Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peat moss: use and benefit

What is peat moss?
Peat Moss, as used in gardening, is a fibrous, decomposed remains of these certain types of moss, which are found in very wet areas of the country. It is a highly prized natural plant food and can be used as a covering or mulch like substance for seeded areas.
Why should we use peat moss?
Peat moss has many benefits to plants and especially, it’s very helpful to seed the cactus & succulent.  

- improve compost

-    condition the soil : Peat moss is ideal for improving the texture of the soil, and when  added to garden soil it will stop nutrient runoff from occurring by holding water and nutrients in soil.

- Adding peat moss to clay soils can help break down clay by aerating it and applying peat moss to sandy soils will help bind it and retain nutrients rather than leach them.

I was told by a cactus experts that he used the peat moss and pumice (volcanic rock) when he seed the cactus.  That would increase the survival rate of the baby cactus.  But the peat moss would be dry quickly so you should often water the cactus with peat moss.
By the way, coconut fibre can uses as a valid substitute for peat moss. It has many of the same qualities inherent in the moss yet is more environmentally friendly. Coconut fibre is sourced from the husk fibres of coconuts and has given some hope for normally what is seen as a waste product.  
I cover the top of soil of the flower and the vegetable with the coconut fibre  as it can keep moisture in the soil.  But for the cactus & succulent, coconut fibre is not the good choice because coconut fibre holds water in the pot and that can cause the plants being rotten.
Where to find peat moss?
In local farm supply, outdoor or gardening section of most department stores

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Human urine as organic fertilizer

Generally, urine is the liquid waste from our body but in the Asian agriculture, it’s common to use urine as a good source of nitrogen and other minerals and, providing it is used correctly, is completely safe.  The research at University of Kuopio's Department of Environmental Sciences in Finland assumed that the nitrogen contents of human urine could be a good fertilizer for many other plants or crops.  

The study said that the cabbage fertilized with urine was compared with similar plots of cabbage that either went unfertilized or where commercial fertilizer was used. At harvest, the cabbage enriched with the urine had several advantages: It was slightly larger, it grew to its maximum size more quickly, and, for most of the growth cycle, it suffered less bug damage than the commercially fertilized variety.

I tested to water with the mixed urine 2 times a week in the morning and now, my plants (such as vegetable, roses, orchid, cactus and etc.) grow well and quickly like they do in the rain season. 

How to keep and use it
  • Keep it separate. The golden rule with urine use is to keep it separate from other bodily wastes. Urine is clean and needs to be kept that way. Pee in a bottle, or invest in a urine-separating toilet.
  • Dilute urine with water at 1: 10.  The pure urine is too strong and salty to be used neat on plants.    
  •  Use it fresh. We all know that stale urine smells. That's ammonia, and it's made from nitrogen. The smellier your collected urine, the less nutritious it will be for your plants, as well as being unpleasant to apply.
  •   Water at the roots. It's good practice when watering not too splash the leaves, but to water at the roots. This saves on evaporation, and dry leaves are much more resistant to disease.
  • Feed hungry plants. The plants that will benefit most from urine fertilizer are the ones with the highest nitrogen requirements. Try it on leafy vegetables like cabbages and cauliflowers, corn, or anything that needs a quick pick-me-up.
Other use. 

Neat urine is too strong to be used directly on plants, but it can be used as a weedkiller; a few applications, especially if used on hot days, should finish off your weeds. It can also be used neat as a winter spray for fruit trees, to discourage fungal diseases.

Using urine is the real organic gardening: it is a relatively clean substance.  You can save money, fossil fuels (used extensively in the production of chemical fertilizers) and water (no need to flush!).