Tag Archives: organic gardening

The Secret of Organic Veggies

Ok, you got me, there is no one single secret, but rather a conglomeration of techniques, best practices, etc that encourage the growth and quality you want in a home grown vegetable. From soil types to fertilizers to plant spacing, this guide will leave you feeling capable and ready to get started! So… Let’s to it!

Time to get down in the soil, sowing seeds, pulling weeds & growing delicious organic vegetables & fruits! To help guide you on your way, we put together this helpful planting schedule for vegetable gardens on Long Island (Zones 7a & 7b). Click Here For the Schedule

Great Organic Vegetables Start With Great Soil!

A fairly simply concept, for sure – however it makes a world of difference! Here’s a few tips towards healthy, nutrient-rich soil. 1) Feel around in your garden soil with your hands. Is it soft and moist? Is it chunky and dry? Clay or Sandy? These questions are especially important when you’re contemplating planting a vegetable garden. Furthermore, taking steps to build the quality of your top soil is the most important thing you can do! Healthy soil means healthy vegetables, berries & fruits.

If your soil is of poor quality, amending your soil for ideal nutrient content is especially important. Timing adding fertilizers to your soil so that pH is ideally balance and nutrients are available when your vegetables are beginning to produce flowers. We carry a variety of products that greatly improve your soil quality and nutrient availability. Stop by if you have any questions.

A Good Start

A good start can make all the difference! No, we’re not talking about getting things off to a good start or getting there early… we’re talking about high quality, healthy vegetable starts that were germinated indoors or in a greenhouse. While we certainly have a wide variety of vegetable starts at Giordano’s, you can actually start your own vegetables at your home! We recommend a starter kits and organic heirloom variety seeds for the best possible results.

Keep in mind that while many vegetables do prefer to be started indoors and then transplanted, there are vegetables though that prefer to be sown directly in the soil. Refer to seed packet instructions for the vegetables you wish to grow in your garden.

HERE IS A PLANTING GUIDE FOR VEGETABLE GARDENS IN LONG ISLAND, NY (ZONES 7A AND 7B)

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6 Amazing Facts About Earthworms

Introduction

A garden without earthworms is simply amiss! Earthworms help to aerate your soil, break down essential nutrients, and improve water retention. Earthworms can grow up to 14-18″ in length in North America and can live for up to 8 years, though 2-3 years is much more likely as they support a large variety of animal species that eat Earthworms as a primary source of protein.


6 Amazing Earthworm Facts:

Click any picture to read the full text…

Many thanks to Noreen Sequeira for the Infographics


The Power of Worms

Though having earthworms in your garden isn’t to be discouraged, in un-contained gardens it can be difficult to maintain a large colony. To that effect we have 2 recommendations.

  1. Buy Worm Castings (we have worm castings in stock) and spread liberally throughout your garden. If you have questions about how much to buy for your garden or landscape, stop by and we’ll be happy to help.
  2. Build a worm bin! We recommend worm bins as the best and most efficient way to keep and utilize the power of worms. Being that each worm can eat up to 100% of it’s own body weight every day, worms make ideal compost “machines”! By combining a small amount of soil, and rotten/discarded food scraps in a worm bin and then adding worms, you can produce your own organic worm castings which you can then add to your garden soil for it’s nutrient-rich contents and high moisture retention.

The Plight of Monarchs & How to Save Them

Where Have All the Monarch’s Gone?


It’s sad, but true. Monarch butterlies have been on a decade-long decline and scientists fear they will soon be extinct. In fact, since the 1990s biologists have measured a 90% decrease in the number of Monarch’s compared to their previous 20-year average. To put that into perspective, imagine that over the past 20 years in the United States that we lost all humans in the country except for those living in Florida and Ohio. WHAT?!!??

While the rapid species decline of the Monarch’s is due partially to changing weather patterns (arguably caused by humans), tragically most of the credit actually goes to Monsanto and their mainstay herbicide, Roundup©…

Roundup©  is supposed to protect our crops. It kills the weeds that leach nutrients from farmland soils and that’s good, right? Well… kinda; here’s the problem though: diversity. HUH??!!?? I’ll say it again, DIVERSITY! I don’t want to go too deeply into modern economic theories or an argument about the delicate balance of our biosphere, however what I will say is that in the course of optimizing our economic system we have forgotten a very simple truth and have allowed our need for growth and accumulating wealth blind us in our pursuit of an ideal system. That truth is that economics and the generation of wealth, or “progress” as we call it today, has overlooked the value that Nature provides to humanity. And Nature is nothing if not diverse, diversity has determined species propagation, coexistence, pred-prey relationships, evolution and much more for BILLIONS of years. The fact remains though that we lose some of the diversity and thereby resiliency of the biosphere each and every day due to human activity. Today natural resources barely enter the economic equations aside from the costs that are incurred when we extract them from the Earth.

What does this have to do with butterflies though?

The tangent was necessary to give an adequate back-story. Roundup© kills every plant/organism except those that are genetically engineered to withstand it’s toxicity.  . In fact the only things we do know are the things we can observe such as Roundup© kills Milkweed. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Roundup© killing Milkweed is a good thing, right? It is a weed after all, no? It would be great if that were true, however the problem is that Milkweed is actually very beneficial for humans, for monarch butterflies and for our farms/gardens. In fact for hundreds of years it has grown in between rows of corn and soybeans and in turn Monarch butterflies have helped to pollinate our crops. Monarch’s are also arguably the favorite insect in all of North America; we all played with them when we were kids.

Have you ever heard that saying, “when a butterfly flaps his wings, on the other side of the world there is a hurricane…”?

