Homemade Organic Fertilizer – Tips on How to Make It

Homemade organic fertilizer is healthier and cheaper. Here are a few tips and a recipe for making your own fertilizer and growing nutritious, delicious fruits and vegetables.

Best methods. For optimal results, treat your garden with a homemade fertilizer and compost. The two together make for excellent results and have been repeatedly successful.

Ingredients. The most important ingredients are bone meal, kelp meal, seed meal and various kinds of lime. It’s important when you’re making the fertilizer to measure by volume, not by weight. Meaning, by using measuring cups or a yogurt cup instead of using pounds. It doesn’t have to be exact measurements. The proportions can be over or under by 10 percent and still produce great results.

Recipe (mix uniformly with your hand or shovel,etc):
4 parts seed meal
1/2 part ordinary agricultural lime, best finely ground
1/2 part gypsum (or double the agricultural lime)
1/2 part dolomitic lime

For best results add:
1 part bone meal, rock phosphate or high-phosphate guano
1 part kelp meal (or 1 part basalt dust)

Cost. Buying your ingredients in bulk from farm or ranch stores, by mail order or online will often give you the most materials for your money. If you find a good source, like Yardiac.com
then go ahead and stock up once or twice a year. Garden shops, like Gardens Alive!generally sell ingredients in smaller, manageable quantities. If you can’t tell, I love those two websites…they have some of the best deals around.

Application. You can evenly spread 4 to 6 quarts of fertilizer per 100 square feet of raised garden bed (or for every 50 feet in a row, in a width of 12 to 18 inches) before planting each crop (or a minimum of once a year, spring being best). Work the fertilizer into the soil with a hoe or spade. For more demanding vegetables, such as tomatoes, sprinkle small quantities every few weeks around the plant after the original application.

If you think you will have extra, then premix in a plastic garbage can or plastic tote.

Happy Gardening!

Caring for Your Plantings While Conserving Water

Efficient Water Use on Outdoor Plantings.

The use of water has become more and more of an issue for many communities. All across the country we see rationing and restrictions. And why not? Water takes valuable resources to process and make potable. Have we become much too reliant on a cheap source of clean water? We water our lawns to keep them fresh and green. We use chemical fertilizers that increase the amount of water required and do it, with little regard to how, when and why we water our plants.

What can we do? Here are some tips to make the most of our water use.

Watering Lawns

1. Allow your lawn to experience natural cycles. Well established lawn grasses are tough and resilient. It is their nature to become dormant under drought conditions. Watering keeps them active and dependant upon an artificial source. In addition, if done incorrectly, it will encourage roots to grow nearer to the surface where they are unable to seek moisture effectively. If outdoor watering is limited to the extent that it is not possible to irrigate the lawn properly, it would be advisable not to water at all and to allow the lawn to go dormant.

2. Only seed your lawn in the fall. Seed and new grass require almost constant moisture. Often times spring is too short or dry to provide what is needed. In addition, weed germination is at a height in the spring and competition is fierce.

3. If you are inclined to water your lawn, water slow, long and deep. A sprinkler should spread water evenly and slowly. Run off is considered very detrimental to your water use as well as your soil.

Lawns require an inch of water weekly for best growth, either from rain or irrigation or both. Inexpensive rain gauges may be purchased, or a coffee can be used to measure the amount of water applied. It takes about 625 gallons of water to apply an inch to 1,000 square feet of lawn area. The soil should be saturated with water to a depth of 3 to 4 inches.

Use of a good organic fertilizer is recommended. Chemical fertilizers draw roots shallower and reduce valuable microbes that your grass needs for survival. This combination greatly increases thatch, an ideal condition for disease. You can get inexpensive organic fertilizers from Gardens Alive!

and your plants and your family will thank you.

Watering Trees, Shrubs and Flower Gardens During dry seasons, watering is necessary to maintain healthy plants. Water is more important for new planting than for established ones.

Established trees and shrubs do not require as much water as new plantings, but during extended dry spells some watering may be necessary. Some principles of watering are as follows:

· Watering with a hose and nozzle is not recommended. Merely syringing the plants and soil is of little value to the root system through which water is absorbed.

· An open hose placed at the base of a tree with the water flowing slowly will provide needed water to the root zone. If the water is allowed to trickle into the soil gradually, it will seep down and saturate the area around the roots. Since the composition of soils varies, the rate of absorption will vary, but the water pressure should be as high as possible without surface run-off.

