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How to Make Your Own High Pressure Aeroponics System

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

How to Make Your Own High Pressure Aeroponics System

How to Make Your Own High Pressure Aeroponics System Know what it takes to build your own High Pressure Aeroponics (HPA) Gathering information on HPA is very important before building your own system. We can learn a lot from other people’s mistakes and just avoid heartaches. Why go through the school of hard knocks if someone else has done it already? The problem we have is knowing what information is good advice while others are poor. So let’s talk about some of my research here. First let’s set this straight that true aeroponics is high pressure. It happens to be more complicated but the most rewarding when it comes to plant growth. The design of HPA can be traced to 1970. However, NASA revolutionized in the 1990s by reporting it as the most efficient way to grow plants in outer space. Many studies have proven the benefits of growing plants in an aeroponic system, both on Earth and in space. Here are some of the benefits – PROS: It uses up to 98% less water than conventional growing methods The nutrients used are 1/3 the amount needed for hydroponics and soil growing methods We can plant more plants in a closer spacing There is no cost for any soil Some crops can produce up to four harvests annually rather than just two. Even though aeroponics sound great there are a few downfalls – CONS: There are more pieces or parts to purchase compare to other growing methods It uses an expensive high pressure pump HPA requires close monitoring and maybe frequent maintenance, mainly clogged spray head due to salt buildup. The system depends on electricity to keep it running Relative short failures of the system could lead to loss of your whole crop in minutes instead of hours. Now, let’s talk about the specifics of building an HPA (High Pressure Aeroponics) system. There are basically two types of aeroponics One that NASA produced HPA (High Pressure Aeroponics), and the LPA (Low Pressure Aeroponics) lower cost system. LPA systems are the most common used and built by DIYers. LPA systems use a standard magdrive pump couple to some PVC or tubing, and a few miniature sprinkler heads. The water spray from an LPA sprinkler head has large droplets that surround the plant roots. LPAs generally run the system 24 hours and 7 days a week, continually wetting the roots. The works well, and are cheap and easy to build. However they are not as efficient as HPA systems. HPA systems must operate at a high pressure, normally above 80 PSI, ideal is 100 PSI. The high pressure is used to atomize the water through a small orifice to create water droplets of 50 microns or less in diameter. One micron is one-millionth of a meter. The average diameter of human hair is 80 microns. So we are talking about a really tiny water drop. HPA also must run on a much accurate time cycle. HPAs might run 1 to 5 seconds on, and then off 3 to 5 minutes. Specific components are required in controlling the timing interval and creating the proper size mist. Droplet size NASA research has shown that plants are more willing to absorb nutrient water in 5 to 50 microns droplets more effectively than any other...

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Urban farming in your backyard? There’s a vertical aeroponic garden for that

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Urban farming in your backyard? There’s a vertical aeroponic garden for that

Urban farming in your backyard? There’s a vertical aeroponic garden for that Derek Markham (@derekmarkham) Living / Lawn & Garden March 20, 2015 Share on Facebook © LA Urban Farms The people behind the Tower Gardens claim it can produce fresh local food in half the time as conventional growing, with 90% less water and in 90% less space. I have to admit that when it comes to the launch of new products in the green scene, I do rather enjoy seeing novel solar gizmos and gadgets, but I’m most excited when I see innovations designed to help more people grow their own food. And with all of the recent projects being launched in the urban farming space, it’s starting to look as if joining the homegrown revolution is easier than ever before. Of course, growing your own food is a bit more complicated than just adding water to an automated gardening device, but by lowering the barriers to entry for urban farming – even on the small scale – these new devices could get more hands in the soil (or in the soil-less growing medium, as it were) and put more local produce on the table. One very exciting urban farming method uses vertical aeroponic gardens, dubbed Tower Gardens, to produce more food quicker, using less space and water (90% less, according to Future Growing), either as a single unit or with multiple units in a large-scale growing operation. The Tower Gardens, which were developed by Tim Blank, a leading horticulture and aeroponics expert who got his start interning at the futuristic hydroponic gardens of Disney’s EPCOT center, are now being used to efficiently grow food at a number of big venues, including Chicago’s O’Hare airport, Giant Stadium, and the Google cafeteria. They’re also being used by restaurants, and by the students of one of the heroes of the school gardening movement, the Green Bronx Machine’s Stephen Ritz, to produce tens of thousands of pounds of locally grown produce in the South Bronx. “This state-of-the-art vertical patented technology is the perfect solution for farming in an urban setting, using 90% less land and 90% less water. This technology also allows the grower to control all elements of food production, most importantly the quality and safety of the water. Our nutrient-dense living produce can be harvested in half the amount of time as traditional organic farming and requires a fraction of the amount of time to maintain (up to 50% less time) all without the use of any soil. Best of all, the Tower Garden eliminates the use of any harmful herbicides and pesticides.” – LA Urban Farms Find out more about these vertical aeroponic gardens for urban farming and backyard veggies at LA Urban Farms and Future Growing, or through the Future Growing Facebook page. Related on TreeHugger.com: These modular urban gardening growbeds water themselves Raspberry Pi & Arduino are the brains of this automated DIY vertical hydroponic garden She’s going to dig the HERShovel, a garden tool scientifically designed for women Tags:...

