Originally Posted by mpoirier22114
thanks for the links, they were helpful
You might contact your 'County Extension Agent', they usually have a bunch of stuff on home canning, especally the safety aspect of it,
Home gardening, and sometimes there are programs for getting your soil tested for free.
Many have free stuff like seedling plants, seeds, information on hotbeds,
Most cities/counties have programs where you can get 'Mulch' and sometimes 'Compost' for free or very little.
(It's where they mulch trees and compost leaves, grass & weeds picked up around the city)
Some land fills have 'Garden Waste', 'Mulch' and/or 'Compost' piles you can pick up or drop off for free or very little...
They are just trying to keep 'Organic Fill' out of the land fills, and its a good deal for gardeners!
If you make your own compost pile or compost barrel, keep the 'Poop' from meat eating animals out of it.
Vegetarian animals are fine, and will help with your composting.
Bury the dog or cat feces fairly deep, about a foot should usually do it unless you live in a wet area.
It makes good fertilizer, but it caries things, parasites and pathogens, that can get on the food if you don't bury it.
Same with 'Cow Chips'...
NEVER let your lawn mower 'Mulch' the grass clippings if you have a garden, and don't throw away any kitchen waste (that isn't meat)...
All that makes GREAT compost, leaves, grass, weeds, potato peelings, all that makes wonderful compost when you pile it up or put it in a compost barrel!
And if you add the potato tops, corn stalks, tomato vines, ect. when the garden is done for the year and you harvest, then all those tops will make fertilizer over the winter for next years crops!
MAKE YOUR OWN SUPER RICH TOPSOIL!
Keep it 'Damp' and turn it over once a month, and nature will do the rest!
I get a cup or two of 'Red Wigglers', the small worms sold for fishing bait, and add to my compost piles when they are starting out, that will accelerate the decomposition!
Fancy people get a drum or barrel type composer, but to tell you the truth, just having two piles on the ground works the best...
Every week, go out and water the pile if it didn't rain,
And once a month, flip the pile so the bottom gets air.
I think those barrels are for really small yards in cities, but they make really small batches of compost!
The other thing is, once you get the molds and fungi, and insects (worms) that break down the plant material started, don't take the entire pile when you till it into the soil in the spring.
Leave a little bit to start the new compost pile off on the right foot!
If you have never seen an 'Hot Bed', it's basically an old window from a house (storm windows work the best! and you can get them at recycling centers for cheap!) set on a wooden frame.
Sometimes they are propped up on the north end so the kind of face south.
You can also use a box and stretch 'Window Covering' plastic over it.
I used an old see through shower curtain once! About anything will work...
Anyway, it's a 'Mini Green House' that faces south.
Fill it with bedding soil, and start your seeds in there earlier than they would survive out in the garden without the hot bed...
If it's really early in the season, you can take it in at night when it's freezing, but that is awkward.
We normally just drape an insulation blanket over the hot beds in the evening and remove it in the mornings...
Obviously, you only have to do this over 3 or 4 weeks until the plants are big enough to live on their own in the garden, all the while winter will be on it's way out so you aren't getting as much frost...
When the days get really warm, but the nights are still cold, you will want to vent the hot beds during the day so the plants don't overheat...
That's the only real 'Trick' to things!
If you just have NO soil for a good garden, then get (buy, swipe) top soil in buckets and grow out of buckets the first couple of seasons.
Dump your top soil in your designated garden area each fall, with the compost, and you will be well on your way to making a 'Garden Patch' as we 'Hillbillies' call it!
Let me know if I can help...