Garden Composters and Composting BasicsWritten by Mark Falco
Recent studies show that an average family throws away approximately 200 pounds of organic kitchen waste every year. Combine this with all leaves, grass clippings and other organic garden waste accumulated over time and that's a lot of household waste being added to already mountainous waste disposal problem. Some local authorities are refusing to take away green waste from gardening and others charge for service in an effort to curb mounting costs and then when you add in environmental costs of adding new landfill sites, road transport emissions from ferrying all this waste around and potentially incineration and fumes that releases environmental advantages of composting are clear.
In slightly more selfish terms, if you are a gardener then you will know relatively high cost of fertiliser. Well, OK an average gardener's yearly fertiliser expenditure is not going to break bank but when you can get fertiliser for free out of stuff you throw away then it starts looking extremely expensive. Composting simply makes good environmental and financial sense and it's so easy to do there's nothing stopping you.
What Do I Need To Begin?
A compost bin, box, enclosure or handy place to put an open compost heap. Cheap plastic composters and compost bins can be bought from all good garden centers and are quite inexpensive depending on your requirements. A plastic compost bin is generally cheapest whilst wood composters are generally more attractive additions to your garden but a little more costly. An open heap (just create a pile somewhere) is also an option but it is advisable to have some sort of cover like a tarpaulin available for colder periods of weather.
Another slightly different alternative to composting in traditional sense is vermicomposting or wormeries. These use a special kind of worms to break down kitchen scraps producing a fine compost-like material fromtheir casts and a nutrient filled liquid plant food which is ideal for feeding indoor pot plants. If do a lot of greenhouse gardening or have a lot of houseplants then a wormery may be best choice for disposal of household waste.
If you do not want to actually spend money on a composter then building your own isn't exactly difficult if you do not mind picking up a hammer and nails. Nail together a few wooden pallets for example and you've got an enclosure suitable for composting. For plans and ideas on how to assemble your own composter at little cost, simply head to your favourite search engine and type in phrases like "build your own composter" or "compost bin plans" for an endless supply of simple ideas typically costing under $30.
Where To Put Your Compost
Whether you purchase a composting bin or make your own composter you need to make sure you have a flat, well drained place in your garden not too far away that you begrudge taking your kitchen scraps out to it. Compost bins should not be placed on concrete, patio areas etc. as you want to allow insects, worms and microorganisms which help degradation of your waste materials freedom to migrate into and out of your compost without hinderance.
How to Raise House Plants from Seeds EasilyWritten by Balaji B
The principal house plants which are easy to raise by sowing seeds are Aloe (succulent plant), Asparagus species, Begonia semper-florensundB. rex, cacti (many kinds), Clivia, Cyclamen, Eucalyptus, Fuchsia (varieties), Grevillea robusta, Opuntia, Passijiora, Phoenix (palm), Primula malacoides and P. obconica, Ricinus, Rochea (succulent plant), Saintpaulia (hybrids) and Solatium capsicastrum.
The most suitable compost
It is best to sterilise compost, and it should therefore be heated in a sterilising apparatus for 10 minutes at a temperature of 18o° F. After this partial sterilisation, compost must be spread out on a bench to cool before use.
Watering a seed pan by partial immersion
A simple method of sterilising compost is to water it with Cheshunt Compound steriliser. This chemical can be obtained from any seed store. It consists of a powder which, when dissolved in water, is sprinkled over compost before or after seeds have been sown. It is perfectly safe to use, and does not injure smallest seedlings. Seed boxes and pots can be sterilised by this method and thereby made pest free. A satisfactory seed compost may be obtained by sterilising loam only, and then adding peat, sand and fertiliser.
Preparing seed compost
The soil ingredients are sifted through a sieve having a |-mch mesh and thoroughly mixed. The pots or seed pans are given plenty of drainage crocks which are covered with rough siftings from compost, and receptacles are then filled with compost.
This is made moderately firm by pressing it with fingers; it is then moistened by holding receptacle in a pail of water.The water must not come above rim of pot because it is necessary that moisture should rise up through compost. As soon as surface of soil becomes damp, pot is set aside to drain for a few hours before seed sowing is commenced.
The depth to which seeds are covered depends on their size. Very fine seeds, such as those of Begonia, require only a fine sprinkling of silver sand, whereas larger seeds should be covered to depth of their greatest dimensions. When seeds have been sown, receptacles should be covered with panes of glass and shaded with sheets of paper.