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Water Feature Finds

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Water Feature Finds

Water Feature Finds Originally posted in Turf, Design, Build Magazine Staff — August 1, 2013 Water adds a multisensory element to landscapes. Scan these water products for ideas. Cambridge Pavers Prepacked fountain kits are availble with a choice of three wall options (Pyzique Wall Split Face and Renaissance or Olde English Radius Wall) and in two styles: the basalt column(s) with the the look of chiseled stone, or vase(s) in simulated granite. Comes complete with a 32-inch basin (46-inch basin for three-fountain option), pump, hardware and instructions. http://www.cambridgepavers.com Blue Thumb Distributing Bubbling Rock Fountain kits include a drilled boulder with a sawn flat bottom, molded basin, pump, plumbing, tubing and polished pebbles. Everything needed for installation is included and sized correctly. Kits are available in four boulder sizes in a variety of colors. These fountains can be placed almost anywhere in as small as a 36-by-36-inch space. http://www.mipond.com Easy Pro Pond Products Vianti Falls 6-inch extended lip spillways are now available in complete kits. The design features a trouble-free stainless steel spillway, optional LED light strip, basin, pump and plumbing. Available in 11, 23 and 35-inch complete kits, the new 6-inch extended lip Vianti Falls system makes it easy to add a splash to your next hardscape installation. http://www.easypropondproducts.com Kuriyama Nautilus Weighted Aeration Tubing by Kuri Tec provides trouble-free delivery of air to ponds from any aeration system. It naturally sinks to the bottom without the use of any additional weights. The tubing is made from black polyvinyl chloride to ensure quality and durability and is packaged in convenient coils or reels for your application needs. http://www.kuriyama.com Coverall Stone Basalt Column Fountains can be used to enhance commercial and residential landscape projects. The fountains range in diamater from 4 to 40 inches, and come in various heights. Combine varying heights to create interest. The tops and sides can be polished or left natural. Each fountain comes with a base and fitting. http://www.coverallstone.com Atlantic Water Gardens Whether you’re installing a tranquil pond filled with waterlilies, a disappearing waterfall, or an illuminated bubbling fountain, Atlantic Water Gardens has the products you need to make that happen. Pumps, fountains, maintenance products, LED lighting, and water gardening and pond-free supplies. Also offers the Colorfalls lighted spillway. http://www.atlanticwatergardens.com Air-O-Lator Corp. Engineered to conserve water and improve quality, Font’ N-Aire Fountains combine aesthetic beauty with a natural way to keep lakes and ponds clean. Available in four models – Legacy, Ready, Platinum and Gulf Stream. Choose the model and size that best fits your application. For over 40 years, Air-O-Lator has been making eco-friendly, high-performance products. http://www.airolator.com Reef Industries Permalon Pond Liners are constructed of an alloyed polyethylene that resists punctures and tears. The liners are lightweight and easy to handle; UV stabilized for durability during extended exposure to the elements; and cold-crack tested to assure continuous performance in extreme temperatures. Sizes up to an acre available to minimize on-site seaming. http://www.reefindustries.com Otterbine Barebo Function and beauty are combined in Otterbine Barebo’s line of aerating fountains, industrial aerators and giant fountains. These units add powerful aeration to control and prevent algae, stench and discoloration of water features. Low-voltage, high-voltage and Par 64 Fountain Glo lighting will further enhance the water feature....

