Tag Archives: worm castings

Winterize your Yard Now

townparkThere are five main chores for getting the yard winterized:  raking leaves, applying fertilizer, clearing gutters, insulate your plants, and draining your pump, sprinklers, and hoses.  

1.  Rake Leaves

Finish getting the leaves raked up, if they ever finish dropping, before the first snow hits which eliminates lawn damage caused by molding leaves.  Rake up

Rake leaves before winter sets in

Rake leaves before winter sets in

the leaves for making your own compost, or bag the leaves up in the blue compostable bags provided by the Town of Paonia since they are no longer vacuuming up the leaves left at curbside.

The FREE blue bags, available at the Town Hall, are on a first come first serve basis.  Fill your bags with your leaves and place them at the curb and you will be surprised how quickly they are snatched up by those who are seeking low cost compost material.  Just be sure that only leaves (no twigs, or branches) are loaded into the bags.  All types of rakes are available in the store.  Come in now for the best selection.

2. Apply  Winterizing Fertilizer

Fertilome's Winterizer

Fertilome’s Winterizer

Fall feeding is the most critical feeding time for your lawn and trees.  Fertilome’s Winterizer is a great product to build up resistance to winter’s harshness by increasing stem strength and disease resistance.

Lower nitrogen (10%) and higher potassium (14%) plus small amounts of trace minerals such as Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Zinc,  help build up vigorous root growth during the winter resulting in healthier, greener lawns in Spring.

  • The product should be applied at the rate of 20 pounds per 5000 square feet for lawns
  • Use 1 pound per inch of trunk diameter around the drip line* for trees.
  • Use 1 Cup per 3 foot of height for shrubs  Don’t apply the Winterizer too close to the tree trunk, and then WATER thoroughly following the application.

*A drip line is the outer edge to which a plant’s branches spread.  This is where rain water tends to naturally drip from the plant and where the root system is concentrated.

Organic Winterizing Products include Earthworm castings which promote root growth and plant nutrition and  Soil Activator contains humates.  All products are in stock at the store.

3. Clear Gutters and Drains

gutters-280x210

Removing debris from gutters and outdoor drains unclogs the gutter and prevents water damage to your house and roof.  Neglected gutters risks water backing up and seeping into your roof, or spilling down the side of the house causing possible foundation damage. 

This step must not be done so early that the gutters re-clog, or the gutters can become frozen with debris inside.  Aim, to complete this step when the leaves are down and before the first snow.  With our Colorado Indian Summers this step probably needs to be completed in November sometime before Thanksgiving.

4. Insulate Plants 

SIX_FOOT_medium_mediumProtecting plants with a “jacket” for the inevitable extremely cold freezing temperatures helps eliminate winter-kill and promote plant health.  Cover plants  roots with at least a one inch layer of mulch (Soil Pep is a good choice).

Also, plants can be safeguarded with The Planket, which is a plant blanket designed to prevents winter damage from both snow and deer and available at Paonia Farm and Home. Other materials you can use  to protect cold sensitive plants would be include burlap,, a sheet or a cardboard box..  When the sun and warm temperatures return, these “covers” need to be removed to avoid “baked plant”.

 5. Drain Pumps, Lawn Sprinklers and Hoses

 Hopefully this job is done already, because Lawn sprinkler systems and pumps represent a substantial capital investment and must be drained, and blown out before the deep freeze of winter sets in or you will most probably incur broken, pipes, sprinkler heads and and other damage that will need to be repaired next Spring.

As always, visit or call the store for more information for answers about products, services to all your gardening questions.  You can also contact the store for a list of people willing to perform the various tasks discussed in this article.mulching

Introducing Cedar Keshet

IMG_4240Introducing Cedar Keshet, a FarmHome Organics Store employee, who will welcome you into the store by name, with a warm, friendly smile and a  sincere desire to help you find the best product for your application.   Her cornucopia of knowledge about organic and biodynamic gardening has been acquired through life-long study and personal experiences since the young age of four.

Cedar began learning the art of painting and African violet plant propagation, from an elderly neighbor, with whom she bonded as a preschooler in Ohio.   Throughout her childhood, her family encouraged Cedar to garden by giving her, her own garden spot where she honed her skills on hearty plants not-likely-to-fail like tomatoes, peppers, marigolds and other fool proof vegetation.  (Likewise, parents you can encourage your children to garden this way also.)

By high school her family had moved to El Paso, Texas  where Cedar pursued her passions of horticulture through FFA (Future Farmer’s of America) as well as art and equine science.

Her formal educational credentials include studying horticulture to become a plant pathologist at Texas A & M, followed  by acquisition of a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Elementary Education, and Master’s of Education in Computer Science.

Sprinkled into the formal education and professional teaching experience has been a passion for painting and other arts, Organic gardening, and years of self-study in bio-dynamic gardening under the tutelage of  local North Fork gardeners Pat Frazier and Caren vonGontard.

Her philosophy of successful plant growth can be summed up by the following statement:  “Customize the food for your plants based on the stage of the plant’s growth and its particular needs.”

For example:  Organic sources of phosphorus, which is essential for root development and

OrganicPhosphorusbloom production includes, Bat Guano, Bone Meal, Fish Bone Meal, and Seabird Guano.
Organic sources of Nitrogen include Chicken manure, bat

Guanao, Worm Castings, Alfalfa meal, Fish Meal or Fish emulsion, etc.  The Organics store is literally wall wall-papered with 8 1/2 X 11 posters of information on

Liquid Molasses

Liquid Molasses

Organic Gardening, uses for products in the store such has horticultural vinegar and molasses or Compost Tea.

Novice gardeners and experienced organic gardeners will all learn something pertaining to their own needs or circumstances that they didn’t already know about horticulture, organic gardening, and plant supplements by walking into the store reading the informative posters and visiting with Cedar.

bio-liveHer favorite all-around product, BioLive available in bulk or 50# bags, contains an evenly balanced assortment of microbes fungi, as well as a 5-4-2 blend of organic sources of Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus which makes it the best all-purpose fertilizer promoting root development for enhanced nutrient uptake, increased crop yields and fruit quality.

From Cedar I have learned that OMRI stands for Organic Materials Review Institute, an omri-logoorganization who provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production.  She has explained to me the very rudimentary basics of horticultural application of Compost Tea, Kelp, Vinegar, Molasses, Bat Guano, Worm Castings and which organic supplements provide, Nitrogen, Potassium, and/or Phosphorus, how to promote and enhance soil microbes, naturally formulated bug repellants, and so much more.

Cedar#2When Cedar is not working at the Farm and Home Organics store she can be found producing fine art, cultivating numerous types of lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, both dry and string bean varieties, snap peas and other organic vegetables.

If Cedar does not already know you by name, be sure to introduce yourself next time you visit the store.