-Sally Watkins- Compost is all the rage in the sustainability and permaculture communities, but what can compost do for you and your home garden, and how can you produce it on a small scale? In this blog post, we are going to discuss how to get your compost tumbler or pile to create rich, nutritious compost as efficiently as possible, and finish up with a great recipe for compost tea. If you have a yard with some space away from your house, the simplest way to compost is to create a basic … [Read more...] about Compost: Yes, You Can Make it Yourself (and compost tea too!)
-Patrick Metz- This past weekend we had the folks from Mountain Gate Organics over at the Charlottesville store talking worms, soil, and biology. In anticipation of the day, we had made a couple hundred gallons of compost tea and were giving it away to any interested gardeners. Even more exciting was a little display we had set up with a microscope connected to a computer screen. Underneath the microscope two drops of the tea (made from worm castings and molasses introduced into water and … [Read more...] about It’s Soil, Not Dirt… And It’s Alive!
-Gabrial House- With spring approaching, it’s time to start thinking about your garden, and the best way to help your plants fight off heat, high humidity, and the dry soil that’s sure to come. For me, the best route to take is treating my garden to a fresh batch of compost tea. As the name implies, compost tea is made by steeping compost in water, and using the resulting liquid gold on or around your plants. Most of us know the benefits that compost provides to our garden soil, but … [Read more...] about Compost Tea Made Easy
One thing you can count on as a gardener this time of the year is plant diseases. I know of no gardener who does not experience at least some form of plant disease every garden season. Plants, like humans are susceptible to adverse environmental conditions, airborne viruses, weak immune conditions, etc. The healthier the soil and plant, the less likely it will be infected, but 100% avoidance, in my experience, is not likely. Indoor growers have a better chance because they can control the … [Read more...] about Minimizing plant disease through healthy soil
The Radish. Salad enhancer. Natural garden tiller. Gardener confidence raiser. Black thumb growers rejoice! There is a plant for you. The intimidation growing factor for radishes are zero. Germination is quick. Maturity is in less than a month (sans Daikons that take two months). Fertilization is minimal. Frost tolerance is fairly high. It's a great plant to start with in spring. It grows with little help and creates hope in the gardener... before bugs, funguses, and … [Read more...] about Rooting for the Underground: Three Cheers for the Radish
We have ventured into uncharted territory--growing sweet red peppers under T-5 flourescent fixtures. Snake oil, you say? No way you crazy @@#$'s could grow fully developed sweet peppers under simple flourescents, you scream? The picture does not lie. The secret? 1) Good Seed Stock We obtained Big Red pepper seeds from Sow True Seed 2) Excellent Potting Soil We moved the healthy seedlings to two different types of soil--McEnroe … [Read more...] about From “How the “BLEEP” Did They Grow That?” Delicious Sweet Peppers Under the T-5’s
A new breed of chef is blossoming. Their major recipe components involves everything from worm excrement to brewed nettles to fungus swimming in molasses. Their kitchen gadgets include buckets, air stones, and even pantyhose. There are no walls, and their most demanding clientele include the finicky tomato and the gregarious squash. This culinary mastermind is known as the compost tea chef, and anyone who wants to pamper their plants can obtain this lofty status. Over the years, many recipes … [Read more...] about The New Tea Revolution: Not Just For Tooth Rot Anymore
The attraction to the tomato is irresistible. Hobbyists, professionals, and even the heartburn-laden can't resist this fruit disguised as a vegetable. The colors and tastes are fathomless--purples, yellows, stripes, acidic, mild, sugary, and even peppery are used to categorize tomatoes. The challenges in growing the perfect tomato are almost as numerous. Diseases, bugs, and gophers of ill repute flock to it like paparazzi in search of juicy weak spots. Perfection is never obtainable, but … [Read more...] about The Tomato: A Fruity Impersonator in the Vegetable Patch