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Chosen as one of the Top 30 Organic Gardening Blogs – March 2018

Cont'd - Adding Organic Matter - 2nd Key to Soil Improvement

If you are just joining me I recommend you read the articles that preceded this article. Here are the links:

Soil Improvement – Your Foundation for Success;   Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement; Cont’d. Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvementfirst part of Adding Organic Matter – 2nd Key to Soil Improvement

Repeated Tilling and Hoeing -Their Effect on Organic Matter

One of the things that I’ll bet will come as a shocker to many is the fact that repeated tilling and hoeing destroy organic matter in the soil.  Tilling and hoeing are so common and so much a part of human culture worldwide that it’s almost sad to have to think of them as being something that is not particularly good for our soil.  The good news is —-the key word here is ‘repeated‘.

Tilling and hoeing expose soil organic matter to more oxygen and thus oxidation. Oxidation “burns” away the organic matter.

Your plants need —–read more—-

Adding Organic Matter - 2nd Key to Soil Improvement

If you are just joining me I recommend you read the articles that preceded this article. Here are the links:

Soil Improvement – Your Foundation for Success; Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement;   Cont’d. Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement

Part 3 –

Organic matter is anything in the soil that was living and has decayed.

This act of increasing organic matter in your soil by adding organic material will be of great significance and value to your garden.  It will have a profound effect on your garden’s success and the survival and well-being of your crops.

The study of soil has been extensive and the knowledge that organic matter is necessary to raise crops successfully is widely available. Yet, worldwide crop production has resulted in a decline in soil organic matter and thus, a decline in soil fertility.

The chemical companies great —–read more—-

Cont'd.- Soil Preparation - 1st Key to Soil Improvement

If you are just joining me please read Soil Improvement – Your Foundation to Success and the first part of this post, Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement.

Best Time to Prepare Your Soil

The best time is either spring or fall.  The main thing you want to try to avoid is hot, dry-as-a-bone ground and extremely hot temperatures. Try to work in soil that is neither too wet nor too dry.  It’s best to work when temperatures are pleasant — best for your body, best for your mental outlook, and best for your soil.

Never till wet soil because it will cause heavy clodding and the layer beneath will become further compacted.

Before You Begin

If you’ve done any —–read more—-

Soil Preparation - 1st Key to Soil Improvement

If you are just joining me, please read Part 1 – Soil Improvement – Your Foundation for Success.

Part 2

Fundamental Step

Preparing your soil is the first fundamental step when you start a garden. Without preparing your soil you are pretty much wasting a lot of time and energy. And you are making it harder, if not impossible, to be successful.

What Soil Preparation Does

Soil Preparation is your first step in creating the most productive garden possible. It helps improve —–read more—-

Residual Herbicides in Compost Part 2: On Grow Mix, Potting Mix, Compost, Manure, & Mulch

If you are just joining me and have not read the first part, please read through Part 1 to gain a more complete picture of what is being discussed.

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As I mentioned at the end of Part 1, my friend was ready to throw in the towel and not buy anymore potting soil and/or grow mix, compost or mulch.

And I must admit that in this day and age it is difficult to find products suitable for organic gardening, but they are out there.

Below are 3 points I think you will find helpful:

  • OMRI Listed – A Visible Indication of Product Suitability –   Organic Materials Review Institute is a non-profit organization that evaluates products for the organic industry. If the product you are looking at is marked “OMRI Listed” it has been reviewed and is consistent with the requirements of the National Organic Standard.

“OMRI Listed” is indeed a excellent indication of product suitability, but remember something very important when you are buying anything —–read more—-

Sedum - Time for New Starts

April 18

If you have gardened for any length of time you probably have some form (if not many) of Sedum, also known as stonecrop.

My border would not be complete without lots of it.  Its sun loving (although I have some growing in the shade as well) and drought-tolerant; actually enjoys poor soil and comes in hundreds of varieties in shapes and sizes from tiny to tall. As long as the soil drainage is good, it will make a beautiful presence in your perennial border.

Once you have it – with a few minutes of attention each spring — you should never be without it.

Sedums are among the easiest plants to start from cuttings.  Although you can start your cuttings in flats or pots and transplant where you want them,  I save lots of time by starting them —–read more—-

Mulching Your Fruits, Vegetables, and Perennials


April 10

Some folks have told me they don’t have an understanding of how to mulch certain vegetable beds.  They reason that the newly emerged vegetables will be mashed by the mulch.

Using crops that are currently planted in my garden (or will be soon) as examples below, I’ve been more specific about just —–read more—-

Slug Damage - Solution - Review

When I picked lettuce yesterday it was overcast with a slight misty rain and about 55 degrees.  Perfect day time conditions for slugs who are usually active at night.

This is one garden pest that if not controlled can make you want to give up —–read more—-

10 Reasons to Mulch

March 18

Its only when the ground is frozen solid or snow is on the ground that I can’t really do anything in the garden and yard — except maybe peek at the lettuce under the cold frame.  This past February was such a month, so I lost almost an entire month of enjoying my yard and garden.

Fortunately most Virginia winters are such that I can accomplish a lot outside and get a jump on things before green growth takes over.  For me anywhere from 40 to 60 degrees is perfect for working outside.

In January this year I cut the ornamental grasses (I usually wait until March), and cut back some leather leafs and variegated shrubs that we use as a hedge along the side of the property that had grown about 10 to 15 feet tall. The mocking birds and thrashers loved them and were becoming quite prolific.  Both are aggressive birds and —–read more—-

3 Things of Primary Importance When Starting A Garden

Insuring a Great Return of Investment on Your Effort.

My First Garden

We lived in apartments in the city for our first 14 years of marriage.  Bill and I had never raised flowers or vegetables but doing so was one of our dreams.  When we moved from the city to the country we could hardly wait to “dig up” some ground and plant vegetables.

My first year of gardening started out in an area that was one foot above sea level and seemed at times to be one foot below sea level. During rainy times water would lay in puddles and sometimes remained that way through June. Herons and mallards frequented the yard like it was a pond. Then the heat would come and bake the ground.

As you can imagine it was not very conducive to growing anything.  To make matters worse the soil was —–read more—-