Vermicompost! Wed, 24 Jul 2013 05:01:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Secrets of Growing Strong, Healthy Tomatoes from Seed Mon, 06 May 2013 00:26:02 +0000

Tomatoes have to be one of the easiest plants to start from seed, but there can be some challenges that happen along the way. The way many people start tomatoes from seed is by using those inflatable peat pellets. They are fine and work OK, but I prefer to make my own seed starting mix and you will too after you see the results I get!

What’s the secret? Vermicompost and Mycorrhizae.

To know more about Vermicompost, just visit a few more pages on this site. Mycorrhizae is a fungi that helps build strong roots in your plants. The combination of mycorrhizae, beneficial bacteria, trichoderma, and plant vitamins will give your plants a strong and developed root system. This will enable your plants to break down and absorb nutrients efficiently and effectively. Also, it will increase water uptake and the overall absorption area of the root system, resulting in a healthier plant.

And a little bit of vermicompost and Mycorrhizae goes a long way. I have been starting my seedlings this way for years, but I put together an experiment to show you the differences between using these two ingredients and not.

My mix is simple: I start with a bag of off the shelf seedling starter mix. I prefer Jiffy Seed Starting Mix, but you can use any seedling starter mix. I use 10 cups of seedling starter mix and 1 cup of vermicompost or Earthworm Castings. Then I mix 1 teaspoon of Great White Premium Mycorrhizae with enough rainwater to make the entire mixture dampened, but not dripping water.

Mix all the ingredients together and fill your starter pots. I am a big fan of the Seed Starting Kits with the humidity domes and heat mats. They really provide for a nice start.

Here are the results that I get, every time!

These pictures were taken about 3 weeks after planting the seeds and right after I potted them up into larger, 4 inch pots.  The front row was grown only in the starter mixture and rainwater.  The middle row was grown using the same potting mixture and vermicompost.  The back row was grown using the potting mixture, vermicompost, and Great White Premium Mycorrhizae.  The results speak for themselves.


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Welcome to our new website Fri, 25 Nov 2011 16:29:00 +0000

We are pleased to bring you a newly redesigned website.

For the past few years, our website has remained fairly static and we hope this new site will change that and bring lots of new features and information your way. Our hope is to bring you a vermicomposting community where we can share all our experiences.

Thank you for visiting!

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Growing Garlic Tue, 08 Nov 2011 20:27:57 +0000

Everyone has heard about the health benefits of garlic and many people, myself included, love the taste of garlic. Did you know that garlic is very easy to grow in your own garden and, like most things home grown, is richer in health benefits and tastes better that store bought garlic? I’ve just recently planted my garlic for next season. Late October through early December is the perfect time of year to get your garlic planted for next summer’s harvest and I’m going to show you how to get started.

Preparing Soil For Your Garlic Crop

Garlic likes sun and well-drained, loose, rich soil, so choose a location that gets full sun and drains well. I like to amend my soil each year by mixing in a 1 to 2 inch layer of compost and steer or chicken manure into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil. Also, if the area that you plant in has a lot of clay, along with the compost, mix in some sand. This will allow the soil to drain better and the roots to penetrate deeper into the soil. I took some the sand from my kids’ old toy sandbox and rototilled it into the area I wanted to grow garlic. Doing this should leave you with 6 to 8 inches of soil that garlic will love to grow in.

Garlic doesn’t require a lot of space and will grow around and in between other plants. In fact, doing so may be beneficial to both plants. Read more about companion gardening with garlic.
Garlic, fertilizer, vermicompost, & bulb tool.

Hole made with bulb tool and ready for planting garlic.

Planting Your Garlic

Once your soil is prepared, you are ready to plant your garlic. You should be able to pick up a bulb of garlic from your local independent garden center or you can just get a bulb of garlic from the supermarket. After your initial purchase, you should be able to sustain your garlic crop year after year by saving bulbs and replanting. I bought 3 bulbs of garlic several years ago and haven’t had to buy any since because I’ve grown enough to use and replant each year.

Garlic Clove and Garlic Bulb

Plant a clove of garlic (left) in each hole. A bulb of garlic (right) is what will grow from the clove.

One of the most frequently asked questions that I get from beginners is: Do I plant the entire bulb of garlic or just a clove? Each clove of garlic will turn into a plant and make 1 bulb, so just plant 1 clove in each hole. One of the keys to success is to just plant the largest, outer cloves from the garlic bulb. They will become larger and healthier garlic plants, making bigger garlic.

Tip: Don’t break the garlic bulb apart until you are ready to start planting!

Each clove should be planted about 8 inches apart and the top of the clove should be covered with 1 to 2 inches of soil. I like to use a bulb planter to dig a hole about 6 inches deep, then back-fill the hole with a mixture of “special soil”. My “special soil” consists of a nice mixture of existing soil, a big handful of vermicompost (worm castings), a tablespoon of bone meal, and a tablespoon of organic bulb fertilizer. Garlic roots only penetrate 4 to 6 inches down, so providing these nutrients directly into their root zone at planting time really gives the plant a healthy start.

Once you’ve mostly back-filled the hole, place the garlic clove into the hole with the pointed end of the clove up. Finish covering the clove with soil making sure that the top of the clove is covered with 1 to 2 inches of soil. Pack the soil down gently, but firmly and continue on until you’ve finished planting your garlic.

Garlic Covered with Leaves

Protect young plants by covering with leaves

Protecting Your Garlic

To protect your plants from ice, snow, weeds, etc., cover the area with a layer of mulch. This time of year, we have an abundance of leaves which works great but straw or hay work as well. I like cover my garlic bed with a 2-4 inch layer of shredded leaves.

You may or may not see your first garlic shoots come up during the winter, but rest assured that getting your garlic planted early will pay dividends. During the winter months, your garlic is beginning to develop it’s root system. In addition, garlic needs to be exposed to the cold weather of winter, which tells the bulb to divide. If you wait until late spring to plant, your garlic may not segment and you’ll just end up with a ball.

Fertilizing Your Garlic

After freezing weather has passed in late spring, fertilize garlic plants with a pure, high nitrogen fertilizer. I like to use urea or blood meal. Fertilizing for 6-8 weeks will make the tops of your garlic plants grow large and grow quickly. April and May are the months I like to top dress with nitrogen. After this time, don’t fertilize. The garlic needs to stop putting it’s energy into growing the shoots and send it’s goodness into the bulb.

Congratulations, you’re done and well on your way to a bountiful garlic crop next summer.

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