Gail of Green Living


Organic Container Gardening: Class Notes #2

Diane Norman discussed soil, soil amendments and organic fertilizers for container gardening.  I wish I had her class years ago when I started putting my vegetables and herbs in containers, because she could have saved me a lot of water and time, I think.  The BIG AH-HAH in my class last week was …

Expanded Shale

Expanded Shale.  It has porous pockets that allow it to trap moisture and release it when the soil becomes dry.  It also aerates the clay soil we have in Houston.  This year, I had used the correct brand of soil to put in my pots, just not the correct blend that included expanded shale.  You can be sure that from now on, I will use it!

She mentioned some organic fertilizers that were new to me.  Crab meal, shrimp meal, lava sand, and dry or liquid molasses.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I had issues with my compost pile not getting hot enough, and therefore, my plants have weeds sprouting.  Dry molasses added to my compost seems to be the solution.  As soon as I can, I will add that and let everyone know how well it works for me.

Fertilizers I have used with great success are fish emulsion, blood meal, bone meal and Epsom Salts.  Diane says that Epsom Salts minimize yellowing of leaves and the increase blooming and setting blooms on vegetables.  I never had pinpointed that as the reason for my plants having dark, green leaves and lots of blooms.

Sweet Million

It’s hard to see these tiny cherry tomatoes, but there are three of them.  This variety is Sweet Million, and I’ve grown them before with great success.  I would like to expect 999,997 more on this vine, but I think someone is exaggerating!  They are the first to bloom and have the blooms set.  I fed them Epsom Salts about two weeks ago, and then again a few days ago.  It works!!

What organic fertilizers work best for you?

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Pumpkin Surprise!
November 12, 2011, 10:31 am
Filed under: Gardening, Green Living | Tags: , , , , , ,

After you’ve finished celebrating Halloween, compost your jack-o-lanterns,  instead of tossing them in the garbage.  I cook mine, but I still have plenty left for the compost pile–the ends and stems and the peel after cooking.  I wash the seeds and roast them; they are very nutrituous.

Pumpkins, which of course are 100% natural, will break down quickly as  compost in your yard, providing you with valuable nutrients for your lawn or  garden. As you probably know by now, pumpkins aren’t exactly light, so they  otherwise take a considerable amount of fuel to haul to the landfill — plus  their bulky size means they take up space.

To get the best results in your compost pile, cut up the pumpkin a bit to provide more surface area. Layer with other types of  materials, like shredded leaves, green weeds or grass clippings. If you want to maximize the opportunity, add manure, or a nitrogen supplement like cottonseed meal bone meal or dried blood (you might have some of that left from Halloween, too!). Keep the pile moist and turn it over frequently.  Once a week I add a compost maker.  Some items, like pine needles, need a boost.

If all that sounds like too much work, don’t worry about it. In most areas,  you can simply toss things in a pile, and just alternate materials as you get  them. It may not make the most super-dooper compost, and it may take a little  longer to break down, but you’ll still get some nice nutrients, and you’ll be  helping the planet one little bit at a time.

And you may get a surprise in your compost:

Pumpkin Plants

Read more: http://www.thedailygreen.com/going-green/tips/compost-pumpkins-461008#ixzz1dVS87OXX