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Getting Started in Barrelponics

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Getting Started in Barrelponics

Getting Started in Barrelponics Originally posted on gardenpool.org Posted on January 11, 2011 by Dennis McClung A simple 3D animation to show the relative size and layout of the Garden Pool Barrelponics design. While we have had fun with aquaponics in an old swimming pool, we decided it would be a good idea to feature an aquaponics resource that is more readily available. Not everyone has an old pool but anyone can pick up a 55 gallon barrel as they are a standard in the shipping industry. The great availability reduces the cost compared to other aquaponic solutions. The 55 gallon barrels we used for our barrelponics project were made from High-density Polyethylene, or HDPE. This plastic is both strong and is considered a good choice for those worried about plastics that are more prone to leach chemicals. HDPE is used for many things, including milk jugs, ballistic plates, and plastic lumber. If you are purchasing used 55 gallon barrels, be sure you stick with food-grade barrels and not barrels that previously held chemicals. HDPE is easily identifiable by the “#2″ Recycling Plastic Symbol. The barrelponics system that we have designed is inexpensive and easy to reproduce. We have simplified the design as much as possible without sacrificing the function of a good aquaponics setup. The entire system cost us around $100 to build from scratch. We were able to find the 55 gallon barrels for $5 a piece on craigslist. The most expensive component was the hydroton, but we feel it is the best medium to use for this project because of its superior wicking ability and overall light weight. Here is our completed project. We added a small piece of chicken wire to cover the mouth of the fish barrel. We also added outlet tubing to prevent overflow. These tubes are mounted about 1 inch below the top of the hydroton. Materials Used (6) 2″x6″x8′ Lumber (1) 2″x4″x8′ Lumber (1) 1lb box of #10 x 3″ Deck Screws (2) Plastic Food-Grade 55 Gallon Barrels (10 linear feet) 1/2″ Black Irrigation Tubing (1) 1/2″ Black Irrigation T-connector (4) 1/2″ Black Irrigation Shut-Off Valve (1) 3.7 oz Amazing Goop for Plumbers Sealant & Adhesive (2) 50 Liter Bags of Hydroton (1) 4″ Net Pots (1) 145 Gallon Per Hour Submersible Fountain Pump Tools Used Variable Speed Jigsaw Circular Saw Cordless 3/8″ Drill or more 7/16″ Drill Bit 1″ Drill Bit 55 Gallon Barrel Bung Opener Wrench Marking Utensil (sharpie, crayon, pencil, etc.) Measuring Tape (2) Saw Horses Safety Glasses Instructional Video Recorded LIVE When: January 8th, 2011 Where: The Garden Pool in Mesa, AZ Who: Dennis and Danielle with GardenPool.org Length: 31 minutes Getting Started In Barrelponics from GardenPool on Vimeo. Getting Started In Barrelponics was recorded live in a classroom setting. To be a part of our classes in person, join our meetup group. Instructions Download (PDF, 7.68MB) Alternative Resources There are many different types of barrelponics designs. What we have shared with you above is just the Garden Pool version of growing food with 55 gallon barrels, not to be confused in any way with the Barrel-Ponics™ system of aquaponics. Barrel-Ponics™ was originally invented by Travis Hughey, the self-professed “agri-missionary,” and has a very lengthy manual that includes using toilet parts. We were inspired by his work to invent...

