Tag Archives: Organic

Thinking of Starting A Compost Pile?

What is Compost?

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Composting is nature’s process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose, such as yard waste, plant trimmings, leaves, grass clippings, soil with microbes and wet kitchen scraps (but not fat and meat). Basically, backyard composting is an acceleration of the same process nature uses. By composting your organic waste you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Finished compost looks like soil–dark brown, crumbly and smells like a forest floor.

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To Mulch or Not to Mulch? And When?

What is Mulch and Why is it Important?

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Mulch can be anything that covers the soil. It ‘s purpose is to retain moisture and prevent weeds, and help maintain soil temperature. It can be applied at different times of the year depending on the purpose. Towards the beginning of the growing season mulches serve initially to warm the soil by helping it retain heat which is lost during the night. This allows early seeding and transplanting of certain crops, and encourages faster growth. As the season progresses, mulch stabilizes the soil temperature and moisture,  and prevents the growing of weeds .

While mulch forms a layer between the soil and the atmosphere which prevents sunlight from reaching the soil surface, it can also prevent water from reaching the soil by absorbing or blocking water from light rains. This is why it is often applied in late spring/early summer when soil temperatures have risen sufficiently, but soil moisture content is still relatively high.

Best Type of Mulch is Organic

In addition to being inexpensive, organic mulches decay over time and do wonders for your garden, since they return useful nutrients to the soil and can increase your yield of crops in addition to the other benefits mentioned above.

Commonly available organic mulches include:

Leaves

  • Leaves from deciduous trees, which drop their foliage in the autumn/fall. They tend to be dry and blow around in the wind, so are best chopped or shredded before application. As they decompose they adhere to each other but also allow water and moisture to seep down to the soil surface.

Grass clippings

  • Grass clippings, from mowed lawns are sometimes collected and used elsewhere as mulch. Grass clippings are dense and tend to mat down, so are best mixed with tree leaves or rough compost to provide aeration and to facilitate their decomposition without smelly putrefaction. Rotting fresh grass clippings can damage plants; Fresh green grass clippings are relatively high in nitrate content, and when used as a mulch, much of the nitrate is returned to the soil.

Peat moss

  • Peat moss, or sphagnum peat, is long lasting and packaged, making it convenient and popular.  It can also lower the pH of the soil surface, making it useful as a mulch under acid-loving plants.
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Wood chips

  • Wood chips are a byproduct of the pruning of trees by arborists, utilities and parks; they are used to dispose of bulky waste. Tree branches and large stems are rather coarse after chipping and tend to be used as a mulch at least three inches thick. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth.

Other Facts About Mulch:

  • There is no better mulch than compost . Compost is not acidic and it doesn’t harm plants (it’s plant FOOD!).  Compost is also pretty.
  • You should not run ANY material right up to your home. Everyone in America has subterranean termites in their landscape. Subterraneans prefer to travel under cover. Mulching right up to the side of your home with anything—even stone—provides the protection and moisture they require to find their way RIGHT to your framing. Always leave at least a six-inch area clear around your home.
  • Never touch a plant with any mulch. Mulches are for preventing weeds and retaining soil moisture—they are not blankies; they do not keep plants warm or comfort them. Just the opposite, in fact: ANY mulch that’s piled up against a plant stem or tree trunk provides cover and traps moisture, inviting pests, disease and rot to destroy that poor plant. Always leave a few inches wide open around the trunk or stem.

Giordano’s carries whatever your garden needs in terms of mulch and compost. Come in and ask our staff about which is best for your garden.

Plant Garlic Now for Flavor Next Summer

Garlic adds spice to the garden and
potent flavor for your summer meals.

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Fall (after the first frost) is the perfect time to plant garlic for your summer harvest. A sunny, well-drained garden amended with compost provides ideal growing conditions.  Water until the weather stops you, then start again after the snow melts in the spring. Come in to Giordano’s for all your compost and topsoil needs.

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Fix Blossom End Rot

Tomatoes, peppers, squash and eggplant often suffer from this affliction. It shows up as a blackish spot on the end of the fruit, opposite the stem. It is usually the result of overly wet or acid soil keeps the plant from absorbing calcium that builds cell strength. To prevent blossom end rot, apply a half cup of lime around the base of the plant, and water in. Mulch around the plant to help the water drain properly.
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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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GMO???

We Have Organic Seeds!!

We carry both “Botanical Interests Organic Seed” and “Livingston Seed” at Giordano’s. Come in and see our large selection of non-GMO seeds including a wide variety of organic vegetable seeds, flowering annuals, organic melon seeds and much more for your garden beds! We also carry starter kits for enthusiasts wanting to get a jump on the season by starting indoors.

Small indoor Greenhouses can be a great way to get your vegetables up to snuff before transplanting them into your garden beds. They are easy to maintain and require only to be set in a south facing window, or have a UV lamp concentrated on the kit to give the seedlings the proper amount of light they need to grow healthy and strong.


A Few of Our Favorites:

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Got Leaves? Make Compost!

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  • Composting is a way of enriching your garden at little or no cost.
  • What to Compost: food scraps, no meat or dairy. Leaves and yard waste no large branches or sticks.
  • Add Ringer Compost Plus All Purpose Compost Maker.
  • For faster results turn your compost every two weeks to aerate your pile and keep in direct sun
  • When finished it should look, feel and smell like rich, dark soil. You should not be able to recognize any of the items you put in there.
  • Apply finished compost to your garden 2-4 weeks before you plant.

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It’s time to fertilize your trees, shrubs & perennials

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Late fall is the time to fertilize your trees, scrubs and perennials. When the ground becomes cold your plants will turn dormant. The cold temperatures will allow the nutrients to be held in the soil all winter. They will work their way down deep into the root systems of your plants. As the weather begins to warm in the spring your plants will become active and they will begin to absorb the fertilizer.

We can help you pick out a well balanced organic fertilizer best-suited for your garden!