Organic Garden Works
by Monroe Works: Using Pure Black Castings™ & VermaPlex®
Organic Garden Works

How To Create Garden Soil

 Pure Black Castings ™           VermaPlex ®            VermaMax®



       Digger Jones
      a blog by a dog

Make Top Soil In Your Garden - It's Easy

It's winter time and most gardens (except here in sunny Florida and other blessed places) are lying fallow.  Why not make some top soil right in place over the winter?  Do it now and the rich compost will be ready for planting come spring time.  Here's an easy way.

Sheet Composting

There are several names to describe this type of composting: lasagna gardening, sheet composting, direct composting.  The idea is to mimic what mother nature does in the forests all the time.  Different layers of organic matter and animal manures, filled with beneficial microbes and earthworms,  build up and compost over time.  The rich "leaf mold" and forest soils your ancestors gathered for their vegetable and flower gardens can be created right in your garden patch,  saving you time and labor.

For existing gardens and beds, here is one method of sheet composting:
  • Remove all weeds from your plot.
  • Aerate the soil if it's compacted. (This will help the composting process. See Tips below.)
  • Chop up any leaves and yard waste with your mower.
  • Cover your bed with a layer of this material. (Don't forget the chopped veggie scrapes and coffee grounds.) Moisten (see Tips below for adding microbes to your water).
  • Spread a layer of fresh or composted horse manure. (If your not lucky enough to have access to horses, you can purchase composted manures from garden centers.) Moisten.
  • Add a second layer of chopped organic mulching material like straw, leaves, etc.
  • Keep moistened and leave over the winter.

During the winter, microbes and earthworms stay busy converting this mixture into rich compost.  You have "created soil" so to speak, just like the automatic process occurring on the forest floor. 

Success Tips:

  1. Add VermaPlex® to the water when moistening to add microbes to the mix.  It speeds up the process and insures composting takes place.
  2. Add earthworms to the ground before adding layers.  They break down the compost, accomplish the soil aeration chore for you, and deposit rich castings that feed your plants.

Next time....Easy way to create new fertile garden beds where grass is growing....

Gardening Resources:


VermaPlex®: Certified Organic, All Natural Soil Inoculant.


Red Worms and European Nightcrawlers for your garden.

Happy Thanksgiving



Wishing you and yours a wonderful and full-filling (from your bountiful organic garden!) Thanksgiving Day.
From all of us at Organic Garden Works (
Monroe Works)

Organic Turf Care

 

 Pure Black Castings ™  VermaPlex ®  VermaMax®



       Digger Jones
      a blog by a dog

Here's an interesting bit of history: Before 1950, all school sports fields were cared for organically.  Only after World War II, when chemical companies began to push into the agricultural, consumer and municipality markets, did sports field care switch from organic to chemical. And you thought  we always got our fertilizers from a lab!

No, sadly, the switch was on until, by 1990, close to 90% of school, university, and municipal turf fields were being treated with chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. The chemical method was thought to be cheaper, easier and (strangely) better.

Of course, we know better now, don't we?  It may have been cheaper then, but not so now. And it was - by no way shape, form, nor fashion - better.  Fortunately, the tide (no reference to Alabama intended) has turned back in the other direction. What was once old is new again.  Why, you might say organic gardening methods have become mainstream. 

Many universities are offering organic turf management courses. And most chemical fertilizer companies now offer an organic alternative as the demand for organic lawn care methods has grown.  The reasons are clear.  Organic lawn care:
  • Is safer and non-toxic
  • Is cheaper, in the long run AND the short run
  • Uses less water due to deeper roots and better water retention

I mean, sports fields are played upon, rolled over, spread on our skin and up our noses.  We eat this stuff, whether we're winning the game or getting our a** beaten.  Our kids are out there, for heaven's sake.  Doesn't it make sense to think about what we're treating the grass with?  Shouldn't we be trying to limit the poison we and our kids are exposed to?  Ya think?

Fortunately, organic fertilizer is no longer relegated to the fringes - the "tree huggers" and aging hippy "back-to-the-lander's".  It's catching on with schools, organizations, and municipalities. Organic grass and turf fertilizers are easier to find, their cheaper to use, and they're good for us and our soils.   So get with it and consider a switch to organic turf care.

Organic Turf Care Resources:



Pure Black Castings and VermaPlex Combo: Certified organic, safe, non-toxic.

Fall - It's Best Time To Fertilize Grass

 Pure Black Castings ™           VermaPlex ®            VermaMax®



       Digger Jones
      a blog by a dog

It may seem counterintuitive (I love that word), but fall is the best time to fertilize your grass.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  The summer growth has stopped.  But grass isn't just about the green stuff that you see.  The roots, the parts you don't see,  are probably the most important requirement for healthy grass.  And grass needs to concentrate on root growth over the winter months.  And, just like my brain needs protein to concentrate, grass needs fertilizer.

