Gardening for Dummies?
on May 28, 2009 at 7:40 AM
| 9 comments
I was thinking of naming my blog Gardening for Dummies. Not to suggest that my readers have a simple mind, but to express the vast abyss of knowledge I have on gardening. My thumb is not green, unless I paint it that way.
So, I'm going to start with some simple steps for the sake of my simple mind. I'm going to start with... poop.
To grow anything, whether it is peas, tomatoes, petunias, or tulips (to be noted: I just listed off 2 separate types of flowers without assistance!), you need fertile soil with all the good stuff like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. To do this, you can buy synthetic fertilizer, but this is NOT a good idea. My dad has always avoided synthetic fertilizer because it takes more to do the job compared to organic fertilizer, which ends up costing more. Also, putting in synthetic fertilizer actually kills many of the microorganisms the soil needs. It's environmentally sloppy too. Synthetic fertilizer contains chemicals which end up as runoff in waterways; these chemicals can also end up in the vegetables you might eventually eat. Also, the potassium and phosphorus used to make synthetic fertilizers are derived from saline lakes (like the Dead Sea) or mines and nitrogen fertilizers are commonly made using fossil fuels; natural gas and coal.
Point is: DON'T USE SYNTHETIC FERTILIZERS!
Instead, use organic fertilizer, which yes, is just a nice way of saying poop, but ends up being so much better for your garden, your pocket and the environment. You can buy bags of organic fertilizer at any garden store (just check the label to make sure there are no synthetic ingredients). Also, though organic fertilizers are better, any runoff of nutrient rich water can affect nearby waterways and supplies, so make sure not to over due it. Below is a breakdown of the common types and how they can help your garden:
The Low-Down on Common... Poop
- Chicken Manure: In the garden world, chicken manure is referred to as 'hot' manure, because it is incredibly rich in nutrients. However, just like we can't handle too much rich food, neither can plants, and certain plants can actually burn and be destroyed by too much of this type of fertilizer. It's recommended that you mix it with compost.
- Cow Manure: Cow manure is lower in nutrients, but this means that you don't need to worry about hurting your plants with the amount you use. Therefore, it's pretty much fool-proof, which is why it's a popular one to use and why I use it.
- Horse Manure: This is also a 'hot' manure and should be composted before put in. It isn't as nutrient-rich as poultry manure, but contains more nitrogen than cow manure.
- Sheep Manure: Sheep manure is another 'hot' fertilizer. It is pretty dry and really rich in nutrients, so again, it should be composted prior to putting it down.
- Rabbit Manure: Rabbit manure has tons of nitrogen (more than chicken manure) and phosphorous, which is great for fruits and flowers.