Tag Archives: compost

Fall is right around the corner and with it comes lots of colorful leaves. So what is the best thing you can do with all these leaves? Here are some things to consider this season that will help improve the quality of your lawn.

  • Mulch your fall leaves and leave them on your lawn.
  • Build a leaf pile now for compost next spring. If leaves are mixed in with your discarded produce, it will help to properly balance the carbon and nitrogen for next spring as well as control insects and also cut down on odor.
  • Leaf piles placed away from the house will provide a habitat for wildlife.

fall leavesFallen leaves carry between 50 to 80 percent of the nutrients a tree extracts from the soil and air, including carbon, potassium, and phosphorus. For garden plots, this means that a three-inch layer of  leaves spread over them will add organic matter, protect garden soil from compaction caused by rainfall and restrict weed growth.

If you mow over your fall leaves each week, they’ll break down over the winter and provide your soil with critical nutrients. The leaves will also shade the soil which will result in fewer lawn weeds next year.

The biggest takeaway here is that everything in your yard can serve a productive purpose and fall leaves are no different. With patience and planning, using your leaves for compost or leaving them in your yard after mowing them can provide an important nutrient dense building block for a healthier lawn in the future.

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Heidelberg Farms serves southern NH, Maine and northern Massachusetts. We are among over 500 Organic Land Care Professionals throughout the Northeast and beyond that are accredited by the NOFA Organic Land Care Program.

We take our role as land stewards very seriously and appreciate your consideration. We care not just about your lawn, but you! Call us at (603) 501 9919!

Ten Reasons to Compost

  1. Compost builds soil and microbial ecologies. The US loses about 3 tons of topsoil per acre annually.
  2. Compost reduces watering. It makes a great mulch to prevent evaporation and also holds moisture. In fact, a 5% increase in organic material (compost) can increase the amount of water absorption capacity by four times. Compost encourages healthy, strong root systems compost in plants, holding, even more, water and decreasing run-off.
  3. Compost promotes biodiversity. Using compost in our soils adds to the diversification and sustainability of many life forms. From birds to bacteria, fungi to insects and worms, Works with nature for healthier plants and animals supported by a diverse ecosystem
  4. Compost eliminates the “need” for chemicals by reducing weeds, pests, and disease. Compost can help suppress plant diseases. It provides essential organic matter for the soil, which is of fundamental importance to its health, vitality, and fertility.
  5. Compost reduces landfill waste. A recent estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency predicted that up to one-fourth of all landfill waste could have been thrown into the compost. It’s amazing to think that a quarter of our waste could be turned into nutrient-rich soil. And that leads us to the next reason why we should compost.
  6. Compost reduces erosion. Adding compost to soil prevents it from eroding. When soil erodes, our water sources become threatened, as polluted, highly pesticide and fertilizer-laden soil turn to run-off into lakes, streams, and ponds.
  7. Compost leads to better nutrition. Healthy soil=healthy plants=healthy people – JI Rodale. Beneficial bacteria support healthy immune function. Plants grown in healthy, nutrient-rich soil tend to have higher nutritional content.
  8. Compost saves money. Soil gains value while less time and money are wasted fertilizing and spraying toxic pesticides.
  9. Compost cleans the air. Composting lowers a number of warming gasses created by organic material in our landfills. The EPA estimates that landfills are the single biggest emitters of toxic methane gasses. If everyone composted, methane levels on our planet could be reduced drastically!
  10. COMPOSTING IS FUN! Incorporating composting into our daily lives is a great way to spend more time outdoors, connect with our food, and cooperate as a family. It can be work, but it can also be fun!

Read another blog on why you should be using it in your yard. Have questions? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919. Together, we can do our part to help keep this world a beautiful place.

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Most soil has less than 2% organic matter in it, which is why adding a layer of topdressing with organic high-grade compost can be so crucial. Regular applications of topdressing will improve your soil by helping it retain water and increase aeration and root development. The goal is to get your soil to contain at least 10% organic matter.

Topdressing with organic compost with Heidelberg Farms

Heidelberg Farms uses specialty equipment (http://www.ecolawnapplicator.com) to apply approximately 1/4’” of compost, new lawn seed and other organic amendments like Neptune’s Harvest Crab Shell.

As we spoke about last week, compost consists of biologically diverse organic matter and contains a full spectrum of essential plant nutrients that will make your lawn healthy and less prone to diseases. Topdressing works by imitating nature’s natural cycles—this is the key point we hope you can take away here.

