Organic Farming Blog. Filled with interesting facts, comparison articles and opinions on everything related to organic farming.
By: organicfarmingblog, 6:54 AM GMT on July 30, 2014
Photo by: http://www.nextbarnover.com/images/hanginggarlic.j pg
Garlic… the scourge of vampires! Be it true or not, one thing for sure, it is one of the most flavorful, aromatic and nutritious food around. They are easy to grow, but the trickiest part is knowing when to harvest them.
Garlic bulbs are usually ready for harvesting from seven to eight months after they are planted. But when do you really begin digging? Well, the sure way is to dig several bulbs and cut them in half. If the cloves fill out the skin, then it’s ready. But some do it differently.
Before you start harvesting your garlic, you need to watch them closely and once you see the flower stems soften and one third of the leaves has turned brown and withered, then, you can start harvesting. At this time you should also stop watering. Remember, do not wait until all the leaves died before harvesting your garlic because at this stage the bulbs will have started to spit and they would not last long. And if you harvest them early, you get smaller cloves. Timing is important.
If your garlic has been planted in light soil they can be pulled off straight from the ground very carefully. But if they were planted deeply or in a heavier soil, you will need to use a digging fork to insert under the bulb to lift it. You should never pull the bulb without loosening the soil. Once lifted, brush off excess dirt. Be careful in handling the bulbs as they are very delicate. If they get bruised they would easily rot.
Leave the gathered plants intact, do not remove flower stalks, leaves or roots. If you need to clip the roots, use a pruning shear, and cut half an inch from the bulb. And whether you’re harvesting softnecks or hardnecks, you have to wait for another week before clipping or braiding them. If you want them to store longer, leave them for two months.
Lay down all the plants in a warm and airy spot to dry. Be sure to protect them from rain and direct sunlight, which can affect the flavor of fresh garlic. You need to keep a close watch, particularly the leaves. Once you see them getting moldy, cut them off as they will quickly spread to the bulb. You can also cure your garlic by tying the top of the stalks in bundles of 5. Hang them with the bulb down in a dry, dark place with good air circulation for three weeks. When they are all brown and the bulb has layers of papery skin, they can be stored. Brush off the soil from the bulb using your hands. Avoid removing the papery wrapper of the bulb. These protect the cloves from rotting and inhibit sprouting.
Don’t forget to routinely check your stored bulbs for mold or bacterial rot and discard them right away.
Have fun Gardening!
By: organicfarmingblog, 6:56 AM GMT on July 25, 2014
Photo by: http://www.lawnsforyou.com/wp-content/uploads/remo ving-moss-from-a-lawn.jpg
The presence of moss on your lawn is a sign that it is not in its best condition for your grass to grow well, that there is a much bigger problem. And unless you find out the reason why moss is growing where it should not be, it will just keep coming, replacing those that you have just removed.
There are several reasons that cause this problem. Either your soil is not getting enough sunlight, drainage is not good or the pH level is low and it lacks the necessary nutrients.
How do you get rid of the existing moss in the lawn? You may just rake them off easily as they are shallow rooted. Dish washing soap can also be used as well as baking soda, they are both organic and are therefore safe. I have two homemade mix which you can find at the end of this article. I do not recommend the use of chemical herbicides. But you have to remember, these are just temporary solutions, it is important that you find out the root-cause so you can apply a long term solution.
Find the root cause then you can rid of the moss. Is your lawn shaded by your trees? If so, you will have to do some pruning to lessen the shaded area of your lawn. Moss loves the shade and the best way to control them is through sunlight… lots of sunlight! If your lawn doesn’t get their needed light, the moss will just keep coming back regardless of whatever control you apply to it. So now, you may have to choose which one do you want to keep, a lovely lawn grass or beautiful shady trees?
Next thing to check is the soil under your lawn. If it does not drain well it will retain too much moisture and this becomes an open invitation for moss to come and stay. After a spring rain, try looking for any standing water in your lawn. If you find one, then you have a drainage issue. You may want to consider making a rain garden to catch rainwater runoff or by re-routing the excess water. Reduce the frequency of watering except during hot days. If you have a clay soil, you will have to amend it to make it friable.
Finally, have your soil tested. Find out its pH level and the necessary nutrients needed for your lawn to be healthy. If the pH level is excessively acidic, then you will need to correct the soil because moss loves acidic soil. To counter this condition, you need to apply some lime to neutralize the acidity. You may also need to fertilize (with compost) the lawn regularly.
By maintaining a good amount of sunshine, air and water in your lawn will keep the moss away.
For a homemade anti-moss mix: Fill a garden sprayer with a mix of one box baking soda and two gallons of water. Or mixing 2-4 ounces of dish soap (I use Dawn Ultra) per gallon of water in a sprayer.
Have fun gardening!
By: organicfarmingblog, 6:56 AM GMT on July 28, 2014
Photo by: http://bit.ly/1AopGsk
There are a lot of good reasons using compost tea in your garden. Aside from putting back organic matters into the soil, it’s an ideal fertilizer to use in your garden plants and especially for seedlings to stimulate growth and prevent diseases. It is natural, low-dilution and effective.
Spraying compost tea directly makes it easy for plants to absorb and distribute nutrients to produce greener leaves and a bigger yield. It wards off pest, fungus and prevents pathogens from infecting your plants. When applied to soil, fast acting nutrients and minerals are quickly absorbed, which improves the biological activity of the soil. A healthy soil will then produce a healthy crop.
Compost tea brewing is basically extracting the goodness in a compost with water to produce a “tea” solution. When brewing compost tea, one very important factor to consider is the use of the right compost. It should be matured with a sweet earthy smell. If it’s not, don’t use it.
To have a good quality compost, you need to have a sustained pile in a 135° to 150° temperature for at least a week or more, turning the file as often as possible. If you are maintaining a compost pile for more than a year, you have a tea ready compost you can use straightaway. It is important to note that E. coli can be present in raw ingredients used in composting and maintaining a hot compost will eliminate or at the least minimize them.
Let me share with you a simple way of making your own compost tea for your garden. You will need a 5 gallon bucket; a good quality, matured compost; an aerator or aquarium pump; compost catalyst (to help encourage the microorganisms in the compost to multiply); and water. If you’re using tap water, it needs to be de-chlorinated by letting it stand for a day before using it. The reason: chlorine will kill beneficial microorganisms. Water from deep well or gathered from rain can be used directly.
You can start with a 5 gallon bucket by filling it up about 1/3 full with matured compost. You then add water to the top of the bucket and let it steep for 5 to 7 days, you may add some molasses to feed and boost up the microorganisms. Stir the mixture regularly. At the end of the process, strain the mixture using a fine plastic screen mesh or cheesecloth to another bucket. You now have your compost tea ready for use. Don’t throw away the remaining compost solids, you can top them on your garden plot or put them back in the compost bin. Nothing is wasted!
That was quite easy… Right? So, start brewing compost tea instead of using chemical based fertilizers in your garden and save some money.
Have fun gardening!