On the homefront: Soil

From the ground up Soil: a growing medium What is soil? Soil is made up of number of components such as decayed & organic matter, (which makes composting/humus), mineral & rock particles, is one of the most important elements for achieving success in the garden.  Of course, other elements such as location, water, sunlight and maintenance are also important for gardening success. Living organisms, although microscopic, work hard beneath the ground to enrich the soil producing a high quality medium for planting.  One such organism is the Earthworm, which as they burrow, they consume soil, extracting nutrients from decomposing organic matter like leaves and roots. Earthworms are vital to soil health because they transport nutrients and minerals from below to the surface via their waste, and their tunnels aerate the ground. An earthworm can eat up to one third its body weight in a day (1). Other contributing factors for quality soil is air and water. Earthworms are the most easily recognized soil organism and are viewed as a sign of soil health. New no-tillers eagerly document the increase in worm numbers as a sign of improving soil health — and they are right to make that assumption. In fact, worms are often studied as an “indicator species” for monitoring changes in soil quality(2). Types of soils: Sandy soil is made up of large particles, which allow water to drains quickly and can often take valuable nutrients with it. Clay soil is composed of very small particles,have the ability to hold water and nutrients but air cannot penetrate between these spaces, especially when they are filled with water. Poor...

Planting seeds basics

 Growing your own food is pure satisfaction for fresher, tastier and enjoyable dining. One of the ways to grow your own foods is to plant seeds and a little organization can help to make it fun and easier to maximize the planting seed experience.  Feel free to share your tips. Here some tips: I washed the trays in soap and water and rinse well, a few day before starting to plant the seeds. Other suggestions can be found here Create a space for the planting, I used a table with some plastic for easy cleaning up; Materials and supplies ready for planting- trays, seeds, labelling sticks, permanent marker, soil mixture, water, and cleanup cloths; Read the instructions on the seed packages before planting, as each variety have different needs; Depending on the amount of seeds, schedule a couple of hours for planting. How deep and how far   The general rule for planting is one and half times the width of the seeds  It is better to plant more than less. When planting in trays, I usually put more than one seed in the compartment, especially if they are my own seeds saved from the previous year. If it’s in the ground (after the last frost in Ontario), I tend to plant them a little closer together than the recommended distance, so if all of the seeds don’t sprout, there is enough plants to thin out to easily fill in the bare spots. The victory garden is about self sufficiency and doing it yourself. Start growing your own food, you’ll love...