Aug 09

The Science of Composting

While our forefathers understood that compost was useful for growing plants and enhancing soil health, they did not know just how or why it proved useful. Our understanding about the science of composting comes from research performed through the past 50 years – fairly current in comparison to the 2000 plus years that people have been composting.

wired-bin_wlGarden composting accelerates the natural practice of decomposition, offering the best conditions so that organic matter can break down faster. While you dig, turn, layer and water your compost stack, you may sense as if you are doing the composting, but the majority of the work is really accomplished by many types of decomposer organisms.

Microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and actinomycetes are the cause for most of the decomposition that occurs in a stack. They are viewed as chemical decomposers, since they modify the biochemistry of organic waste materials. The bigger decomposers, or macroorganisms, in a compost stack include mites, sow bugs, snails, springtails, spiders, slugs, beetles, ants, flies, nematodes, flatworms, rotifers, and earthworms. These are regarded as to be physical decomposers since they grind, bite, suck, tear, and gnaw elements into smaller bits.

Of most these organisms, aerobic germs are the most vital decomposers. They are very plentiful; there may be millions in a gram of dirt or rotting organic matter. You would likely need 10.000 of them laid end to end on a ruler to make an inch. They little creatures are the most nutritionally diversified of all organisms and can eat practically anything. Bacteria use carbon as a supply of energy and nitrogen to develop protein in their bodies (so they can grow and replicate). They acquire energy by oxidizing organic substance, particularly the carbon portion. This oxidation method heats up the compost heap from background air temperature. If the correct conditions are found, the stack will heat up in a couple of days due to bacteria ingesting readily decomposable components.

lawngrBigger organisms are needed in physically modifying organic stuff into compost. They are effective through the later phases of composting – digging, chewing, digesting and mixing compostable components. Additionally to combining materials, they bust it into smaller pieces, and convert it into more digestible types for microorganisms. Their excrement is also broken down by bacteria, leading to more nutrients to be produced.

Micro- and macroorganisms are a component of a sophisticated food cycle. This food cycle is made up of organisms labeled as either first-, second-, or third-level consumers. The groups are structured on what they eat and who eats them. Very first level consumers come to be the food for second level consumers, that therefore, are consumed by third level consumers.

Temperature is yet another essential element in the composting procedure and is similar to appropriate air and moisture ranges. Because the microorganisms operate to decompose the compost (in a compost tumbler or a bin), they provide off heat that in turn boosts compost load temperatures. Temperatures between 85º and 145ºF suggest super-fast decomposition. Lesser temperatures sign a slowing in the composting practice. Higher temperatures bigger than 150º F minimize the activity of the majority of organisms.

rotating-tumbler_rgOutside air temperatures can influence the decomposition procedure. Hotter outside temperatures in late spring, summer, and early fall promote bacteria and accelerate decomposition. Low winter temperatures can slow or briefly stop the composting practice. As air temperatures ho higher in the spring, microbial actions will continue. Throughout winter months, compost heaps can be coated with a tarp to support heat keeping longer, but it is not really required.

Beginner composters and people curious in creating fast compost may want to closely monitor the temperatures. The most correct reading should come from a special compost thermometer. These are obtainable from many garden supply providers.

Happy composting!

Apr 02

Starting an Iwagumi Aquascape

aquascapeIwagumi’s are fascinating and stunning: they seem to have a magical sense to them and an opportunity to astound even the most uneasy people – it is tough to forget your first Iwagumi, but what the Iwagumi is really?

  • Setting up the rocks

The first rock to be applied in an Iwagumi aquascape is the most important rock or largest rock, the Oyaishi, and it is always placed off-center, in line with the rule of thirds. It is also usually a bit tilted in the path of the water stream, to give it more of an organic feel, as any tall flora will also move in the same route. After the Oyaishi, the second largest rock should be set is the Fukuishi. The Fukuishi is positioned on either the left, or right side of the Oyaishi, and its role is to harmonize out the Oyaishi and to create just a little bit of tension, an attribute seen in all Iwagumi tank setups. The third rock follows the Fukuishi, the Soeishi. Once again usually following the rule of thirds, it is positioned in a spot that emphasizes the strength of the Oyaishi.

Finish the architecture by using a cup or tub to cautiously pour more substrate over it to pile the substrate naturally. Let the essence flow naturally between the stones. End with a layer of Aqua Soil Powder for a wonderful outcome.

  • Algae issues

There’s plenty to enjoy with Iwagumi aquascapes. Their purity is soothing and beautiful and there’s something extraordinary about watching a pack of fish float inside an aquarium. Establishing your own iwagumi aquascape, especially your first, can end up being a real challenge, for whichever reason, for example witnessing your aquascape consumed by algae. Since iwagumi aquascapes commonly depend on only one or two species of plants, such as carpeting plants like dwarf hair grass or HC, which don’t grow notably fast or soak up a lot of nutrients.

So how can you prevent algae problems in your Iwagumi aquascape? The answer is fast growing stem or couple of floating plants. Add more if you can, without covering out the carpeting plants. They are fantastic at soaking up excess nutrients and some even discharge chemicals that slow down the expansion of algae (known as allelochemicals). They don’t have to affect your flawlessly planned Iwagumi design, just float them in your aquarium tank for the first couple of weeks, or when the carpeting plants have a moment to take hold and spread.

Enjoy making your own Iwagumi aquascape and take a moment to let us have a picture of your invention!

Read more here!

