Organic Gardening Blog

Welcome to my organic gardening blog. At certain times of year I post gardening tips weekly and other times much less frequently. Sign up for my ebook over to the right if you want to get my best stuff :)

Homemade Fertilizer - 2 Great Easy-To-Make Fertilizers

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Phil:Hey guys it’s Phil from smilinggardener.com. If you haven’t checked out my free online organic gardening course, you can do that right on the homepage of smilinggardener.com.

Today I am talking about homemade fertilizer, now I don’t mind buying the occasional fertilizer for my garden if I know it’s gonna really help and prove garden health but I also really like to use fertilizers that I can make or scrounge from around my property because it’s a lot more sustainable and it’s free and so today I am, what I am gonna be doing is sharing just two, there are many different things you can use but what I want to do is focus on two that pretty much everyone can use in their garden.

The first one is urine and I know it sounds kind of crazy but this is a really important one, so here is some of my urine which I know is really gross for a lot of people but I want to make an important point here, by the way molasses is also really good in the garden, but today I am talking about urine. Urine is nontoxic, and actually urine is not really all that yellow, may because of the sun yellow today but if you are drinking enough liquids urine becomes much more clear but I really want to get across is that if you are reasonably healthy person, urine is not toxic and I am gonna show you that by pouring some on my hands which probably gross some people out and I apologize for that but what I want to show you, you can drink urine if you have to, not something I am really interested in doing but urine is not toxic, it’s not a place where all of your toxins go in your body.

Urine is such wonderful stuff, I have read that it basically has on an average I am sure varies a lot but somewhere around 11 g of nitrogen, 1 g of phosphorus, 2.5 g or potassium and I am sure has other nutrients that your body didn’t use as well especially if you take supplements and multivitamins, you may have heard someone say you are just peeing all of that money into the toilet, that’s not entirely true, you get some of it but you do pee some of it, so that’s gonna be in here too.

So, it’s a very nutritious thing, of course it’s a little easier for guys to sprinkle a little bit of urine around in the garden here or there or maybe talked away in a private spot. One reason why it’s really nice to put a compost pile maybe in a corner somewhere and you can go and pee in there because it’s really great to do in the compost pile but otherwise what you can do is, I mean you can pee right in the garden too, otherwise you can pee in something like this and then you can go and use that to water your plant.

Now if you are watering your plants directly, you want to mix it with 20 parts of water, so yeah 20 times as much water as urine but otherwise you can go pee right in your soil and on your mulch around your plants without too much trouble. The best thing to do would be to flush your toilet out into your compost pile or into a wet land you have created to handle all of that and to recycle all of that. One of the main problems there is that many bylaws don’t allow for that but if you live in a place where you do it’s a great way to just recycle all of that stuff and bring that nutrition into your garden instead of sending it into the sewer system.

I did some math once and I am not sure how accurate it was but I figure that if you just peed or applied urine to 10 square feet of garden twice a year, you are applying a lot of the nitrogen needs of the garden. I am not sure exactly how accurate that is but I figure I mean if I pee on each of these trees one a month that’s plenty of nitrogen for those trees. So that’s urine, it’s not gross, it’s totally awesome, so start peeing in your garden.

The next thing on my list that pretty much, anyone can do as long as long as you have some grass clippings and some weeds around, it’s great something called a herbal tea and what you do is you take all these herbaceous plants and put them in a bucket with water and ferment them for a few days to a couple of weeks. Any kind of weeds and grass clippings will do, it’s specially nice if you have some nutrient accumulating weeds such as dandelions are pretty good, comfrey, yarrow, stinging nettle. I don’t have most of those though so I just use whatever I have.

I do have a couple of legumes, vetch, and clover, which I also like to include but I have, something I have most is just this garlic mustered which I don’t think is the most nutritious weed but of course it has nutrition in it. I have grass clippings, they have nutrition in it. so all of those can go in there and what this does is it gets the nutrients off the weeds. It also gets the beneficial microorganisms off the weeds. We put in here, we ferment them and so it becomes this kind of fermentation like you to ferment yogurt or beer or something like that and it becomes this kind of nice tea, we can apply to our plants.

