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Archive for the ‘Backyard Composting Info’ Category

Full Circle New Years Resolution 2016 Gardeners

Well, folks. It’s the end of the year! And as short as these winter days are, for us die-hard gardener / grower types, they can sure feel long … as we gaze longingly out at our snow-blanketed planter boxes like a lonely puppy, counting down the weeks till spring with every can or jar of harvest-time goodies we finish …

But wait a minute! What better time than as we wave goodbye to 2015 could there be to start planning our 2016 yards and gardens? Not only does getting a jump on it now help you hit the ground running (or raking …), it gives you a really great thing to get excited about when people ask you your New Year’s resolution!

So leave the vows for fad diets and garage clean-ups to your Facebook friends. Read on for our favorite 8 New Year’s resolutions for gardeners and growers — ones sure to make it a truly Happy New Year for you and your plants!

FOR NEW GARDENERS!

1. Start a Garden!

If you don’t have a garden yet … start one! No matter what style of gardening / planting / growing you want to do, get things off to an amazing beginning with a healthy dose of KICK and other beyond organic Full Circle compost products … so your plants can go from zero to hero in one season.

If you’re new to the region, let us warn you that gardening in Nevada can be tough … but NOT if you have the right soil. Since most Nevada properties don’t start off with nice, developed, mature soil, you’ll just have to nurture it on up to the right conditions.

(Find out more about bad compost versus good compost for Nevada growing here; learn more about Nevada soil here.)

FOR YOUR GARDEN!

2. Start a Gardening Journal

Not only will this will motivate you to make plans–and stick to them!–but it can help you keep track of planting schedules, successes & failures, and other experience that’ll get those thumbs looking greener in no time.

3. Make a Planting Calendar!

Like your journal, having a dedicated gardening calendar helps you remember when to START projects, buy seeds or seedlings, prep soil, plant, harvest, and all the other fun steps that lead to delicious homegrown veggies and beautiful yards.

4. Build Raised Garden Beds!

You know, like the ones you see in yards around your neighborhood and wish you had. Well this year’s your year and you can get started BEFORE the planting season. Whether you want small front-yard herb-and-veggie boxes or a full-on greenhouse operation like Gary’s, all it takes is a trip to the hardware store, some dedication, and our plant-loving KICK to get things growing BIG! Learn how to build raised garden beds with guides from Sunset, Lowe’s and Eartheasy as inspiration. (You can always buy planter boxes and raised garden beds, but what’s the fun in that!)

5. Build a Compost System!

Wanna get serious about composting? Make your own! One of our favorite composting systems is the 3 pile backyard compost system. It’s a little labor-intensive, and is definitely a commitment. But if you’re up for the challenge, the payoff is (bio)massive. Go here for our instructions, tips and advice!

FOR YOUR YARD / PROPERTY!

6. Re-seed Your Lawn!

Love your lawn? This spring, get your turf to come back lusher and plusher than ever before with this way-too-easy 4-step turf reseed plan. Lasting results in as quick as 2 weeks! Check out photos of some real-life success stories from Reno, David in South Lake Tahoe, and University of Nevada.

7. Xeriscape Nevada Style!

Don’t love your lawn? Rip it out! Save water, defend against drought, cut costs, improve the value of your home, AND make your neighbors jealous by converting your yard to a natural landscape that requires minimal maintenance. Just get it started and let Nature do the hard work, season after season! Learn more about the benefits and see the payoffs in our Xeriscape Nevada articles.

8. Go Native!

Grow more natural, local, native species of plants and flowers! Not only have they been living and growing successfully in our region for a long, long time; they’re beautiful. And trust us, it ain’t all sagebrush! See our list of dozens of drought-tolerant plants that LOVE Nevada here: Xeriscape Reno – Improve Your Home’s Value) and learn how to incorporate them into your own personal ecosystem.

For more great tips, advice and professional secrets to growing in Nevada & Beyond in 2016, sign up for The Planter’s Post, a goody-packed monthly newsletter!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP!

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Chemical vs All-natural potting mix. Who will win the battle!!!!

Chemical vs All-natural potting mix. Who will win the battle!!!!

The age old debate arises: are chemical or all-natural composts and soils better? Should gardeners and growers being using chemical or all-natural composts and soils? Are chemical or all-natural composts and soils more healthy? These questions dive deep into the fundamental debate between the use of chemical or all-natural compost and soil products in growing scenarios. This topic is building more and more momentum as the organic growing movement and demand for organically grown products increases. Well, here at Full Circle Soils & Compost, we stumbled upon a very interesting test trial that will blow your mind and help you make an informed decision between chemical or all-natural composts and soils FOREVER!

Our test trial began as a simple test to see if our products performed better than “that stuff they say is a miracle and grows.” The test came to a grinding halt; however, we discovered some evidence even more astonishing….TO CONTINUE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE

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***This blog post has been recently update with even more awesome information. It has moved to a new blog space I am writing and running. Come check it out and get your hands in the dirt! 3 Pile Backyard Compost System***

Last time we talked about the basic composting ideology for all you back yard composters out there. Now we are going to put these ideas to practice in a system that will yield better composting results in a more efficient manner.

