Thursday, January 27, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Boy, what a difference one letter can make! As most healthy eaters know, “Hummus” is a soft food from Greece and the Middle East that’s made from mashed garbanzo beans and eaten cold with bread. Yummy! But take away an “m” and we have "Humus" - another food substance, only we don’t think we'll be spreading this stuff on toast or crackers any time soon.
In general terms, Humus refers to the organic component of soil. Humus formation begins when the organic remains of decaying plants and animals meets up with microbial life in the soil. The carbon compounds contained within the remains were synthesized by the plant or animal when it was alive, and now become food (protein and energy) for the various bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes involved in the decay process. Finished compost is frequently referred to as humus.
Visit www.GotCompost.com for more info
During humification of organic matter, microbes dismantle most of the sugars, starches, proteins, cellulose and other carbon compounds and use them for their own metabolism. Most of the nutrient energy absorbed by the bodies of microbes is re-used by other microbes when they die. Some is mineralized back into plant food and some is transformed into sturdy compounds that build up as elements of humus.
So, we can think of Humus as mainly a gigantic storage battery containing energy that first came from the sun. This energy is used by many varieties of soil organisms that carry out different functions in the soil, like recycling nutrients and changing them into a form that’s usable by plants. Eventually the plants die and slowly decay in the soil where the whole process is repeated.
The best way to sustain the humus in soil is to amend it with quality compost. When added to soil, locally produced Harvest Blend Compost will add nutrients and oxygen, increase soil’s porosity and water holding capabilities while providing a lush, healthy landscape for all to enjoy. Adding compost to gardens or as lawn top dressing is, without a doubt, the most environmentally and biologically sustainable way to maintain soil’s health and fertility. A healthy soil builds strong, vibrant plants which are much more resistant to disease and need less fertilizer. Naturally!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Besides the usual garden cleanup - leaves to rake, pruning and dormant spraying of trees and bushes, local gardeners can still enjoy planting cool season crops. Many folks think nothing much can be planted in what seems to be the dead of winter, but there are a surprising number of things that can be put in the ground this time of year besides the usual bare root roses. Here are some suggestions for your vegetable garden:
- globe artichokes and rhubarb from roots
- cabbage and
- cauliflower from transplants, if you can find them in a nursery or garden center.
Unfortunately the selection of vegetable plants available at local outlets is limited, so you might consider starting your own transplants from seed next year, or get a head start on spring planting this year with a selection of seeds, such as: