they love and are quick to give results. Potatoes are always a winner. Digging them up is like digging for buried treasure!

Take your little one(s) with you to select seeds that they can grow in their plot. They’ll probably choose plants with bright colours and interesting textures, which will add interest to your dinner table. You’ll find they are really keen to eat what they’ve grown, so you’ll have them trying new things. This also gives them a valuable sense of contribution to the family and pride in themselves.

Most little people love flowers too as they are such visual creatures, so you can introduce them to companion planting. Teach them to grow good plant combinations and how this keeps insect populations in check. Try borage and strawberries, or tomatoes and parsley or basil. By the way, spending some time together watching bugs is a great way to learn about nature and how everything is interconnected.

Let the child be in charge of their patch. You can guide them with suggestions and tips, but let the final decision be theirs. Encourage them to mark when and where they plant seeds so they’re not working in a spot they’ve already planted seed in. This will let them know when to expect the shoots to poke through very exciting! Remind them to water and weed. Let them to do the bulk of the ‘work’, so the results are truly their own. Allow it to be a place of discovery, not mistakes. Encourage them to clean up after they’ve finished in their plot for the day. Establishing good habits now will have far reaching benefits in their life.

Building small structures like a trellis or bean teepee adds interest and dimension. You and your child can use bamboo or wire to make a small, simple structure for plants to scramble up. Climbing plants look great on a structure and can really shoot up very quickly. Try climbing beans, peas or cucumbers.

Enjoy your time together in the garden. Make sure your child’s plot is near where you spend most of your time in the garden. You can be working your veggie garden while they are in theirs. You can share moments of excitement and discovery, like when seeds first break through the surface, or when you notice the first cucumber on the vine, or a gorgeous flower just emerging. Your garden is a place of constant wonder that you can share with your little ones. So have fun and enjoy!

Hi, I am an avid organic gardener and am known by my friends as the recycling queen. I live on a small country property in South Australia. It is my mission to encourage as many people as possible to start organic gardening. This will improve both our individual lives and the wellbeing of our personal and global environments.

Please visit my website for more great organic gardening tips & info, plus a free composting guide. For Companion Planting info click here.

Happy gardening, healthy living…

Julie Williams
www.1stoporganicgardening.com

How to Manage Your Compost in Organic Garden

How to Manage Your Compost in Organic Garden

Composting can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. The best part about creating compost is that it can consist of any organic material and we all have access to plenty of that every single day because it is produced by the lawn, garden, and kitchen.  Compost is what happens when leaves, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit scraps, woodchips, straw, and small twigs are combined, then allowed to break down into a soil-like texture. Compost introduces and feeds diverse life in the soil, including bacteria, insects, worms, and more which support vigorous plant growth.

Compost is multi-faceted but not intended as a fertilizer. It offers only a relatively low proportion of nutrients, yet what it does is close to magical. In its finished form as mulch, it reduces evaporation, reduces or prevents weed growth, and insulates the soil from extreme temperature changes. Mulch also keeps the upper inches of the soil cooler in daytime, warmer at night.

Yet compost has humble beginnings. Common, easily accessible materials destined to decay together in a pile will give your soil the gift of minerals and other components it needs. The materials are indeed numerous. 

Regardless of the particular ingredients, making compost is akin to making bread or beer; soil-digesting bacteria like yeasts need warmth, moisture, air and something to feed on to keep them alive and growing. Almost all of the practical problems associated with making compost stem from too much or too little of those basic factors.

Compost is created from layers of grass clippings, leaves, weeds, kitchen scraps and, if available, farm animal manure. If you have meat eaters in your home, don’t use their meat scraps, which will attract rodents. Also, do not use litter from your dog or cat; it doesn’t break down properly and contains too many pathogens.

Over the years, composting has gotten a reputation for being a time-consuming job, but this is not necessarily the case. You don’t need to build a big box or turn the pile every so often. A barrel, a hole in the ground or a pile on top of the ground is satisfactory.

The important requirement is to be sure the waste material is covered with soil, so it doesn’t attract rats, other rodents or flies. You can build your layers directly on the ground, without any frame at all; if you use a container, be sure it is well ventilated.

