Tag Archives


Active Batch Composting

The "thermal" in active batch thermal composting

What the heck is “Active Batch Composting” anyway? You’re about to find out, but first let’s look at another term: Cold composting. Cold composting, though the name is a bit of a misnomer, is what most gardeners do. We have … Continue reading

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Soil Foodweb: It’s a Party In There

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This week we are delighted to present another guest blogger, Sheri Powell-Wolff, A.K.A. Compost Teana. Sheri is an Advisor and Master Soil Consultant for Soil Foodweb Oregon and Earth Fortifications in Corvallis,
Oregon.   Her company, Compost TEAna’s Organic Landscapes provides compost tea services and soil biology testing and consultation in
the Los Angeles Area
.   She’s here to gives us the …

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Getting Ready for Spring

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Spring starts next week, and if you haven’t started gardening, let this be the call to action. Since we’ve been experiencing technical
difficulties with our search feature on Gardenerd.com, we wanted to offer these helpful posts to help guide your gardening endeavors in the meanwhile.

Seed Starting – start seeds indoors for lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, melons, cucumbers and beans. 

Starting Seeds to Perfection


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How to Do a Home Soil Test for Citrus

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Growing up, my parents had orange trees and stone fruit trees that I swear were planted in unamended clay soil and were never – ever – fertilized.
They thrived. My three citrus trees, on the other hand, which were planted with good drainage, plenty of compost and lots of care, are sad, sad, and more sad. What gives?

Our top New Years’ Resolution was to figure out what was wrong with our …
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Potash Deficiency

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A new question dropped into the Ask Gardenerd inbox this week: 


“Lovin’ [your] podcast since 2009!  My soil test recommends 15-0-15 for potash deficiency. Organic sources would be….what?  Wood ash,
greensand, kelp meal?  Do you have preference?  I’m told wood ash (easiest and free) leaches out faster and has other elements too, ones I don’t need to supplement like calcium and
magnesium. Just wondering what you think…”

First of all – thanks for …

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Can you Pass the Soil Test – Part 2 – Phytoremediation

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In our last episode, our protagonist was struggling to understand where excessive zinc levels came from in her garden soil. In case you missed it, you can read about it here:  Can You Pass the Soil Test?

This week, we explore the world of phytoremediation as a possible solution. What the heck is that, you ask?  To answer that question, let’s go back …
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Can You Pass the Soil Test?

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What’s a girl to do when her plants look anemic and aren’t growing like they should be, despite the mounds of compost and organic fertilizer
that are lovingly applied each season?  The mystery can only be solved one way: Get a soil test.  

We have two sets of tomatoes – one in our test garden, and one at our community garden at Ocean View Farms. Both were grown from seed under grow lights, and both were …
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Soil for Starting Seeds

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A question came in over the holiday:

“What is a good commercial soil in which to start vegetable seeds?

That’s a great question.  There are many ways to start seeds, and almost as many opinions about what soil to use for seed starting.  In general, commercial seed starting mix is of a finer grade of potting soil, meaning it is not as course or chunky as regular potting soil.  It is intended for use when starting seeds indoors under grow lights.  Many companies produce seed germinating mix that has higher moisture retaining properties, and some add fertilizers to their mixes …
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Lots of Flowers, but No Fruit

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A frustrated gardenerd wrote in recently:

Having a little gardening crisis – I planted a second round of zucchini and cucumbers in September. They are large now and have produced many flowers, but no fruit! Other things I planted at the same time are doing well. Beans and peas aplenty. I know pollination is an issue, since what few bees there are right now are OBSESSED with the eucalyptus tree on the other side of the house, not my garden – but I’ve added some sweet alyssum pots to the garden area, and even poked at the flowers with …
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Flies in My Soil

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A gardener writes in:

“We used 5 gallon buckets for our 3 tomatoes, 2 squash, and lemon cucumber plants this summer. I seem to have flies in the dirt! Am I over watering? What natural ways can I get rid of them?”

I’m going to take a stab and assume that the flies in question are gnats rather than house flies or white flies.  Given that, yes, over watering contributes to this problem.  It sounds like you have Fungus Gnats – little flies that lay eggs in the soil where it’s nice and moist, then the eggs develop into larvae and new …
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