Compost 101: How to Get it Right for Your Plants

Two hands holding compost with unbroken down compost in the background, showcasing Composting 101.

Compost fosters bacteria that are used for breaking down organic matter. However, excessive amounts will cause it to be anaerobic. Applying too much compost to plants will cause them to be more prone to diseases, making it necessary to apply only one inch of compost per year on top of your plants.

Potting Mix vs Soil: Which is Better for Your Plants?

Hands holding potting soil vs. potting mix: A pair of hands holding two types of soil in separate containers, showcasing the difference between potting soil and potting mix.

There is a difference between potting soil and potting mix, even though these two terms are used interchangeably. Potting mix is a strictly soilless medium, whereas potting soil may or may not have soil. Because it does not include soil, it cannot harbor fungus or other diseases; for this reason, potting mix is safer for plants.

The Truth About Seed Starting Mix Shelf Life

A table showcasing various sowing tools and a tray of seed starting mix, with a focus on Seed Starting Mix Shelf Life.

Seeding mixes, when stored properly and in low humidity and low-temperature regions, will not go bad. Its lifespan also depends on its ingredients. If peat moss is one of the main ingredients of your seed starting mix, do consider that this has a life span of about 1 to 2 years.

Does Miracle-Gro Go Bad? The Facts

ony O'Neill planting flowers in a planter with Miracle-Gro Organic compost, wondering, "Does Miracle-Gro Go Bad?

Miracle-Gro has a relatively long shelf life but will eventually go bad. Usually, at around the three-year mark, it will not be at its best original state anymore. Its vitality as a fertilizer is also affected by certain other factors such as how the Miracle-Gro is stored and external factors.

Top Benefits of Compost Tea Gardening

A person pours compost tea into a new vessel, highlighting the benefits of compost tea.

Compost tea is a biological fertilizer for the garden. Gardeners all around the world are screaming about the top benefits of compost tea. So, what is compost tea? Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer otherwise known as liquid gold or black gold.

How Often To Turn Compost

A person turning a compost pile with a pitchfork, mixing the organic materials to facilitate decomposition.

How much effort you put into composting is completely your decision. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to understand that compost heaps that are regularly turned and well-maintained typically produce superior humus, which is free from pathogens and weed seeds. Composting that follows turning routines based on internal temperatures, humidity levels, and times can ensure a uniform, quality … Read more

How to Compost in a Tumbler

A tumbler compost bin filled with organic waste and being turned, promoting the decomposition process.

Tumblers are an alternative to open hot composting piles, following a similar process and needing the same materials and elements. By adding a balance of brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen) materials at a 30:1 ratio and keeping the mix damp and aerated, tumblers can make quality compost.

How to Compost Chicken Manure

A compost pile containing chicken manure, vegetable scraps, and leaves, showcasing the process of composting chicken manure.

Due to its high nitrogen content, chicken manure composts faster than traditional plant-based piles. Chicken manure compost piles must be well managed to ensure high temperatures are achieved, need to kill the pathogens associated with chicken manure.

How Does a Compost Toilet Work? PROS & CONS

A diagram illustrating the functioning of a compost toilet, depicting the flow of waste, decomposition process, and resulting compost.

The main tenet of composting toilets is ecological responsibility, a behavior option fast becoming non-negotiable. Ecological sanitation (eco-san) is a strategy that tries to conserve water, reduce pollution, and return consumed nutrients to the soil.

What is in Mushroom Compost?

Pile of mushroom compost, a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

Mushroom Compost could refer to one of several forms of anaerobic compost specifically formulated for mushroom cultivation. Mushroom compost could also refer to compost previously used for mushroom growing, a residuary product still loaded with plant-beneficial microbes and nutrients.

How Long Does it Take to Make Compost

A compost pile in various stages of decomposition, showcasing the process of making compost.

Composting, the managed decomposition of organic matter, depends on the availability or the right proportions of carbon, nitrogen, water, and air. The speed of composting depends on how optimal the environment is for microorganism activity (bacteria, fungi, and actinomyces).   

How to Compost in an Apartment

A compact indoor composting setup in an apartment, featuring a small compost bin with vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and shredded paper.

Apartment composting can be done using natural, sanitary methods to reconstitute organic waste into humus loaded with plant nutrients and diverse microorganism populations. Increasingly science is discovering the importance of these components – something everybody can create.

6 Critical Nutrients That Plants Require to Grow!

A photo of a thriving plant surrounded by icons representing the nutrients needed by plants to grow.