Grass Fertilizer Schedule

Call it turf, lawn, pasture - it's all grass. A good dose of slow release, organic fertilizer after all that hard work of growing through the summer is just what your grass needs to recover it's strength.  Renewed, it can concentrate on expanding and deepening the root system over the winter, making your grass healthier and stronger for next summer's heat.

What's the best way to provide slow release organic fertilizer and at the same time give your grass a good dose of  nutrients right away? In a nutshell, apply Pure Black Castings™ followed by VermaPlex® in the spring.  Then apply VermaPlex® again in two weeks. In the fall, apply VermaPlex® (if you didn't do the spring worm castings application, do it now).  Here are fertilizer application instructions in a convenient chart: Turf Lawn Fertilizer Schedule.

Following this lawn-turf-grass fertilizing regime will not only produce lush, healthy grass, but vastly improve your soil's micro-biotic life and tilth.

The worm castings  provide slow release, organic fertilizer, contain microbes to keep your soil alive and healthy, and help retain moisture.  The VermaPlex® proves immediate nutrition.  And thus eliminating the one slam against organic fertilizer made by chemical fertilizer proponents: organic fertilizer, being "slow", doesn't make nutrients available to the plants fast enough.
So there...

Organic Grass Fertilizers


Now On Sale - Convenient Combo: 40 Pounds Pure Black Castings™ and 1 Gallon VermaPlex®.

Newest Gardening Trend: Vertical Gardens


 Pure Black Castings            VermaPlex             VermaMax



       Digger Jones
      a blog by a dog

Vertical Gardening: A.K.A. Green Wall, Living Wall

The latest trend in gardening these days is Vertical Gardens.  Why? Here are a few good reasons:
  • Plants grow up, thereby taking up less space
  • Less labor due to less soil preparation and digging (so what's wrong with digging?).
  • More varieties of plants possible in much less space.
  • Can grow "bottom-up" and "bottom-down".
  • Less weeding
  • Reduced chores (yeah!)
  • Increased air circulation
  • Lower risk of plant diseases and pests
  • Easier to tend and harvest
  • Less bending, stooping, and breaking of backs.
  • Increased yields in a smaller space.
  • Vineing types of plants are well suited to vertical gardens. They perform better than bush types.

So, we're jumping on the Vertical Gardening trend. We're also going to do it mostly hydroponicly, using perlite as our soil-less medium and VermaPlex ® added to the water supply for the fertilizer.  Occasionally, we'll add some liquid VermaMax ® as a nitrogen booster (liquid VermaMax®  will be available soon). For our non-hydroponic plants (like beefsteak tomatoes) we'll still use organic worm castings Pure Black Castings™ in the potting soil mix.

Our vertical garden will also be self-watering. Self-watering worked wonders for us and we feel vertical gardening takes the self-watering gardening system to the next level of efficiency. Less, space, less labor, increased yields, fewer problems  means more time for other activities (like digging holes for no apparent reason.)



Next:  Now that the shade yurt is completed, we'll be building our plant towers and watering system. 

Vertical Gardening Supplies:

Pure Black Castings™:  Certified Organic Worm Castings created using only organic materials.
VermaMax®:  Chicken Litter organically composted using VermaPlex®. Add to potting soil mix.
VermaPlex®:  Created from Certified Organic Pure Black Castings™.  Add to your hydroponic water supply for continuous feeding.
Organic Fertilizer Information: Find use/application guides at Monroe Works.

Still More Vertical Garden Updates

 Pure Black Castings            VermaPlex             VermaMax

 


      a blog by a dog

The shade yurt for our vertical garden is coming along.  We're using Derek Fell's "Vertical Gardening, Grow Up Not Out" as our vertical garden guide and Hal Jackson's Laurel Nest Yurts as our yurt building guide.



After getting the edgers in place underneath the yurt supports, Ol' Bill put down ground cloth and then added mulch:



After which I promptly took up residence. 



A nice big water bowl is all that's needed.  Oh yeah, and the vertical garden.

Vertical Gardening Supplies:

Pure Black Castings™:  Certified Organic Worm Castings created using only organic materials.
VermaMax®:  Chicken Litter organically composted using VermaPlex®. Add to potting soil mix.
VermaPlex®:  Created from Certified Organic Pure Black Castings™.  Add to your hydroponic water supply for continuous feeding.
Organic Fertilizer Information: Find use/application guides at Monroe Works.

More Vertical Garden Updates

 Pure Black Castings            VermaPlex             VermaMax

 


      a blog by a dog

Despite the unusual heat we're having for January, ol' Bill's been hard at work on his shade yurt for our vertical garden.  After putting up the yurt, we decided we should  add landscape edgers under the wooden legs to prevent them from rotting.