Now it’s entirely optional but if you happen to have any kind of microbial inoculants like EM which is what I use often and bio-stimulants like rock dust, some kelp, sea minerals, any of that stuff I often talk about, you can put them in there and you don’t have to because I am trying to make this a homemade video, you don’t need that stuff, but it just makes them even better tea, dandelions and some oats, some garlic mustered, a bit of vetch and clover, a bit of grass clippings, water, water, now that is full of water I need to cover it because this is more of a fermentation that I want to do without air. I don’t have a lid but this is actually kind of cool because if I put it in here I can push down, it will spill some of the water but I am making sure there is really no air in there now and I am just going to let this ferment for a couple of weeks.

It might smell a little bit but if I keep it covered it should be okay. If you have a lot of weeds, you can do this in a much bigger bucket too and then when are done after a couple of weeks, you can just water your plants to give them a nice amount of broad spectrum nutrition and some beneficial fermenting microorganisms. So those are two of my favorite simple, everyone can make a homemade fertilizers. If you have any questions about homemade fertilizers you can ask them down below, if you haven’t signed up for my free online organic gardening course, you can do that down below and you can also join me and my sister over on Facebook at facebook.com/smilinggardener.

I don’t mind buying the occasional organic fertilizer to improve the health of my garden.

But I’m also a big fan of making a homemade fertilizer for plants.

There are a bunch of possibilities, but today I want to keep it simple with 2 homemade fertilizers everyone can “make”...

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Worm Bin Composting - How To Build And Maintain A Worm Compost Bin

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Phil: Hey guys it’s Phil from smilinggardener.com, if you haven’t checked out my free online organic gardening course, you can do that right on the home page of smilinggardener.com. Today we are talking about worm bin composting; maybe you don’t have a place to have a big outdoor compost but still want to recycle those fruit scraps into something really nutritious and that’s where worm bin comes in because it’s really compact. You can do right inside and then mix really wonderful compost.

So the first thing we are gonna do here is to make a worm bin, you can buy them online already made but I want to show you how to make one from much cheaper. The size really doesn’t matter too much but what I have here is probably 15 inches wide by 24 inches long by maybe 24 inches tall something like that, start with the bottom. Can you see the bottom holes, I have the 6 to 12 holes. I usually drill in the bottom and that per drainage, so that extra water can drain out then along the sides I usually have 6 to 12 holes and also I will show you these holes in the lid that allows for just air movement because you know worms to breathe air just we do. You also need just to settle the bin up a little bit.

So it’s allowed to drain, so any kind of wood blocks or if you want to have some of the fun, you find some little branches like that and you set them down underneath the bin, so it’s sitting up. Other thing you need to do is have a drain into something. We happen to have another lid that’s a perfect way to catch the liquids it’s gonna run out otherwise any kind of a tray will work. The worms need a home and since we are gonna be adding a lot of nitrogen rich food scraps. We need some carbon rich bedding as we call it. You can use some leaves for that, some straw for that but what’s commonly done is some newspaper.

Another thing we can put in there which is a very, very good idea is some sand. Worms need sand in order to process their food. These few little bit sand in there or if you just have some soil to have a little bit of sand in it that will be fine too. You don’t necessarily have to go and buy sand, it’s basically a lot like a compost power where we wanted to be moist like a runout sponge, a worm bin is even kept a little more moist. What’s can be nice somewhere but still you want the worms to be able to breathe air.

So we don’t want to be too soaking with, we get red regular worms which tend to hang out sometimes in compost piles especially in maneuver pile; most of us what we do is we go by them and that can be a little tricky to find in your local area, sometimes you might have a local person who sells them or sometimes you might them at a farmer’s market, the often you can online do a little bit of searching and find them and have them shipped to you, often what’s recommended for a box besides is about a pound of worms, it’s leaking and it’s being cut just like it suppose to.

I have gotten a way with half a pound of worms before because they can be a little pricy but really not too bad, so I had some worm shipped to me and these people did a fantastic job shipping, so that the worms are in this really nice bedding already. You can see any worms in there, in order to help them settle in, it can be handy to get a light and turn it on and kind of put it into your bin like that, worms don’t like light so they are gonna go down into the bin there and get really comfortable down in their bedding, after a few days or maybe as long as a week, you can start feeding your worms once they are comfortable in there and now eat pretty much any food scraps but there are few things you shouldn’t really feed them. You don’t really want to feed them much in the way of meat, dairy, really oily foods, really salty foods or really hot spicy foods and that’s about it, we don’t love citrus so not too much citrus and also not too much in the Allium family like garlic and onions but a little bit isn’t a problem, egg shells no problem, parsley, broccoli.

