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Is Finished Compost the Only Thing You Need for Your Soil and Plants?

If you’re an organic gardener, even a beginner, I can almost bet you’ve heard of and/or read about compost.

Have the articles that you’ve read given their definition of compost? You can’t assume that their definition of compost is the same as the one you have in your mind.

It’s important to have the same meaning or description of compost as the writer. Otherwise, […]

Organic Food - What Are Our Options?

7 options plus a way to find a direct source –

For me, the ideal situation is to raise as much of my own food as I can.  But even for those of us who can, it is not always practical or possible to raise everything you need. The good news is there are still other options and an easy way to find where […]

Organic Gardening Magazine, Universal Principles, & Helping Yourself

Organic Gardening Magazine

I’ve been reading Organic Gardening magazine for 32 years.  J.I. Rodale started that magazine in 1942.  It was known then as Organic Farming and Gardening magazine.

It’s not the same today by any means, but it is still considered a trusted source of information for those of us who want to educate ourselves and improve our lives and possibly the world around us.

Education is part of the key, which is why I have always found it necessary to read Organic Gardening magazine.  Unlike years ago, I find things in it from time to time that I feel are not correct, but to my knowledge there is no other source where one can obtain the information that they offer all in one place.

(Update 2013 – After all these years I cancelled my subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine.  Nothing last forever — and the Organic Gardening Magazine that I knew, loved and depended on is no longer.)

Mission to Inspire and Instill a “Can Do” Attitude

My mission in creating this website is similar to Rodale, Inc.’s mission. I too strive to inspire and instill a “can do” attitude so that readers can take a more active role in maintaining good health and a good life for themselves and their families.

It is amazing how little the vast majority of people seem to understand when it comes to —–read more—-

Nuts, Chocolates, Spices, Gifts, Weddings & More - Even Cracker Meal for Crab Cakes

Have you ever needed an ingredient for a recipe and panicked because it’s not Christmas time and you figured you’d never find it any other time of the year?

Have you ever had a favorite dried fruit or nut or other hard-to-find food item and ordered them online —–only to be disappointed because the taste was not what you remembered as a kid ——–and it had cost you an arm and a leg to boot?

Have you ever had to plan for a large event or party —–or a wedding — or wanted a gift sent and something went wrong and you needed something special sent in a hurry from someone who will make your problem their’s?

Do you wish you knew where to order hard-to-get items at affordable prices? Well — I think I have found the answer for you. —–read more—-

How Is Your Garden in This Drought?

My guess is if you’re a bare ground gardener you’re not doing well at all.  If you mulch I would imagine you’re still having some difficulties, although you’ve probably made it through a lot better than conventional gardeners.

Even if you’re set up to water, it’s not the same as rain to plants. I don’t water, but when I thought I was going to lose my cucumbers and squash for sure, I hauled several gallons of water to them (twice) to try to get them through.   Fortunately – we had just enough rain last week to help them make a recovery.

The picture below is what you see as you walk into my garden. The cucumber is growing into my asparagus.  Tomatoes are to the left and right. (Summer poinsettia at bottom left corner of picture reseeds in my garden every year.  It’s so lovely I would hate to pull it all up.) This was taken yesterday, July 21, 2010.

Here’s how the same cucumbers  have been —–read more—-

Roses & Tomatoes ----& Cats?

From time to time as a summer progresses blackspot may show up on my roses. When it does  – if it’s a bad case – I usually just cut back the bush and get rid of the parts with black spot.

I only have 3 bushes, but after Mrs. Hundley’s 7 guest posts on Tending My Garden in May,  I have plans to add 3 more floribundas.  (You will recall that Mrs. Hundley is an ARS Consulting Rosarian, a Master Rosarian and an ARS Horticulture Judge.)

Anyway — I was going through a little booklet today published in 1976 entitled Hints for the Vegetable Gardener. Over the years I’ve used a lot of information from this book.  Today I noticed their tip about blackspot on roses and it was just too good —–read more—-

Last Part - 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; first part of Adding Organic Matter – 2nd Key to Soil Improvement; Cont’d Adding Organic Matter – 2nd Key to Soil Improvement

Compost

Many organic gardeners compost. In case you don’t know, ‘to compost’ is to pile up organic material and allow it to totally decay.  There’s more to it than that —-but you get the idea.  The finished product — called compost — can be added to the soil at any time for the purpose of improving the physical condition of the soil and feeding plants.

When I first started gardening I started composting.  I did so for 10 years or more.  I never had enough.  I stopped composting.

I changed to incorporating —–read more—-

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—-