Soil pH Kits give one of the most misunderstood and misused measurements in the conventional and organic gardening worlds: pH.
It’s a fascinating topic and I’m excited to get into it here.
If you can get your head around the information in this article (it may be no problem for you, but it took me awhile to get it), you will know more about pH than most gardeners, including most horticultural professionals, teachers and authors.
I recently talked about Proper Pruning - Are You Making These Common Pruning Mistakes?.
Let’s continue that and talk about proper pruning for diseased branches.
Even when covered in disease, leaves are often still photosynthesizing and we definitely don’t want to remove the photosynthesizing capacity of a plant while it's being eaten by a fungus or other disease. It needs all of the nutrients it can get.
Proper pruning, as we are often told, involves removing the 3 D’s from our trees: Dead, Damaged and Diseased wood, so our organic gardening pruning chores revolve around that.
Now pruning dead wood that could be a hazard, such as a big branch in a tree that might fall on your neighbor’s cat’s head, is a good idea. If the tree is in a place where it doesn’t pose a hazard, pruning out the dead wood is not necessary, but it’s okay to do if it is unsightly.
But proper pruning gets a little hazy when we look at damaged and diseased wood...
The classic book The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird documents many scientific, statistically-significant studies done on the fascinating relationship between sound and music and plants.
The right sounds can produce tremendous improvements in growth, and the wrong sounds can do just the opposite. Plants are more aware of their surroundings than we think, probably much more so than us!
Here, I just want to give you a taste of what some researchers have observed with respect to plants and music, and sound and plants. This has direct implications for organic gardening.
Organic Gardening Goal 11 : To consider the wider social and ecological impacts of urban landscapes and the practices and products used to create and maintain them.
When I was running my organic fertilizer business, I was amazed at the number of emails and calls I received from clients who were blown away by the results they achieved just by using my organic fertilizers in their garden.
This was a major help to me, sitting in my little apartment bottling and shipping products and wondering if I was making a difference. This contact with my customers reminded me that my little organic gardening business was making a difference.
Organic Gardening Goal 10 : To encourage the creation and protection of native plant and wildlife habitats.
Native gardening is becoming increasingly popular in conventional and organic gardening. The two main reasons generally cited for planting native plants are because they are:
Organic Gardening Goal 9 : To ensure biological diversity within urban landscapes.
The conservation of plants and animals and microorganisms is vital in organic gardening. Biological diversity refers to having different species of plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and protists in the garden.
The more species we have, the more diversity we have.
Organic Gardening Goal 8: To avoid or minimize all forms of pollution in the establishment and care of landscapes.
Half of the wetlands around the world have been lost since 1990.
At least a third of rivers and streams in the US are so polluted that fish are inedible and swimming is not safe. Lakes are worse off. Farming accounts for about half of this. The majority of wells have pesticides and even more have pharmaceuticals and other waste water products.
As organic gardeners, we can start by doing our part to minimize pollution.
Organic Gardening Goal 7: To work towards closing the nutrient cycles in ecosystems with regard to organic matter and nutrient cycling.
It is generally agreed that it's often a good idea to bring outside materials into a new garden that is being constructed.
The reasoning is that we can very quickly begin to produce food and create a healthy landscape that takes care of itself, rather than waiting decades for nature to do it his own way (I'm giving 'nature' a masculine identity here just because everyone always calls nature a her. Maybe sometimes he's a he?).
Organic Gardening Goal 6: To use, as far as possible, renewable, biodegradable and recycled resources from local sources and to minimize waste.
Today, I'd like to give some examples of renewable resources and non renewable resources in the garden.
In 2007, I did a Certificate in Sustainable Building and Design At Yestermorrow Design/Build School. I learned how to build earthen floors and cob walls, timberframe, make my own paint, and even how to convert a vehicle to run off vegetable oil. I also took courses on sustainable design and permaculture, which is a design framework popular in organic gardening.
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