Healthy Garden Soil - Composting; how, when, & why

Written by Sara Chute

Continued from page 1

5. Waterrepparttar pile, and continuerepparttar 116311 process of laying. Do not trample onrepparttar 116312 heap as if it is matted down, aeration will be impeded.

Within a few daysrepparttar 116313 heap will begin to heat up and start to shrink in size. The heap is turned with a pitchfork 2 - 3 weeks after being made, and again at about 5 weeks of age. Care is taken during turning to placerepparttar 116314 outer parts ofrepparttar 116315 heap onrepparttar 116316 inside so that they can decay fully.

Do not turnrepparttar 116317 heap too frequently, as it needs to build up heat forrepparttar 116318 decaying process. Keeprepparttar 116319 pile moist, but not wet, and let nature take its course. The compost will be finished after about 3 months.

When To Apply Compost:

The main influence on timing, rate and method of applying compost is its condition, age, and degree to whichrepparttar 116320 composting process is complete. Fully mature compost resembles - indeed, it is - supersoil, a light, rich loam. If half completed so it still retains some fibrous material, it will continue to decompose and generate heat. Such compost should be permitted to finish composting. Never place it near growing plants. However, if you have unfinished compost inrepparttar 116321 fall ofrepparttar 116322 year, it is safe to apply it. It will finish up inrepparttar 116323 soil and be ready to supply growth nutrients torepparttar 116324 first spring plantings.

The preferred time to apply fully matured compost is a month or so before planting - or, if you are a successive cropper, planting two or more crops torepparttar 116325 same parcel of land each session, just before planting. The closer to planting time it goes on,repparttar 116326 finer it should be shredded or chopped, andrepparttar 116327 more thoroughly it should be hoed or tilled into your soil.

If compost is ready inrepparttar 116328 fall but not intended for use until spring, it should be kept covered and stored in a protected place. If it is kept for a long period of time duringrepparttar 116329 summer,repparttar 116330 finished compost should be watered from time to time.

How To Apply:

For general application,repparttar 116331 soil should be stirred or turned thoroughly. Thenrepparttar 116332 compost is added torepparttar 116333 top four inches of soil. For flower and vegetable gardening, it is best to panrepparttar 116334 compost through a 1/2 inch sieve. Course material remaining may then be put into another compost heap.

To avoid disturbing roots of established plants, compost should be mixed with topsoil aand applied as mulch. This is often termed "side dressing". It serves a double purpose, providing plant food that will gradually work itself down torepparttar 116335 growing crop, and as a mulch giving protection from extremes of temperature, hard rains and growth of weeds.

For best results, compost should be applied liberally, from 1 - 3 inches per year. There is no danger of burning due to overuse, as happens with artificial fertilizers. Apply compost either once or twice a year.

Layered Garden or "Lasagna" Garden

For those of you who are short on garden space, you might want to try one ofrepparttar 116336 two methods pictured onrepparttar 116337 right. The first picture allows for more intensive gardening (more plants forrepparttar 116338 area available).

See pictures at 1. Begin by digging a pit ofrepparttar 116339 appropriate size

2. Linerepparttar 116340 bottom with wire mesh if rodents are a problem in your area The core or bottom of your compost pile garden is made up of twigs, small branches, and other coarse materials Next comes twigs, finely shredded branches, sawdust, etc

3. On top of this, place garden materials such as weeds, lawn clippings, fruit and vegetable peelings fromrepparttar 116341 kitchen, coffee grounds, shredded leaves. It's best to shredrepparttar 116342 leaves, as too many leaves placed in whole can pack down and prevent natural aeration and decomposition (it might start to stink)

4. Follow with a layer of partially finished compost.

5. Top with fully finished compost mixed with quality topsoil

For more gardening information, please visit

This article has been brought to you by: GROWIT GOLD Garden & Landscape design software. Seerepparttar 116343 slideshow

A national and internation freelance writer since 1985, Sara has myriad articles and special editions to her name. Main interests include science & technology, and organic gardening.

WNV in Mares and Foals-When to Vaccinate?

Written by Michele Anderson

Continued from page 1

IMPORTANT NOTE: Dr.Wilson would have serious concerns about vaccinating foals at such a young age if their dams WERE vaccinated or had been previously EXPOSED to WNV. Studies with influenza, EEE, WEE, tetanus, rabies, and EHV have shown that maternal antibody interference extends up to to six months and beyond. Therefore, many foals vaccinated at less than six months of age fail to mount a protective immune response torepparttar standard two-dose primary vaccination series.

To avoid this problem, Wilson has recommended that veterinarians delay vaccination of foals from mares which were vaccinated or exposed to WNV untilrepparttar 116310 foal is about six months of age. Wilson recommendsrepparttar 116311 following series:

FIRST vaccination at six months or older. SECOND vaccination three to four weeks later.

THIRD vaccination six to eight weeks afterrepparttar 116312 second dose of vaccine.

What Dr.Wilson and others have found with other vaccines is that many (foals) don't respond optimally after two doses of vaccine even when vaccination is started after maternal antibodies have waned. A third dose gives a little more assurance thatrepparttar 116313 ones that haven't responded to two doses will respond torepparttar 116314 third dose.

Please check with your personal veterinarian for more information on if and when to vaccinate your mares or foals for WNV.

Publisher/editor of Horse Tales and Clips an informative FREE newsletter on the care and business of horses. If you would like to sign up for our FREE newsletter please use the link provided:

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