I wouldn’t go for the citrus, if I can help it and in all kinds of other foods scraps we are having here, pepper, sweet potato, it’s all good. So how do you do this, well you can use your hands or sometimes after a while especially once it gets going, it can be kind of handy to use a spatula to get in there. I am gonna to start adding food, I will take a corner, I will bury the food in that corner and I basically start kind of slow, one pound a week then maybe 2 pounds a week and then for a bit in the size maybe up to 4 or 5 pounds a week eventually and I have probably added about twice a week, so I don’t go adding it everyday just because I don’t want to disturb than more than I have to, so what I will do is I will add into this corner and kind and buried in there and that helps stop the food flies from coming and just mix it better for them, it’s kind like when you are mixing up the compost pad you want to mixed together that I will go into this corner, then I will skip kind of working along the bin every few days, pretty more food scraps in by the time I have finished over here and I come back to the beginning, these food scraps should be largely broken down and like, then I can start again at the beginning. If you have any questions about worm bin compost you can ask them down in here, if you haven’t signed up for my free online organic gardening course, you can get it down in here. You can join me and my sister over on Facebook at faebook.com/smilinggardener.

If you’ve always wanted a pet, but think:

  • Dogs are too messy,
  • Cats are too stuck up,
  • And goldfish leave something to be desired in the personality department

(no offence intended to my dog/cat/fish loving readers),

I have the perfect solution for you: worm bin composting!

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How NOT To Control Pests In An Organic Garden

About 1 out of 2.5 people in North America will get cancer at some point in their lives.

I notice an interesting parallel between how we treat cancer and how we treat pests in our gardens.

The main ways our medical system tries to get rid of cancer are to cut it out (surgery), burn it out (radiation) and poison it out (chemotherapy).

I’m not here to discuss the merit of these practices, but I think most of my readers would agree that there are at least some additional strategies that would be nice to consider if we’re interested in taking more of a holistic approach.

Certainly the cut/burn/poison methods don’t do anything to address the root cause of disease, nor do they leave our bodies in a healthier state, so it’s pretty clear that also incorporating some methods of improving our health could play a tremendous role in treating many types of disease.

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Organic Composting 101 - Making Compost That's More Nutritious

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Phil: Hey guys it’s Phil from smilinggardener.com. If you haven’t picked up my free online organic gardening course, you can do that right on the home page of smilinggardener.com.

Today we are talking about organic composting and we are going to be making some compost together. The reason I love compost so much is what it does for my garden. It’s kind of behind these trees here and that is to bring in fertility and organic matter and beneficial microorganisms and insects and a whole host of benefits to the garden. Now we are doing organic composting today and all that really means to me is that we are using organic materials. No genetically modified materials, well now you can spike it with any chemicals.

We are not going to use maneuver from animals that receive a whole lot of antibiotics and hormones and things like that. We are going to try to keep it clean. In terms of materials you don’t want to use ,I have a few around here, one would be anything that’s toxic such as this paper. If you could have this kind of colored paper, it really has a lot of toxins in it, anything that you might think of being toxic you probably don’t want to put in there.

You can put most weeds into the compost they will be taking care of no problem, there are a few like this quack grass or bind weed or others that really spread that you really don’t want to take the chance that they are going to be put all throughout your garden when you spread your compost. Leave them now put other weeds in, some people are pretty nervous about using dog or cat maneuver, personally I have no problem with using a bit of it. I am not going to get into more detail on that today. It is kind of a controversial topic but I have no problem with a tiny amount of that stuff in there likewise you can use your own human maneuver and urine in a compost pile.

They are great nutritionally, they are great to divert from this sour system. You can put meat and other animal products in there but it will sometimes attract like skunks and raccoons and things like that, so a lot of people don’t use them in the compost. If you thing that you could attract even just put your food scraps, rat source, skunks and raccoons and things like that. What again you want to do is build a bin that doesn’t let them in, that’s getting the talking about some ingredients we can use. Now you may have heard compost ingredients to be discussed as greens versus browns and that doesn’t really refer to the color of the necessarily, although sometimes it does.

