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General Gardening tips

Parts of a store-bought compost

Build a cheap and simple compost!

These are simple but effective tips to help your garden.

Coffee grinds, tea bags, and rice water

Used coffee grinds are very useful when gardening. To make the soil very nutrient-rich and fertile, mix coffee grinds in with the soil before you plant seeds. If you don't drink coffee, or don't want to save the coffee grinds, you can go to a coffee shop like Peet's Coffee and ask for some used coffee grinds. Peet's coffee sometimes just puts out a basket with 5 pound bags of used coffee grinds, for people to take for free! Tea from used tea bags work too. And if you don't drink tea or coffee, you can use rice water from rinsing white rice. If you don't drink coffee and tea, don't have a coffee store close, and you only eat brown rice, then a compost would probably be a better choice! And if you don't want to use a compost, this is a great choice. Also, you can put used coffee grinds and used tea in a compost.

Compost

Composts are very useful. You can buy one at a store, or make one yourself. You can buy worms, or not use worms. Anyway, to make one yourself, get a few relatively big containers (preferably shallow), and drill holes in the bottoms of all of them. Or you can use a metal mesh container. Start making your compost in one of the buckets. If you want, you can put some wet newspaper on the bottom to keep dirt from falling out in the beginning. Add your vegetable scraps, used coffee grinds, and other things. You can add meat, but we suggest you don't, since normally composts work better without meat. Add an equal amount or less of dirt. Don't keep the mixture too wet, but don't keep it too dry either. Keep a lid on it most of the time, except when you're putting your food scraps in. When you're done, put another bucket with holes on top of it. Then repeat the prosess. Every once and a while, check on the bottom one. If it isn't done, you should wait a little bit longer. If it is done, you can use it with your next gardening project! Every once and a while, you should also stir it.

If you want to buy worms, you can get them at multiple places. We suggest you find one near you're area, since shipping is pretty expensive, between $20-40 just to ship the worms. Higher than the price of the worms, which is about $20 per lb. So not too expensive, maybe a little more than free-range steak. For 1 lb of food waste a day, you should have a minimum of 1000 worms, or about a pound. A good amound would be 1.5 lbs, and for great performance, 2 lbs. So for optimum performance for 1 lb of food waste, with purchased worms and compost, would be averaging the side table. Or you can just get a few buckets! It depends what you want: a high efficiency one, or a slow one. No matter what, the compost should, after a while, start generating heat.

Item

Average Price with shipping

2 lbs. worms

$100.00

Compost

$53.00

Total

$153.00

So $153 as opposed to $30 for 5 of these buckets. And then, you don't even need that! You can just find some sticks and weave them together into walls around where you are going to put your compost! So that way, it's for free! The only problem with that it's hard to get to the bottom to get the good composted material.

pH and acidity of soil

Beans

A bean and a tomato

If you don't want to use a non-organic fertilizer, but you you don't have time for a compost, another good idea is to grow beans. Beans are very useful. Since they are leguimes, the fix nitrogen in the ground. Plant them all over your garden if your garden doesn't have very rich soil. To plant them, you can either do it the regular way, or you can soak them in water. Soaking them in water is simple and basic, so normaly that's the best. Anyway, soak some beans overnight, and then put them on some wet paper towel in a plastic disposable cup. Not all beans work this way, like soybeans. Anyway, for soybeans, you can just buy some dry ones from a store like Whole Foods, and then soak them in water overnight. Then fill the bucket with water, pour the water away, and fill the water up so it touches all the soybeans. Keep doing it for 2 weeks, keeping it indoors. We suggest putting a wet cloth or something over it, since after a few days, it'll start smelling really bad, and flies will come. Don't use coffee grinds with this. After 2 weeks, if the beans haven't sprouted, throw them away and start again. Even though the soybeans smell really bad, they should still grow.

Pots

A milk container pot

If you don't want to use any pots, you can use empty milk jugs with the top cut off. They work just as good - If you're going to use it inside, keep it as it is and just water it carefully. But if you're using it outside, we recommend that you poke holes in the bottom before you put dirt in. If you have dirt that might fall out of the holes, you can put newspaper at the bottom.