Uncle Jim’s Blog

Blog Category:

Six Tips for Gardening in Dry Weather

Even short periods of hot, dry weather in the summer can stress plants. When it is hot out, water evaporates quickly from the soil, and if you’re not getting rain, you’ll need to water properly. Here are six tips to keep your plants healthy in dry weather. Keep Soil Moist with Mulch Mulch minimizes evaporation from the soil, so the water stays where you want it—at the roots of the plant. Mulch provides a bonus for your garden: it keeps down the weeds. Mulch can be made of bark, wood, chopped leaves or compost.

Read More

Why You Should Plant Perennials Throughout Summer

Gardeners in areas with cold winters can’t wait until spring—that’s time for planting. But surprise! That’s not the only time you can plant. You can continue planting perennials throughout the summer—and you should! Perennials are plants that come back each year. They’re great for your garden because you don’t have to buy them every year like you do for annuals. So why not just buy some perennials in spring and be done? Here are six reasons to keep shopping for perennials throughout the growing season: You won’t miss out on variety. If you shop only in spring, you may buy…

Read More

7 Ways to Speed Up the Composting Process

Composting is a great way to turn organic waste into valuable fertilizer for your garden. Just save kitchen scraps, such as carrot peelings and cabbage cores, and put them in a composting bin. Composting is usually done outdoors, but if you compost with worms, you can compost outdoors or indoors. If you want to start using the finished compost to fertilize your garden soon, you need to speed up the composting process. Here are 7 ways to speed up the decomposition and make fertilizer faster.

Read More

Fertilizer or Compost In Your Garden? Which is Better?

If you use compost in your garden beds, you may not have to use chemical fertilizer at all. Adding synthetic fertilizer if it’s needed can be helpful, but when it’s not needed, it can be bad for your plants and for the environment. Don’t guess—test to see whether you need fertilizer. Problems with Synthetic Fertilizer Using too much fertilizer can actually damage your plants. Fertilizer burn disrupts water uptake by the roots. The damage will show up as brown spots on the leaves. Too much fertilizer can also damage the environment. Synthetic fertilizer can be washed out of the soil…

Read More

What You Should Put into Your Compost

To reap a harvest of rich compost for your gardens, make sure you add the right ingredients to your compost bin—and keep the wrong ingredients out. Good ingredients for your compost bin: Peels from potatoes, carrots, onions, bananas, oranges and other fruits and vegetables. Apple cores, stems, inedible leaves and other parts of fruits and vegetables. Corn cobs and pumpkin shells. Because of their size and thickness, these take longer to break down than vegetable peels or apple cores do. Snapping the corn cobs in half and cutting up the pumpkin shell speeds up the process. Egg shells. Coffee grounds…

Read More

Get Rid of Dog Poop with a Pet Waste Composter

Did you know that you can actually compost your dog waste and cat litter? It’s not difficult, but you have to use a special composter that extends below the surface of the soil. You can make a pet waste composter yourself or buy a Pet Poo Worm Farm. Whether you make your own pet waste composter or buy one, there is no smell. And the decomposed pet waste and other material you add to your composter will improve the soil below the surface. Why you need a pet waste composter You shouldn’t mix dog droppings or cat litter into your…

Read More

On Earth Day, Help Environment by Composting

Earth Day, observed on April 22, is a great time to take action to help our environment. One single action—composting—can benefit the environment in multiple ways. Rebuild soil health   In order to grow abundant fruits, vegetables and flowers, your garden needs soil that is healthy enough to support those plants. Soil isn’t just “dirt.”  It is composed of minerals and contains water and air. Another important ingredient is organic matter such as compost. Adding compost to soil improves the soil structure. That benefits the living things in the soil, including earthworms and insects, as well as microbes such as…

Read More

Attract Birds to Your Feeder with Mealworms

Mealworms in your bird feeder make a handy snack for wild birds who need plenty of fuel for flying, breeding and just staying warm. A bird can require up to a whopping 10,000 calories a day, according to the National Wildlife Federation. That’s equivalent to a human consuming 155,000 calories a day! Birds don’t have time for empty calories; they need foods with high nutritional content. Mealworms are a great supplemental food for birds because they pack a good amount of protein and fat, which are important parts of their diet. Adults also feed these high-quality foods to their growing…

Read More

Onions Can Be Started From Seed—in Winter!

Even if you have snow on the ground, you can do some gardening: Plant seeds inside for cool weather vegetables, such as onions. Working with cool weather vegetables such as onions not only gives you something to do during winter, it gives you a head start on spring planting. As the name implies, cool weather vegetables can withstand cool temperatures—much cooler than tender vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, can tolerate. That allows your onion seedlings to be planted outside when the air and soil temperatures are just 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Tender plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, can’t be…

Read More

Maximize Your Output with ‘Hybrid Composting’

Most gardeners use one of two kinds of composting: cold composting or vermicomposting. But there’s no reason you can’t combine the two. What we call “hybrid composting” can increase the amount of compost you produce and speed up the process, too. Types of composting Vermicomposting uses worms to break down plant matter and food scraps quickly. You can get finished compost in just a few months.  Cold composting is usually done outside with a compost bin or compost pile. The system relies mainly on microorganisms to break down plant matter and food scraps. Cold composting can take six months to…

Read More