|Lawn Care For Busy People|
Composting and Composters: A Basic Introduction
Recent studies show that an average family throws away approximately 200 pounds of organic kitchen waste every year. Combine this with all the leaves, grass clippings and other organic garden waste accumulated over time and that's a lot of household waste being added to the already mountainous waste disposal problem. Some local authorities are refusing to take away green waste from gardening and others charge for the service in an effort to curb mounting costs and then when you add in the environmental costs of adding new landfill sites, road transport emissions from ferrying all this waste around and potentially incineration and the fumes that releases the environmental advantages of composting are clear.
In slightly more selfish terms, if you are a gardener then you will know the relatively high cost of fertiliser. Well, OK an average gardener's yearly fertiliser expenditure is not going to break the bank but when you can get fertiliser for free out of the stuff you throw away then it starts looking extremely expensive. Composting simply makes good environmental and financial sense and it's so easy to do there's nothing stopping you.
What Do I Need To Begin?
A compost bin, box, enclosure or handy place to put an open compost heap. Cheap plastic composters and compost bins can be bought from all good garden centers and are quite inexpensive depending on your requirements. A plastic compost bin is generally the cheapest whilst wood composters are generally more attractive additions to your garden but a little more costly. An open heap (just create a pile somewhere) is also an option but it is advisable to have some sort of cover like a tarpaulin available for colder periods of weather.
Another slightly different alternative to composting in the traditional sense is vermicomposting or wormeries. These use a special kind of worms to break down kitchen scraps producing a fine compost-like material fromtheir casts and a nutrient filled liquid plant food which is ideal for feeding indoor pot plants. If do a lot of greenhouse gardening or have a lot of houseplants then a wormery may be the best choice for the disposal of household waste.
If you do not want to actually spend money on a composter then building your own isn't exactly difficult if you do not mind picking up a hammer and nails. Nail together a few wooden pallets for example and you've got an enclosure suitable for composting. For plans and ideas on how to assemble your own composter at little cost, simply head to your favourite search engine and type in phrases like "build your own composter" or "compost bin plans" for an endless supply of simple ideas typically costing under $30.
Where To Put Your Compost
Whether you purchase a composting bin or make your own composter you need to make sure you have a flat, well drained place in your garden not too far away that you begrudge taking your kitchen scraps out to it. Compost bins should not be placed on concrete, patio areas etc. as you want to allow the insects, worms and microorganisms which help degradation of your waste materials the freedom to migrate into and out of your compost without hinderance.
In addition, choose a site which suits your climate. Warmth and moisture helps the composting process so place your composter in a place which receives a fair amount of sunlight and shelter from the wind if you live in a cooler climate and if in a hotter climate, ensure you give it shade to prevent it drying out.
What Materials Can You Compost?
Pretty much all your organic household and garden waste is an elligible candidate for composting although there are a few exceptions. Things to particularly avoid are meat, fish, bones, fats and oils, dairy products like milk and cheese, dog and cat droppings as these can attract animals, create foul smells as they degrade and carry nasty diseases. Also, whilst weeds and plants can be added, it is advised to dry out persisent weeds and remove seed heads before adding these. Ashes are also best avoided, as are glossy magazines although shredded paper and cardboard are fine to add. Feel free to add waste fruit and vegetables, crushed egg shells, coffee grounds (worms love them!) and tea bags, hair, leaves, grass clippings and other organic waste. As a general rule, if in doubt, leave it out but most organic waste will rot down just fine and if you shred it or cut it up smaller, it will compost faster.
How Long Before It Becomes Compost?
This depends on the balance of materials in your compost heap, the weather and the amount of time you can devote to the project. If you want to take an active managed approach to your composting then you can have afully composted pile in 3 months but if your only desire is to dispose of kitchen and garden waste in a more 'green' manner then it can take 6 months to a year or longer.
Managed composting can produce a 'hot rot' with very fast results but it does require additional effort on your behalf to keep it going. A managed, hot compost heap with an excellent balance of materials can reach temperatures of 70 degree celsius but requires regular turning and nurturing with careful layering and balance of browns and greens in the mix, shredding materials and maintaining a good moisture level.