The nutrients that plants require for growth are broadly classified into three categories, namely primary or macronutrients (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and potassium); secondary nutrients (calcium, magnesium, and sulfur); and micronutrients (boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc).

The Ultimate Guide to Back to Eden Gardening

A gardener in a sunhat gently tending to her plants, preparing them for planting in her backyard using the back to Eden gardening method.

Back to Eden, gardening is a natural method of growing vegetables, plants, and herbs in the way nature intended plants to grow, which is referred to as permaculture. It is the perfect way to start an organic garden because it requires little to no watering, no tilling, and no weeding. Additionally, this gardening method increases soil organic matter, reduces erosion, and sequesters carbon in the soil.

Soil Selection: The Missing Piece to a Beautiful Garden

Two individuals holding bags of garden soil and topsoil, comparing their differences.

The main difference between potting soil, topsoil, and garden soil is that it’s been specifically formulated for use in containers. Topsoil is usually processed to become finer to make it perfect for raised beds and seeds. Finally, garden soil is topsoil that has been enriched to make it optimal for plant growth.

What are mycorrhizal fungi? What does it do?

A close-up photo of mycorrhizal fungi thriving on a decaying wood log in a forest. These fascinating organisms demonstrate the symbiotic relationship with plant roots, providing essential nutrients in exchange for carbohydrates.

So, what is Mycorrhizal Fungi? It’s a fungus that is naturally occurring but is also available on sale by Agri-tech companies. Unlike normal fungi which act as a predator on whichever substrate, Mycorrhizal fungi are actually very beneficial to plants. Thus, you can safely say that the relationship between fungi and plants is symbiotic.

How to Water Houseplants While Away on Vacation

A person holding a watering can, carefully watering their houseplants. They are demonstrating how to water houseplants while away on vacation.

Sometimes if you are a forgetful gardener, you might forget to have a watering schedule for your plants. This scenario remains worse if you are in the middle of packing and planning a holiday. Just like pets, your plants also rely on you for water, especially if they are indoors.

Make Quality Compost. How Long Does It Take

A wooden bin filled with a compost pile, showcasing the natural process of decomposing organic materials to create nutrient-rich soil. The composting process demonstrates how long it takes to make quality compost.

Compost can take anywhere from 1 to 12 months or more to decompose. Decomposition depends on the time of year the pile was constructed, carbon, nitrogen, and moisture are correct and pile maintenance will all affect how long a compost pile will take to be ready.

How to increase mycorrhizal fungi in soil?

A hand holding soil with mycorrhizal fungi, demonstrating how to increase soil health.

Tillage is damaging to mycorrhizal fungi as it breaks up the hyphae and mycelium, causing them to start over again. Having a diverse selection of plants can be instead looked into rather than moving the soil around, as this will increase the mycorrhizal fungi due to their microbial relationships.

Can You Use Compost Instead Of Potting Soil?

A gardener wearing gloves shoveling rich compost into a vibrant red container, using compost instead of potting soil.

You can use compost instead of soil to boost your plant’s growth. You can also mix both to reduce waste. It also aids in increasing soil fertility by providing nutrients for plants. Using compost as soil reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which researches prove to cause environmental harm.

How to make homemade mycorrhizal fungi

A photo showing a container filled with mycorrhizal fungi enriched soil. Learn how to make it at home.

The first step to making homemade mycorrhizal fungi is to collect starter soil, preferably from an uncultivated area. Then, consider choosing a combination of grassy plant species which are likely to become infected with the mycorrhizal fungus and sow their seeds into the soil.

Should You Remove Old Mulch? Here’s the Deal.

A gardener mulching her plant in the garden, wondering, "Should you remove old mulch?"

Old mulch does not usually need to be removed and is often acceptable to leave undisturbed. It should be removed if it is infected with fungi or if the plants it surrounded were diseased. You’ll want to check the mulch to ensure it is effective and hasn’t matted itself down, choking off your plants’ access to air and water. 

Tilled Soil’s Secret to Better Plant Growth

A gardener with a wide smile tills the soil in his garden, preparing it for better plant growth.

Soil particles need time to settle, and compaction occurs when soil particles pack together tightly, which leads to poor water drainage. So, waiting for at least 1-2 weeks after tilling before planting ensures that the soil has settled enough so it can be re-compacted and water to ensure optimal water drainage and root health.

This Is Why Mulch Turns White

A pile of wood mulch with a shovel sticking out of it, showing the phenomenon of why mulch turns white.

Mulch typically turns white when it is infected with fungi. Many fungal species that might affect your mulch are not harmful, but some varieties may be pathogenic and harm your plants. Mulch can also be harmful when applied too thickly to plants.

