Tag Archives: organic garden

Time to Fertilize!

17 Mar

E.B Stone

Spring is here! The time when your berries, grapes, peaches, nectarines, plums, apples and pears need to be fertilized!
I always use at my personal and clients homes E.B stones Organics. They have an awesome organic fertilizer for Fruit, berry and vines. This fertilizer is a blend of organic ingredients delivered from blood meal, feather meal, bone meal, dried chicken manure, bat guano, alfalfa meal, kelp meal and potassium sulfate. Also and most importantly has Humic acids, good bacteria and endo mycorrhizae.
On my established apples, plums and peaches, I wait for them to have the first buds coming and then I fertilize them. I work the soils around them about 4 feet diameter and mix the product with the soil. Then I water.
For my strawberries, just work the soil around and place 1 TBS of the product per plant and then water.
Instructions are different for all plants and age of plants, so even if the product is organic, please read the instructions carefully and use it as directed.

Advertisements

How to Use Fireplace Ash for Gardening

11 Jan

photo

Winter is the perfect season to collect your fireplace ashes either to store them in a save container or use them into your garden. When wood burns, nitrogen and sulfur are lost as gases, and calcium, potassium, magnesium and trace element compounds remain.

“Wood ash has a very fine particle size, so it reacts rapidly and completely in the soil. Although small amounts of nutrients are applied with wood ash, the main effect is that it is a liming agent.” (1) Furthermore, calcium works as soil amendment, helping to maintain chemical balance in the soil and improves water penetration.

Uses:
1. As calcium and Potassium soil amendments
2. Enrich compost, enhance its nutrients by sprinkling in a few ashes to the mix.
3. Block garden pests. Spread evenly around garden beds, ash repels slugs and snails. Salt in the ashes dehydrates these insects.

Calcium and potassium are both essential to plant growth. Hereby, I am listing the symptoms of both deficiencies.

Symptoms of calcium deficiency:
– Necrosis at the tips and margins of young leaves,
– Bulb and fruit abnormalities,
– Deformation of affected leaves,
– Highly branched, short, brown root systems,
– Severe, stunted growth, and
– General chlorosis.

Symptoms of potassium deficiency:
– Yellow and brown spots on leaves
– Leaves drop off
– Smaller and fewer fruits
– Fruits appear deformed or small

BEFORE applying ashes to your plants please keep in mind that too much ash can increase pH or accumulate high levels of salts that can be harmful to some plants, so use ashes carefully. And don’t use it in acid-loving plants such as blueberries, cranberries, rhododendrons and azaleas would not do well at all with an application of wood ash.(1)

1. http://emmitsburg.net/gardens/articles/frederick/2004/ashes.htm

Colors Of My Garden – JULY

14 Aug

Tickseed ‘nana’

Verbena bonariensis

Sunflower ‘sunspot’

Butterfly  bush – pink

Hosta

Eggplant

Tomato ‘roma’

Cucumber Flower

Cucumber

Crape myrtle

Curry Plant

Bell pepper flower

Peach

Frangipani flower buds

Squash Flower

Why is important to have an Organic Compost Pile?

12 Jan

               Composting is the biological decomposition of organic material into humus. The process occurs naturally, but can be accelerated and improved by controlling environmental factors. Garden compost is a mixture of vegetable waste materials which are collected together in a special container and left to rot down. Properly made and well rotted, the compost can be incorporated to the soil and will add nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.

             “Every compost pile is a complex eco-system of decomposition experts.  “Team Compost” consists of microorganisms and macro-organisms choreographed to take advantage of changing temperatures, moisture, oxygen and pH.  Each group has a specialty and as the conditions in a pile change, the main players change accordingly.

               The main groups of microorganisms in soil are bacteria, fungi, protozoa and actinomycetes.  These tiny little creatures are major players in decomposition.  In a teaspoon of compost, you may find up to a billion bacteria, 440-900 feet of fungal hyphae, and 10,000 to 50,000 protozoa.  In a similar but more dramatic statistic, one once of healthy soil may contain 54 miles of fungal strands.” (1)

             Macro-organisms, such as mites, ants, millipedes, centipedes, sow bugs, springtales, flies, snails and slugs, spiders, beetles, and earthworms, are also tremendously important in the compost pile. They are active during the later stages of composting – digging, chewing, sucking, digesting and mixing compostable materials. In addition to mixing materials, they break it into smaller pieces, and transform it into more digestible forms for microorganisms. Their excrement is also digested by bacteria, causing more nutrients to be released.