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This is What True Environmentalists Do on Earth Day

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

This is What True Environmentalists Do on Earth Day

This is What True Environmentalists Do on Earth Day SHARE ON: Ron Hall — April 27, 2015 Can it be that just this month that we marked the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day? The calendar doesn’t lie. The late Gaylord Nelson, a former Wisconsin governor and U.S. Senator, is credited for starting Earth Day in 1970. I remember the hoopla surrounding that day well as I had just a few months earlier started my career as a journalist at the Sandusky (Ohio) Register and was still full of the “save-the-world” spirit that defined that era for so many us young people. As I look back 45 years ago I can’t help but wonder: “What happened to the passion?” Perhaps it’s just me, but the energy and intensity of feeling that marked those earlier Earth Day celebrations seem to be petering out year by year. And yes, admittedly, I could be viewing those first observances through the distorted lens of the passion rather than the many less-publicized but more significant efforts to preserve and enhance our environment being celebrated in more recent Earth Days. After all, what’s rhetoric without activity to actually preserve or enhance our green world. It’s what we do rather than what we celebrate that really matters. That’s why I am so proud of the many people in the landscape industry that volunteer to install, repair and renovate urban environments each year on April 22­. They truly make a sacrifice. April 22 arrives during the busiest time of the year for them. This past April 22 marked the 16th consecutive year that landscape/lawn service pros and many volunteer workers improved properties in their neighborhoods under the umbrella of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP, formerly PLANET). As far as I could determine (the final tally is still being determined), about 50 organizations, companies and regional landscape associations, spent the day in volunteer service. I don’t know exactly how many people in total pitched in but it was well into the thousands. Putting a dollar amount on the materials and labor they provided exceeded that by ten-fold. I don’t know how much positive publicity the efforts of all of these urban environmentalists will generate. Or, if any of their work will result in a single new customer. That probably wasn’t on their minds as they worked. I do know that what they did was the right and generous thing to do. I do know that it made a difference within their communities. And, I’m equally sure that it made an equally positive difference within their organizations. VIDEO AND COVER PHOTO:...

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Weeds On The Move

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Weeds On The Move

Weeds On The Move Originally posted in Turf Magazine Ron Hall — March 25, 2015 Weeds are the bane of lawn care operators (LCOs) whose livelihoods depend on providing customers with expanses of uniformly green, weed-free turfgrass. When weeds rear their ugly heads on customers’ treated lawns, customers may demand return treatments (i.e. expensive callbacks) or cancel the lawn care service altogether. Turf managers rely upon an extensive arsenal of strategies and chemical products, synthetic and natural, to rid clients’ properties of weeds or to prevent their appearance in the first place. LCOs need as much ammunition as they can get because of the many different species of weeds that can infest clients’ properties, and because weed populations are dynamic. Weeds are always ready to establish themselves given a patch of bare earth or an area of thin struggling turf. Complicating the issue further, changing conditions—regulatory, climatic, even regional weather conditions—from year to year can exacerbate some weed problems or encourage new ones. Weeds are incredibly opportunistic. While some species of weeds, such as crabgrass and clover, are found in just about every corner of the U.S. and Canada, some species are more likely to be regional problems. Yellow nutsedge is just one of several cultivars of the species of nutsedge, sometimes also called nutgrass. Yellow nutsedge is a perennial that grows on low moist ground in all soil types, and it is now found across the U.S.  PHOTO: HOWARD F. SCHWARTZ, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY, BUGWOOD.ORG Nutsedge, kyllinga on the march “Here in the South we have always been blessed with nutsedge and kyllinga, but talking with researchers in the Northeast, green kyllinga (Kyllinga brevifolia) and false green kyllinga (Kyllinga gracillima) are becoming more of a problem, as well as yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus), too,” reports Dr. Bobby Walls, turfgrass product development manager for FMC. Yellow nutsedge is just one of several cultivars of this troublesome species of nutsedge, sometimes also called nutgrass. Underground tubers that form at the end of each rootlet are more important than seeds in the reproduction of yellow nutsedge. Yellow nutsedge, a perennial, grows on low moist ground in all soil types, and it is now found across the U.S. Both green kyllinga and false green kyllinga are perennials, as well. With well-developed rhizomes, they tend to thrive under close mowing (under 1 inch or less), and are prolific in poorly drained or wet areas. Green kyllinga, in particular, is difficult to control once it forms a large mat on a property. The ranges of these weeds are spreading, reports North Carolina State University Extension. “I think climate has a role to play in the spread of weeds, such as kyllinga,” says Walls. “Last season was cool and wet in the Northeast, and we know that kyllinga likes moisture.” Dave Loecke, product manager for turf & ornamentals and agriculture, PBI/Gordon, Kansas City, Missouri, says that quackgrass (Elymus repens), goosegrass (Galium aparine) and yellow nutsedge are becoming bigger problems in the Midwest. “Before, maybe homeowners saw just a few of these weeds in their lawns, but now they’re seeing a whole bunch of them,” Loecke says. “That’s when they’ll call a LCO and say, ‘You killed all the broadleaf weeds, but what are these other things? We have some weird looking grass growing on our...

