Organic Gardening the Natural No Dig Way


An Australian named Esther Deans first developed the idea of the No-Dig Gardens method. It was originally developed both as a labor saving idea and a backyard organicgardening method to rejuvenate badly depleted soil in a vegetable garden.

The process involves starting with layers of newspaper and by adding lucerne hay, straw and compost in succeeding layers; you can create a plant-growing medium without having to resort to heavy digging. No-Dig Gardens develop into rich growing nutrients, which will simplify weeding and encourage your much-desired plants to grow. The layers of the organic scraps compost together, and greatly encourage garden earthworms. This is an excellent idea for new homeowners that have acquired a “grassy forest” in their new backyard.

These organic gardening techniques are maintained by adding compost layers of newspapers, manure, organic scraps etc., and should not be dug up, as this will undo the natural good work. I have used this approach in creating my own no dig vegetablegarden, and it certainly does work.

The principle of no dig gardens has sound foundations. Over cultivating the soil, especially when very wet or very dry, will damage the structure of the soil, and lead to hard compacted soil. Such excessive cultivation can also discourage the garden earthworms habitat, and they are the best free labor a gardener will ever have.

Some followers of permaculture principals and organic gardening techniques have translated the no-dig gardens method into a never-dig method, which I believe that they are sadly mistaken. If you start with a base soil that is badly compacted, then no-dig gardens will initially work well, however you may find your garden does not continue to perform well in the long run. The fertile compost layer you have built up will encourage the earthworm’s reproduction, but we do know that the worms eventually will need shelter from excessive hot, dry, cold or wet conditions. They have been found to seek shelter from extreme conditions by burrowing more deeply into the soil, sometime many feet down. If they cannot shelter in this way, it is my contention that they will die out or move out.

My belief is that an initial cultivation (tilling) of the soil before you apply the no-dig gardens system will guarantee a better environment for an earthworm’s habitat, and then produce a much better home garden soil for growing your plants, over the longer term.

By all means give the no-dig approach a try – especially for you new homeowners – you will be surprisingly pleased with the result.




Successful Gardening!

Kali Winters is gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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Garden Wise Compost BinSears Compost Bin

 


 


Compost Instructions


Many people who maintain gardens have a large amount of compost yard waste, from grass clippings to leaves and dead plants. Unfortunately, many waste time, money and energy having these wastes transported to a landfill. It isn’t just a waste of good organic gardening compost; it’s a waste of everything that goes into the process of transporting it (the garbage man’s time, the money you pay for the removal, etc). It is truly a travesty.

All these organic scraps that people is trying to get rid of can become a better supplement for your garden than any fertilizer or chemical ever would. If you properly decompose garbage, it will alter chemically until it is in such a state that it becomes a nature safe fertilizer for other plants. Therefore you can turn all your organic scraps that you would have normally thrown away, into top grade organic garden fertilizer.

Normally a compost structure is maintained in a pile somewhere in your backyard. Usually the thought of compost yard waste brings disturbing images to ones mind; the thought of having garbage decompose in your backyard and emitting a horrible odor. However, if compost maintenance occurs regularly, you will be able to create a great organic garden fertilizer without producing an offensive odor. When I first began my compost bin plans in an effort to improve environmental health, I made several major errors. These included preventing the pile from getting the oxygen it truly needed. I also inadvertently left the compost structure too dry. I ended up with garbage decomposing in a very non-beneficial way, and producing an odor so foul that I had government agents knocking at my door.

When you are choosing the compost bin placement, that is where you will be putting all these organic scraps, you should aim for a higher square footage. Having really deep compost pile bins is not a good idea, because generally the deeper sections won’t be exposed to anything that is required for the process to work. It is better to spread it all out over a large area so compost heat will not accumulate. You will want to maintain a steady compost temperature to decompose garbage naturally. If you have a shed or a tool shack of some sort, it is a possibility to spread it over the roof (with boards to keep it from falling off, of course). I have seen this done several times, and it helps keep the pile out of the way while still maintaining a large square footage.