What it really refers to is greens means more nitrogen rich materials and brown means more carbon rich materials and we are trying to balance out those two nutrients, those two elements in the compost pile. So greens means things like maneuver, I don’t have any maneuver today, I don’t tend to use it all that much in the compost pile but that is one that is more of nitrogen source, especially when you get down to the bird maneuver like chicken maneuver.

Another one is fresh grass clippings or weeds that you might have picked that contain more nitrogen. Young plants, especially tentative have more nitrogen and as they get older they become more carbon rich, food scraps are another one, they tend to be all over the map for their carbon to nitrogen ratio but we tend to think of them a little bit more than nitrogen, now I want your raw material as your carbon rich materials, for me what are main ones is straw or you can use hay too, hay has a little bit more weed seeds but that can be okay, that’s a really good one. Leaves are great carbon source and nice nutrition source too. I like to put them in the compost obviously in the fall and the n I don’t tend to use it much but if you do have some saw dust or some wood scraps, they can make nice carbon component of the compost pile suite there, very high in carbons.

They need to be balanced it with a lot of nitrogen but that’s okay, now you can just take one kind of nitrogen and one kind of carbon source and mix them together and that’s fine but I do like to get a diversity if possible because the more different sources I am bringing in, the more different microorganisms I am bringing in and different nutrients I am bringing in and generally I am going to get a nice or more diverse compost pile. When it comes to mixing these things together, a general simple rule for composting 101 is to try to get 2 to 4 times as much brown carbon materials as green nitrogen materials and so really that just keeps it simple, you can get a lot more technical and mathematical about it but that’s an easy way to go about it.

Let’s get into how to make organic compost and we get into my bin here, you can see I have out of palettes because that’s the free and very easy way to do it, I just tie them together with a little bit of rope, you don’t even need a bandage just keep things a little bit tight here in terms of size this is about the minimum I would go with which is about 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet tall and then I go up to a size of about 5 feet by 5 feet 5 feet. I have actually been leaning a little more to larger size as recently because it helps to get the pile harder. What happens if the pile is too small if it’s much smaller than 3 by 3 by 3 it’s not going to be able to heat up and I think heating up is what allows the composting process to happen and it also kills weed seeds and pathogens.

So we want to get some heat going in there, on the other hand if your pile gets too big and there is not enough air getting into the middle and we want air to be outflow with the pile because we are trying to make aerobic compost because we are trying to get aerobic air breathing microorganism. The way to make sure that you have enough air in the pile and the pile stays nice and hard and that all of the materials get into the middle of the pile is to turn the piles, that’s what I am going to do right now. So you can see it starts to look a little more like compost when I get down to the bottom of my pile but for me it doesn’t look entirely like compost because I put in things like this big stocks of corn or tomatoes.

First of all I would like to recycle them but it also helps keep it more aerated as well. So at the end of the process, eventually they will break down but by the time I am ready to use the compost, there still going to be in there and will have to strain them out but it adds more air. So for this turning of compost what a lot of people will do is they will have two or three bins in alternative from one bin into another. I just keep it simple with one band and so I turn my compost out, turned your back in and kind of mix it in a little differently and then make sure that everything is getting a chance to be in the middle of the pile and it introduces a lot of air in there too.

That’s for how often you turn that kind of depends on what your goals are, if you want compost that has done really fast like as little as a few weeks, you can chop up all your materials really small, make your pile and then turn it every 3 to 7 days, what I like to do is just turn my compost pile a couple of times throughout the growing season, when I do that it may take 8 months for it to get done but it’s going to save me a lot of work and a lot of time and it’s going to retain more nutrition because every time you turn a pile and get more air in there, it gets the metabolism going faster and it gets breaking down more and off casing more, I would like to retain more nutrition, retain more fungi and beneficial organisms.

So now I am going to start turning my materials back in. So that’s how I like to water every time I build or turn a compost pile whenever I am shelving materials into the pile there always getting water, so I make sure I have a lot of moisture in there. So that’s it for organic composting 101. If you have any questions leave them down below and I will answer them. If you haven’t signed up for my free online organic gardening course you can do that down below. You can join me and my sister over on Facebook at facebook.com/smilinggardener or me over on YouTube at youtube.com/gardenersmiling. I request you, just to keeping on your toes there.

Welcome to organic composting 101.

This isn't just a way of recycling organic waste – organic compost is actually one of the most valuable things we grow in the garden.

What is organic compost?

It just means we're making compost from organic materials, without any added chemicals or genetically-modified ingredients or manure from animals that have received drugs, etc.