Prevent Leaf Mulch Blowing Away With These 5 Tips

A pile of leaves being gathered into a mulch, held together to prevent leaf mulch from blowing away.

Leaf mulch is a great tool for gardeners. It keeps the soil at a more consistent temperature, but it also improves soil fertility. One of the issues with leaf mulch is that it can blow away in windy conditions. The best way to prevent this from occurring is by using stalks and sticks to hold down the leaf mulch.

Compost bin size: How big do you need it?

A compost bin in a backyard garden, filled with organic waste and surrounded by greenery.

The size of your compost bin should be two times the size of your compost pile. The minimum size of a compost bin should be 50 cubic feet. When building a compost bin, you must consider the amount of humus that you need and the waste you can provide at a time.

Why Cactus Soil Can Be Used To Grow Other Beautiful Plants

A photo of a mix soil specially formulated for cactus growing. Can you use it to grow other plants?

The cactus soil is usually dry and mimics the environment of the cactus, that being dry and with inadequate nutrients. This soil type may work for other succulents and indoor plants that do not require water and moisture. Plants like these have shallow and fragile roots, so they do not need moist soil all the time. If their soil stays wet, it will affect the plant.

Is Mulch A Fire Hazard? How To Stay Safe

A photo showing a pile of mulch engulfed in flames, emitting thick smoke. Demonstrating how to be safe in a burning mulch.

Well, your fears are founded. Mulch is flammable and might be very challenging to extinguish as soon as it ignites. As such, it’s essential to maintain safety precautions to prevent a fire outbreak. For example, you might need to reduce the proximity of your mulches to physical structures and then wet them during the dry season.

Do Compost Bins Attract Rats? How to Prevent It!

A plastic compost bin in a backyard garden, with organic waste and garden trimmings inside. Does the compost bin attract rats?

The process within compost bins helps organic matter break naturally into elements that enrich the soil and encourage beneficial bacteria and fungi. This, in turn, produces an earthy smell that attracts rats and other rodents. One of the main ways to avoid having rat infestations is to refrain from putting food waste into your compost bins.

How Best To Utilize Manure In The Garden

A pile of cow manure for fertilizer, showcasing how to utilize manure for the garden.

To maximize the benefits of using manure in your garden, make sure that you use mainly mature manure, as fresh manure may shock young plants. Compost the manure for at least six months to a year. Prep the garden by loosening the soil and removing debris before spreading the mature manure into soil at a 2-inch depth and loosely mix it with the soil.

Is it Ok To Put Earthworms in Potted Plants?

A close-up photograph of earthworms crawling on the surface of a container filled with potted plants.

Earthworms are effective in conditioning the soil and enhancing its drainage. However, it is not recommended to add the worms in the potting soil since their casting benefits the potted plants only if they have something to eat, lest they feed on the plant’s roots.

How to Improve Soil Fertility for Productivity?

A person preparing fertile soil in a wheelbarrow, demonstrating how to improve soil fertility.

There are a number of ways to make sure your soil is fertile enough so you can experience great productivity. From adding organic materials like manure, compost, mulching. Adding a few necessary critters as that form part of soil life, as well as giving the soil adequate water and air.

Is Epsom Salt Good For Plants?

A photo of a wooden bowl filled with Epsom salt and a wooden spoon resting on top.

Is Epsom salt good for plants? Yes, Epsom salt is an ideal product to use for your plants. We all know Plants need Magnesium to be healthy and Epsom salt is made from Magnesium Sulfate and Sulfur. This is absorbed by the plant’s root system making them stronger and much more resistant to pests and diseases. It increases growth and produces larger vegetables and blooms.

Composting For Beginners The Complete Guide

A wooden container filled with various ingredients for composting, including kitchen scraps, leaves, and garden waste. Composting for beginners.

Composting for beginners, The complete guide helps new gardeners who are terrified by the very word compost. But I am here to tell you that composting isn’t hard nor does it have to be complicated. After all, It is a natural process and all you’re really doing is helping to speed up the entire procedure.

The Ultimate Guide to COVER CROPS

A row of vibrant legumes used as plants for cover crops, providing soil enrichment and weed suppression.

Cover crops are fast-growing plants that are grown to cover bare earth. They are not intended to be harvested and are grown for the improvement of soil quality. They have properties to help you build soil structure. Improving soil quality, water retention and nutrient density for the food you grow. They can save you money on fertilizer. And save you time on weeding as these crops will smoother all weeds preventing their growth. They will also help manage pests in the garden.

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