Sunday, March 15, 2015

Simple Garden Composter



Put simply, compost is decomposed organic matter. So those leaves breaking down on the forest floor are compost, as too are the bodies at the cemetery. All organic matter lives, then dies and breaks down into different qualities of compost. That breakdown of organic matter is carried out by animals, plants, moulds, microbes, air and water, basically 'nature' or 'mother earth' depending on how whimsical you feel.

That was the easy answer, but the long answer is dependent on what kind of gardener you are. Do you make your own garden compost, and if so how? Or do you just buy it in bags from the store? Every gardener who is a fan of garden composting has a slightly different method. They will use slightly different ingredients in their garden composters. So everyone's garden compost is a bit different!

Garden soil tends to be a combination of crushed rock and mineral mixed up with hummus (the end result of your garden compost bin). Compost is the bulk within the soil but not necessarily the nutrient provider. Hummus improves the soil structure, allowing it to hold moisture and air.

The more hummus the soil has the better the structure. The soil will not be compacted, as some clay soils are apt to do. Hummus opens them out leaving air pockets which are so vital for the micro-organisms and insect life so vital to the health and vitality of the soil and eventually your plants.

Hummus is spongy and great at holding water so is vital for those with sandy soils. But, any soil will be improved by the addition of more hummus. Home compost is free and easy to create. There is no reason not to compost waste from the home and garden. Much easier to trapse to the bottom of the garden with garden waste or kitchen scraps to compost, than sort them out and place in bins for a destiny in municipal landfill.

Brilliantly, many local authorities across Europe and the US are recycling organic waste on a commercial scale. But if you have space for even the smallest beehive compost bin it makes sense to keep your garden waste for yourself and make your own garden compost. Your compost will be a very locally sourced product and free to boot!

Compost or hummus provides the soil with slow release nutrients. The variety of nutrients will depend entirely on what the compost originally was. For example composting a nitrogen rich poultry manure, will give a nitrogen rich compost.

The very best garden composts are made from a wide variety of ingredients so the resulting hummus is full of the widest variety of nutrients. The hummus which is the end product of the garden composter should be spongy in texture and full of all the trace elements needed in the garden.

So when you are making compost at home the very best approach is to put as many different things in your garden compost bin, as possible. That way you will get the widest variety of goodness to put on your garden.

It is worth telling friends and neighbours if you are starting garden composting. That way you can get more 'food' for the compost bin from them. Composting is the ultimate in garden recycling. And, the more you can recycle to the composter the better the compost will be.

The biggest problem most people face is not being able to fill the garden compost bin fast enough. The whole point of garden compositng, is to improve on what nature does all day every day. The earth tends to compost slowly. Moulds, bacteria, insects, scavengers all slowly turning what was once alive, into hummus to feed the next generation. If you leave a pile of dead leaves in the corner of your garden, eventually nature will break them down. But since they're dry and exposed to the elements, along with being one solitary type of matter, the process will be very slow. Indeed you may find they've all blown away before you get a decent leaf mulch!

Garden composting means helping nature out. Gathering all the dead matter you want to recycle into garden compost, and then protecting it from the elements will speed up the process no end. Also using as wide variety of ingredients for your compost bins will introduce lots of different organisms that work together to make your compost useful in no time.

When carried out successfully garden compost is a beautiful, nutty product that improves the fertility and productivity of your garden. To the successful gardener, composting is a way to save money, work with the environment, recycle and reduce waste. Perhaps most importantly it is a way of ensuring the garden remains productive over the long term. If we are forever harvesting crops we literally reduce the soil bulk and soil vitality of our garden. You can see this in practice as over the years the actual level of soil on a vegetable plot will sink. Maybe more importantly crop yields and performance will falter unless something is done.

Although garden compost is not particularly rich (say in comparison with an organic fertilizer) in nutrients immediately available to plants, it is a feeder as well as bulker for the soil. The nutrients locked up in the compost will be 'slow release' nutrients which means putting composted matter on the garden, means feeding in the long term. This will promote tough plants which are fully developed and strong, not the sappy growth susceptible to disease which quick release fertilizers can give.

The soil life; microbes, bacteria, worms and so on will pull down the compost into the soil where it can do even more good. Best of all you don't have to dig it in!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Small Gardens

 
Small but nice

Because gardening gets a lot of attention nowadays, a lot of people are busy with their garden. Also the city garden gets more and more attention. We are overloaded with ideas and materials and this makes it hard to choose.

Our gardens get smaller and smaller, think about the city garden, but the offer in materials gets bigger and bigger. Often you achieve more with less, but carefully chosen products than buying products without thinking. This applies for every kind of garden.