Micro- and macro-organisms are part of a complex food chain.

            As we all know, it is always necessary to add some organic matter to the soil to supply plants with nutrients and to give the soil a good structure. Fertilizers will provide food but not humus; only rotted organic matter can supply this.

What goes to your pile?

Any soft vegetable material such leaves, stems, grass mowing, flowers and so on.  I found this very interesting table at eartheasy.com

Material Carbon/Nitrogen Info
 Fruit & vegetable scraps Nitrogen  Add with dry carbon items
 Eggshells neutral  Best when crushed
 Leaves Carbon  Leaves break down faster when shredded
 Grass clippings Nitrogen  Add in thin layers so they don’t mat into clumps
 Garden plants  Use disease-free plants only
 Lawn & garden weeds Nitrogen  Only use weeds which have not gone to seed
 Shrub prunings Carbon  Woody prunings are slow to break down
 Straw or hay Carbon  Straw is best; hay (with seeds) is less ideal
Green comfrey leaves Nitrogen  Excellent compost ‘activator’
 Pine needles Carbon  Acidic; use in moderate amounts
 Flowers, cuttings Nitrogen  Chop up any long woody stems
 Seaweed and kelp Nitrogen  Rinse first; good source for trace minerals
 Wood ash Carbon  Only use ash from clean materials; sprinkle lightly
 Chicken manure Nitrogen Excellent compost ‘activator’
 Coffee grounds Nitrogen  Filters may also be included
 Tea leaves Nitrogen  Loose or in bags
 Cardboard without ink Carbon  Shred material to avoid matting
 Corn cobs, stalks Carbon  Slow to decompose; best if chopped up
 Wood chips / pellets Carbon  High carbon levels; use sparingly

  

When to Start?

          “You can start a compost pile any time of the year, but there are limitations during certain seasons. You can build your pile as materials become available. In the spring and early summer, high nitrogen materials are available, but very little carbon materials are available unless you stored leaves from the fall. In summer you start to have garden debris, but your mowing may be lessened due to high summer temperatures. Fall is the time of year when both nitrogen from cool season lawn mowing and carbon from fallen leaves are readily available”. (2)

How to build it?

         The Pile should be built directly onto the soil. I recommend to build it in layers of 6-8” deep of vegetables material followed by 1” of organic soil with a sprinkling of lime on top of this to prevent the pile to becoming to acid. Repeat these layers to the height you have decided on. If the weather is dry, spray each layer with water. Add some earthworms too.

 Care

          “Temperature plays an important role in the composting process. Decomposition occurs most rapidly between 110° to 160°F. Within two weeks, a properly made compost pile will reach these temperatures. Now you must decide how you want to compost. Do you want to add to your pile or just let it continue as is?

          If you want to add to your pile, you can do so throughout the growing season and into the winter months. As you add fresh material, you will need to turn and water your pile more often. Monitoring the temperature and turning whenever the piles temperature dips below 110°F keeps your pile active at its highest level, and you will have the fastest breakdown. This means turning the pile more often. This can be weekly and it is work! In reality, the average composter turns their pile once every 4 to 5 weeks. This mixes in the fresh material with the older, adds air to the pile and allows you to add water. With this method, a pile started in the fall, added to and turned the following summer will be ready in late fall of that year or the next spring.

             If you are not adding lots of new material, turn and water the pile 5-6 weeks after initial heating. Make sure to turn the outside of the old pile into the center of the new pile. The compost should be ready to use about 3 to 4 months later”. (2)

Benefits:

Soil conditioner. With compost, you are creating rich humus for lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.

 

Recycles kitchen and yard waste. Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can.

