How to Reduce Soil pH

Alkaline soil is the term used for soils that have a pH level higher than 7.0. While some plants tolerate slightly alkaline soils (and some even thrive in them), most prefer neutral soils. This can present a need to reduce the garden soil’s pH level (increase the soil’s acidity).

Soil that is too alkaline can cause plants to poorly absorb nutrients in the soil. While the nutrients may be in the soil still, the plants cannot adequately assimilate them in alkaline conditions. Just like with people, a lack of nutrition can lead to an unhealthy state for your garden. For alkaline soil, improve plant health by reducing soil pH and increasing the soil acidity to a more neutral pH range using soil ph tester.

Generally speaking, apply the soil additive to your soil and rake it in to the top level of soil in your garden plot. (The majority of your plants roots will be near the top, so this is where they will be feeding most heavily from the soil). Thus, this is where you want the soil to be most compatible to the plant’s needs.

Soil Additives to Reduce Soil pH
(Increase soil acidity)

Granular Sulfur / Elemental Sulfur

Granular Sulfur is the most common means of increasing soil acidity. It is often the most economical way of reducing soil pH, especially for larger garden plots. It is effective, but it takes a little while to see results. Allow at least 3 months before testing the soil again or applying additional sulfur.
Note: Different rates of application are required for different soil types. (Sandy soils require less, Clay soils require more.) Check with your local county extension office for recommended rates of disbursement for your locality.

Compost

Well-rotted Compost is always a premium soil enhancer for your garden. It neutralizes both acidic and alkaline soils, and supplies nutrients and necessary bacteria for the health of the garden.

If you have a ready supply of well-rotted compost, you can mix it into the overall gardening bed. If not, use it to improve the specific location (hole or row) that you’re planting.

Sphagnum Peat

Sphagnum Peat Moss is an effective way to quickly reduce the soil pH level and increase acidity in your garden soil. Additionally, it will help break up the soil, retain water, and add organic matter to the soil. However, it can be expensive if you have a large area to affect. Sphagnum Peat Moss is available at most garden centers.

Pine Needles

Pine needles can be used as a mulch in your gladstone landscaping. Only use them where you want to increase the soil acidity however.

Note: Pine needles release a chemical that can prevent seedlings from sprouting in your garden. With this in mind, you may want to limit the use to landscape mulching, or to areas of the garden where you don’t plan to plant seeds directly into the soil.

Wood Chips or Shavings used as mulch in the garden or landscaping will also help reduce the soil pH over time.

How to Make Compost for your Garden

Every year, hundreds of thousands of tons of organic matter ends up in landfills. These sadly wasted fruit and vegetable pieces, leftovers, etc. are full of nutrients and vitamins that your garden soil needs to stay healthy and productive (and to keep your plants healthy too!). Making compost is, simply, the act of taking organic matter (vegetable and plant pieces) and turning them into rich friable (crumbly) soil for your garden.
Beyond the important benefit of having produce that is chock-full of life-giving vitamins and nutrients (far exceeding grocery store produce), a vegetable garden that has been well supplied with compost will also yield a MUCH higher quantity of produce.

Why make compost?

• Applying compost to your garden soil has an almost immediate and direct impact on the health and well being of your family (by adding vitamins and minerals that your bodies need to your garden-fresh produce).
• Composting, as a form of recycling, greatly reduces the volume of garbage going to the landfills.
• You’ll reduce the amount of soil additives and fertilizers needed for your garden.
• It’s organic
• Your garden plants will be healthier
• You will get a higher volume of fruit and vegetables per plant in your garden.
• In areas where you’re charged by the volume for trash removal, you can actually save money by composting your unused produce!
Learning how to make compost for use in the garden improves the soil structure by providing better aeration and improving the soils ability to hold moisture. It is also a source of plant nutrients. Additionally, compost used as mulch (or mixed with soil) can help prevent plant diseases.
In simple terms, to make compost is the act of saving plant matter (whether from your yard or from your kitchen) and storing it an environment that speeds-up decomposition.
For example, you can make compost with:
• clippings from your yard plants
• grass clippings
• vegetable or fruit ends or peelings
• leftover vegetables from a meal
• coffee grounds
• egg shells are often also included to increase the calcium content of the soil.
• shredded paper products can also be included, but be careful to include only those that won’t pass along any chemical residue to your garden.
• saw dust (make sure the wood was not chemically treated)
• leaves
• livestock manure

Do NOT include meat scraps, animal bi-products or dog/cat waste in your compost pile. These often contain diseases and parasites that you don’t want in the garden.

Learnign how to make compost can be as simple or detailed/complex as you want to go with it (depending mostly upon how much time you want to spend on it). When making your composting plans, you should also think about how much material you have available to make compost with (how much space do you need), and how quickly you want results.

Slow (Cold) Composting

This method of making compost requires no maintenance, but takes longer to get results. Make sure that you don’t include plants or weeds with seeds, or diseased plants. With this method, the temperatures don’t get high enough to kill the seeds (so they don’t sprout in your garden!) or to kill any plant-disease causing organisms.