Characteristics City Garden

Many times a city garden is enclosed by walls and fences of surrounding houses. This privacy is the main characteristic of a city garden and creates a patio-like atmosphere. The atmosphere in such kind of gardens is different than in gardens outside the city. In the summer the heat will stay longer between the walls and in the winter it will be less cold because the walls will give off heat. The dimension of a city garden might vary a lot. Just like gardens in outside areas there will be small and big city gardens.

Design

For a small garden it's important to make a clear design. When you don't do that the garden will always look a little 'messy'. Clear lines in the paving will give the garden an extra dimension. It's also important that the garden looks nice when viewed from above, this give an extra value to your garden.

Planting

In a small garden the choice of plants is very important. That's why you should choose plants that will flower a longer time and which still have ornamental value after flowering. Green details are indispensable in a winter garden. Therefore it is wise to consult some special books before buying your plants. There are a lot of books with good explanations about the properties of certain kind of plants. You need some more time, but you will see that your garden will become more of yourself.

Maintenance

It's also important to think about the work that has to be done in your garden. In a small garden container plants and flower pots might give you a lot of work. Not only the dimensions of your garden determines the maintenance your garden needs.

Walls

If you have a garden with ugly walls or fences it's better to camouflage them. You can let ivy grow against them or paint the walls. By using pergolas and creepers you can use the space in your garden in an even better way. Vertical gardening gives lots of extra possibilities and a shady atmosphere. Against painted walls you might put a wooden frame in a nice color and shape, this will create a great effect. It's also possible to put a rose bow against a wall and between the rose bow you could put a mirror. Because of the reflexion of the garden in the mirror your garden will suddenly look bigger. For this you can use an ordinary mirror, but take care that you cover the backside of the mirror with red lead first.

Water

A gargoyle or bubble stone are also nice elements in a small city garden. The sound of splattering water will drown the noises of the city and it works refreshing. Another advantage of water in your garden is that it attracts birds and other animals.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tips To Improve Your Garden Decor


Gardens are not just places where one grows plants and vegetables. To complement the amount of effort you put in here, you should try and improve your garden decor so that your garden looks beautiful, even without flowers. Here are some tips to help you work on it:

1) Singular focus

One way to make a difference to your garden decor is to focus on one part of the garden and build the rest around it. This can be done by building a gazebo, an arbor, a rose pillar or any statues or sculptures of interest.

2) A sense of architecture

You can provide an architectural form and a sense of style to your garden decor by adding a bit of iron gate work, elegant metal topiary forms or concrete statuary to the garden. Simple garden ornaments and artful decor contribute tremendously to the aesthetic value to your outdoor living garden spaces.

3) Adding water features - a waterfall or a fountain

Building a waterfall or a fountain can add a lot of value to your garden decor. In fact, most Japanese gardens have a water feature, and the ones without water features have something that represents water, like grey gravel or sand. If you would like to be a little innovative, you can turn your whole garden into a water garden.

4) Collect and scatter

After having collected a variety of art and ornamentation to add to your garden decor, make sure you scatter it throughout the landscape. Some people place topiary, sculpture or tuteur forms in distant small landscaped garden spaces for maximum viewing impact. Try and frame ornamental pieces of art with easy-growing shrubs and low-growing flowers.

5) Correct use of planters and containers

For an elegant garden decor, you may need to carefully choose the planters and containers to hold your plants. Many kinds of containers are available, the popular ones being made of concrete, fibre stone, fibreglass and plastic. For earth tones, you might choose terracotta. Correct use of planters can also add height, shape and life to your garden.

6) Lighting

Lighting up a garden nicely also enhances the garden decor. Other than lighting up the pathway in your garden, you can also light up a specific tree by focusing light beams on it. Make sure you keep safety concerns in mind for lighting options.

7) Define your place - use varieties of height

Garden ornamentation will define garden spaces. Taller garden decor and sculpture can create pleasant and sprawling visual architecture in small spaces. Always try and place taller plantings toward the back of the garden. Try and use varieties of height to beautify your garden.

8) Block what you do not like

Block a part of the garden with climbers like ivy or vines if you do not like the way it looks. A trellis or obelisk can also be combined with the climbers to block the view. It will only end up enhancing your garden decor. You can also add a birdbath to your garden.

9) Temporary additions for special purposes

If you organize parties in your garden, they are some ways to improve on your garden decor. If you are on a shoestring budget, you could light the garden by candles, lanterns or string lighting. Clean up a certain area within the garden to provide a tidy place for your guests. Addition of fragrant containers would fill the garden air with a pleasant smell. Also, do not forget to get comfortable garden chairs for your guests.

Finally, no matter how you wish to decorate your garden, you should make sure that everything is harmonized. Utilizing all your resources with perfect balance can enhance your garden decor and make it your own piece of paradise.