Introduces beneficial organisms to the soil. Microscopic organisms in compost help aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use and ward off plant disease.
Good for the environment. Composting offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.
Reduces landfill waste. Most landfills in North America are quickly filling up; many have already closed down. One-third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials”. (3)

Dictionary:

Humus:

In agriculture, humus is sometimes also used to describe mature compost, or natural compost extracted from a forest or other spontaneous source for use to amend soil[3]. It is also used to describe a topsoil horizon that contains organic matter (humus type,[4] humus form,[5] humus profile). (4)

References:

1. http://www.compostheaven.com/compost.html

2. http://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/building.html

3. http://eartheasy.com/grow_compost.html

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humus

Website Links for Education and Solutions:

http://www.greenfoodservicealliance.org/composting

http://www.compostheaven.com/compost.html

Green Wall for Urban Environments

30 Sep

A Green Wall is a wall, either free-standing or part of a building that is partially or completely covered with plants of different colors, textures and sometimes flavors. The concept of Green Walls was created by the French botanist Patrick Blanc. He created the first green wall in 1988 for the museum of Science and Industry in Paris. Nowadays you might have seen many green walls in different places. Thinking outside the box, Arcoiris Design Gardening has been recycling plastic containers and incorporated them with handmade wooden boxes to create a very innovative alternative for Green Walls. We incorporate from annuals to provide seasonal color to herbs and other edible plants such sage, lemon thyme, rosemary and many more. Furthermore, our Green Walls can be use outdoors or indoors. We can create your unique Green Wall following your specific needs.

Good BUGS, how to incorporate them in your garden?

21 Sep

 Don’t kill the BUGS! Please do not use pesticides!! More than 95% of insects aren’t pests. Some pollinate our flowers and vegetables, while many others feed on pests in our gardens.

How to incorporate Beneficial Insects and prevent Pests in your garden?

 Use disease and insect resistant plants
 Incorporate plants that repel insects such Garlic, Anise, Basil among others.
 Properly incorporate Companion Planting. You can help your plants by putting them with neighbors they grow well with. Remember: there are also plants that don’t do well together.
 Attract BENEFICIAL insects in your yard by planting blooming plants, providing water and shelter.
 Monitor your plants regularly to catch problems early.
 Encourage birds, lizards and frogs – they can be very helpful in controlling insects.
 Properly identify problem pests before treating and choose treatment according to the pest – Always try organic or home-made pesticide FIRST.
 Introduce Populations of Natural Enemies such Lady Bugs. We can help you to proper incorporate them in your garden.
 Be tolerant with a few pests; remember that they provide food for beneficial insects.
 Allow plenty of time for beneficial insect populations to build up.
 AVOID the use of pesticides.

Good Bugs:

Assassin Bug
Lady Beetle
Damsel Bug
Damsel Fly
Ground Beetle
Lacewing
Predatory Flies
Predatory Wasps – Red Wasp
Praying Mantis
Spiders
Syrphid Flies
Honey Bees
Giant Wheel Bug

Courtesy of:

http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/downloads/beneficial.pdf

http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/Delaware/insect_ladybug.html

Best Western Plus – Inn At The Peachtrees

30 Aug

Owners of the hotel were looking for a contemporary French Quarter, to be the perfect setting for receptions, weddings, or afternoon luncheon. They wanted us to incorporate the rich colors of the indoor decoration so the garden can flow with concept. We designed a Japanese – contemporary garden with contrast of colors and textures using Japanese maple, 4 tier topiaries, boxwoods, poodle topiaries, standard hollies, splash of color with knockout roses and fragrance plants as the gardenia radicans and star jasmine. Seasonal area is completely integrated with the perennials as a unique area that can be of different colors every season. The garden now is a great space for any event in the middle of Atlanta. The French Quarter is now the best location to host your next Event!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Organic Flower Beds – Good for you, your Family and Nature!

24 Aug

We create our flower beds using only organic methods which not only bring joy to you but to your family and the environment. Our flower beds are built with organic soil and our flowers are fertilized with organic bioestimulants which promotes microbiological activity in and around soil and plants. The products that we use are made exclusively of plant-based botanical extracts and products. That’s our secret! Healthy organic soil is the key to our success. Rich soil is full of beneficial microorganisms that help strengthen our plants, fight disease, and even help to control insects. Healthy plants mean stronger blooms and better disease-resistance. The lack of pesticides will mean that beneficial insects will return to the garden, and will actually help clear away the pests (by feeding on them). Furthermore, our flowers are bought in local nurseries to reduce our foot print.