Many problems with backyard composting systems and that there is no way to find out when your compost is done and ready to use in your garden. Also, many people have no idea that adding new materials constantly to the same compost pile is detrimental to the success of you compost. This happens with many of the smaller composting units that are on the market.

Compost piles go through stages of growth and maturity. You start with you brand new pile, trying to get it hot letting the microbes and bacteria go to work to break down the material. A month or so later (depending on how much you are turning and how hot you can get you pile, could be only a few weeks.) your pile goes to the second stage where it is half way done composting. At the end, your compost pile should be a mixture of materials that do not resemble their former selves, the heat has dropped, and your pile is done! If you were to keep adding new materials to the end pile…you would never get finished compost because the cycle starts all over again!

Great 3 bin compost system design

To make the best of your compost piles you should have three pile set up, one for each stage of the backyard compost cycle. If you are just starting you will only have one pile that you will gradually move to the second pile then to the third pile and keep building them all up overtime till you have a great composting system going. Since we are attempting to aerobically compost by giving our microbes plenty of air and water as we turn, having multiple piles is key. You do not want to keep starting you finished compost piles over by adding new content to compost that is finishing. Just like if you had a cake in the oven, you are not going to go add more ingredients to it while it is cooking! Same for your compost.

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Here is the rest of our chat about backyard composting.

Photo Credit: London Permaculture

So we already know that we need dedication, a simple barrier system for having a big pile, and that recipe is key. Let’s continue with the idea of the recipe.

Backyard composting should be where all your landscaping waste goes rather then throwing it in the bin to be taken to the landfill. The amount of leaves, grass clippings, wood sources, and all the other organic materials people have around their yard will account for most of the brown and green material needed for your pile. If you are going to use manure, get it from a source where you know what the animal has been eating. Remember what goes in one end will come out the other so animals eating horrible food will have horrible manure. This also brings into play any antibiotics of hormones the animals are on. Find a good farmer that practices sustainablility and you can get good manure. Stick with chicken, horse, cow, or any other farm animal but move away from using your pets because their digestive systems have more potential for pathogens.

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Ohhh La La….compost glory!

Here is a break down on the need to know information for all you backyard composters out there.  We are going to go through the basics of backyard composting and eliminate some of the misnomer info that is throwing many people off course in their search to make great compost.

To start, just as most self-help ideas start, the key to creating good backyard composting systems is dedication. just like joining a gym, backyard composting is not something you pick up once in a while. To get real results and create a real quality product that will benefit your gardening and landscaping needs, dedication is the first real step. Knowing that composting will take up weekly time and effort, adhering to a schedule will allow you to track the progress of your compost pile. Here is a 5 step basic ideology to creating a great backyard composting. We will touch on steps 1,2,and 3 in this blog.

Do not buy expensive composting equipment. I know this is not what the producers of backyard composters want to hear but it is the truth. Backyard composting is most successfully done with basic materials and these basic materials include: a pitchfork and or shovel and some type of material to make a barrier. That is all you need, in addition to your dedication to adhering to your compost schedule, to make great compost. The reason that composter tumblers and all the equipment on the market are not ideal for backyard composting all depends on our next step…size.

The small nature of backyard composters is not what a person needs to make real compost. You need to think big. When I say compost pile, I am literally talking a pile and not any small pile. The minimum size of a compost pile should be 1 cubic yd. One cubic foot yard would be a 3 ft by 3 ft barrier that we are going to put all our ingredients in. 4 ft by 4 ft is even better but what is best and most simplistic is a 6 ft diameter circle. The enclosure for this circle is best made out of wire fencing you can buy at any home improvement store. This large area allows for lots of material to be in your pile and this is what is going to build our heat. The reason for big piles is heat! Composting requires heat and heat mass comes from larger piles. Building heat, ecspecially in colder climates like Nevada, needs a big fur coat to get warm not a sweatshirt. You get heat mass by having a big pile. Dedication comes into play for turning such a big pile so be ready. Here is an example of great and simple compost bins: http://conservationtutorials.org/2009/04/20/backyard-composting-the-three-ws-and-one-h-what-where-why-how/

Once you have dedication, a simple barrier set up, and understand you are going big, the next step is recipe. The key to great compost is diversity of the materials you put in it. The more diverse, the more diverse the bacteria and microbes and the more diverse the nutrients you will be eventually giving to your plants. There is a simple color coded recipe: 3 parts brown to 1 part green. Brown are your carbon sources (branches, wood chips, leaves, brown stuff ect.) and green is your nitrogen source (grass, food waste, and manure). DO NOT GET CONFUSED! Brown is not manure, the green can include manure. You do not want 3 parts manure in your compost. People have the misconception that compost is manure. IT IS NOT! At a maximum you only want 20% of your pile by volume to be manure. Manure has to much salt and less resilient plant will burn from too much manure. So stick to the recipe. 3 parts brown to 1  part green with the green part including a manure source.

There is step 1, 2, and 3….we will talk more about recipe and steps 4 and 5 next blog…

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