If you’re looking to improve the quality of garden, either because of poor quality soil or just simply wanting a higher output of fresh fruit and vegetables these products will surely help.
1. Compost Is King
Nothing beats good compost, nothing! But all compost is not the same, as some are cheaply filled with fillers as well as material from sewage sludge or bio-solids or that contain heavy metals.
You can also make your own compost, as there are plenty of methods of making compost in your own backyard. Either just burying your kitchen scraps into a hole, to placing compost materials on a pallet, or even buying a commercial compost bing.
Compost Buying Hints
Common problems of buying some “organic compost” are that the that you will see the word organic on the bag and it doesn’t necessarily mean that organic material was used to produce the compost. What to look for instead of “organic” on the bag of compost is the OMRI Listed For Organic Use. OMRI stands for Organic Materials Review Institute. This is material to certified organic material for use in produce organic food. So this, in turn, is so you can call your food organic.
OMRI has products which are allowed and not allowed according to the NOP (National Organic Program).
Another important aspect is to read the ingredients listed on the back of the bag. What to not buy is compost from sewage. As this can contain a lot of heavy metals, which are not good for you or your plants. This means getting down on your knees and probably turning over the bag to read the ingredients.
A general consideration before buying any compost is what you pay for a compost usually, but not always, can determine how good a compost is.
A good tip for purchasing soil or compost is not to buy from the big box stores, instead should be bought from local nurseries or companies that make soil locally, like a landscaping company or something. But you should be asking how the compost is made and from what materials. Ask a lot of questions about what is used to make the compost.
I am also becoming a big fan of mushroom compost, as the addition of fungi to your garden really helps the soil and is often a missing part of an ultra healthy garden.
2. Kitchen Scraps
Number 2 is kitchen scraps and is kinda of free, as you are using spoiled fruits and vegetables that have turned on you. As you should either be making your own compost with kitchen scraps and other yard materials, like tree leaves or weeds you picked from the garden.
As I really love not adding to the waste management problem of landfills, all the while helping my garden out. A real win-win situation with none of the negatives effects of collecting kitchen scraps.
The problem with collecting kitchen scraps is the smell and the potential of attracting gnats and fruit flies in your kitchen. You can’t believe how bad compost smells sometimes when it is breaking down on you.
I’ve been using an old gallon ice cream plastic pail for years, which didn’t really keep the smell down or the fruit flies. Until recently, I discovered that they make an indoor compost bin that uses charcoal filters for the odor. Not only that it will effectively not attract flies or any pest. Bonus, right!
I bought this Abakoo bin which holds 1.8 gallons and has 4 charcoal filters and is made of stainless steel. This really does effectively control the smell and more importantly the gnats and fruit flies. I highly recommend upgrading to this!
This is one of best amendments you can make to your soil. This is also kinda of expensive but is really worth it and a little goes a long way. This is made from organic codfish hydrolysate that is grown sustainably in ponds. This makes it so there is no heavy metals, no GMO that are feed to the codfish. Everything that is fed to the fish is of super high quality.
Using rock dust will add trace minerals back into your soil if you have been gardening your soil for a long time or if your soil is lacking these minerals, to begin with. This allows the plant to decide what minerals it needs and you are providing it access to these trace minerals by adding this product.
Ideally, this should be added to your compost as it is breaking down. This allows the bacteria and the rock dust to be fully integrated into the compost.
A dust mask should be used when using this as it is an ultra-fine powder and not healthy to breathe. This comes in a 44 lbs bag but you can also buy in smaller quantities. This was hard for me to find locally and I bought it from Amazon. It came with a thick plastic material over it and with no rips or tears in the bag, as I was concerned with it coming damaged.
I purchased this last fall and I am very eager to see the results of using this product. As I have researched this a lot and seen nothing but good from this.
5. Worm Castings
I really like the Worm Gold Plus Pure Worm Castings. What is recommended is one pound of castings per five to ten square feet.
I really like that it is 100% organic and it is not made from manure or landscape waste. Plants really love this stuff and it will surely produce with increased growth and harvest.
Additional Items To Considered
A garden hose filter will greatly help your garden if you live in a city. As most water municipalities use harsh chemicals, like chlorine and other chemicals to kill stuff that bad stuff that lives in the water. This will also kill the healthy microbes in your soil. A way to circumvent this is to buy a garden hose filter.
I really like the Boogie-Blue Plus+ High Capacity Filter. This being a high capacity filter it will effectively filter 45,000 gallons of water. This has a dual catalytic-carbon and KDF membrane in order to accomplish this. This filter has a little maintenance that is required, as you may need to occasionally back flush it. This fits a standard 3/4″ hose.
Another item from the same company to really consider is Boogie Brew Plant Tea. This product is 100% natural and a vegan fertilizer, as a vegan fertilizer is really hard to find. Instructions are included and this works wonders on your garden and flowers.