· By saturating the soil around the plants, less frequent watering will be necessary. Each plant or bed should be saturated approximately once every two weeks or less depending on the weather.

New plantings will require more frequent watering than established plants. The same type of saturating should be exercised, but once a week may be necessary for new plants.

A ring of soil around newly planted trees and shrubs in the form of a saucer is recommended. This could be built from gravel or excess soil after planting. Fill the ring at each watering to allow gradual seepage into the soil. For the first month, water new plantings twice a week, then weekly for the rest of the season.

Mulching can help to reduce water loss. The use of mulch on new or established plantings is an excellent method of conserving water. Beds, which are exposed to the sun, and drying winds without cover will dry out rapidly. Trying to keep these areas moist by watering is not adequate, and a great deal of water is wasted.

Some of the more common materials used for mulching are peat moss, wood chips, straw, salt march hay, sawdust, pine needles, hay, leaf mold, compost, dried bark, leaves and many others. Much less water will be required to maintain vigorous plants with the use of a 2-inch mulch.

Overall Watering Program for Outdoor Plants.

In trying to conserve water and to realize greatest benefit from water used, it is wise to set up a regularly scheduled program.

· Do not try to water all planted areas at each watering.

· Section off your areas, and concentrate on these areas individually for maximum benefit.

· Saturate each area, and then allow to dry out before watering again.

· Plan to use mulch around all planted areas to reduce water loss.

· Do not allow plants to wilt before beginning a watering program.

· Remember—two hoses at low pressure without a nozzle is the best method of watering.

· Over watering can be more harmful to plants than under watering. Roots need air as well as water. Do not keep soil saturated with water continuously.

For fertilizers, irrigation systems and you name it…I found the best place to get these for the cheapest price is Gardens Alive!

. They have great products and they work!!

Organic weed killer for all gardens!

I found a great “organic” weed killing product…see the description below.

Herbicidal soap gets rid of weeds fast!

Signature Product Our tests have shown that Weed-Aside works much faster and more thoroughly than similar products. A blend of naturally occurring fatty acids, Weed-Aside kills weeds, then quickly decomposes in the soil. You can sow seed or set out transplants in treated areas five days after application. Weed-Aside:

  • affects only the leaves that it contacts directly, so you can use it around food crops, as well as around flowers and shrubs.
  • controls algae and lichens, broadleaf weeds and annual grassy weeds, wherever they grow.
  • won’t stain brick or paving.

For best results, spray when weeds are actively growing and less than 5″ tall. Works in a few hours to 2 days. (Because Weed-Aside is not a systemic herbicide, it won’t kill most perennial weeds; but multiple applications will suppress their growth.) Mix at a ratio of one part concentrate to five parts water.

I found this product at Gardens Alive! Click the link below for their special 50% off deal…awesome!!

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How to Choose the Right Organic Fertilizer

Going organic is the way to go to protect yourself, your environment, and make a wonderland out of your backyard. But choosing the right organic fertilizer can be a real headache, especially for those who have just decided to take up organic gardening as a hobby. After reading this article, you will help be able to decide on what type of organic fertilizer you might want to use for your plants, whether vegetables or flowers.

“There are many types of organic fertilizers available in the market, such as fish emulsions, seaweed extracts, corn meal, bone meal, kelp extract, etc. These may come in different forms, e.g. liquid, powder, granular or pelleted organic fertilizers. The liquid organic fertilizer is basically applied via foliar spray while the powder form can be applied like tea. These two forms have their own advantages and disadvantages and many plant growers debate over the merits of one or the other.

The third form of organic fertilizer is the granular or pelleted organic fertilizer. Late to come into the market (the pelleted organic fertilizer technology is quite new), the pelleted organic fertilizer is becoming more and more the superior organic fertilizer compared to the other two types. This is because pelleted organic fertilizers are cheaper compared to foliar liquid organic fertilizers or the powdered teabag forms. Pelleted organic fertilizers also have the slow-release capability. The slow-release property in pelleted organic fertilizers allows them to gradually release the nutrients into the soil, allowing the plants time to absorb and use them extensively throughout the growing season. In this regard, the pelleted organic fertilizer also helps prevent leaching (a common side-effect of liquid-based fertilizers) and soil erosion.