The trick to successful compost is balancing ingredients high in nitrogen–fresh grass clippings, other fresh, green plant matter, most kitchen scraps–with those high in carbon–leaves, straw, dried grass, washed eggshells, wheat germ or other milled grains that have become too rancid or old to use, and any dried, brown plant matter. Too much nitrogenous matter yields an anaerobic, smelly pile. Too much carbonaceous matter results in a pile that never heats up. The ideal ratio is one part nitrogen to three parts carbon.

Start with a layer of brush–small twigs, no large branches–a couple of inches deep; this will help your pile to breathe. Then, keeping in mind the 1 to 3 ratio of nitrogen to carbon, add a layer of mixed plant material. You may enrich the pile with horse or cow manure. These materials don’t break down; they simply add nutrients to the final product.

Then lightly water the pile so it’s evenly moist. Too much water will interfere with aeration; too little water and the pile won’t ferment. If your pile sits in the open, you should pull a tarp over it before a storm, and then remove the tarp after the rain stops so the pile can breathe. An 8-inch layer of straw mulch spread over the top of the pile serves the same purpose.

Alternate layers until the pile is 5 feet high by 5 feet wide by whatever length you choose. A properly made pile that is loosely packed and well aerated will reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees within a few days. It should smell like wet hay. If the pile fails to heat up, pull it apart and redo it by adding layers of fresh green matter. If the pile becomes anaerobic (is too wet to aerate), pull it apart, let it dry out, use it as mulch and start a new pile.

After three weeks, the pile will have shrunk in size; this is normal. Dig into the pile with a spading fork and completely turn it over until the contents are redistributed; the idea is to put unfermented particles in contact with those that are further along. Let the pile rest, so the temperature will rise again. Turn it a second time five weeks later, let it rest a few weeks and, with luck, you’ll have a rich, crumbly pile of “black gold.”

Also, air is vital to any composting process. Without air (anaerobic) composting is possible but unpleasant with the putrescent of rotting material assaulting your nose. It is usually because there is too much nitrogen and too little air in the mixture. If you have an abundance of trees on your property, autumn leaves can be plentiful and messy, but they are there for your use and can be easily gathered and stored in leaf bags.

Timing is crucial. Your pile is fully composted when it fails to heat up after being turned. Then it is ready to use. And use it with a good feeling, for it is your garden’s natural fuel. Remember your objective, the foundation of every successful garden, is to achieve healthy soil.

Compost supplies the soil with a rich, friable source of humus and helps retain moisture in the garden, in addition to supplying valuable nutrients. By placing grass clippings, fallen leaves and unused plant parts in a compost pile, you are preparing them, through decomposition, to be put back to work for you.

Composting actually recycles garden waste and returns the nutrients that have been taken from the soil. By using organic composting agents, it is possible to speed-up the process of decomposition.

Now that you’ve gotten that garden in, how do you take care of it?

To read about health benefits of coconut and dried coconut, visit the Coconut Facts site.

Different Kinds of Animals and Bugs in Organic Garden

Different Kinds of Animals and Bugs in Organic Garden

Birds, ladybugs and praying mantises are the gardener’s best friends when it comes to insect control. Birds can be encouraged into the garden by feeding, hanging a birdhouse providing a bird bath or by planting plants that provide berries for them to eat. Ladybugs are now for sale by the pint, quart or gallon. The average-sized garden can get by on a quart or less, as there will be about 25 to 30 thousand bugs per quart. The cost is generally less than five dollars a quart. The average adult ladybug consumes between 40 and 50 aphids a day.

Praying mantis cases are also available and each one hatches up to 400 young. The cost is rather nominal for a case. A few gardeners have reported that this insect disappears rather rapidly from the garden, so you might want to experiment with just a few to begin with. They will eat any insect they can catch. Frogs and lizards can also control pests by eating them. You can make your garden hospitable for your natural allies by keeping a water source – just a dish full – nearby for them and by not wiping out the entire pest population with a pesticide, sending the beneficial elsewhere in search of food. Also, grow plants with small blossoms like sweet alyssum and dill, which attract predatory insects who feed on flowers’ nectar between attacks on pests. Organic pest control is a comprehensive approach instead of a chemical approach. Create a healthy biodiversity so that the insects and microbes will control themselves. Using natural products and building healthy soil is the best long-term treatment for pests. What are the pests you should be looking for?

