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Guess What I’m Doing Right Now!

Phil And SisMy sis took this photo late last summer while we were digging up some potatoes.

If you have any questions this week about my:

...my sister is going to do her best to answer them for you.

That’s because I’m currently in the middle of a 10 day Vipassana course.

As some of you will know, what that means is that I’m in a place with no access to phone or internet or even a pen and paper.

And I’m meditating.

I actually wrote this post early last week, a couple of days before leaving, and scheduled it to go out to you today, so by the time you’re reading this, I’m probably sitting as still as possible, trying to not let my mind wander.

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How To Plan A Landscape Design - 6 Steps To A Well-Designed Garden

How To Plan A Landscape Design

For many people, it’s getting to be time to figure out how to plan a landscape design for your organic garden.

I show you how in the video below - and I’d love to get your questions in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Your landscape design plans might mean putting in new gardens entirely, or maybe just coming up with a planting plan for this year.

You could just go out, buy a bunch of plants, and then decide where to plant them when you get home.

But doing some good old fashioned proper landscaping design planning will result in a much better garden.

Here are 6-ish steps to getting it done...

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Dry Fertilizer - For Supplying Soil With These 3 Important Minerals

Dry Fertilizer

I’m a big fan of organic liquid fertilizer.

But there’s also an important use for organic dry fertilizer.

I use liquid fertilizers mainly to provide small amounts of 80+ nutrients directly as a plant fertilizer, and also as a soil fertilizer.

Doing this plays a big part in helping me grow nutrient-dense food.

And yet some nutrients we need in the soil more than others, the big three in the organic world being calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K).

We need to have enough of them in the soil, but not too much.

(I know that npk fertilizer is stressed in the conventional world, and yes, nitrogen fertilizer is sometimes useful too, but it’s really not all that hard to get enough nitrogen - calcium is much more important to get right, so that’s my focus today).

The benefits we get when we move those three minerals in our soil towards the ideal amounts are many: healthier plants, fewer pests and weeds, better soil structure, etc.

That’s where dry fertilizer comes in...

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How To Make Your Own Garden Inoculant For Less Than $1

Applying Microbial InoculantsApplying a garden inoculant.

A garden inoculant is really just anything we use to bring beneficial microbes into our organic gardens.

These microbes are often deficient for various reasons, but if we can get more of them back in there, they:

  • Make nutrients available to plants and even feed them nutrients and water directly
  • Protect plants from disease both in the soil and above ground
  • Improve the structure of the soil so it has the right amount of air spaces, water spaces, nutrient availability, pH, etc.

Plus there’s a whole list of other services they provide for plants and soil. Pretty cool...

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Homemade Liquid Fertilizer - 4 Do-It-Yourself Options

Watch For People Walking
I felt very lucky to spend this past week vacationing with my family on Hilton Head Island.

I recently started selling my favorite organic liquid fertilizers, the same ones I use at home.

But I also like to make my own homemade liquid fertilizer when possible, and that’s what I’m excited to show you today.

Many of our best liquid fertilizers come from the ocean.

But there are ways you can approximate them, if like me, you don’t live near the ocean.

All of these can be used as a liquid lawn fertilizer, liquid plant fertilizer and liquid soil fertilizer.

You might even make enough for multiple applications (such as monthly or weekly).

For all of these homemade fertilizers, I suggest mixing with at least 10 parts water before you spray.

That will allow the fertilizer to cover more area, and will ensure we don’t burn our plants.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt to mix with even more water...

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Starting Plants From Seeds - A Few Important Tips To Ensure Success

Starting Plants From Seeds

Note: I now sell the organic fertilizers and microbial inoculants mentioned in this post. You can read more about that here.

You can get the jump on spring by starting plants from seeds.

Some plants need this, especially heat-loving plants like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

A few others, such as carrots, really dislike being transplanted, so it’s best to direct seed them in the garden.

For the rest, it’s up to you whether you’d like to trying starting seeds indoors.

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7 Important Steps For A Healthy, Pest-Free Organic Garden

My Organic Garden In Winter

This is what my organic garden looks like today.

Not quite ready to start planting yet, haha, but I’m gearing up for spring.

I’ve been making sure I have my seeds and organic fertilizers and microbial inoculants all ready to rock when the soil warms up.

(Speaking of which, I’ll have an exciting new announcement at the bottom of this post.)

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Permaculture Principles - A Few Tips To Help You Design Your Garden

Permaculture Principles In My Garden
I filmed the video this spring, but this photo shows there was a lot more going on by August, and there will be a LOT more going on next year.

Before we even get to these permaculture principles today, it’s a good idea to take some time to choose your goals.

You may want fresh, healthy food, a space to relax and be inspired, impressive flowers to brighten up the street, a play zone for kids – the potential benefits are as diverse as people.

Conventional landscape design tends to look at gardens mostly in terms of aesthetics (e.g. bright fall color) and function (e.g. a privacy screen).

But this approach often doesn’t do a great job of designing the garden as a living ecosystem.

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Soil Inoculant To Improve Plant Nutrition (And Decrease Pests)

Harvested Vegetables
I just visited home and threw a bunch of veggies into my shoulder bag to bring back to Toronto, mostly tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, cabbages, herbs and garlic (smelled pretty good on the bus).

Using a soil inoculant may seem kind of unnatural, so let’s start with why it might be a good idea.

The most important life forms in your garden are too small to see.

Microbes cover every soil surface and even inhabit the insides of all larger organisms.

They have a dramatic effect on plant health and nutrition, as well as our own.

In most gardens, the microbiome has been thrown out of balance by things like tilling, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

And also the generally toxic environment we live in with pollution, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals in our air and fresh water.

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What's Going On In My Life... (Plus A Free Download)

1
Friends' cottage overlooking Lake Huron.

Hey guys, I have a free article for you to download today about organic fertilizing with biostimulants!

Ongoing fertilizing throughout the summer can really help boost plant health/nutrition/yields.

But first, I haven’t posted here for 4 weeks, and I thought I’d catch you up on what’s been going on.

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Free Ebook Download

Organic Gardening Ebook "The Holistic Gardening Handbook: Condensed Version"
"You have been a source of wisdom, humour, encouragement and influence" Marylin, B.C.

Grow Healthy Food

Smiling Gardener Academy
"450+ Vital Lessons For Becoming A Better Organic Gardener"
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"Thank you for making this great tool for somebody like me to learn with. This whole site is inspirational." Erik