Compost & The Carbon Nitrogen Ratio

The secret to creating rich compost is in balancing the carbon-nitrogen ratio (C:N). Decomposition of organic materials in your compost pile is greatly increased when you create the proper balance between the carbonaceous materials (called BROWN because they are dry) and the nitrogen-rich materials (called GREEN because they are more fresh and moist). Compost scientists have determined that the fastest way to produce fertile, sweet-smelling compost is to maintain a C:N ratio somewhere around 25 to 30 parts Carbon to 1 part Nitrogen, or…

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Strawberry Companions

Strawberries Love…. Spinach – contains the compounds known as saponins, which repel pests Spring Onions – strong smell repels pests Chives – strong smell deters pests. Chives add potassium and calcium to the soil through their chopped-and-dropped leaves. Basil – wards off aphids and mites. Thyme – deters worms. Catnip – discourages insects as aphids and cabbage loopers — both enemies of the strawberry. Yarrow – attracts pollinators Comphrey – conditions the soil. Leaves can be used to mulch and feed…

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Hugelkultur

Hugelkultur, is a German word that is pronounced Hoo-gul-culture and means “hill culture” or “hill mound”. It is a composting method that allows you to grow in the mound you have created. It is a long lasting system that feeds the bed for years to come. Hugelkultur mounds can be as simple or complicated as you like.They can be big or small, above ground or dug deeper into the ground (great for very poor soil). Take a look at the…

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Planning Our New Hugelkultur Strawberry Mound

We have really grown to enjoy our little strawberry patch. It is no longer a little patch at all, really! They have multiplied so much in the last two years that we are keen to create a bigger spot for them over at our new urban farmstead. After doing some research we have chosen to play with the Hugelkultur method. We just love the idea of our kids being able to pick the strawberries while standing up. We also like…

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8 Tips for Growing Strawberries

Who doesn’t love strawberries? They are a great addition to an edible garden and the good news is once you know what they like, there are many different ways to grow them: from vertical and hanging systems to containers and structured beds directly in the garden. Here are 8 tips to help you grow delicious strawberries at home: 1. Choose the Right Spot Strawberries need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day during summer when they will fruit. Choose…

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DIY Worm Farm in a Bath

First of all I have to say how much we love the synchronicity of how we managed to acquire our baths! For a long time Kathy and I have wanted to farm our worms in a bath but space was always an issue; but as soon as we knew we were moving over to our much bigger new garden, the dream turned from when to how. Where would we find old baths?  Getting fencing to put up around our new…

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Getting Dirty is Good for You!

First of all, I have to say that I do not like how the word dirt is used to describe both earth/soil and filth. It really doesn’t sit well with me. Why? Because the earth is what sustains us. Without that “dirt” there would simply be no life. Getting our hands into the soil is not the same as getting filthy. Let us rather move away from thinking of the soil and Nature as dirty. Let’s see it for what…

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7 Reasons We Love Our Worms

While we love all earthworms, we are specifically talking about red wrigglers when it comes to earthworm farming. These guys live on food scraps while the other earthworms live off decaying plant matter. Earthworms are the pioneers of soil building. These humble creatures process decaying matter and create rich, living soil. Farming with earthworms is so easy, you can do it on pretty much any scale. When we lived in an upstairs compartment and only had plants in pots, we gave…

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