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6 Steps For Boosting Garden Health And Better Food

I talk a lot about how to improve garden health because it’s obviously a vital step for growing nutrient-dense organic food.

That’s why the first 6 months of The Academy - my members-only online organic gardening course - are largely about how to optimize the health of your soil and plants.

(The course discount is ending on Tuesday night, so be sure to join before then if it’s something you’re interested in).

The reason the following steps are so important is because we’re trying to grow plants that probably wouldn’t be growing in our gardens on their own, plants that often need quite a lot of nutrition, as is the case for a majority of our most common vegetables.

And also because we really want them to produce big yields, and to be healthy and nutritious.

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A Garden Tip We All Need To Remember This Year

Sometimes gardening seems so easy, and yet sometimes so hard.

And sometimes LIFE seems so easy, and yet sometimes so hard.

Today I’d like to weed through both of ‘em.

Before I get into it today, I’ll mention that the introductory fee on my online organic gardening course - the Smiling Gardener Academy - is going up on Tuesday night at 9pm Eastern Time.

If you sign up before then, you’ll end up saving a lot of money, so if you’ve been thinking about it, be sure to check it out.

It’s definitely worthwhile if you’re looking for a comprehensive video-based course on growing an organic garden.

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Organic Weed Control - Kill Weeds Naturally And Forever

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Phil: Hey guys it’s Phil from smilinggardener.com. It’s actually getting warm at here, I think this might be the last video where I am wearing my faithful green sweater here. If you haven’t picked up my free online organic gardening course, you can do that right on the home page of smilinggardener.com.

Today I am talking about organic weed control. Now for many of us organic weed control means we are down on our hands and knees for hours at a time pulling weeds, you can tell right now but I was down on my hands and knees and we really start to after a while to think that weeds are the enemies, especially weeds like bindweed and some of those grassy weeds which just keep putting up shoots all over the place. I am going to give you some tips on how to kill weeds naturally today but first I want to talk about the benefits of weeds some of us realized you know that can’t be just that simple that weeds are all bad, the truth is weeds are soil healers.

A number of weeds are nitrogen fixers like this is vetch and this is something I actually planted as a cover crop but it is helping to get more nitrogen into the soil, same with clover is a common weed, people would call the weed in the line even though it wasn’t long ago that it used to be included in lawn seed and it’s coming back a little bit today the people started to do a little bit of that but that is a nitrogen fixing plant. It’s working with bacteria to help improve the nitrogen in the soil, other than pulling weeds by hand there are number of things you can do. I am going to give you six of them today.

If you get cheap seed it’s going to have a lot of weed seeds in and you don’t want to do that, likewise when you are bringing in compost or when you are composting, you want to make sure you are creating a hot compost pile or buying really good compost for most of those weed seeds will have been killed because if you spread compost that has or top soil that has horse tiller or something like that you are bringing that into your garden. It’s not a great thing, so that’s number one as try to be clean. Second step is balancing your soil fertility and actually that’s what I was going to bring out my soil test for I remember now.

So I am not going to get in much detail here but when I look at this organic soil test result I can look especially at my main macronutrients here. I can see my calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium those are all a [indiscernible 02:02] which is certainly common but if we can balance those out based on the recommendations from a good organic soil lab, we will start to see our weed pressure go down, a trusty hope.

Now it’s not always going to kill the weeds but if you just keep doing it a few times, it’s going to weaken them and eventually they wouldn’t cause that much problem, but dandelion, it’s nice if you can pull up that by the tap root it takes so long, now for me personally I leave most of the dandelions in my soil because I know they are doing a lot of good work there but if I did want to get rid of them and this is one handed I would just take a whole and boom, I didn’t get rid of everything but I got rid of a lot, you know the worms like to hang up right in the root zone of a weed. So, that’s another reason weeds are good. Next, how I am going to stop that dandelion from coming up again, well dandelions happen to be pretty strong, they keep come in back otherwise you can weaken them over the time but the next step to controlling weeds is boom.

Throw a nice thick mulch in there leaves or straw or whatever you like to use for mulch, I talked about that before but that is going to stop most weeds from coming up. Let’s go have a look at okay. Let’s check out this new garden that I put in last fall, not a whole lot of weeds going on in here either and that’s because of mulch, does so much to stop weeds. I had a leaf mulching here over the fall and just actually in the last couple of days having lend on a little straw because some of the leaves blew over to that side of the garden, so now I am laying down straw, those are my two favorite kinds of mulch and I do not have any weed problems in this garden.

