We have a new project in the works in order to test our organic Soil Building program in a greenhouse environment using both soil based growing and hydroponics. We’ve built a small greenhouse to grow our new transplants and have set up a grow tent and indoor grow light system to propagate seeds such as lettuce, kale, a variety of herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers. We’ll be using our organic liquid compost and earthworm castings by Texas Worm Ranch to grow our transplants strong.
Once the seedlings are large enough, we’ll move them out to the greenhouse. Greenhouse growing is a great way to ensure you have fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs year-round. Plus, if you are growing plants you plan on eating, it’s best to grow them organically to reduce the amount of chemicals entering your body. This is where our liquid compost comes into play. It helps improve soil texture so plant roots grow strong. It also increases bioactivity in the soil through beneficial nematodes, mycorrhizal fungi and good bacteria that improves oxygen flow and reduces compaction. Once you are in a good habit of using organics in your greenhouse (and your landscape) you’ll reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers that deplete the soil of essential nutrients.
The amendments we use in our Soil Building program not only benefit your lawn and garden plants, but also potted plants, raised vegetable beds, and yes, greenhouse grown plants as well. Beneficial microbes, organic matter, oxygen, calcium, iron and other nutrients and living matter are as important to indoor plants, and even hydroponically grown plants, as they are to your outdoor plants.
Stay tuned as we continue our indoor organic experiment. Are you currently growing plants in a greenhouse? Do you grow them using an organic maintenance plan? Visit us on Facebook to let us know your progress.
What a wonderful and warm weather we’re having! While the Farmer’s Almanac said we’d have ice in January, it has proven not to be the case and we’ve lucked out with sun and warm days, along with just a few frozen nights. A warm February means many of your lawns might be coming out of dormancy a bit earlier. In January, we applied worm castings, liquid compost and humic acid. This month, in order to continue your lawn and garden’s preparation for the upcoming summer, we’re adding not only liquid compost, but molasses, liquid seaweed and fulvic acid as well to give the microbes in your soil a boost. When you keep the “good bugs” in your soil happy, you are growing an environment in which your plant roots will thrive.
Liquid compost is key
Liquid compost is the heart of our Soil Building program. We start by making our compost on-site with local food waste, worm castings from Texas Worm Ranch and other local sources. It is then turned into liquid gold -- aka liquid compost. Our liquid compost is nutrient-dense with minerals, nutrients and beneficial microbes that work together to increase the bioactivity in the soil. When your soil is at its healthiest, it means lawns and garden plants are better able to withstand our weather extremes and become more resistant to pests and diseases.
Molasses makes growing sweeter
We talk a lot about feeding microbes. But what are we feeding them? In addition to the liquid compost and its ingredients being an excellent food source, molasses is also a great source of trace amounts of vitamins and quite a few minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Combined, this combination of minerals help your plants manage heat stress, effectively take up other nutrients, improve flower and fruit production and reduce yellowing of the foliage on both your lawn and garden plants.
*Bonus: Fulvic Acid
To increase metabolism further, increase plant stress tolerance to hot summer weather and also to naturally detoxify the soil, we add a boost of fulvic acid. When fulvic acid is added along with the molasses and liquid compost, it also helps plant roots more efficiently take up nutrients and also aids in chlorophyll synthesis so plants stay green and lush looking.
If you are on our Soil Building program, then we can not stress enough that you should never skip treatments. For at least a year, and we we always recommend longer, keeping up with your organic maintenance will grow you a stronger, healthier garden that reduces your carbon footprint and, over time, will cost you less money and time.
For more on why you should not skip treatments, read our past post HERE.
First off...Happy Lawn Care Week! We’re excited for our industry pros, the National Association of Landscape Professionals, chose this week to be the focus of lawns: the benefits and how they should be cared for properly. An emerald green lawn that grows thick and lush, and is weed, disease and pest free can often draw criticism from neighbors. Why? Here are a few reasons we hear:
- How much water are they wasting?
- They must use tons of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides!
- That homeowner must care more about their perfect lawn than the environment!
- A fortune must be spent to keep up such a gorgeous lawn?
If these are remarks you’ve made about another person’s lawn, or heard them made about your own lawn, we’re here to offer up another perspective. Beautiful lawns aren’t always maintained with chemicals!
Sure, in many cases across DFW, homeowners do indeed use chemical additives to keep their lawns healthy and green. But when you focus on building healthy soil and take care of your lawn using a scheduled organic maintenance plan and products, you too can have a gorgeous green lawn - a lawn you can feel great about.
Now, when you grow your lawn organically, there are a few things you’ll need to get used to - like a few weeds here and there now and then. A perfect monoculture lawn (only one species) can be very challenging to create without the use of chemical pesticides. But a healthy lawn that is maintained organically and grown in bio-diverse healthy soil will be better able to choke out weeds naturally. But that doesn’t mean you won’t see a few now and then. Best thing to do is yank them as soon as you see them to keep them going to seed.
As your soil gets healthier, your lawn will develop deeper, stronger roots, use less water and be better able to stand up to common pests and diseases. Which means it will also look better. Feed the soil and it will do a better job of feeding your lawn without toxins.
A Green Lawn is more than just a Pretty Place to Play
While lawns can seem like a waste of resources, you might be surprised to learn some of the ways your lawn can also be an essential part of a healthy ecosystem.
- Lawns clean the air. They capture dust and other pollutants.
- Lawns reduce water runoff and soil erosion. ‘
- They provide oxygen (enough said!).
- Lawns bring communities together. A soft green lawn free of disease and pests makes a great place for neighbors and families to gather and relax.
- Lawns absorb carbon dioxide then break it down into carbon & oxygen!
- Did you know...a 50’x50’ patch of lawn produces enough oxygen for a family of four.
- Without a lawn, where would your children or pets play, while the adults relax?
- Want to know more soil facts? Visit this fun post HERE.
No lawns? No good.
We do understand that in some parts of the country, including here in North Texas, lawns can be considered controversial. But often, it’s the lack of understanding of the benefits lawns can bring to urban environments that fuels the controversy. The lawn itself isn’t the culprit - it’s how it’s maintained and what types of toxins or pollutants are used to keep it looking good that should draw a critical eye.
The truth is, if we banished lawns from our urban environment, this would be a true danger to our environment and Ecosystem.
Healthy Soil = Healthy Lawn.
While we love and admire strong green grass, we know that focusing on soil health is truly the only way area lawns will thrive long term. While our soils in North Texas are full of nutrients they are mostly bound up in the the tough clay texture. Our Soil Building Plan uses amendments such as our homemade compost extract, earthworm castings, humic acid and dry fertilizer so your soil is able to feed the plants and microorganisms growing in it. The end result will be a robust, gorgeous lawn that you, kids, pets and friends can roll around on without the concern of toxic chemicals.
So if you aren’t up to speed on your lawn facts, Lawn Care Week is a great time to get caught up! If you have questions about how to transition your lawn to an organic care plan, or are more interested in our services and how we do what we do, our website and blog is full of information so stick around a bit and read up.