How to Love your Soil and Make Fertilizer

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Whether you do a soil test or just assume your soil needs some TLC, you are now going to be able to help it. The soils around the world are being depleted for many reasons.  Whether it is from lack of crop rotation, pesticides, or just no TLC, the soil needs to be assisted in maintaining its health.

Giving is a secret law embedded in nature but we must realize we are a part of that system and we need to be involved in helping the soil just like it helps us.

The soil is unable to give us nourishment if we do not in turn take care of it. 

Healthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy World

Here’s how to help get your soil back to where it needs to be, full of nutrients and structurally sound.

Soil Structure

To help ensure that your soil is healthy, you need it to drain well and be an ideal environment for nutrients to easily get to the plant and then to the fruit and then to you. To do this you need to help it by creating compost.

Compost is nature’s fertilizing power house. Many in India right now are finding the harm of years of repeated over-doses of synthetic fertilizer. In the beginning the plants grew at an incredible rate. Eventually though, the soil just wore out like someone on steroids. Then it was nearly impossible to get the soil to do what it did without the juice. You have to apply more and more and more until you can barely grow anything.

Plants can grow and look healthy. Compost is a great way to encourage nutrient presence.  The key ingredients are Air, Water, (N) Nitrogen, (P) Phosphorous and (K) Potassium. 

You want to integrate your compost with these nutrients as you plant and periodically throughout the growing season:

• Nitrogen helps promote green foliage

• Phosphorous helps promote root and flower growth

• Potassium helps with the plants immunity to disease and overall plant health

To make your own compost all you have to do is find a nice shady area or bin. 

To make good compost you need a combination of “green” high-nitrogen materials like fruits and veggies, grass clippings, or weeds. You will add these to your “brown” ingredients 

like leaves, newspaper, or wood (twigs/smaller pieces). 

Mix these in layers evenly one layer on top of the next. 

Things not to use in your compost are:

Meat scraps, bones, fat, oils, breads, glossy magazines, diseased plants, feces from cats 

and dogs. 

It is interesting how a number of these above are now being shown to be harmful to our health in our regular diets. 

The pile should remain damp but not wet. The bigger the pile, the faster it will break down and be able to be used. You can assist the process by turning the pile every few weeks. 

When your compost pile basically looks like soil, then sprinkle it around your plants and mix it into the first few inches of the soil around each plant.

Soil Fertility and Nutrients

Your soil is tired and warn out. Its been giving and giving all these years and it needs some TLC in order to bring it back to what it needs to be.  Just like your body needs Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium etc to function properly, so does the soil to help grow healthy plants.

Kelp and ocean salts have been shown to help in a number of areas including:

• stimulate soil bacteria which increases fertility of the soil through humus formation.

• helps aeration

• helps moisture retention

• increases resistance to disease and pests

• allows for easy nutrient absorption into the plant

• seed germination

• increase in food production per plant

Think about it, by helping your soil you are really helping yourself! You will have more nutrients in your food and have more disease resistant plants which in turn will lead to healthier and more delicious food. 

Secret Sauce

Find manure, or cricket castings, or worm poop free from any antibiotics or hormones and start adding a little of this to your soil ever few weeks. 

DIY Natural Organic Pesticide

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With increasing awareness of the benefits of organic food, and the quickly growing alarms around spraying toxins on foods, innovative techniques for pest and disease control are becoming hot topics for gardeners and small farm owners alike.

To compete in the modern, industrialized food system, farmers must use the cheapest and most readily available solutions available. They often don't have the luxury to take chances on a new product when their current methods are working for them and their competitors. This competitive atmosphere can make it so that one mistake can destroy their whole business. 

The products that today's organic farmers use for pest and disease control are arguably safer than conventional farm sprays, but they can be dangerous to consumers. Copper sulfate, for example, a fungicide widely used by traditional and organic farmers, damages good bacteria in the soil, where it also can accumulate in harmful concentrations. While organic farmers use far less pesticide than conventional farms, there are much better options available that haven't yet reached the attention of the farming community.

It may surprise you to learn that many everyday staples in the kitchen can serve as natural pesticides and for disease control. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies garlic and spicy pepper concentrates as biochemical pesticides, which means they do not harm the environment. 

A good organic garden spray is easy to make. Here’s how: 

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Some other examples of natural pesticides are acidic solutions made with vinegar or citric acid, herbicidal soaps, and salt-based solutions. 

Neem oil is a favorite among home gardeners. Made from an evergreen tree native to India, it is a natural oil that can get sprayed onto crops and trees to eliminate pests, fungi, and bacterial disease. Neem works by stunting larvae growth, decreasing insect mating, and stopping insects from feeding. It can also kill many kinds of harmful fungus on plants. Unlike copper sulfate and conventional pesticides like glyphosate, neem oil is entirely safe to breathe in, get on the skin, and even to ingest. The best part is that neem oil does not harm beneficial insects when applied correctly. 


It is common knowledge that manure is an excellent fertilizer for the garden once it breaks down, but green manure is an easy and time-tested way not only to fertilize but also significantly reduce plant diseases. The latest research suggests that plants from the brassica species, especially pungent varieties like mustard, radish, and horseradish, can help reduce pathogens and pests in the soil. According to John Kirkegaard, brassicas used as green manure can increase yields of solanaceous species by up to 40 percent. To employ the chop-and-drop technique for using green manure, which is as simple as it sounds, you spread the plant materials as mulch on top of the soil, or if you prefer, you can slightly bury it. 

Especially for home gardeners, the natural weed- and pest-control methods above can be preferable to risking long-term damage to the soil. Since natural solutions are safe for human consumption, you get added peace of mind when feeding your family or selling your produce. 

Happy Planting, Jared