An unmanaged cool heap is however much easier to maintain and rots down at up to 30 degrees celsius with little input from you. Just throwing your waste on the heap will give you a cooler heap which will rot down more slowly but is fine for green waste disposal purposes.
There are ways to increase the rate of the composting process in both cases by, for example, adding composting worms, or by using an activator which help speed up the process. The addition of a handful or soil now and then or horse manure will also add micro-organisms to speed up the composting process free of charge.
For The Best Compost...
...use a wide variety of different materials. The more varied the materials you add to the compost pile, the nutrient rich your final compost will be. Compost made from kitchen and garden waste is the best food for your plants and at the same time you are helping the environment and saving yourself and your local government money into the bargain.
Mark Falco is the webmaster of the British gardening shopping guide found at http://www.ukgardeningsupplies.co.uk which includes where to buy composting accessories including composters, compost worms and accessories as well as garden tools, furniture, plants and gardening accessories online for UK delivery.
Decorative Garden Accents
Think of your garden like you would a room in your home. After planning the shape, tilling the soil, choosing the right plants the last step is to add those personal touches. And just like indoors this is accomplished with accessories.
How to Grow Bamboo
Bamboo is a mysterious and elusive plant that baffles taxonomists who try to contain it within a botanical class and gardeners who try to contain it within a limited garden space as they learn how to grow bamboo. For many years, bamboo was thought to be a primitive grass but recent DNA testing has shown it to be one of the most highly evolved forest grasses. There are over 1200 forms of bamboo that grow in a broad spectrum of color including the familiar green and gold as well as burgundy, blue and even black grasses. Some varieties of bamboo can grow up to a foot a day and ultimately reach 130 feet tall while the smallest bamboo cultivar attains only six inches of growth.
Garden for Birds #3
Well, another week is passing us by.
Brighten Your Path By Installing Decorative Landscape Lighting
Landscape lighting can add a beautiful quality to any home. There are many choices available to someone who is considering it. Landscape lighting, and any outdoor lighting, can help protect a home as well as keep people from stumbling in the yard. Mainly, people purchase landscape lighting to enhance the appearance of their yard or landscaping.
Lawn Care Business Owners - Dont Buy Yourself A Job
Most businesses consist of the owner only or the owner and a few employees. The owner continues to do the same activity whether it is labor or crew management for many years. He gets into the"comfort zone" or "rut" and does the same thing day in and day out.
The Protea Family (Proteaceae)
The protea family (Proteaceae) includes a wide range of ground covers, trees and shrubs that often make superb garden plants. While some of the species are frost-tender, they are in all other respects remarkably resilient plants that often thrive in situations where others would rapidly succumb. Poor soils and hot dry positions that scarcely seem capable of supporting life are often ideal for Proteaceae. If any plants could be said to thrive on neglect the proteas can.
Water Pond Designs
You can have different water pond designs, however ones that don't restrict water movement are the best. What I mean by that is you don't want to have a backyard pond with tight corners in it where it will be hard for water to circulate.
Summer Pond Tips
Low Oxygen levels Kill Fish
Gardeners: Contain Yourselves!
Whether you live in a tiny city apartment or on a large country estate, gardening in containers is a way to add colour and the beauty of nature to your surroundings. The three main elements of creating successful containers gardens are:
Hot Feeding Tips
Summer is the most enjoyable water gardening season and the time to watch for potential problems caused by high water temperatures during extreme or extended hot periods.
Frame Your Garden With Edging
You've planted the flowers, put in the shrubs and even added a bird bath and a few garden decorations, but what's missing? Could it be the edging?
How to Create a Zen Garden
When you hear the term "Zen Garden" the picture conjured up is of a dry landscape with rocks surrounded by carefully raked gravel which invites you to withdraw from the noise of the world outside and to enter into silent meditation. Some say that zen priests adopted the dry landscape style in the eleventh century as an aid to create a deeper understanding of the zen concepts, but others hold that the Japanese Zen Garden is a myth. They claim that it is a late 20th Century western creation that has nothing to do with the Japanese Garden Tradition and that the dry garden style is not unique to zen temples but can be found associated with many other buildings.