Jan 13

Home Composting Basics

compostinghome1fortooHome backyard composting is a good way to build mineral-rich soil the natural way and without a dollar on your name. Complete compost is a fantastic soil betterment that boosts the structure of the soil and produces the essential micro-nutrients. Compost holds nutrients from decaying material in a shape that is effortlessly drawn by plants. Soil produced by composting stores moisture at a much higher rate as well. Leaves, grass clippings and food leftovers are perfect for composting.

You can get started with a compost pile with leaves and trimmings from your garden. Meats, fish and poultry take a longer time to break down in your compost pile and draws in animals if not cared for appropriately. Include these only minimally.

The heat development relies on the size of the pile, its moisture material, aeration, and C/N ratio. Also, ambient temperature influences compost temperature ranges. The more surface area the microorganisms have to work with, the more rapidly the contents will decompose. Adding water and rotating the stack preserves successful decomposition. Too much of sun or rain can negatively affect the stability in your pile.

What about the location of the compost pile? Apparently this basic question must be thought through thoroughly if you are attempting for productive composting. Remember a stack of leaves will sooner or later break down, but our goal is to speed this behavior up. Initially, find out if your neighborhood has any local polices regarding to composting. Your municipality may have a regulation about composting bins be located at a set distance from lot lines.

compostinghome2fortooThe correct location is significant for a good compost bin. Select a level place with good drainage. If you can avoid direct sunlight and areas exposed to tough winds, which can dry and cool the pile too much. A half day sun scenario is best. A shaded area is okay but be aware to limited rainfall through a cover of leaves, and slow drying out of a soaked stack. When the stack is rotated around, these roots may be ruined. If your only spot for compost is close to trees, you may want to look into setting a brick or stone basis.

What to do in the colder months is often asked. As the temperatures decrease, the pile cools down and ultimately all processes stop. Many people let the stack shut down and plan to start it up again in the spring.

The last part is waiting. Let nature take its time, and soon, you’ll have a pile of lush compost.

 

P.S. Read more about home composting from these websites: HomeComposting and Howtocompost

Jan 07

Using Horse Manure Compost

manurehHorse manure is a great type of compost and it’s an impressive improvement to many home gardens aching for some fresh compost. Using Horse manure can support and accelerate your compost stack. Let’s see how it can work as fertilizer in a compost heap.

Easily attainable through reliable distributors or retailers, horse manure can make a perfect and affordable fertilizer for plants, and horse manure also contains a lot of microbes. Horse manure can provide new plants a kick start and also supplying essential nutrients for sustained development. It features good amounts of organic matter and can be used in many ways. Its nutritional value is also more of higher quality than cow or steer manure.

How Do I Use Horse Manure as Fertilizer?

Fresh manure should not be put into use immediately on plants to avoid the probability of burning their roots. It’s recommended to use aged manure, or that which has been left to dry over winter, can be put into the soil without the ruining your garden.

It is a fantastic source of slow-release fertilizer. Place the raised beds with about 3 to 4 inches of manure and dig it carefully into the top few inches of soil or just cover it with some hay mulch. It is hard to put on too much fresh or composted manure other than in the case of some soils where salt levels can end up elevated

Commercially manufactured manure comes composted, but if you get hold of fresh ma¬nure, you’ll need to do some composting before using it to your plants. How long is based on the sort of manure and the season. Add the manure slowly to the compost stack a couple of days or weeks, enabling enough air to circulate in the compost pile. You can add other organic matter like grass clippings and tree leaves to break up the manure and speed the process. Flip the compost often when you add more manure to the pile. Quit adding the manure two months before you plan to use it in the garden. You’ll realize the manure compost is well done when it generates no heat and smell when dry.

Manure composts very easily. Already the best blend of nitrogen and carbon, it quickly turns into beautiful, crumbly, black, odor-free soil betterment. No bin necessary – the best way to compost manure is in a big stack out in the open. Use the composter only for shredded leaves and house and yard green waste in its place!

You just can’t think of yourself eco-friendly until you’ve started composting – so start now!

Dec 16

What Are And How To Choose Mutual Funds?

shareA mutual fund is an investment method that purchases stocks, bonds, or other securities on behalf of its shareholders. When people buy shares in a mutual fund, their money is merged with money from other shareholders to buy shares in individual securities.

In general, a mutual fund is nothing more than a package of stocks and/or bonds. You can visualize a mutual fund as a small business that brings together a group of individuals and invests their money in stocks and bonds. Each individual owns stocks/bonds, which are part of a portion of the holdings of the fund.

When you make investments in a mutual fund, your revenue is based from two possible sources: any appreciation in the value of your fund shares and any fund allocations. So, the whole return is a blend of these two components. Once you have established your fund’s total profit, you can evaluate your profits to the market and to mutual funds with equivalent investment ambitions.

How to choose and buy mutual funds?

When picking out mutual funds, few factors are within investors’ control. Future efficiency isn’t one. But fees, risk, manager period and tax-efficiency are qualities that can be evaluated before you make a purchase. Index funds, which track a load of chosen stocks, are usually low-cost options supposed to deliver market-like returns.

An intelligent investor compares cost, risk and performance when selecting a mutual fund. First, figure out your financial ambitions. The only way to divide the good ones from bad ones is to get to know them. Short-term stocks and bonds can work as an appealing option for investors looking to create a higher level of earnings than savings accounts and CDs. Yet, short-term bond funds do not get to preserve stable values and offer no warranties. For a long-term investment strategy look for funds that continually provide above-average earnings in the same fund group for the past three, five, and 10 years

Keep in mind that the chance of high returns always comes with risks.shares

Expert tip: The biggest mistake that mutual fund investors can make is choosing mutual funds with the best performance and especially recent performance. Who’s going to say the rise will continue?