Because it is organic-based, pelleted organic fertilizers contain only a minor amount of chemicals (minor because no commercially produced pelleted organic fertilizer is one hundred percent natural). The pelleted organic fertilizer’s low chemical content makes it an ideal nutrient-source not only for plants but to the soil microorganisms as well. Pelleted organic fertilizers may come from different sources of organic materials. Most pelleted organic fertilizers in the market today are produced from by-products of the sea.

Fish emulsion pelleted organic fertilizers are highly valued for its rich trace element content. Pelleted organic fertilizers made from seaweed extract are also a popular favorite among plant growers because it is virtually a powerhouse source of trace elements and nitrogen. Another pelleted organic fertilizer that is based on sea-produce is the crab shell pelleted organic fertilizer. Rich in plant vitamins and minerals, this pelleted organic fertilizer is also valued as a potential pest-controller with its high chitin content.

Pelleted organic fertilizers may also be made from poultry litter, farm manure, and bat guano. Chicken farms have been using organic fertilizer plants to convert their farm wastes into pelleted organic fertilizers for plant use. Another pelleted organic fertilizer is the bat guano. Commonly comprised of 10 percent nitrogen and 2 percent phosphoric acid, the bat guano pelleted organic fertilizer is high-protein, slow-release, and soluble. There are various other sources of pelleted organic fertilizers. Samples of these pelleted organic fertilizers are bone meals, corn meals, magnesium and potash from grounded ancient bedrock, and several others.” Organic gardening magic can make your garden be all that it can be.

One of the best sources of organic fertilizers is Yardiac.com – The Ultimate Garden Center. If you want to dramatically increase the yield of your garden this year check out their all natural organic fertilizers. Don’t put that nasty chemical laden fertilizer on your garden even if you think you will save a penny or two. Stick with the organic fertilizers from Yardiac.com – The Ultimate Garden Center and your plants and your family will thank you.

You can go there now by clicking this link: Yardiac.com – The Ultimate Garden Center. Click organic gardening tab to get to the fertilizers.

“7 Great Tips for Huge Tomatoes & Healthy Plants”

I have got 7 great tips for growing the fattest tomatoes, but it takes a little work to coax your tomatoes into really packing on the pounds. First of all, you’ll need to provide your tomato plants with full sun, fluffy soil with plenty of organic matter, lots of space between plants, an inch of water per week, and support (stakes, fence or cages).

Second, wait to mulch until the ground warms up and the tomato plants begin to flower. Third, fertilize every two weeks with a diluted fish emulsion fertilizer, consisting of two tablespoons of fish emulsion to one gallon of water (but be careful not to provide too much nitrogen, or you’ll get a lot of foliage and few fruits).

Once the tomato plants begin to grow, the real training begins. Then, allow only one stem to develop, and pluck off suckers when the plants are very young. Suckers are the sprouts that form between branches and the main stem.

Next, remove all but two or three fruits from each plant. It’s best to eliminate developing fruits at the top of the vine and leave older fruits at the bottom.

After that, prune off tomatoes that develop farthest from the stem and leave one fruit per cluster. Finally, prevent branches from breaking by supporting the tomatoes with pantyhose or yarn when they start to get really big. You will now have a knock out tomato ready to break records.

As a bonus tip, click the link to get $20 off your $40 order…and buy TOMATOES ALIVE! PLUS 100% Organic Plant Food.  This is my secret to great tomatoes.

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Digging and Storing Bulbs

Bulbs provide a good investment for money spent and supply years of spring color in your yard. Fall is the prime time for planting of hardy spring flowering bulbs. Most bulbs can be planted until the ground is frozen. I however, have planted tons of them in the Spring and have always been successful. I have been able to keep a few of my bulbs in the ground year round, but some have to be brought in. Since it is almost time for spring bulb preservation, I am giving you information on digging up and storing your spring and summer bulbs.

Digging and Storing Spring Bulbs

Once the foliage dies back or matures in the late spring or early summer, the bulb is dormant. Summer is the dormant period for spring bulbs. As the foliage dies back, the roots that nourish the bulbs also die back. With fall rains, the bulb comes out of summer dormancy and roots begin to grow again to provide the bulb nutrients and moisture.

Once the spring bulbs enter dormancy, the time is right to dig the bulbs if needed. Some bulbs benefit from digging to divide the bulbs and spread them out over the bed.

If the choice is to dig bulbs, they should be stored in a well ventilated place and replanted in the fall. Every five years daffodils and crocus should be dug and replanted to prevent overcrowding. The first sign of overcrowding will be a decrease in the flower size, uneven bloom and uneven plant height. When this occurs, dig, spread bulbs out and replant immediately.