Landscaping Design - The Primary Principles
Principles refer to standards or prescriptions for working with or arranging various elements to produce the intended landscape design. Good landscape design follows a combination of seven principles: unity, balance, proportion, focalization or emphasis, sequence or transition, rhythm, and repetition.
The Perfect Garden Sundial
Is it possible for a garden sundial to tell perfect time?
How To Find Cheap Flower Delivery In Your Area
As humans, we are always on the lookout for a deal. Deals on flower delivery are no exception. We use flowers as gifts for so many occasion such as birthdays, anniversaries, deaths, births, graduations and many, many more. We could probably come up with an event or celebration that could constitute giving flowers at least once a month. Instead of paying retail (or more) each time we need to order flowers, we would all like a great deal. Many methods of finding cheap flower delivery exist, you just need to know how to find them.
Gardening Tips and Tricks for Late Autumn
Preparing for the Winter Months: Gardening in October
The Perfect Accent -- Miniature Roses
Indoors or out, you'll find miniature roses very easy to grow. These little guys sometimes get overlooked because they give off little fragrance, yet they can be the perfect visual accent to any home or garden.
Early Spring Garden Guide: What To Do In The Yard And Garden Now
Can't wait to get back to the garden? Use this handy spring garden guide to get started. Believe it or not, the key is avoid getting too impatient and doing certain jobs too soon. Early spring jobs: in the yard Start winter cleanup of the lawn when the grass is no longer sopping wet and planting beds stop being a sea of mud. Rake your lawn to get rid of dead growth, stray leaves, twigs and winter debris and let light and air to the soil level, encouraging the grass to grow. Re-seed bare or damaged patches of lawn. Scratch up the soil with a rake first. Mix a shovel of soil with a couple of scoops of grass seed and spread in the patch you're fixing. Rake level and keep well-watered until seeds germinate and the new grass establishes. Remove tree guards or burlap winter protection from any young trees or shrubs. Try not to leave tree guards in place over the summer. They keep rabbits and mice from nibbling on tender bark over the winter, but trees don't need them in summer. They don't allow enough air movement around the base of the trunk and that can promote rot of the bark. Transplant any existing shrubs you want to move before they begin to leaf out. Weeds start growing vigorously early, so when you spot them, go to it. Getting on top of the weeding now means a lot less work later. Weeds are easier to pull out while their roots are still shallow in early spring. Apply dormant oil spray to fruit trees, magnolias, crabapples and shrubs such as euonymous to control scale insects and other overwintering pests. Use this organic pest control method when the buds are swelling but the leaves haven't opened yet. Apply when temperatures are between 40 and 70 degrees F (4-21 degrees C). Get your lawn mower checked and its blades sharpened if you didn't get the job done in late winter. Sharp blades cut better and leave your lawn grass healthier. Early spring garden jobs: In the flower garden Don't be in a rush to remove winter mulch or to cut back evergreen plants such as lavender until temperatures are reliably warm. Freeze and thaw cycles over the winter may given some of your plants the heave-ho. Replant any perennials that the frost has heaved out of the ground as soon as you can. Cut back any remaining dead perennial foliage from last season (trimmings can go into the compost). Cut back ornamental grasses to about 10 inches from the ground. Remove winter protection of mounded earth from roses. Prune rose bushes before they start to leaf out. Resist the urge to start digging in your flower beds too early. You can damage the soil's structure. If you pick up a handful of soil, it should fall apart, not stick together like glue. When it's dry enough, you can start to dig beds and add compost or manure in preparation for planting. Grass growth is vigorous in the early spring garden, so edge your flower beds with a sharp trench between them and the grass to keep it in bounds. Repeat this job a couple of times through the season, or installing permanent edging goes a long way towards having a lower maintenance flower garden.
Landscape wallpaper can be a great addition to your computer's desktop. Since most of us always have our PCs running, it is refreshing to see a beautiful masterpiece on the display when the computer is not in use. You may even be able to download landscape screensavers as well.
Teak Garden Furniture: A Natural Extension of the Home
In the past, the garden has traditionally been a separate entity, with wrought iron or plastic furniture dotting the landscape in no particular design pattern. Seen as simply a place to have a picnic or, perhaps, read a book on a nice day, attention wasn't given to the fact that the garden is a natural extension of the home.
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