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Whimsical Plant Wonderland

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Whimsical Plant Wonderland

Whimsical Plant Wonderland Originally posted in Turf Magazine Tom Crain — December 1, 2013 Green Animals Topiary Garden a treat for the eyes Click image to enlarge. Can you identify the animals represented by these topiaries? Eighty are featured at the Rhode Island attraction. Topiary comes from the Latin word “topiarus”. Strictly translated it means “landscape gardener.” Since these folks tended these living sculptures, the plants became known as “topiaries.” Eventually, topiary took on the meaning of the art of clipping evergreen plant material into geometric patterns and shapes. European royalty and religious monks most often created these topiaries. They were among the few people of that era who had the time, money and patience to build and tend to these gardens. This is not the case for Green Animals Topiary Garden in Rhode Island. It is one of the nation’s most famous, oldest and most northern topiaries. Joseph Carreiro, superintendent of the property from 1905 to 1945, introduced and tended the topiary from the turn-of-the-century until his death. George Mendonca, his son-in-law, continued the tradition and served as superintendent of the gardens until 1985. Click image to enlarge. Horticulturist Jim Donahue is responsible for the day-to-day management of Green Animals Topiary Garden. Photos courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County. The small country estate, located on 7 acres overlooking the picturesque Narragansett Bay in Portsmouth, R.I., was purchased originally in the 1870s by Thomas E. Brayton, treasurer of the Union Cotton Manufacturing Co., purchased the small Portsmouth, R.I., estate in the 1870s. It consists of 7 acres overlooking the picturesque Narragansett Bay. During the Civil War, this outfitter supplied most of the uniforms for the Yankee soldiers. Brayton’s daughter Alice made the estate her permanent residence in 1939, and named it “Green Animals”. She bestowed it to The Preservation Society of Newport County upon her death in 1972. Forty years after Alice’s death, The Preservation Society of Newport County continues to maintain the diversity of her whimsical topiary gardens and surrounding formal and vegetable gardens, just on a smaller scale. Every summer it welcomes more than 12,000 visitors. More than 80 pieces of topiary are on display. They include 21 animals and birds and more than 59 other geometric figures and ornamental designs. All are sculpted from California privet, yew and English boxwood. In addition, there’s a Victorian house on the grounds with original furnishings and a collection of antique toys with a greenhouse; expansive lawn; flower, vegetable and herb gardens; fruit orchards and vineyards; and a goldfish pond. Jim Donahue is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Green Animals. He has been the horticulturist for the Preservation Society of Newport County there since 2004. Donahue learned, researching old photographs and writings, that the original landscape was pasture with extensive food production including a pumpkin patch and squash fields. It also had fruit trees, figs, blueberries, rhubarb, asparagus, currants and gooseberries. “I would call the landscape a mixed Portuguese style. That is it was defined by a heavily mixed lush assortment of fruit, flowers and vegetables,” he says. Donahue is proud of the ancient massive purple-leafed European copper beach, the stand of Damask roses dating back to the 1860s and the Concord grape arbor dating back to 1900. (Did you know that the Concord grape is one...

