Andesite Mineral Complex, great for your garden!

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Do you wish your plants were healthier and more vibrant? Andesite can improve the production rates, Brix (sugar) levels and nutrient-density in the edibles that you are growing. It can also attract more pollinators to your garden by making more and larger blooms on flowers and all flowering plants. Andesite is 100% natural and safe for use on indoor and outdoor plants. Andesite Mineral Complex

Your body needs at least 45-60 minerals for optimal health. Our soils don’t contain these minerals anymore and they must be replenished so our vegetable plants can pick them up with their roots and add them to leaves and fruits (which we eat!). This makes them more nutritious for us and better for the overall environment.  This is an excerpt from an article on Hidden Hunger (or lack of nutrition in food that should be healthy).

Discovering Super Foods

In the fall of 1978, I traveled to Forres, Scotland to visit a very special community called Findhorn where some remarkable things were happening. Findhorn is a teaching community and is famous for the superior crops from their spectacular gardens. I met people who had lived there for some time. An older couple caught my attention and I dined with them on several occasions. They looked like they were in their late sixties; however, they were quite active and full of spirit. Not a wrinkle on their faces, full heads of white hair, and rosy cheeks wrapping around warm smiles. I eventually started asking them about their life, and they told me they had lived in the Findhorn community for only five years. Before that, they had lived in the adjoining trailer park.

They asked me to guess how old they were. I hesitated, feeling confident they were 70 years of age each, but wanted to flatter them a bit, so I said I thought they were 65. They both smiled broadly and then showed me a picture of the two of them from the days before they joined the community. In the photo they looked much older than the robust people I saw sitting before me. Their wrinkles were clearly evident in the photograph; they were hunched over and appeared quite frail. Yet, their skin was now soft and smooth, they were broad and muscular and walked around quite capably. With the rosy tint in their cheeks they looked like the perfect “postcard couple.”

When they told me exactly how old they were “over 95” I didn’t believe it. They had their friends swear to it and Confirmed it with their British drivers’ licenses. I was astounded. What had turned these two around?

A few days later, I was working hard in one of the many organic, biodynamic, remineralized gardens that abound in the community. I noticed a tomato was ripe, so I picked and ate it. To my astonishment, my whole mouth lit up with its overwhelming sweetness. Never in all of my life had I tasted such a delicious tomato. I was picking these tomatoes to load on a truck that would transport them to a nearby village. I looked in the truck and I noticed some of the produce came from local farmers who also grew their produce naturally. I reached into the back of the truck and tried one of the tomatoes from a nearby farm. I had no plan in mind. I was simply still a little hungry. When I bit into it, it tasted like pure water! The taste from the first tomato was still fresh in my mouth; not more than two minutes had passed. And so, even when I again, tasted this second tomato, the difference was astounding.                                                from a HealthKeepers Magazine article

Gardeners understand that “old fashioned tomato flavor” is only available from backyard gardens or small organic farms because the minerals in the soil make them not only more flavorful but more nutritious for us to eat.  Adding natural minerals and compost really changes the way that plants make their fruit and leaves and the side effect for us is some of the best flavored food you can get anywhere and it is full of a multiple amount of minerals our bodies need and don’t get anyplace else in our diets.

Andesite Mineral Complex from Green Generations

Andesite Mineral Complex is a naturally occurring volcanic-based rock dust blend containing broad-spectrum minerals and trace elements combined with certified natural paramagnetic levels in excess of 8,ooo+ cgs. Andesite meets NOP (National Organic Program) standards for certified organic production.

When to Apply:

Andesite Mineral Complex can be applied any time throughout the year or growing cycle and cannot be over-applied, it will not harm or burn plants or leaves

Recommended Applications:

Seed Starts

  • Mix 1/8 cup Andesite per gallon of seed start planting mix.

Transplants

  • Apply 1-2 teaspoons Andesite per 4 inches of pot width/diameter of plant to be transplanted directly to the base of hole prior to transplanting edibles, flowers, trees, shrubs or other plants.

Edible Gardens & Raised Beds

  • Apply 25-40 lbs. Andesite per 1000 sq. ft. of garden space. Work into top 1-2 inches of soil pre/post season or top dress around established plants.