This is another project that could have been done before setting up the yurt, but we would have missed out on all that huffing and puffing to shove those babies underneath.  I observed it all from the shady side.


After loosening the tie-downs, Ol' Bill pried up the supports while Kayce shoved under the blocks.  I, as stated above, watched intently from the shade.

 
The flexiblity of the yurt allowed each section to be lifted without harming the structure.  Once the blocks were in place and the supports adjusted until all were settled, the tie-downs were... well... tied down.



And, behold, all is supported, not a board out of whack.  Can't say the same for ol' Bill's back.
(No rhyme intended).

Next:  Ground cloth and mulch.

Vertical Gardening Supplies:

Pure Black Castings™:  Certified Organic Worm Castings created using only organic materials.
VermaMax®:  Chicken Litter organically composted using VermaPlex®. Add to potting soil mix.
VermaPlex®:  Created from Certified Organic Pure Black Castings™.  Add to your hydroponic water supply for continuous feeding.
Organic Fertilizer Information: Find use/application guides at Monroe Works.

Vertical Vegetable Garden Shade Yurt

 Pure Black Castings            VermaPlex             VermaMax

 


      a blog by a dog

Ol' Bill added the shade cloth to the yurt and figured out how to tie it down.  And just in the nick of time.  It's mid January, but we've been in the 80's for the past week.  I think we're going to need the shade, and soon.

Vertical Garden Shade Yurt Update

It took some doing, but here it is:





After the yurt was put up, we discovered the roof ring separated and needed some screws.  Would have been much easier before it was put up, but then ol' Bill would have missed out on hanging onto the ladder with  his toes.


The clamps come out when the glue dries.


See that nice shaded corner? That's where I'm headed right now....

Next:  Putting landscape edgers under the legs....another thing that would have been easier before putting it up.

Vertical Gardening Supplies:

Pure Black Castings™:  Certified Organic Worm Castings created using only organic materials.
VermaMax®:  Chicken Litter organically composted using VermaPlex®. Add to potting soil mix.
VermaPlex®:  Created from Certified Organic Pure Black Castings™.  Add to your hydroponic water supply for continuous feeding.
Organic Fertilizer Information: Find use/application guides at Monroe Works.

New Vertical Garden

 

 Pure Black Castings            VermaPlex             VermaMax

 


      a blog by a dog

We've been quite for a while, and with good reason.  More on that later.

Vertical Garden Yurt

Here's what ol' Bill's been up to:  building a Yurt to house our vegetable garden... Vertical Vegetable Garden to be exact.  We' ll be able to add shade cloth for our intense Florida sun and frost cloth for our untimely Florida frosts.  This protection should extend our growing season considerably.  Besides, ol' Bill just wanted to build a yurt.


 

Hydroponic Vertical Garden

What's more, we're going to make it hydroponic, using organic VermaPlex® as the liquid fertilizer and perlite as the soilless growing medium.  Check back for our progress often.  Ol' Bill is chomping at the bit.

Vertical Gardening Supplies:

Pure Black Castings™:  Certified Organic Worm Castings created using only organic materials.
VermaMax®:  Chicken Litter organically composted using VermaPlex®. Add to potting soil mix.
VermaPlex®:  Created from Certified Organic Pure Black Castings™.  Add to your hydroponic water supply for continuous feeding.
Organic Fertilizer Information: Find use/application guides at Monroe Works.

July Bulbs: Start Daylilies



Pure Black Castings            VermaPlex             VermaMax





      a blog by a dog

Start New Plants With Daylily Offshoots

See those little daylilies growing off from the sides of your plants?  Snap them off and transplant to expand your garden for free.  Here's how.

  • Fill 5 inch containers with potting soil mix.

  • Break offshoots off when several leaves develop and there are some rudimentary roots forming.

  • Plant deep enough to keep the plants upright.
  • Moisten with VermaPlex ®mix (1 part VermaPlex® to 20 parts water) to stimulate root growth.
  • Place transplants into full-sun.
  • Check daily and water if needed.
  • Roots will begin growing rapidly.
  • Apply VermaPlex®/water mixture in two weeks.
  • Transplant into your garden in the fall or early spring.

And there you go - expand your daylily garden for free.

Certified Organic Bulbs Fertilizer:

Pure Black Castings™:  Certified Organic Worm Castings created using only organic materials.
VermaMax®:  Chicken Litter organically composted using VermaPlex®.
VermaPlex®:  Created from Certified Organic Pure Black Castings™.  Innoculate your garden soil and your compost heap.
Organic Fertilizer Information: Find use/application guides and Monroe Works.

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