With this method, you simply pick a spot in your yard and pile up the items you wish to make compost with. Chopping or shredding them will help speed the process a little. You will find that this method leaves larger chunks of undecomposed matter, which can be removed, if desired. Be patient, when using this method. It can take many months (even up to a year in some climates) to work.

Fast (Hot) Composting

This method of composting requires more work, but you get faster and better results. Once you learn how to compost with this method, composted material can be ready (in ideal circustances) within a few weeks. You will find that it is slower in the late fall, winter, and early spring, and a faster process in the late spring, summer and early fall. In other words, it coincides with nature’s growing season in your area.

1. Pick the location for your compost pile. You’ll want it in an area that drains well, that’s fairly level, near the garden, but not too near the house (might be a little odiferous).
2. Determine how you want to contain your pile (build a bin, or put it right on the ground.) If putting it on the ground, you may wish to put a layer of sticks down first to help air circulate around the pile better. Determine the size of your pile/bin. A minimum of 3 feet x 3 feet by 3 feet is recommended. Optimal is 4’ or 5’ in each direction.
3. Start building your pile, by using equal alternating layers of high carbon (dried leaves and twigs) and high nitrogen (clover, fresh grass clippings, vegetable/fruit scraps, manure) materials. Add a few shovels of soil to each layer (adds microorganisms to help in the decomposition process). Layers should be 4” to 6” thick.
4. Keep the top of the heap slightly concave to catch rainwater.
5. Water. Keep the pile moist, but not saturated. Check it daily.
6. Poke a few holes in the sides of the compost pile, to help aeration.
7. The pile will heat up and then begin to cool. When the pile’s internal temperature reaches about 130 degrees Fahrenheit, start turning the material in the pile. (You can check the temperature with a compost thermometer, or just stick your arm into the pile – it’s ready when it’s too hot to the touch.) A pitch fork is generally the tool of choice in turning the compost pile materials.

Move materials from the center to the outside and visa versa. Turn the materials every day or two. During the growing season, this should produce compost for you in less than a month. If you turn it only every other week, it will take a few months for your compost to be ready.

8. Finished compost will be dark brown or black, be sweet smelling, have no traces of the original matter, and be cool and crumbly to the touch.
If the compost pile is too hot, you have too much nitrogen. Try adding more dried leaves and sticks/carbon material.
If nothing is happening in your compost pile, you may not have enough nitrogen materials, water or air.

Vermicomposting

Vermicomposting uses earthworms to make compost. This process can be done year round in your basement (or garage in more temperate areas), and takes very little space.
Steps:

1. Obtain a plastic storage bin, approximately 2′ x 2′ x 4′
*There are also many varieties of pre-made composting bins available from garden supply sources.
2. In the bottom of the bin, drill about a dozen holes, each about ¼ “ wide (for the bin to drain).
3. Place a layer of fine nylon mesh to the bottom of the bin. (this keeps the worms from escaping.)
4. Put a tray beneath the bin to catch any drainage.
5. On one side of the bin, place a layer of shredded newspapers as bedding for the earthworms. Water the torn newspapers so that they’re moist all the way through.
** Be sure to keep the newspaper bedding wet – do not let it dry out!
6. Add the earthworms to your bin (believe it or not, these are the same kind that you find in your lawn and in your vegetable garden!). You can collect them yourself, or you can order them from nearly any garden catalog.
7. Feed the worms with food wastes such as vegetable peelings from your kitchen (only vegetable and plant matter – no meat! The worms don’t digest it well and it can hurt them). If you have more matter to compost than the worms can handle, start another compost bin.
8. The bin should be kept in the dark, away from extreme hot or cold temperatures.
9. Every 3 months, you’ll need to change the bedding. Do this by adding fresh bedding (shredded moist newspapers) and more food to the other side of the bin. The worms will move by themselves to the fresh supply of food.
10. Use the completed compost in your garden! Also, the drainage “tea” that comes out of the bottom of the bin makes a wonderful fertilizer for your house plants!

Organic Gardening Equipment

Looking for organic gardening tools are the key to the ideal organic garden. Many people tend to overlook this fact and simply focus on the fun part of gardening. Due to the large number of entries in the problem of land scarcity essential equipment needed to do gardening work.

Note that you do a lot of things in your organic garden by digging, weeding and cutting. You can do this for a long time, so you must have equipment organic gardening that will last, then it is better to settle for a business.

organic-gardening-equipment One of the problems when buying equipment organic gardening is the price. You might think that the brand is the only reason for the difference in value, but the size, shape and material equipment also determines the price.

hardware tools that are really important at the time of purchase. For example, buy a shovel with wooden handle puts you at risk of getting splinters. If you buy one with a plastic handle, it will be a disaster when it is closed – thoughts fly around the edges is really worrying. I suggest you choose one with a handful of metal alloys. Of course, you will not worry about rust, but with proper treatment, which would not be much problem. Comparatively, will be more expensive than others but actually it is just a matter of looking for the right place. Why not try a second hand shop or garage sale? Just look at organic gardening equipment has been well maintained and they will work well.