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Middlesex County to Offer Companion Planting Workshop

Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Middlesex County to Offer Companion Planting Workshop Originally posted in Turf, Design, Build Magazine Staff — March 23, 2015 The Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County will offer a new gardening workshop called “Benefits of Companion Planting.” This free workshop, hosted by the Master Gardeners, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 19 at the EARTH Center located in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, 42 Riva Ave., South Brunswick. Many gardeners have discovered that Companion Planting can discourage garden pests without relying on synthetic pesticides or harming helpful insects such as ladybugs and bees. The presentation will describe what companion planting is, its benefits, various techniques, and examples of the plant pairings. “The 2015 gardening workshops at the EARTH Center are a great opportunity for those who cannot commit to the weekly sessions of the Master Gardener classes,” said Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “I hope many people will register for this class; not just enthusiasts, but anyone who wants to learn more about gardening.” “The Master Gardeners have created another fun and informative workshop,” said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the Business Development and Education Committee. Though this is a free workshop, pre-registration is required by calling 732-398-5262 by April 15. No “walk-ins” are permitted. For more information, contact the EARTH Center at...

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The Art of Landscape Renovation

Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The Art of Landscape Renovation

The Art of Landscape Renovation Originally posted in Turf, Design, Build Magazine Tom Crain — August 1, 2014 The backyard makeover movement is capitalizing on the trend to extend indoor spaces outdoors with sustainable elements. Click image to enlarge. Remodeling is tops in homeowner trends this year, according to a 2014 Houzz survey, and we’re not talking about just kitchens and baths. Landscape and patio projects rank No. 4 on the list of top remodeling projects. “Until recently, landscaping often has been the poor stepchild of the homeownership budget,” writes certified horticulturist and garden columnist George Weigel in his post, “The Value of Good Landscaping,” on the Pennsylvania Landscape and Nursery Association’s website. “When the money ran out, it was frequently the planting projects that got pushed off onto the future to-do list. There’s evidence that’s changing.” Landscape professionals can take advantage of the trend by presenting the art of renovation to their clients. From coast to coast, renovation is trending Susan Mulkern, co-owner of Mulkern Landscaping & Nursery on the Big Island of Oahu in Hawaii, says her customers have been cautious and slower to make decisions during the last three to four years of the recession. However, that’s changing. “It seems to me customers are now interested in spending, yet they need to stretch their dollars,” she says. “Renovations provide an excellent way to do this when their landscapes are still substantially there, and they like their original theme.” Click image to enlarge. A redesign from Campbell’s Signature Landscapes. With Honolulu home prices rising meteorically, topping the highest U.S. mainland median housing sale prices of cities like Boston, San Francisco and New York, new Aloha State homeowners and sellers are opting for renovations versus new landscaping projects, Mulkern says. Although Mulkern’s profit for renovations is 10 to 20 percent of what she could make on new landscape installations, she’s still happy to have the business. “While it’s important to maintain the original design intent, we usually help the customer upgrade irrigation and low-voltage lighting, and incorporate energy-efficient pumps for water features, lights, etc. We get them to understand the importance of maintenance to protect their growing investment.” For the last six months, Asheville, North Carolina-based Debbie Neese has only worked on existing landscapes that require updating. “I find people move or travel and see something they want to incorporate into their landscapes,” she notes. “I have one client who got back from a European vacation and became interested in renovating her 20-year-old neglected garden landscape with new Euro-style foundation plantings.” Neese’s other clients are either looking to freshen up their landscapes as they prepare to sell their homes, or they need to replace plants that didn’t survive last year’s harsh winter. Phillip Perrier of Rinox Canada, a Montreal-based hardscaping company, attributes the boon in landscape renovations to the baby boomers – a demographic he believes has the disposable income to drive the landscape marketplace. “Typically speaking, this demographic is downsizing interior living space and extending outdoor space,” he explains. “Creating a contrast between spaces and curb appeal is high on the list of priorities for this spending group.” Serena Masters Fossi, principal at Gardening and Gentle Redesign in Washington, D.C., works with clients in their 20s and 30s – the millennials. “Requests are coming in from a...

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Grow Larger Vegetables with Rock Dust – Benefits and How to Apply

Posted by on May 2, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Grow Larger Vegetables with Rock Dust – Benefits and How to Apply

John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com is visited by Don Weaver, who wrote the book on rock dust and soil remineralization. In this eposide, learn about the benefits of using rock dust as well as how much to...

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