Home composting bins can consist of any organic scraps from your yard, garden or kitchen. This includes leaves, grass, any leftover produce that won’t be eaten, eggshells, coffee grinds or newspaper (no more than a fifth of your pile should consist of newspaper, due to it having a harder time decomposing with the rest of the materials). Usually if you have a composting barrel devoted to storing all of these compost items, it will fill up quickly, within a couple of weeks. It is easy creating a compost heap, but the hard part truly comes in getting good compost, i.e. an organic garden fertilizer.

After you have begun to acquire a large assortment of organic scraps in your compost pile bins, you should moisten the whole pile. This encourages the process of composting. Also chop every element of the pile into the smallest pieces possible. As the materials start to compress and meld together as they decompose, frequently head outside to perform the aerated composting technique. You can use a shovel to mix it all up, or a compost aeration tool to poke dozens of tiny holes into it. Doing this will increase the oxygen flow to every part of the pile, and oxygen is required for any decomposition to take place.

If organic gardening compost sounds like something that would interest you, start considering your different compost bin placement options. The hardest part about compost maintenance is choosing a spot that provides enough square footage without intruding upon the rest of your yard or garden. While usually you can prevent the horrible odors that most people associate with compost pile bins, it’s still not a pleasant thing to have to look at whenever you go for a walk in your garden.



This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about landscape, composting and garden design, Click Here to grab your copy today!

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Kali Winters

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Rotating Vegetable Crops


A lot of people are beginning to see the benefits of vegetable garden planting. It’s usually healthier because you get to decide whether or not to use commercial pesticides.

Since vegetable gardening planting is typically manageable in size because they’re not grown for profit, it’s easier for people to manage the plot without having to resort to using commercial pesticides. Vegetable garden planting also assures fresh produce because there’s no need to pick the vegetables and refrigerate them right away. Vegetables stay fresh as long as you don’t pick them from the garden, except in cases where they become overripe. Aside from health reasons, vegetable garden planting is also economical because the produce is not going to be as expensive as those that you buy from markets or groceries.

People who have been successful in vegetable garden planting usually know that you can’t keep growing only one type of vegetable in a garden. Rotating vegetable crops is advisable instead of planting only one kind of vegetable year in and out. Rotating vegetable crops will make sure that the micro nutrients in the soil will be preserved and that diseases will not build up in soil particulates.

Vegetable garden planting will take some careful planning on your part along with an understanding about companion vegetables; knowing which types of vegetables are compatible with each other.

The following are some examples of groups that can be considered “compatible” and are safe to be rotated together:

Alliums – onions, leeks, shallots, and the likes

Crucifers – such as radishes, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and the likes

Brassicas – brussel sprouts, mustards, cabbages, kale and the likes

Legumes – peas and beans

Cucurbits – cucumbers, squashes, melons, etc.

Solanaceae – peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and the likes

Mescluns – arugula, endive, radiccio, etc.

Rotating vegetable crops of the same family would also mean that (more often than not) they would be susceptible to the same kind of pests. This makes pest control a bit more manageable since you don’t have to adjust to different types of pests for the different families of vegetables.

Vegetables such as asparagus, rhubarbs, and other perennial vegetables must not be rotated. They should be planted separately because of the pests mentioned above.

The more hardy, semi-annual vegetables can be rotated yearly so that no family of vegetables is planted in the same bed for more than four years. If you do some planning before vegetable garden planting, a small plot would look similar to this: four beds for plants that can be rotated, and one bed for perennial, non-rotating plants.

It would also be ideal for people who have vegetable garden plans to spread out the kinds of vegetables they plant so that they don’t harvest too much of the same vegetable in one season. You wouldn’t want to be stuck with too many types of onions in one season, would you?

Throughout the growing season, try to plant varying types of short-season vegetables so that you’ll be assured of a variety of different types of vegetables throughout the season.