Potted Herbs and Vegetables

  • Top dress 1-2 teaspoons per 4 inches of pot width/diameter. Gently work into top 1/2-1 inch of soil or mix into potting soil at time of planting.

Fruit Trees

  • Top dress area between trunk and drip line of tree crown at a rate of 1lb per inch of tree trunk caliper.

Gardening for Family Fun

Gardening for Family Fun and relaxing together time.

Useful ideas for gardening

Gardening is a relatively inexpensive, relaxing hobby. Family or friend time working in the garden may be a fabulous way to spend time with each other. Children find the observation of growing plants utterly fascinating, and they will make a habit out of monitoring the evolution of seed to blooming. Horticulture also provides its’ caretaker with an introspective appreciation for mother nature, unlike any other. This article will make it simpler for you to love horticulture, so that you may even have others help you.Mulch

One natural method of weed removal is called “boiling”. The safest herbicide that you can use in your garden is a simple pot of boiling water. Pour boiling water over the weeds to kill them, but make sure not to pour the water over any plants you don’t want to kill. Boiling water damages weed and plant roots, so be sure to avoid the plants you don’t want to eliminate.

Place a few inches of organic mulch around your vegetable plants. The mulch will help keep the soil moist for longer periods of time. This method will also prevent weeds. This will save you time, money, and effort in your lovely garden.

Organic FertilizerFertilize your garden regularly. You can choose a good organic fertilizer for vegetables. Do not worry about the brand of fertilizer you end up using but definitely put down something.

Pest control can present a challenge for successful vegetable gardening. Since your vegetables are meant to be eaten, refrain from spraying them with harsh chemicals. One way to keep pests at bay is to remain diligent about your garden. If you catch pests right away, the easiest way to eradicate them is to pick them off plants by hand.

If there are children in your family, then gardening can turn into a wonderful bonding activity for all family members. A lot of kids like picking plants and flowers. What kid wouldn’t also love to get dirty and not get in trouble?

KneelersKnee Pads

If your garden contains lots of short plants, purchase some gardening knee pads. If you spend a large portion of your gardening session on your knees, it could create pain over time. With good knee pads, you can stay in the garden longer, and more comfortably.

Whether you wish to garden alone or with a loved one, the tips in this article will make the experience more fun. Take what you have learned here, and help your family enjoy horticulture, get together with your friends or just have fun by yourself.

Posted by Carol Hudgens

Beginner’s Guide to Home Composting

Clean Gardening: Beginner’s Guide to Home Composting

composting bin

Compost can be made in a simple wooden frame

Shared by: Greg Wiszniewski

Nature has been composting since the beginning of time. Take a walk in any wooded area and look at the ground: Bend over and feel that dark, earthy material called compost. Compost is essentially the accumulation of decomposed organic matter. It can take roughly a thousand years for compost to naturally occur in the wild. Humans have sped this process up over time to use it in agriculture. Today, humans use composting methods to grow healthy backyard gardens.

All About Composting

Compost is a dark and earthy material used to promote a healthy and well-balanced soil environment for plants. It is rich in a variety of nutrients, minerals, and soil organisms. In many cases, gardeners use compost as a suitable replacement for commercial fertilizers. Compost improves the physical and biological properties of soil. It also makes nutrients much more available to plants than fertilizer does. For this reason, many gardeners refer to compost as “black gold.”

Composting happens at a slower pace in nature: In fact, it takes about a thousand years to create an inch of humus-rich soil. But today, humans have mastered the art of composting so that it requires only a matter of months to create useable compost. The best part of composting is that people already have all of the necessary ingredients around their home, such as food, raked leaves, and grass clippings.

Composting

A simple wire cage can easily be made from scratch and to empty it, just lift it up

Compost yields several benefits for gardeners. First, it recycles organic material that would otherwise be thrown away. It improves the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil. It saves gardeners time, money, and resources. Composting also makes gardening easier. It is good for the environment and introduces micro-organisms back into the soil. Lastly, composting yields more micro-nutrients than commercial fertilizer. This alone makes home composting worthwhile.

