Thursday, October 30, 2014

What's The Best Way To Pick Citrus?

If you're lucky enough to live in Florida this time of year, you'll know it's time to pick some citrus.  Yeah!

Best way to harvest grapefruit, organic, and all citrus

Digger's Tip Of The Day

As the lovely picture above suggests, the way to pick grapefruit, oranges, etc is:

  • Bend the fruit up
  • Invert
  • Then Twist and Shout Pull!
We're enjoying some freshly bend-ed, inverted, twisted and pulled grapefruit even as we speak.  All grown organically and without pesticides, of course.  Yummy....

Organic Fertilizers For Citrus

Citrus takes best with organic fertilizers
Citrus tastes better when fertilized organically.

Increase yields and improve flavor with Pure Black Castings and VermaPlex , certified organic, OMRI listed fertilizers for lawns, gardens, and orchards.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why Beneficial Microorganism ARE

Add beneficial microorganisms to your soil for plant health

Hello from the farm!

Did you every wonder.....

What puts the beneficial in "beneficial microorganisms"?

"Good" microorganisms are important in our gardens, lawns and farms for at least two reasons:

  • Plant growth stimulation
  • Plant disease suppression

Plant Growth Stimulation

Beneficial microorganisms promote plant growth in two ways:

  1. Nutrient Conversion
  2. Stimulation

1.  Nutrient Conversion

When organic materials such as compost, vermi-compost, manures, or worm castings are present in the soil, microbe activity converts the nutrients contained in the material into a plant available form.  The plant absorbs more nutrition and - surprise, surprise - the plant grows better and faster.

It follows, then, that the higher the number and the higher the quality of microbes, the more nutrition is available for the plant and the better the plant grows.

2.  Stimulation

Another "Mode of Action", or MOA, of microorganisms  is stimulating growth of the plant and root.  There are certain "rock stars" of the Microbe Universe (fungi included) that produce growth stimulating "metabolites".

Other mysterious physical interactions of some strains of microbes and fungi stimulate growth through specific mechanisms that are little understood. It's enough to know it happens.

Plant Disease Suppression

Beneficial microbes control plant disease through the following mechanisms:

  • Soil Remediation:
    They feed on pathogens, eliminating them from the soil.
  • Competitive Exclusion:
    They inhibit pathogen growth by taking up space and nutrients.
  • Microbiostasis:
    They kill pathogens or limit their growth.
  • Rhizosphere Competency:
    They prevent pathogens from accessing into the plant's roots.
  • Systemic Resistance Inducement:
    They strengthen and stimulate the plant's own natural defenses against disease.

"Since disease prevention is infinitely easier than disease curing, having the growing medium enhanced with beneficial microbes from the get-go is important for success."

Enhancing Soil Microorganisms

It's easy to see why maintaining the beneficial microorganism population in our soils is so important. Protect the microbes you have by avoiding chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Build up the soil by applying organic materials that are alive with microbes, like worm castings and vermi-compost.

Improve and expand beneficial microorganisms in your growing medium with these liquid soil inoculants made from worm castings:

  • VermaPlex®, teeming with these growth enhancing, disease preventing microbes,  is important in the beginning or when plants are struggling.  Apply VermaPlex® at seed planting and transplanting time or when plants are showing signs of disease or stress.
  • VermaMax LE® contains extra nutrition for more growth and green.  A must for high nitrogen using plants.  Once plants are established, is doesn't matter which liquid is used.
    VermaMax LE® is available in select areas for now. 

A good regime is alternating liquids throughout the growing season.  In our studies, micro-dosing with a very small amount at each watering brought the best results.

Happy Growin',

Best Way To Add Beneficial Microbes

A potent combo for enhanced growth and plant health.  VermaMax LE®  is available in select areas for now.

Certified Organic Fertilizers

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tomatoes And Companion Planting

Our Johnson German tomato seedlings were way past ready to transplant.  It's still a little hot, though, so it's probably a good thing we're late.

Transplanting Johnson German Tomato Seedlings Into Garden Bed

We put the tomato bed on the south side of the house in preparation of the cooler temps a potential frosts ahead.  Right now, it's still hot, so we'll have to add a shade cloth till this (expletive) heat lets up.

Don't Plant Tomatoes Near ...

We're paying a little more attention to companion planting now.  Here are some plants that should not be planted near tomatoes are:

  • All members of the Brassica (cabbage) family. Also know as cruciferous vegetables, avoid planting tomatoes near cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, kale, turnip greens, etc.
  • Potatoes - attract the same pests as tomatoes.
  • Fennel
  • Apricot trees
  • Corn (that pesky corn worm is an awful lot like the tomato worm)
Tomatoes also have an adverse affect on corn and apricot trees and therefore should not be planted near them.

Do Plant Tomatoes Near.....

The plants that are protective or improve the flavor of tomatoes and therefore should be planted near are:
  • Chives
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtium
  • Carrots
  • Stinging Nettle
Notice how some of these above vegetables are good together in a salad?

Tomatoes Are Protective Of...

When setting up tomato planting locations, consider the plants that are benefited by tomatoes.

For instance, tomatoes have a fungicide effect against Black Spot on roses.  If planting tomatoes near roses isn't an option,  spraying with a solution made from tomato leaves for roses is an effective option.  Tomatoes contain a volatile alkaloid, solamine, that in days gone by was used as an agricultural insecticide. Cool, huh?

Here's our tomato spray for roses.  Add to a vegetable juicer:
  • Tomato leaves
  • 4 pints water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Blend, strain, then store in the refrigerator when not in use (we should put a label on it so ol' Bill doesn't drink it.)

Organic Fertilizers For Tomatoes

Certified Organic Worm Castings For Fertilizing Tomato Transplants
What's the best fertilizer for tomatoes?  Use slow release, certified organic worm castings and VermaPlex® for the best tasting, most nutritious tomatoes possible.

Pure Black Castings Slow release, never burns

VermaPlex®:  Prevents transplant shock!