A Simple 3 Part Potting Mix

Potting soils are generally made out of light materials known as “soilless medias”. Almost every gardener I’ve run into that mixes their own has their own recipe, but here is a basic one to get started with: 1-2 parts plant compost, homemade or from a trusted source. Plant compost can be purchased or made at home in a backyard compost bin. Make sure the compost is mature before use. It should be broken down into unidentifiable bits and have a pleasant “earthy” aroma. Composted animal manure can be substituted for up to half of the total compost. 1 part...

Read More

Beard Hair and Homemade Hygrometers

Ever notice how hair (especially long hair) seems different on humid days than on dry days? That’s because it is. One property of human hair is that it is measurably and reliably longer in humid conditions. A human hair at 100% humidity is about 2.5% longer than at 0%. While that isn’t very much, it can be directly observed. Horace Bénédict de Saussure is credited with creating the first human hair hygrometer in 1783. One simple way to make a hygrometer only requires a long hair, a small weight, a tack, a small ring, a marker, and something to...

Read More

From Diatoms to Diatomaceous

Diatoms are common single-celled algae found in the phytoplankton of both fresh and salt waters. They can also live inland under semi-aquatic conditions on wet soils, mosses, and bark. Microscopic in size; their common length is about the width of a human hair. Similar to plants, diatoms rely on light and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. They are an important contributor to both global carbon sequestration and oxygen generation. In the areas they inhabit, they are invariably an important part of the food chain as a source food. Diatoms are distinctive for being surrounded by rigid “shells” known as frustules....

Read More

A Hot Tip for Gardening with Thermoplastics: Get a Soldering Iron

Starting seeds in disposable thermoplastic cups has advantages; as a way to get an additional use from something that otherwise would likely be thrown away, because they are cheap, and they are a reasonable size for seedlings. “Five gallon” buckets are another common plastic item that can be found inexpensively and used as planting containers. There are also a wide variety of other thermoplastic items that can be found and used (or reused) in a variety of ways by a creative gardener. However, the thermoplastic commonly used for such items tends to be brittle, and prone to cracking under...

Read More

Organic vs. Synthetic Fertilizers & Nutrients

Plants need nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and other nutrients for healthy growth. These are elements, and as such, there is no difference between the nitrogen (N) from an organic nutrient, or a synthetic nutrient. Elemental nitrogen is the same exact thing, regardless of the source. This article by Grubbycup is republished here from Issue7 UK of Garden Culture Magazine. It originally appeared under the title, Organic vs. Synthetic Nutrients. The most important (and most interesting) of these is nitrogen (N). Unfortunately, plants can’t absorb pure elemental nitrogen (N) directly. There isn’t a way to feed plants a pile of single nitrogen (N)...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Pin It on Pinterest