The next step is to plan very densely, plant poly cultures which are groups of different kinds of plants that all work together to help each other out and the shadow of the soil, now I don’t have much going on this year. Here is my little strawberry batch. It doesn’t have much weed problems because it’s pretty dense on it’s own when it gets going and plant other things in there and I smoldered it with leaves so that’s not a great example this time year and there is the last step right there if you are in a pinch in it vinegar, just regular household vinegar, it’s 5% ascetic acid by volume.

It’s going to get rid of some of those you know dandelions and those really strong perennials but they do a really good job on animals and it will weaken perennials too just like aa hoe does over the time. So, what you do here is you put this in a spray bottle and just spray it especially nice for sidewalks and patios, but even a little bit in the garden is not too big of a deal, now if you want something a little stronger, you can buy horticultural vinegar, it’s 10% to 30% ascetic acid now it’s pretty caustic stuff very ascetic. It can burn you, you got to be careful with it but it can be used with you know to kill more perennial weeds, so those are your six steps. So how to kill weeds naturally, the big thing here is to take a long review.

So all of these other lessons I am teaching you had a balance of your soil and get organic matter in there, all of that stuff is going to create a soil that doesn’t support weeds very well, they just wouldn’t be able to thrive there. So that’s the main one along with smoldering them out with a nice thick organic mulch with very dense plantings or plants with a very dense healthy line, it’s especially important to balance your soil and have a good healthy line to compete weeds there because in the garden we can put a thick mulch on and that can cover a lot.

So that allow me really need to make healthy and that’s what we gotta do that. So the question today is what are your main problem weeds. If you can post that down below I will try to give you some tips specifically on how to deal with those weeds or I will try to tell you if there are any fertility issues that those weeds point to, other than that you can read more detail in this article down below, you can subscribe to my free online course down below that, you can join me on facebook.com/smilinggardener and I will see you next week.

For many of us, organic weed control means many hours crouched in the garden pulling weeds.

And after a while, it’s easy for an organic gardener to begin to think of the buttercups or bindweed as the enemy.

So I’ll give some tips on how to kill weeds naturally in this article.

But at the same time, many of us may have an inkling that weeds aren’t simply the enemy, that it’s more complicated than that.

After all, many weeds are edible or have medicinal properties.

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Organic Garden Pest Control - Without Toxins

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Phil: Hey guys it’s Phil from smilinggardener.com. If you haven’t picked up my free online organic gardening course, you can do that right on the home page of smilinggardener.com.

Today I am talking about organic garden pest control. Everything I talk about in these lessons I often bows down to three things, increasing organic matter in your soil, balancing out the fertility and improving your soil food web, doing all of that not only grows the nutrient dense food but it really prevents the pests from coming in and the diseases in the insects. So that’s the main thing, even when we are doing a good job of improving all that stuff, we are still going to have the occasional plant that isn’t healthy or group of plants that are healthy and so we are going to get some pests.

We are still going to have some of those and today I am talking a little bit about what you can do when you find you have but even before them it’s still is about prevention, just in terms of some smart practices. So when you are buying plants from the nursery inspect the leaves and even inspect the roots a little bit and see if there are pests problems. You don’t want to buy plants are diseased because that means they are unhealthy and they are going to have disease probably in the future. You don’t want plants with aphids or spider mites or anything like that.

So that’s the number one thing, if you are doing some pruning disinfect your secateurs or your bypass perennials or whatever you are using with some just some hydrogen peroxide, it’s kind like a natural bleach. Another thing you can do is plant aromatic plants that sometimes confuse some insects. So what I do all throughout the garden is I plant garlic, you can see there is not much going on in this garden yet but there are a few garlic that are coming up here and there just because I always tend to plant them around my various plants and I don’t always pick them all.

So that’s prevention, now let’s go on to a couple of short term organic pest control measures you can take. Now what I often do, if I have some plants that are really sick and so they are covered in insects or diseases. I let them die because I know that’s going to encourage the predators of those predators to come in set up shop and start eating them and they will be there for next year and also I just know that food isn’t healthy so I am not that interested in eating it anyway but if you are having a lot of problems, I know you don’t your whole crop to die so you want to do something about it in the short term. Once you know what the predator is then it’s a lot easier to choose what kind of control you are going to do to take care of it, of course you always want to go with at least toxic control and often they are very entirely non-toxic controls but then you know what you are dealing with.