Digging and Storing Summer Bulbs

Most summer flowering bulbs should be dug and stored when the leaves on the plants turn yellow. Use a spading fork to lift the bulbs from the ground. Wash off any soil that clings to the bulbs, except for bulbs that are stored in pots or with the soil around them.

Leave the soil on achimenes, begonia, canna, caladium, dahlia and ismene bulbs. Store these bulbs in clumps on a slightly moistened layer of peat moss or sawdust in a cool place. Wash and separate them just before planting.

Spread the washed bulbs in a shaded place to dry. When dry, store them away from sunlight in a cool, dry basement, cellar, garage or shed at 60° to 65°F. Avoid tempertures below 50° or above 70°F unless different instructions are given for a particular bulbs.

Inspect your bulbs for signs of disease. Keep only large, healthy bulbs that are firm and free of spots. Discard undersized bulbs.

If you have only a few bulbs, you can keep them in paper bags hung by strings from the ceiling or wall. Store large numbers of bulbs on trays with screen bottoms. Separate your bulbs by species or variety before storing them.

Be sure that air can circulate around your stored bulbs. Never store bulbs more than two or three layers deep. Deep piles of bulbs generate heat and decay.

Most flowering bulbs are best stored over a long period at temperatures between 60°F and 68°F. Try to keep the humidity in the storage area as low as possible. Never store bulbs in an area where ethylene gas produced by fruit is present. Bulbs can be stored in a container with peat moss, sand, perlite or vermiculite. Another common storage method is to place the bulbs in a very loose knit sack and hang in a sheltered, cool area. Do not divide or separate bulbs before storing them.

For quality flower bulbs and perennial plants at rock bottom prices, go to BloomingBulb.com

Also, click on the link below to save before you buy!!

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Raised bed gardening has benefits!

Organic gardening magic says that after great research “some people think the extra work of raised bed gardening is not worth it, there are several advantages that you may wish to consider. First for those who don’t know what raised bed gardening is I will define it. In most basic terms it is when a planting area is setup and the soil is mounded a few inches above level ground. This can get more complex with rail road ties and other types of walls to build a higher structure. The important part is that the soil is above ground level and there is no still lying water.

Some of the advantages of raised bed gardens include:

  • The plants are easier to access and you don’t have to bend down as far to access them.
  • Since the plants are within reach, you can grow more than you can in normal rows.
  • The soil has better drainage, so there is less disease.
  • The soil warms up faster in the spring, and doesn’t cool as fast in the fall.
  • You don’t walk on the soil, so it doesn’t get compacted. Many people don’t realize that roots need air, and therefore compacted soil is very detrimental to plant growth.
  • Some feel that the garden is more beautiful as it has a specified geometry and form.
  • Studies have shown that a raised bed garden may be up to two times more productive per square foot compared to normal gardening techniques.

While you may make the raised bed garden to any shape there are some guidelines to follow. The garden can be any length that you want, but it shouldn’t be more than 4′ wide so you can reach it comfortably from either side. It can be as high as you want it, but keep in mind that the higher you go, the more support you will need to build. Even a 6″ raised bed will give you significant benefits. Raised bed gardens don’t need to be framed, but by not framing them you risk losing soil to erosion. You should fill your raised bed garden with fresh soil, compost, and well aged manure. A properly designed raised bed garden will be laid out so that you never have to walk on the dirt. The spacing will allow you to walk along the rows, thus never touching the soil.

If you choose to frame your garden with wood make sure not to use pressure treated lumber. This has been known to leach chemicals into the soil. While untreated wood will not last as long, it is a safer alternative. Another alternative is to use a recycled plastic/wood composite lumber. The downside to using this to frame a raised bed garden is the fact that it costs up to 40 percent more than standard lumber.

There are several ready made kits available that let you quickly and easily set up a raised bed garden. Many of these kits are made out of red cedar wood that is naturally resistant to rot and insects. Red cedar doesn’t have any harmful chemicals that may leach out into the soil.”

I myself use either 2×12’s or 2×6’s stacked, whichever is cheaper at the time. Plus, I buy 4×4’s for corner posts, which go in the ground about 6 inches for stability and it helps to keep my beds level. You could also use railroad ties and scrap sheets of tin from your pole barn. Use your imagination, the sky is the limit.