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Friday, April 22, 2011

Got Compost: Celebrate Earth Day - build healthy soil!

Got Compost: Celebrate Earth Day - build healthy soil!: "Gardeners celebrate the Earth every time they plant a seed or harvest a crop. Spring is the natural time to remind ourselves that we may nee..."

Celebrate Earth Day - build healthy soil!

Gardeners celebrate the Earth every time they plant a seed or harvest a crop. Spring is the natural time to remind ourselves that we may need to do a little more to “go green” in our gardens. Here are some tips to do just that!
Buy plants in biodegradable pots. Ball Horticultural Co. and Bonnie’s Plant Farm – which provide millions of transplants to garden centers across the US – are now providing seedlings in biodegradable pots that you plant right in the ground. We’ve used these pots and like knowing we’re doing a good thing for the Earth.
Start your own seedlings in biodegradable pots, such as Cow Pots. Or recycle containers that you already have on hand. We incorporate recycling by starting seeds in foam egg cartons, newspaper pots and 2-liter drink bottles that have been cut in half. How about planting an herb garden in an old gift basket?
Recycle or reuse plastic garden pots. Check with the nursery or garden center when you buy plants to see if it will take the pots back and reuse or recycle them. Many large landscape supply stores do this, so it’s worth it to ask.
Use Compost! If you don’t have the time or energy to make and tend your own compost pile, and it does take both, remember that compost is readily available at many nurseries and landscape supply centers. Compost is made from recycled organic materials, so re-using it to build healthy soil and refresh your lawn and garden, is the perfect way to “Complete the Cycle”. Harvest Blend Compost is the perfect foundation for flower and vegetable gardens. A fine layer of Harvest Blend Compost worked into grass, called top dressing, will make a world of difference; creating a strong, vibrant lawn for family and pets. Click here for all the details.
Be water-wise. Use drip or trickle irrigation and consider reusing some household washing water in the garden. Or use a rain barrel. One inch of rain over 1,000 square feet of area yields 623 gallons. Rainfall at the rate of 1 inch per hour will yield about 10 gallons per minute per 1,000 square feet. It doesn't take long to fill a few barrels of free, un-softened water. The kind of water plants love.
Plant to attract beneficial insects. This is another aspect of using no or fewer pesticides – letting “good bugs” such as ladybugs and praying mantises help you out. Plant for bees, butterflies, birds, and other small wildlife. We humans continue to invade the territory that wild creatures call home, depriving them of places to live, breed, and find the food they prefer. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden will help you discover what plants are native to your area so you can grow them and help repopulate our beneficial wildlife.
Using Harvest Blend Compost to build healthy soil is the most environmentally responsible action you may take in the garden. Naturally!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Got Compost: International Compost Awareness Week is almost her...

Got Compost: International Compost Awareness Week is almost her...: "Congratulations to Heather Lawrence on winning this year’s poster contest! One month from today, International Compost Awareness Wee..."

International Compost Awareness Week is almost here - How will you celebrate?

Congratulations to Heather Lawrence
on winning this year’s poster contest!

One month from today, International Compost Awareness Week begins, running May 1-7, 2011. The theme of this year’s event is “Compost! Reconnecting with Nature." Across the United States and Canada, those who believe in the Compost Message (Completing the Cycle) will be planning events in their communities to promote the value of recycling previously discarded organic materials, freeing up space in our overcrowded landfills. All types of composting events — from “do it yourself” composting in your backyard to large-scale community-wide composting — will be promoted during the weeklong celebration.
What do we mean by “Completing the Cycle? By recycling organic materials such as yard trimmings, food waste, manures and wood waste, previously used resources can be made into compost and reused as soil amendments; providing valuable nutrients to growing plants. This process illustrates the Organics Recycling life cycle; from earth to plate, and back to the earth – ready to repeat the cycle.
Our Compost Top Ten List -
1.      By opening the soil structure, compost reduces run-off and erosion and improves soil’s water holding capacity; protecting groundwater supplies and helping crops withstand dry spells.
2.      Compost is more nutrient dense than raw animal manure, and gives longer-lasting results than synthetic fertilizer or raw manure.
3.      When made from a variety of plant materials, manures and other organics, compost can provide a more complete range of nutrients for plants than synthetic fertilizer or raw manure.
4.      Compost reduces the tendency of clay soils to crust over, which can interfere with seed emergence. It also reduces the tendency of some soils to form compact clay layers or plow pans.
5.      By improving soil tilth, compost can reduce the force needed to till the soil. This means less animal power or fuel is needed to operate your farm.
6.      High-temperature composting can kill weed seeds, insect pests and disease-causing bacteria, and reduces the odors associated with animal manure.
7.      By providing beneficial microbes, compost increases overall biological activity, which in turn improves nutrient cycling and boosts plant health.
8.      Compost is known to suppress various root diseases in crops, and can help crops better tolerate insect attack.
9.      Compost can build soil carbon and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide. This helps moderate greenhouse gas increases that contribute to climate change.
10.   Compost stabilizes soil’s pH, improving its ability to retain nutrients.
Now that we know some great reasons to use compost, where can we use it?
Top dressing a lawn with Harvest Blend Compost benefits the lawn as it adds nutrients to the soil, improving soil quality over a period of time - sandy soils will be able to retain moisture better so the lawn will be more resistant to drought, clay soils will drain better thus improving root development. Another benefit of top dressing the lawn is that it will help to even out any lumps and bumps that are present on an uneven lawn, filling in any small hollows that may develop. Top dressing also stimulates the grass to produce new shoots and so results in denser grass cover, helping combat the onset of weed and moss infestation
Turf Establishment with Harvest Blend Compost opens soil structure, reducing run-off and erosion; adding oxygen and improving root systems and soils' water holding capacity.
Flower & Vegetable Gardens are given a head start when compost is added to planting beds. Flowers grown with Harvest Blend Compost are more vibrant and colorful while vegetables grow big and tasty. Why not try using our compost to grow a big pumpkin this year? You'll be amazed at the difference healthy soil can make!
Tree & Shrub Backfill Mix is improved by adding compost to existing soil. The added nutrients open up the soil, helping roots grow strong and healthy.
However you choose to celebrate ICAW, remember how important healthy soil is to the future of our communities. Then get out there and use compost to beautify your surroundings.
For more info, stop by your one of our authorized Harvest Blend Compost dealers, or visit and click on the Homeowner/DIY tab. You’ll find instructions for all these uses.
Harvest Blend Compost builds healthy soil. Naturally!