One of the simplest controls for tomato harm worms because it was not that many of them, there is just a handful of them in my plants as I just took them often I squash them. So that’s no big deal. Another one is you can often use of hose to just wash them off so I don’t have my hose here but that works really well for washing a number of things on. One is insecticidal soap, you want to read the label and make sure that it works for the predator that you are dealing with and another one is horticultural oil.

Now these are not entirely benign they are much less toxic than you know a chemical pesticide but when I use something like this. I would like to come through a day later and spray some EM onto my leaves or some compost tea, something to repopulate the leaf surface because if you are using a soap on your leaves it’s going to wash of a lot of the beneficial microorganisms. So I want to repopulate those leaves with something healthy.

The next one is biological controls. Now what some people try to do is order some lady bugs and release them into the garden to take care of their aphids. that’s usually not going to work that well because the lady bugs will probably just go somewhere else, the reason there are not in your garden in the first place is probably because there is nothing really there for them, no reason for them to be there. It can work okay in a greenhouse setting but what I like to do instead is to in my vegetable garden among my vegetables is plant a bunch of different flowers that attract beneficial insects and so right now I don’t really have anything going on because it’s so early in the spring.

Here is a rudbeckia that hopefully attracts and beneficial once it gets growing again this year. Here is echinacea that will attract some beneficial insects. So that can work pretty well too it’s just that’s really what I focus on a lot is planting a bio-diverse garden full of different kinds of plants that are attracting in all these beneficial insects along the same lines you wanna provide water for insects that means a bird bath and not too tidy over bird bath, you want to have it so that parasitic waste and other little insects can get in there and drink, not only bird bath but watering the whole soil and having so then you have little potholes on the soil for them to drink from and providing them other kinds of habitat, water and habitat grasses, rock piles.

I will show you my rock pile. So here is a pile of rock. So it hopefully is a good place for some snakes and other little animals. Here we have just a little pond that has some frogs and toads and things like that. Now I know a lot of people don’t like snakes and spiders but I think we need to encourage them with rocks and other organic piles of debris and even just weedy parts in the corner of the garden. So the goal here is to have a healthy garden with lots of organic matter, minerals fertility with a healthy soil food web. You want to get into prevention by not bringing pets and disease in insects into the garden in the first place. We do have some short term controls.

We can try such as a few sprays we can make or buy but in the long run we are trying to just create a garden that doesn’t attract these predators in the first place but does attract many beneficial insects to take care of any predators that do setup shop. So below why don’t you let me know about your most important predator problem whether it be insect or disease that you have maybe this year, maybe you are already far enough into the season, you are having an issue or maybe last year you had something. If you want a little more detail read the article down below I always post more detail in the article below that you can sign up for my free online organic gardening course, you can join me over on Facebook at facebook.com/smilinggardener and over there I will get my sister to post some naked photos of...

Update: I now recommend neem oil instead of horticultural oil.

As I’ve discussed in other posts, the best organic garden pest control method is a healthy ecosystem.

This means creating the right conditions for thriving, healthy plants by doing things like caring for the soil, watering properly, and having the right plant in the right place.

Then our plants won’t attract diseases or plant-feeding insects.

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Natural Organic Fertilizers - How To Choose For Your Garden

Click for video transcription

Phil: Hey guys it’s Phil from smilinggardener.com, if you haven’t checked out my free online organic gardening course, you can do that right on the home page of smilinggardener.com.

Today is a beautiful day to be talked about natural organic fertilizers. If you want to compare an organic fertilizer with a conventional chemical fertilizer. The organic often doesn’t look like that greater value because the NPK numbers are usually very low but organic has a number of benefits. Often it’s going to have many more nutrients than just NPK but more important to me is first of all it’s nontoxic which means it’s not going to kill your soil life which is a good thing.

Also it’s often better to apply lower doses of nutrients anyway like if you are applying a 20-20-20 that’s really hard on your soil and on your plants, so there are number of different benefits to organic first thing I really want to mention is what is organic in this context, it really just means anything that we are allowed to use in our organic garden, we often get these rules from organic farming because they have all these standards laid out and now for the last few years we have had the SOUL organic standard for urban gardens too. So, you can follow up the SOUL standard.