There are literally hundreds of common garden pests that can attack your plants and threaten the viability of your gardening efforts. We couldn’t possibly address all of them. There are, however, some that occur in more frequency than others. Aphids are probably the most common problem in gardens. Aphids are soft, pear-shaped, and very tiny (1/16 to 3/8 inch long). Two short tubes project backward from the tip of their abdomen.

Aphids have long antennae. Some types of aphids have wings, which are transparent, longer than their body, and held like a roof over their back. Aphids may be green, pink, yellowish, black, or powdery gray. Nymphs resemble adults but are smaller and wingless.  They feed in colonies, so where there’s one, there’s definitely more. Aphid feeding can cause leaves to curl and become deformed. Once this has happened, the aphids are protected from any treatment you give to the plant, so it’s important to attack the problem as soon as possible.  Many species prefer the underside of leaves, so look there first. Ants are usually present where aphids are, so if there are ants in the garden, there are probably aphids as well. Aphids are the ant’s food source, so they will protect that food warding off predators that might threaten them.  To naturally control aphids, first be sure to drench plants with strong sprays of water from a garden hose. Keep your plants as healthy as possible, and spray dormant oil to control over wintering eggs. You can also spray plants with insecticidal soap, summer oil, and homemade garlic sprays. At the end of the book, we’ll have some recipes like this for you to make yourself.

If you will be growing cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower, you could have cabbage loopers. These pests are light green in color with white stripes running down their back. The larvae can reach approximately 11/2 inches long and have three pairs of slender legs near the head and three pairs of larger legs at the rear end. The middle section is legless and is looped when the insect is moving.  The larva is the damaging stage of the cabbage looper. The young larvae feed between the veins on the undersides of leaves. Large larvae make ragged holes in the foliage and move to the center of the plant where feeding generally occurs at the base of the cabbage head. Large loopers can also burrow through three to six layers of tightly wrapped head leaves.  The best way to control cabbage loopers is to handpick the larvae a few times a week. Attract predatory and parasitic insects to the garden with pollen and nectar plants.

If you find small holes in the leaves of your plants, you may have earwigs. Earwigs are generally dark brown, slender and elongated. They have a pair of “pincers” at the rear of their body and they run more than fly. They have a curved up abdomen and release foul odor when disturbed.   In general, earwigs can be beneficial to your garden, but they can get out of control, so you should use the general spray we’ll give you later in the book. There are a number of ways to control earwigs, but trapping them is probably the best way to eliminate them from your garden.  One way we like is to take a shallow dish and place beer in it. Any beer will do. The earwigs will be attracted to the beer, climb in, drink, and die. You can sift out the dead ones and reuse the beer for trapping again. They are also attracted to corn oil, fish oil, or water and vinegar. You can place these in dishes just like the beer. If the leaves of your plants are finely speckled with yellow spots or a silvery, metallic sheen, you could have thrips. Thrips are very small – about 1/16″ – and difficult to see. There are many varieties of thrips and they are of all different colors. Thrips are best controlled with sprays as we’ve described. You can also spray the plants with soapy water. Lady bugs will eat thrips as well, so attract those lady bugs to your garden!

Tomato hornworms are the largest caterpillars found in this area and can measure up to 4 inches in length. The prominent “horn” on the rear of both gives them their name. Hornworms are often difficult to see because of their protective coloring which is green. Not much for the heat of direct sunlight, they tend to feed on the interior of the plant during the day and are more easily spotted when they move to the outside of the plant at dawn and dusk  Hornworm damage usually begins to occur in midsummer and continues throughout the remainder of the growing season. The size of these garden pests allows them to quickly defoliate tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Occasionally, they may also feed on green fruit. Gardeners are likely to spot the large areas of damage at the top of a plant before they see the culprit.  The best way to control hornworms is to handpick them off your plants. They are especially susceptible to the Bt bacterial spray we described above, so we strongly suggest using this to control your hornworms. Slugs are among the most troublesome pests in the garden. They feed on a variety of living plants and decaying plant matter. On plants they chew irregular holes with smooth edges in leaves and can clip succulent plant parts. They can also chew fruit and young plant bark. 

Because they prefer succulent foliage, they are primarily pests of seedlings, herbaceous plants, and ripening fruit such as strawberries, artichokes, and tomatoes that are close to the ground. However, they will also feed on fruit of some trees, citrus is especially susceptible to damage.  Slugs are nocturnal and come out at night. They slither under rocks and leaves in the day. Holes chomped into leaves and fruits are telltale signs of slug feeding. A more certain sign of slug activity is the silvery trail of dried mucous that these pests leave in their wake. If that’s not sufficiently convincing, go out into the garden at night with a flashlight and surprise them.

Slug control is actually quite easy. They are rather large, so they can be caught by hand and disposed of. This is another garden pest that be caught by setting out a dish of beer. 

While possibly cruel, the most effective way to kill a slug is to sprinkle it with salt. You can trap the slugs by placing a plastic bag in the garden containing two decaying lettuce leaves, 2 cups of bran cereal, and pouring beer over the whole mess. Put the bag out before sundown. In the morning, check to see if the slugs are in there and
dispose of them.

Prevent slug infestation by removing dead and decaying leaves. This will remove their primary food source. Coffee grounds and egg shells will also keep slugs away. Just place them around the plants you want to protect at ground level.

To learn about coconut oil benefits and health benefits of coconut, visit the Coconut Facts website.

THE SECRETS OF ORGANIC GARDENING, GO BACK TO YOUR ROOTS!!

THE SECRETS OF ORGANIC GARDENING, GO BACK TO YOUR ROOTS!!

Are you like me and are fascinated with the miracle of our natural world i.e, the beauty and majesty of our trees, the myriad  colours of the leaves in autumn, the shade they provide in summer, as well as create micro climates around our homes.
There is a resurgence and a revival in growing trees for:

 -  Locking up or sequesting carbon into the soil

 - As trees are the lungs of the earth, they mop up carbon dioxide, while   oxygenating  the air we breathe

 - Sheltering birds and other animals

 - Providing leaf litter in creating organic humus and top soil

 - Reducing soil erosion, and preventing salinity

 - Flowers that supply bees with nectar and pollen. These trees also act as windbreaks, and provide structure and framework to our parks and gardens.

 For those people who can remember their grandparents’ gardens in the country, the aromas of strawberries and other berries, picking tomatoes and digging potatoes are evocative.You may be musing about the limited space around your home, time constraints owing to work and family committments, when you have some spare time you’re down at the gym or playing sport with your kids. Yes, all these things have to be factored in, but did you know that even light, or menial gardening is a great work out, not only does it increase your heart rate, you’re out in the fresh air, there’s stretching and strengthening activities all the whilst being creative, and remembering to only garden as hard as you are able.

I have always grown salad vegetables, herbs, carrots, beetroot, asian greens, shallots and tomatoes interplanted amongst other flowers and ornamental shrubs and perennials. Even when space is limited, pots, large tubs, polystyrene boxes are sufficient to cultivate vegetables or herbs that are easy to grow. Gardening clubs’ memberships have escalated over recent years as more and more people are eager to learn, share,swap and trade tips for growing their favourite fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants.

 Gardeners are returning to the ORGANIC ways of cultivating produce the way it used to be grown, before chemical fertilizers and sprays, and over tilling, leading to leaching of natural minerals and nutrients from the soil.There is understandable circumspection surrounding Genetically Modified food plants, there are still too many unknown, long term side effects of G.M produce, and a ground swell of allergic reactions to a whole host of herbicides, and environmental pollutants. While the tabloids continue the ‘gloom and doom’ regarding the push for carbon reductions, green house gas emissions, and the effects of global warming, there are many ways we as individuals can help.

By starting at the ground level, improving the soil with organic materials as I indicated ealier in this article, leaf litter composted with other vegetable scraps,fruit skins, shredded paper, egg shells, tea/ coffee fines, grass clippings (without seeds) and other  garden waste. Ensure that that the organic materials are cut into small pieces, and cardboard and paper shredded thinly, placed into a compost bin or heap with some garden lime or dolomite, garden soil or bagged soil bought from a garden store. Turn with a garden fork or rotate the bin regularily to oxygenate the composting materials, so as to avoid the odour of methane gas. I use a plastic tube higher than the compost level and drilled large holes along the pipe, and keep it down the middle of the compost bin as a means of drawing oxygen to the soil.      

Now you can start the process of building a healthy organic compost as medium for growing the most flavoursome vegetables, or anything your heart desires, whilst helping the environment…

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://tinyurl.com/lxrbwv A passionate gardener, I am also a gardening columnist for several community editorials, and periodicals in my city. I am excited to share organic gardening practices, as it is producing long term benefits for us…

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