We’re not promoting hurricanes or even drawing a comparison between butterflies and hurricanes, but rather we are stating a fact. Namely that everything is connected in our biosphere and when an entire species that has existed as part of the ecosystem for tens of thousands of years is suddenly lost, there are repercussions.

Remember DDT?

DDT was used back in the 1940s-1972 as an insecticide/pesticide. Use and production of DDT was  halted  when the EPA issued an order siting that the “environmental repercussions were far too vast and easily outweighed the benefits”.   Imagine a world where the word “organic” no longer has any meaning because it is simply the way things are done.

 

 

Got Weeds? We Got What You Need!

Giordano’s has your back! We’ve put together a list of the most difficult to control weeds that are common in the Long Island, NY region (but applies to the majority of Horticultural Zones 6 & 7). Let’s be honest, you have better things to do than weed your lawns all day, so here are a few suggestions we have found helpful in our and our client’s lawns.


First, From Our Friends at This Old House:

Weed-free lawns are the stuff of dreams and championship golf courses. In fact, when you consider the tenacity of weeds, it’s a wonder any of us win the pitched battles we wage with these pesky invaders. Just one dandelion plant makes up to 15,000 seeds, each of which can survive six years in the soil—creating 15,000 more seeds when it sprouts and matures.

Synthetic herbicides are the usual response to chronic weed problems. But used unwisely, these chemical weed killers can be dangerous to people, pets and turf. And unless you get at the underlying problems that weaken lawns and favor weeds, you might have to apply herbicides frequently.

The best way to control dandelions and other weeds in your yard is to grow a thick, vigorous lawn. Dense grass crowds out weeds and blocks the sunlight their seeds need to germinate. If only a few weeds dot your lawn, changing your maintenance tactics might be all it takes to get rid of them. And if your efforts at hand-to-hand combat haven’t worked, take heart. There really is a way to pull out even stubborn dandelions so they don’t come back.


After reading this article, we figured that we’d put together a summary of the top techniques/products we have used to grow beautiful lawns for our families, friends and clients over the years.

5 Steps to Grow a Vigorous Lawn:

  1. The Art of Fertilizing Smart:
    • Use an Organic Fertilizer on your lawn during the first warmth of Spring and again after about 2 months. WARNING: Too much fertilizer is detrimental, too little is not effective. Consult with the instructions, or stop by at Giordano’s if you need advice on the application of fertilizer to your lawn.
    • Our Top Picks for Organic Lawn Fertilizers: Jonathan Green Natural Beauty, Jonathan Green Lawn Soil Enhancer, Ringer Lawn Restore & Milorganite
  2. Water INFREQUENTLY, but DEEPLY
    • Water for at least 1hr with an automatic sprinkler
    • Allow your lawn to dry out before watering again!
  3. Mow Higher
    • Set your mower for it’s highest level (we recommend between 3 & 4 inches)
    • This will allow your grass to absorb MORE sunlight throughout the course of the day
  4. Spot Treatments
    • Lawns don’t grow or flourish uniformly, pay attention to your problem areas and add more fertilizer selectively in the spots that aren’t growing fully
  5. Weed Removal Best Practices
    • Dig around the weed at least 2″ from the base all the way around
    • Remove the entire chunk (make sure you get all the roots)
    • Patch your hole with compost/soil mix (25%/75%)
    • Top with a thin covering of Weed Beater Lawn-Weed Control
    • Wait for your grass to reclaim the space
    • Revisit those spots frequently to ensure no new weeds are sprouting

Good luck, Post Comments/Success Stories on Our Facebook Page!!


Contained below are pictures of some of the most difficult to control weeds in home lawns and some possible remedies.

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HENBIT
Henbit

Henbit

CONTROL: WEED BEATER LAWN WEED CONTROL

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VERONICA

VERONICACONTROL: WEED BEATER LAWN WEED CONTROL

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Wild Violets

WILD VIOLETSCONTROL: WEED BEATER LAWN WEED CONTROL

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VERONICA IN LAWN-AREA

VERONICA IN LAWNCONTROL: WEED BEATER LAWN WEED CONTROL

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SPOTTED SPURGE

SPURGECONTROL: WEED BEATER LAWN WEED CONTROL

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SPOTTED SPURGE

SPOTTED SPURGECONTROL: WEED BEATER LAWN WEED CONTROL

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PURSLANE

PURSLANECONTROL: WEED BEATER LAWN WEED CONTROL

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Pennywort

PENNYWORT 2

CONTROL: WEED BEATER LAWN WEED CONTROL

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Oxalis

Oalis

Oxalis

CONTROL: WEED BEATER LAWN WEED CONTROL

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Don’t see your weeds in this slider? No problem! Bring in a sample if you are unable to identify them and we’ll help you figure out how to treat your lawn as safely and effectively as possible.

Earthworms are Great for your Garden!

 

The many benefits of Earthworms…              images

  • Earthworms tunnel through the soil allowing air and moisture to pass through. An aerated soil allows bacteria to break down organic matter within the soil.
  • Earthworms produce an excrement called “Castings”. They improve the porosity and hold moisture in the soil.
  • A healthy soil is the basis of a healthy garden! If your soil has these qualities your plants will grow larger and be able to fight off pests and diseases.
  • Come in to purchase a container of worm castings and add liquid organic fertilizers to increase your population of worms!

All About Mycorrhizae

Mycorrhizae

Mycorrhizae Help Feed Your Plants

Symbiotic relationships exist throughout the natural world. Species tend to develop these mutually beneficial relationships in order to overcome certain obstacles and often they come to depend on the advantage that working together to achieve a common goal supplies. As it turns out one such symbiotic relationship exists that we can take advantage of as gardeners!

I’ll Give You One Hint Because I’m a Fun-Guy (Fungi)

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