How to Start a Compost Pile

There are many different ways to create a compost pile at home. The easiest method requires a designated spot in a dry, shady area. After selecting a spot, collect brown and green materials and add them to the chosen spot. Be sure to chop or shred larger pieces of organic material to make the process faster. Next, moisten the dry materials with a water hose. Add fruit and vegetable waste under ten inches of compost material after establishing the compost pile. Cover the top of the compost pile with a tarp to keep it moist. Turn the compost pile with a shovel to use the material at the bottom of the pile. Only use the material at the bottom of the compost pile if it is dark and rich in color. The entire process usually takes between two months and two years to complete.

What to Put in a Compost Pile

Building a compost pile creates more anxiety and obsession for gardeners than any other activity. It does not need to be a difficult task. In fact, home composting should come naturally to most home gardeners once they know what to put into it to make it worthwhile. When adding ingredients, consider if the material is organic and biodegradable. Add green foliage to a compost pile, such as vegetable scraps, grass clippings, weeds without the seeds, algae, and dead houseplants. Do not add green foliage that came from a chemical-laden lawn. Add brown ingredients such as corn and sunflower stalks, tomato vines, hedge prunings, twigs, leaves, pine needles, and straw. Chicken manure also adds beneficial nutrients to any compost pile.

How to Maintain a Compost Pile

Compost Bin

A more sophisticated bin allows for multiple batches to be breaking down at the same time

Maintaining a compost pile does not require a lot of work. In fact, no-turn composting systems require zero maintenance. Hot-pile composting does require effort to aerate the soil because the micro-organisms use up a lot of oxygen. Cool piles also benefit from occasional turning. Turning refers to mixing a pile with a pitchfork or shovel. Turning a compost pile aerates the soil and cycles the material to the active center. Gardeners should turn a compost pile every three days until it stops heating up. Resist the urge to turn it every day. This disrupts the fungi that keep the pile from heating up completely. Use a compost thermometer to test the temperature of the compost pile. A good hot pile should read 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the pile once the temperature falls to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Know When the Compost is Done

Gardeners should look for a dark brown, rich material that looks and smells like a forest floor. This indicates that the compost is finished. Not all of the material decomposes equally: Put any material that has not decomposed back into the pile. Take the finished compost over to the garden area and spread it out evenly. Compost aerates clay-based soils and helps sandy soils hold moisture. Gardeners can also spread compost around trees and shrubs, use it as mulch, or use it as a tonic for sickly plants. Container gardeners can also use it as a potting mixture.

For more information and helpful links visit this page on our website

Checking pH for successful vegetable gardening.

Checking pH for Successful Vegetable Gardening

Soil pH in the vegetable garden

Checking your Soil pH in the vegetable garden

Checking the pH of your vegetable garden is one of the most important parts of growing a successful garden. Normally for grass and shrubs we don’t have to spend too much time worrying about pH levels, they are not that sensitive and will not show signs of distress from being a bit too far in either direction.  In the vegetable garden, it can make a very big difference and will actually prevent your plants from taking up nutrients which allow them to grow, sometimes stunting their growth or even killing young tender plants.

Soil Test Kit

These Soil Test Kits let you know if you need lime or gypsum added to your garden soil to correct your pH as well as the NPK content of your soil.

It is always a good idea to check your pH before you plant your garden and even better is to check it in the fall or early winter so you can add Lime or Gypsum to correct pH well before you plant anything.  Here is a great article on soil pH in the vegetable garden and best methods for correcting it.

Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC: Raising and Lowering the pH Levels of Your Soil

These simple test kits can help you to determine the pH of your garden beds and even how much to feed your plants. Tomatoes need to have the soil pH between 5.5-7.0 in order to produce good fruit. With these simple to use kits you can test your soil up to 10 times.

Compost is the best soil additive

Adding compost to your garden every season is really the best way to keep your soil pH in the neutral range.  If you can do it regularly, it will keep your soil happy and in the perfect range for your vegetable plants.

Lime and Gypsum what do they do?

These two products, Lime and Gypsum primarily, help you with correcting soil pH to bring it back to neutral.  Generally if you are in an area that gets lots of rainfall (or snowfall), your soil will eventually go more acidic over the years and require Lime to bring it back up, in dry climates, your soil will generally be more alkaline as years go by and will require Gypsum to flush the alkaline from the soil.