If you really plan to get the most out of your vegetable garden planting, it’s best if you do your research first. Check out which companion vegetables go together, check on rotating vegetable crops and whether you have enough space, check which plants you can actually rotate to prevent poisoning and depleting the nutrients of the soil, and spread out the type of vegetables you plant so you won’t have too much of the same thing for the whole planting season.

Kali Winters is gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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Organic Garden Tips


An organic garden is exactly the same as a regular garden except that there are no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides used. This can make certain aspects at times difficult, such as controlling disease, insects, and weeds. Backyard organic gardening also requires more attention to the soil and the many needs of individual plants.

An organic garden starts with the soil. Gardeners must add organic matter to the soil regularly in order to keep the soil productive. In fact, compost is essential to the healthiness and well being of plants grown organically. Organic gardening compost can be made from leaves, dead flowers, vegetable scraps, fruit rinds, grass clippings, manure, and many other nature composter elements. The ideal soil has a dark color, sweet smell, and is full of earthworms. Some soils may need more natural additives than regular compost can give, such as bonemeal, rock phosphates, or greensand. A simple soil test will tell you the pH balance and which nutrients you will need to add.

One thing that makes even serious organic gardeners reach for pesticides every now and again is the infestation of pests upon their plants. The best way to defend plants against these pests is to take preventative measures. For instance, make sure your plants stay healthy, not too wet or dry because insects usually attack unhealthy plants. If a plant remains healthy, they can often outgrow minor insect damage. Maintaining a variety of plant types is also a good idea. This will keep pests of a particular plant type from taking over the entire garden.

Perhaps the best way to defend against insects is to make your garden friendly to insect predators, such as ladybugs, birds, frogs, and lizards. You can do this by keeping a water source nearby or by growing plants that attract insects that feed on nectar. Other ideas are sticky traps, barriers, and plant collars. There are some household items that prevent against insects too, like insecticidal soaps, garlic, and hot pepper.

To avoid plant disease in backyard organic gardening, choose disease resistant plants and plant them in their prime conditions. Many diseases will spread because of constant moisture and bad air circulation, so the site of your garden and the way it is watered can help protect your plants against diseases.

Weeds can be an annoying and frustrating part of backyard organic gardening. Organic mulch can act as a weed barrier, but for even better protection put a layer of newspaper, construction paper, or cardboard under the mulch. Corn meal gluten will slow the growth of weeds if spread early in the season before planting, as does solarization. There’s also the old-fashioned art of hoeing and hand pulling that always works. Your best bet in weed prevention is persistence. Mulch well and pull and hoe what you can; after a few seasons you can beat the weeds for good.

Backyard organic gardening is an excellent way to assure that your plants will be free and clear of all pesticides and, if taken care of properly, will be as healthy as possible. Backyard organic gardening may take a little more time and care than regular gardening, but after gardeners get the hang of it and figure out all the quirks of their garden, it is definitely worth the extra time.

Kali Winters is a gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!



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Hydroponics Home Garden


Hydroponics was derived from the Greek word hydro, which means “water” and ponos, which means “labor or water-working”. Hydroponics gardening involves growing plants with their roots in other nutrient solutions and without soil.

A hydroponics garden is as simple as ordinary gardening. Both of them require sufficient light, water, temperature and humidity. But with indoor hydroponics gardening, no soil is used. Instead a soil substitute holds the roots while nutrients are carried by the water. Indoor hydroponic gardening is not that hard and plants respond well to this type of method for growing.

The type of soil medium used is one of the major considerations in hydroponics gardening since it sustains the plants. You have to make sure that this soil mediums nutrient solution maintains a pH level of 5 to 6 after dilution. In a hydroponics home garden, the plants should be watered at least three times a day, if not more. This is usually accomplished by using a pump and timer. You can do this manually, but it will get quite old after awhile.

In hydroponics indoor gardening, the most suitable temperature will be between 71 to 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this temperature may change depending on the different types of plant you are working on, e.g. tropical plants.

Place your plants somewhere they will receive ample amount of sunlight. Otherwise artificial light must be used. High pressure Sodium lights or bulbs are a suitable substitute for natural light.

