Remember when you were a child and your parents took you to Dairy Queen (or insert any other soft-serve ice cream place). There was NOTHING more magical than seeing that ice cream squish out of the machine as you anxiously awaited the joy it would bring!
While I believe my obsession with ice cream got started at Baskin Robbins, there’s something about being forced to wait….and wait…and wait for the soft-serve machine that just whips a kid into a frenzy!!!
It’s quite possible that some gardeners have a similar experience when they go to the zoo or farm (don’t act like you didn’t see that coming)!
Of course, the animals are cool and it’s alway fun to watch the zookeepers feed them but, for a gardener, the magic happens at the other end!
Organic gardening has really taken off and become more accessible for the everyday gardener. It’s a great thing too because do we really need any more going into the ground and ocean?! Another rant for another day…
It’s definitely the less glamorous side of gardening although my friends, Kym and Gerrit (aka “Fastest Couple on Two Wheels”), have a DIY compost bin system that would rival anything Martha Stewart’s servants could whip up!
Much like fine wine, a proper compost takes time and patience and isn’t as simple as just walking behind your dog (or farm animal) with a bucket. However, if created properly, the payoff is well worth the wait!
Adding organic material to your soil helps to improve the structure and boost nutrients! Good drainage helps prevent root rot and fungal disease. Beneficial microorganisms and insects will scratch your back if you scratch theirs and work hard to help eradicate harmful microbes like nematodes and certain soil borne illnesses.
There are many soil testing options if you’re the hands-on type or want to leave it to the experts. For you do-it-yourselfers, you can pick up tools and, probably, some valuable advice from places such as Orange County Farm Supply. Many nurseries will also provide soil testing for free or a nominal fee. Additionally, your Cooperative Extension can also be a source. When only an expert will do, Soil and Plant Laboratory is a reliable and affordable way to go!
HERE ARE A FEW RESOURCES TO HELP YOU HAVE THE BIGGEST, BESTEST GARDEN EVER!
- Soil University – Gary Matsuoka of Laguna Hills Nursery is known for his passion about soil and his informative workshops.
IN CASE YOU LACK THE SPACE AND TIME FOR YOUR OWN STEAMY PILE……
- Eartheasy’s Guide to Making Compost – The basics – what, where & how
- Starbucks – For those of you currently trying to cut back on your Starbucks habit due to tough economic times, here’s a little help in justifying why budget cuts should be made elsewhere.
- City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation – Free mulch giveaway program available to all LA residents
- Aguinaga Green – For some of OC’s finest!
- Malibu Compost – Everything about this site is cool but also check out how the company came to be and what they do to give back!