If you already have the equipment essential organic gardening, then you can move to the more special. You must know exactly what you do so that you can determine which tool to buy. Consider this, if you choose to plant, you do not need pruning because it is used only for shrubs or trees. You do not need to go buy panic because you want the perfect organic garden, buy only if necessary.
More importantly, you should know the safety rules and you need to take care of handling organic gardening. You will definitely not use them for a while if you know which one to choose, how to use and how to take care of these tools. You will probably spend a lot of time to harvest.

Five Popular Garden Tools

The gardens are increasingly popular with the general public. Today, everyone likes to have a park in front of his house, which is also good from an environmental point of view. Many people who do not have enough space to park in front of the house has a small garden with terrace or balcony, or sometimes they grow a number of plants in different cultures. What happens is that the plant is loved and grew up in almost all, if possible, in the form of a garden or a collection of plants grown in plantations. Now, when there are plants that need care and maintenance. This makes use of gardening tools a must to keep or take care of the plants.

 

Garden tool is in high demand these days due to the increase in the number of people involved in their own gardens. But most people are confused in determining gardening tools needed and what does not work. Here we include five popular gardening tools that are considered appropriate for the care of a garden on a daily basis:

 

1. Spatula: Spades is a tool used in various construction activities as well, but here we are talking about garden spade. This tool has a curved blade and handle but short handle, usually made of wood. Spatulas come in two basic forms, namely flat and curved. This tool is intended for activities such as garden planting, leveling the ground, ships and land preparation.

2. shovel: spades is a special garden has a head of narrow blade attached to a long metal shaft, usually 28 to 48 cm in length. The head of the blade tip shovel is ideal for working among the plants and close to the border and elsewhere, such as parks where appropriate cleanliness. This tool is generally used for digging, planting, and cultivation purposes.

3. rotary mowers: garden mower is a tool with a long handle and a sharp blade attached perpendicular. This tool is very effective in removing weeds from garden beds or even in some areas seems hard as a brick road. The ergonomic design of this tool allows the user to carry out weeding and other gardening tasks without the need to bend or to excessive physical exertion.

4. Rake: This tool looks like a broom, at first glance, but it’s much more than that. It is essentially a long-handled tool with a head attached to one end, with prominent teeth, which are usually made of carbon steel. The main function of this tool include scarification garden, remove the leaves fall, rake gravel and clearing and preparation. Rake has two main variants, rakes and lawn rakes.

5. Fork: spading fork, as its name suggests, is a rugged, usually made of stainless steel or iron, thick but sharp teeth attached to your head. It features an ergonomic handle and the very tip of the head. This tool is designed to provide optimal effects with minimal effort. Fork are very useful for raising activities such as gardening, piercings, and dig. It is also considered very effective in removing perennial weeds.

ENGRAVE THE HIDDEN THRILL IN LAWN CARE

Lawn gardening is not quite an easy task as many of us might just be thinking it to be. Taking good care of your lawn involves a list of things which can be easily managed through help of certain lawn care tips. A green, well chopped lawn simply brings in the true beauty of a house. Hence, to enhance the real beauty of your house, it gets essential that you slowly learn about the various aspects of taking good care of your lawn.

 

Selecting a good quality grass is the most primary stage of creating a beautiful lawn. It’s the grass in the lawn which lures everyone by its beauty and royal color. There are various species of grass available which have certain characters that play a prime role in making your garden exotic. There are certain grass which are available only during certain weather conditions or time of the year. Thus, it gets essential to select the right grass for your lawn which helps in not just making your garden look beautiful but also very natural. Once you select the grass, it now completely depends on the planting method that is to be followed for planting the beautiful grass in your garden. Once grown, lawns require great care just as much as they required when being planted in the garden. You really require great gardening skills or assistance from some experienced garden services in Nottingham to take good care of your lawn. Personalized Gifts are useful promotional product for any gardener.

 

Mowing your lawn is one of the most important and essential aspects of lawn caring. You can’t let your lawn simply grow by the day. To give it the perfect look, you need to mow it properly using a sharp mower which finely chops the overgrown grass in the lawn. You should make sure that you use a good sharp edged mower to avoid the small grass seedlings from getting uprooted from the ground during mowing.

 

Just as mowing is a very essential part of lawn care, watering the lawn is also an equally essential part. Lawns require adequate amount of water regularly for a good growth. You can avail a lush green lawn by watering your lawn regularly. Any small negligence in watering the lawns can simply dry up your lawn from the base. Thus, you need to nurture it regularly with good amount of water and regular mowing.

 

All plants require extra nutrition to grow well and healthy. Thus, to take further care of your lawn you need to nourish them quite often with the right type of fertilizers. Fertilizers help you to have good quality grass in your lawn which thus helps you enhance your lawn. So, mow, water and fertilize your lawn to enjoy a lush green grassy lawn.