Can Eucalyptus Leaves be Composted or Used as Garden Mulch?

In Australia, one of the most common trees are eucalyptus trees, also known as eucalypts or gum trees. These evergreen trees manage to drop a decent amount of their leaves, branches, twigs and gumnuts below their canopy. Since this debris doesn’t rot very easily, it can persist for a very long time. It’s tempting forContinue reading “Can Eucalyptus Leaves be Composted or Used as Garden Mulch?”

How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure

  Over the last decade, there have been increasing reports from gardeners that their vegetables and flowers have been damaged or killed after adding manure or compost to their gardens, or when they’ve planted into new soil they had delivered. In fact, the problems of contaminated composts adversely affecting horticultural crops first surfaced in 1999.Continue reading “How to Identify and Treat Herbicide Contamination of Commercial Soil, Compost and Manure”

Gardening Questions #004 – Can You Use Shells for Drainage in Houseplant Pots?

Sea shells should not be used in plant pots because they are made of calcium carbonate (chemical formula CaCO₃), which is exactly the same substance as limestone and garden lime. They will make the potting medium extremely alkaline. Some plants don’t grow well in alkaline soils! Any material that is added to improve drainage shouldContinue reading “Gardening Questions #004 – Can You Use Shells for Drainage in Houseplant Pots?”

Gardening Questions #002 – How Many Trays to Use When Starting a Worm Farm?

  When setting up a worm farm vermicomposting system, how many trays should I start with? Most of the worm farms that are sold at garden centres use a stackable tray design, and when first starting, use only a single tray. When the first tray is full, when the contents reach the fill line onContinue reading “Gardening Questions #002 – How Many Trays to Use When Starting a Worm Farm?”

How to Improve Drainage in Plant Pots, The Proper Way to Do It!

When growing plants in pots, it’s sometimes necessary to increase drainage because some plants are sensitive to excessive moisture around their root zone, and stagnant water at the bottom of the pot can lead to root rot. The old garden myth of putting a layer of rocks in the bottom of a pot to increaseContinue reading “How to Improve Drainage in Plant Pots, The Proper Way to Do It!”

Three Simple Soil Tests to Determine What Type of Soil You Have

Healthy plants only grow in healthy soils, and if you know what type of soil you’re working with, you’re better able to improve it to get the best results from your garden. In this article, we’ll discuss what soil is composed of, and show you three easy tests that you can perform at home withoutContinue reading “Three Simple Soil Tests to Determine What Type of Soil You Have”

Is Rabbit Manure Good to Use in the Garden?

Can you use rabbit manure as a fertiliser in the garden? Rabbit manure is an excellent manure to use in the garden. It can be used fresh, has higher nutrient levels than other manures, and does not burn plant roots. It’s an ideal soil conditioner that’s suitable to use in any garden.   The BenefitsContinue reading “Is Rabbit Manure Good to Use in the Garden?”

Soil Chemistry Fundamentals, Part 2 – How to Change Soil pH in Organic Gardening

  Most plants prefer a neutral soil around pH 6.5 to 7.5, but many will grow favourably in the broader pH range of 5.5 to 8. When soils become too acidic or too alkaline, some essential plant nutrient will become unavailable to plants, negatively impacting plant growth and yields, so it’s desirable to correct theContinue reading “Soil Chemistry Fundamentals, Part 2 – How to Change Soil pH in Organic Gardening”

Soil Chemistry Fundamentals, Part 1 – Understanding Soil pH and How it Affects Plant Nutrient Availability

What is soil pH? How does it affect soil microorganisms and nutrient availability to plants? What is the optimum soil pH for plants? In this article we’ll answer all those questions and more, explaining soil chemistry in a practical way that is useful to gardeners.   What is Soil pH? In chemistry, the pH scaleContinue reading “Soil Chemistry Fundamentals, Part 1 – Understanding Soil pH and How it Affects Plant Nutrient Availability”

What Materials Can You Put Into Your Compost Bin and What Not to Compost

Composting is Mother Nature’s ultimate recycling process which converts everything that was once living back into soil. We can compost a lot of organic matter in our homes and gardens, and use it to improve the quality of our soil, rather than toss it out into landfill. For successful composting, it’s important that we useContinue reading “What Materials Can You Put Into Your Compost Bin and What Not to Compost”

Beginner’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening – Part 2, How to Prepare the Soil

Preparing the Soil for Growing Food The secret to successful food gardening is rich, healthy soil. What goes into the soil goes into the food coming out of it! Plants take mineral nutrients and water from the soil, along with carbon dioxide from the air and sunlight from the sun to feed themselves and produceContinue reading “Beginner’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening – Part 2, How to Prepare the Soil”

Chop and Drop Gardening (Sheet Composting)

Permaculture is all about working efficiently and in harmony with Nature. We can garden far more efficiently, with far less effort, and improve the soil at the same time by emulating Nature’s soil building processes through practising Chop and Drop gardening. How do most sustainable gardeners garden? At the end of each season, many gardenersContinue reading “Chop and Drop Gardening (Sheet Composting)”

Which Garden Mulch is Best for Improving Soil?

Hard woody mulches or soft non-woody straw-like mulches, what’s the difference? They both work equally well as garden mulches to  moderate soil temperature, reduce water loss from the soil through evaporation, conserve soil moisture to reduce the need for watering, inhibit weed seed germination and suppress the growth of weeds. Selecting the right kind ofContinue reading “Which Garden Mulch is Best for Improving Soil?”

Seed Raising Mix – Does It Work?

Want to sow seeds in pots? What do you need? Seed raising mix? Guess again! Working part-time in the garden nursery industry, I meet many gardeners who have had problems sowing seeds in seed raising mix – they find that their seeds sprout but their seedlings only reach a very small size and then completelyContinue reading “Seed Raising Mix – Does It Work?”

The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Fertilizers and How to Use Them

The plants in your garden need food just like you do! That might seem obvious but you’ll be surprised how many people never bother to feed their plants and then wonder why they aren’t flowering, fruiting, or growing all that well. Even if you do give your garden the occasional feed, knowing what to feedContinue reading “The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Fertilizers and How to Use Them”

Bokashi Soil Generator, Turn Food Waste Into Nutrient Rich Soil

What do you do with your bokashi bin contents if you don’t have a large garden to dig them into? As discussed in the previous Bokashi Composting article, you can always put the processed bokashi food waste into your compost bin or into your worm farm (a little at a time till the worms getContinue reading “Bokashi Soil Generator, Turn Food Waste Into Nutrient Rich Soil”

Bokashi Composting, How to Process Waste that Can’t Go in Your Compost or Worm Farm

  Are you into recycling but are still throwing away some food scraps because you can’t put them in your compost bin or worm farm? Large amounts of citrus and onions, or any food that contains fish and meat should not be put in your worm farms. Likewise, your compost bin is not meant toContinue reading “Bokashi Composting, How to Process Waste that Can’t Go in Your Compost or Worm Farm”

Hugelkultur Bed Construction for Large and Small Spaces

Learn how to construct two different types of Hügelkultur raised beds which will allow you to compost all those heavy branches, tree trunks and woody prunings while at the same time improving the fertility and water retention of your soil. The first design is a traditional Hügelkultur bed for those people with big gardens andContinue reading “Hugelkultur Bed Construction for Large and Small Spaces”