Humidity is good. When the room’s temperature rises, the air will be able to hold the sufficient amount of moisture your plants will need.

A hydroponics system can be fully automated. Since it is water-based, the gardener has no soil to dig or weeds to pull. Also, the water can be re-used to prevent wastage.

With hydroponics, an excellent yield of quality plants can be easily achieved. Home hydroponics systems and DIY kits are readily available in most hardware stores.

If you would like to learn more about the specifics of indoor hydroponic gardening, my good friend Narelle just came out with an awesome book and audio tapes here!

Kali Winters is gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs-A Beginners Guide on Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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Successful Gardening!
Kali S Winters




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Going Organic for Plants


Organic garden control is a way of growing a fruit and vegetable garden through the use of products or materials only found in nature.

1. DIY Compost

You can easily make your own compost directly from kitchen and garden scraps. Though this may be a bit more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it certainly helps put garbage to good use and also saves on the environment. Organic gardening compost causes less harm to the environment. Poisons are often washed into our waterways, causing death to the native fish and polluting their habitat.

2. Sustainable Organic Farming

Organic farming methods help prevent the loss of topsoil through erosion. The Soil Conservation Service says that an estimated 30 – 32 billion tons of soil erodes from United States farmlands every year.

Additionally, Organic farming methods does not use chemicals that would have an adverse affect on your health. This is especially important when they grow organic vegetables. Chemical companies tell us that the chemicals we use are safe if used according to direction, but research shows that even tiny amounts of poisons absorbed through the skin can cause such things as cancer, especially in children.

On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the child’s life. With organic garden control, these incidents are lessened.

Remember, pesticides contain toxins that have only one purpose – to kill living things.

3. Organic Receipes

A person doesn’t have to buy costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides to grow organic vegetables. Many organic recipes for the control of garden pests and diseases come straight from the kitchen cupboard. Sometimes other plants can be grown as a plant companion to the main crop. An example of this is the marigold, which helps to repel aphids from vegetables.

Mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and 1 cup of cooking oil can make a cheap garden pest spray. Put 3 tablespoons of this mixture in 1 quart of water and spray on plants.

This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Herbs, Landscape and Garden design, Click Here to grab your copy today!

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Successful Gardening!
Kali Winters




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Organic Gardening Pest Control


Gardening pest control must be done with the utmost consideration to safety; safety in terms of the plants, animals and to humans as well. This holds especially true for those with organic gardens.

The main purpose people grow organic vegetables would be defeated if they became tainted with gardening pest control chemicals.

Here are a few long-term maintenance tips to make sure garden pests and diseases are less damaging and more environmentally friendly.

1. The physical gardening pest control process.

This may be accomplished through picking grubs off by hand, creating barriers and traps and plugging holes. Snails can be found hiding in damp places under rocks and towards the base of those plants with straplike foliage.

2. What is biological pest control?

Encourage predatory insects such as green lacewings and dragonflies to feed on aphids and other common garden pests that attack your plants. You can do this by placing a shallow bowl of water in the garden. Dragonflies especially will hover around water. Bacterial insecticides such as B. thuringiensis could also be used against caterpillars.

3. Only as a last resort should we turn to chemical pest control.

Organic gardening pest control methods can be successful and the ingredients for many of the organic receipes can be found in the kitchen cupboards. If chemical sprays are really necessary, try and find the least-toxic. These include insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, dehydrating dusts, etc.

4. Consider a safer organic gardening pest control substitute.

Organic receipes for non toxic pest control include the following:

Against Green Aphids and Mites – Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and a cup of vegetable oil. Dilute a teaspoon of this solution in a cup of water and spray on aphids and mites.

Against Cockroaches – Dusts of boric acid can be applied to cracks or entry points of these insects. Bay leaves on pantry shelves could also help in warding off these critters.

Make sure that the chemicals you use are made specifically for the insect garden pests you are targeting.

This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening. If you would like to learn more about Holistic Herbs, Landscape and Garden design, Click Here to grab your copy today!

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Successful Gardening!
Kali Winters




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