So, if you are looking for something, you really want something organic. If it says organic based that really probably means it’s mostly chemical. If it says natural or environmentally friendly those are not bad boards but they are not regulated, so they really don’t mean anything. So it’s okay if it says that but you don’t want them to pick as fertilizer based on that, when in doubt. If you really don’t know much about reading ingredients, you can go for something that’s only listed which is right there. Only listed and that says it’s allowed to be used in organic farming.

I often divide fertilizers in my head into two groupsand the first is mineral fertilizers that means rocks basically different kinds of rocks like calcytic lime stone or a glacial rock dust, these are what I think of is being the main soil builders. You put them in your soil over the course of many years they break down and they provide the essential nutrients for your soil and for your plants. Most of these need to be applied based on that soil test that we did, since most people don’t do soil test you really don’t want to apply many of them, for example I have one right here, that’s a beautiful product, it’s called rock phosphate.

This one is granulated, you could see it there, it contains mainly calcium and phosphorus, wonderful stuff but only if you need calcium and phosphorus, now lot of us do but if you don’t it’s not going to be something you want to add. So most mineral fertilizers, we don’t want to be adding. If you can find a glacial rock dust that’s the one you can add without doing any of these testing because it has a broad range of nutrients. So that’s alright, another issue with the mineral fertilizer is they can be pretty hard to find.

If you are hard core organic gardener like me and you don’t mind look in forming, finding a store, tracking him down that’s alright but they are too expensive to shift from long distances and sometimes it takes some work to find them so that’s a little bit of an issue and that’s why I love the other group of fertilizers which I call the biological fertilizers. With the mineral fertilizers are the rocks, the biological is basically anything that was once alive and it’s now being turned into some kind of a fertilizer. So very briefly I have mentioned that a lot of biological fertilizers we are use to using organic gardening, I don’t use anymore because they are being derived from genetically modified plants, that’s like cotton seed meal and canola meal and all kinds of things like that.

Now I am very strict on this compared to a lot of organic gardening experts. A lot of peoples still advocated the organic standards don’t allow it, so I just I don’t use it and I don’t want to support the genetic modification movement so I use other things. So, I will tell you what I do use if you are wondering why I dance around so much on my videos it’s because I drink a lot of tea that’s a cool product, wonderful full of nutrients, full of natural growth hormones, really wonderful stuff for feeding your plants, along the same line is a fish fertilizer, I don’t tend to use that anymore because if there are sustainability issues around it but it is a really great fertilizer especially for nitrogen and phosphorus.

Other ones right from your own home is molasses, it’s a wonderful for your fertilizers, it’s brings all kind of vitamins and sugars for your microbes. My favorite one, I am going to talk about this stuff more in the future but my favorite one is ocean water, this happens to be a product, it’s very concentrated ocean water where most of the sodium chloride has been removed but it am going to talk about these more another time but there all these products, a lot of them come from the ocean.

You know the see minerals technically isn’t a biological but I kind of lump it in with the biological that you can use without any kind of a soil test, they bring in dozens sometimes 80 plus nutrients. They are not going to cause any imbalances, they are great to use, you can sign up from my free online course that’s smilinggardener.com. If you are on YouTube, you can subscribe to get more videos, if you are Facebook, you can like me, if you are somewhere else you can high five me whatever it is you do all these different social media sites, I will see you next time.

There are a handful of very useful natural organic fertilizers for you to choose from, especially if you look online.

The hard part is knowing which ones to choose, but I’ll give you a few things to look for.

Natural organic fertilizers don’t look like much of a bargain compared with the high nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium numbers on chemical fertilizers, but they’re so much more valuable.

They often provide many more nutrients than just N-P-K, they don’t hurt soil life, and it’s generally better to add lower doses of fertilizers anyway.

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Heather And I Are Splitting Up After 10 Wonderful Years

Heather And Phil

I mention my wife Heather here from time to time, and she certainly mentions me regularly on her website because I’m so involved with it.

So I think it’s fitting to let you guys know we’re splitting up after 10 years together, nearly 3 of those in marriage.

The good news is that so far, about 10 days since the decision was made, we’re still hoping to continue as distant friends and virtual business partners from our respective cities (wherever those may be).

Read more...

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