The larger implication from all this is that nutrient-poor soils are unable to produce healthy food. In fact, did you know that more than 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies? Soil is quite literally the foundation for our nutrition—and so while topdressing with organic matter may seem unnecessary, it is quite necessary. It can actually play a role in helping restore balance to the earth.

Have plans to really kick up your game next spring? Call Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919. We use specialized pieces of equipment to install compost over existing turf. We begin by using topdressing several times in the introductory phase followed by a compost tea application. All of this will help to establish a soil food web, a biological system that can take play a role in caring for the earth and for us.

Have questions? Call us at (603) 501-9919. An informed consumer is our best client!

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One of the best ways to ensure you have a great turf is to add a layer of topdressing with organic high-grade compost. A great source of fertility, compost structures the soil particles for deeper soil and root development and helps seeds germinate by holding more moisture. Topdressing works by imitating nature’s natural cycles (fall leaves, for example) by adding organic matter to the soil surface.

compostTopdressing is simply a way of adding organic material and restoring balance to the soil. When compost is spread into the soil, microbes continue to consume tiny bits of organic matter and release nutrients that plants can use. An improvement in soil structure along with increased beneficial soil biology activity will lead to more sustainable landscapes that require less fertilizer and less irrigation.

Benefits of topdressing with compost

While topdressing with compost is primarily a means to improving turf quality, it also has other benefits, which include:
• Providing nutrients — composts contains a range of both macronutrients (e.g., Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium) and micronutrients (e.g., Manganese, Boron, Zinc, and Copper) largely in an organic form.
• Increasing organic matter — topdressing improves the soil without removing or disturbing the turf.
• Improving soil structure — topdressing has been shown to decrease soil bulk density and improve the ability of water to infiltrate the soil.
• Reducing irrigation — by increasing the amount of organic matter in soil with topdressing, the ability of the soil to hold water is increased, which means the lawn can be irrigated less.
• Reducing thatch — compost promotes the growth of active
• Reducing weeds — topdressing with compost increases the density of the grass, which chokes out the weeds and limits sunlight from reaching weed seeds for germination by covering the soil surface.
• Reducing nutrient losses to surface and ground water — the organic sources of nutrients that are contained in compost have been shown to effectively reduce potential nutrient losses.
Check back next week for part two where we talk about some specifics regarding topdressing. Contact Heidelberg Farms at (603) 501-9919 to personalize your approach to organic lawncare next spring.

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LawncareWe’ve talked before about the importance of using compost for your garden. Instead of using store bought, chemical-laden products, you can create your own compost — one man’s trash is another plant’s treasure! But before we dive into creating your own compost, let’s take a peek into why it’s so important for your garden and why you need to be using it.

Compost: What is it? 

Your soil is so much more than just plain dirt. Think of it as a workplace. The soil is the boss, and all of these different workers come to do their individual part — where, in the end, it will create a dynamic environment for growth. The dictionary defines compost as ‘decayed organic material.’ In the simplest sense, this is true, but the benefits of compost range far beyond that. Over time, your compost pile — which is a smorgasbord of things you’d normally throw away, like table scraps, egg shells, vegetable skins, etc. — will begin to form together to create a powerhouse of nutrients that will be beneficial to your garden.

What does it do? 

After you’ve put all of these throwaways together, the entire mass will break down to what many garden experts refer to as Black Gold. The plants in your soil require nutrients to grow, and adding compost will vastly improve the overall healthiness of your garden. Along with things likecompost nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium — three key components to any garden — compost will add others like copper and zinc. The living microorganisms found in your throwaways, like bacteria and fungi, are things that we tend to shy away from putting in our own bodies. But just like yogurt adds healthy bacteria to your body, compost works the same for your soil. When we have a solid combination of all of these microorganisms in our soil, plant life will thrive.

Why You Should Be Using It: 

Think about your body. When we eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, those organisms provide us with a ton of things beneficial to our overall body structure. If you pack your body full of junk food, then it’s not going to respond very well! The same goes for our soil. When we take the easy route and use products with tons of chemicals, it won’t respond well. (You may be thinking to yourself — I use MiracleGro and my garden looks great! Give it a couple weeks, and you’ll be heading back to the store to keep buying it.) Taking a little bit of time to create a compost pile will work wonders for your garden in the long run. Natural compost will help deter pests from overtaking your garden. And with a greater variety of throwaways in your compost, the more enhanced the overall nutrient number will be.

Sure, building a compost pile takes time and a little bit of effort. But after a couple of weeks, you’ll have Black Gold — and that will transform your garden into a vibrant, healthy piece of pride.