Lime and Gypsum

Lime and Gypsum are great for soil correction

Vegetable Gardening How to Get Started

vegetable garden designs

Vegetable gardening How to get started?

The focus on Vegetable Gardening and Herb gardening in the past several years has been on growing more flavorful, nutritious, and fresher produce than can be found in your local grocery store. Our mouths water for the fresh herbs, garden ripened tomatoes, spicy ethnic peppers, and veggies of all kinds that we see in farmer’s markets and high end grocery stores. But growing your own vegetables is easy and fun and produces a more flavorful harvest for your cooking. We often get asked by beginner gardeners, “How do I get started?” or “I don’t know what to do!” Continue reading

Correcting your soil pH and soil nutrient levels

Fall is a great time of year and is a great time to correct your soil nutrient levels deficiencies.

pH correction is so important to all vegetable plants’ success and so many of us forget to add lime or other corrective minerals to the garden before springtime hits.  Doing these tests now and getting the additives in now gives them time to break down and do the job.  Look in our catalog for pH correcting products and also add lots of compost too! Continue reading

Don’t forget to Fertilize your Garden Organically

Don’t forget to fertilize your garden, organically!

_gardentools.jpgJust like us, healthy plants need food, in regular amounts and it is necessary to provide them with almost everything they need. Fertilize your garden Organically which is the most healthy way for plants to eat, and just like us, they will be happier eating healthy. Our backyard soils have some minerals and calcium but it is always a good idea to supplement them so they have a complete source of all of the ingredients they need. Continue reading

When should I plant my vegetables and herbs?

When should I plant my vegetables and herbs? The best time to plant Is not the same for everyone.

Planting vegetablesEach person has to decide at what point their garden is ready for certain types of herb and vegetable plants. Perennial Herbs can be planted just about anytime it is beginning to get warm but Annual herbs such as Basil and Dill need to wait until night temperatures are well above freezing every night. Tomatoes and other “warm season” vegetables are frost tender and will be severely damaged by even a light frost which can happen when temperatures are as low as 36-38 degrees. “Cool season” vegetables like lettuce and broccoli like a bit of frost but a light freeze can cause damage and hard freezes will kill them completely.

Continue reading

Almost time to plant tomatoes

Almost time to plant tomatoes

ripetomatoWe have seen Forsythia in bloom and Daffodils are open, the first fruit trees are turning white and one Rhododendron flower has opened. Our camelias are in full bloom and some nice warm weather has been making it feel like spring is just around the corner! But the thing that most makes it spring around here is the greenhouses filling up with tomatoes, peppers and herbs! The first tomato plants of the season are about 4″ tall and look gorgeous! We will begin our first shipment on March 2nd and from that point on it will be chaos around here.

When do I plant tomatoes in my area is one of the most commonly asked questions we get so here are some helpful tips and a map of expected average last frost dates for the US. Keep in mind that these are estimates so you should always be careful to watch out for late frosts that can do severe damage to young tomato plants. Also, using wall o’ waters or season extending mini greenhouses can give you an earlier planting time and give a boost to your plants that will get you larger fruit than your neighbors!

The best time to plant is not the same for everyone. Each person has to decide at what point their garden is ready for certain types of herb and vegetable plants. Perennial Herbs can be planted just about anytime it is beginning to get warm but Annual herbs such as Basil and Dill need to wait until night temperatures are well above freezing every night. Tomatoes and other “warm season” vegetables are frost tender and will be severely damaged by even a light frost which can happen when temperatures are as low as 36-38 degrees. “Cool season” vegetables such as lettuce and broccoli like a bit of frost but a light freeze can cause damage and hard freezes will kill them completely.

 

Getting Ready for Spring

Time to be getting ready for Spring

Getting Ready for SpringWow, we really had a warm day today! Every time the weather gets warm and sunny during the wintertime it is a good day to work outdoors. I do think we can get depressed being stuck in the house so much so take advantage when a warm day comes along. Here are a couple suggestions for quick 1 day projects in the garden to help you with getting ready for spring: Continue reading