Welcome to PB DESIGNS! On this webpage, you'll find detailed information and opinions about the USDA's National Organic Program and help in designing your garden, landscape or home interior. We are located in NJ, Pennsylvania. "To be the agent whose touch changes nature from a wild force to a work of art is inspiration of the highest order." -Bob Rodale, 1962
Late Summer Composting
Composting consists of preparing yard and household organic waste in a stack or a tumbling bin and presenting conditions that stimulate decomposition. The decomposition practice is supported by thousands of microscopic organisms (bacteria, fungi) that occupy themselves within your compost bin, constantly consuming and recycling it to develop a rich organic fertilizer and beneficial soil amendment.
Seems complicated? It’s definitely not. All you need to know about composting is a fundamental comprehension of one or two simple key points, and a little bit of elbow grease. Nature does the remainder. So, even that the composting is a natural process, you can help it along by making your own compost piles in your garden or by using tumbler compost bins you can buy at the store.
Why not burn leaves and other yard leftovers?
Burning leaves and such pollutes the air and can cause out of control fires. Garden waste smoke that floats in the air is a blemish and can make breathing tough for people who have asthma, or seasonal allergies. Setting up a composting bin employs an aerated method of composting, that is the most popular approach of composting everywhere in the states. This entails putting the backyard waste into rows that are routinely turned, mixed up, and aerated. This composting technique is fairly simple and needs only minimum amount of accessories and energy from the gardener. So, all leaves and garden leftovers go to the composting pile!
Clearing and Preparing Space in the Garden
To make the best conditions for composting, you’ll need just a couple of things: organic waste, soil, water and air. As a lot of your early season crops such as peas, cucumbers, or cabbage are gathered, it is a good time to clear them out and get ready the space for planting a second round of plants. We just take our expired plants, chop them up and put them into our compost piles or tumblers. If you skipped planting anything at all in the spring, here is your opportunity to still have a fresh garden!
When including organic leftover to your compost, don’t press hard the products down to create more room. This will only press out the air that microbes in the bin need to turn your trash into valuable stuff.
Also be tactical about stuffing your pile. Involve a mixture of brown fibrous elements as well and greens too. A well-balanced “diet” will guarantee that composting does not take too much time and that you don’t result in with a stinky, useless pile. Also shred, chop or simply make the leftovers smaller that can help the active bacteria do excellent job in transforming the waste into real compost.
At last, just after you’ve added vegetable waste left from the kitchen, toss in some leaves or grass clippings on the top. This can aid keep the process well-balanced, decrease smells and make your compost pile less appealing to critters who are striving to sniff out a free meal.
Clear all of plant waste from the backyard before the winter months and place a cover crop like annual rye to make back nutritional value and hold back weeds next year. It is recommended, just as with all crops, to take out all the plants and foliage from the garden once your late season crops are done. And as soon as those garden crops are ready, sow in a great fall cover crop, to bring back that soil for a wonderful garden next year.
So get prepared and seeding on those fall seed crops today, and you will be treated with some in-season fall vegetables to take delight in!
Aquarium Water Changes
If you want to keep a healthy aquarium, water changes are mandatory. Consistent, partial tank water changes let ward off disorders and keep your chemical harmony in check. Aquarium water changes are the best supplement to your filter to preserve the perfect water ecosystem for your fish.
How Much Water Should I Replace?
About 15 to 25% of your aquarium water need to be changed at each period after you get past the first cycling period. This is common for most fish tanks. Bigger fish tanks can withstand a smaller percentage change of 10 to 15%. This is since water changes take place slower in a larger tank. Aquarium water changes are suggested to be performed once week no matter the aquarium size. If you are having chemistry issues, you may want to do water changes more frequently than this. Water changes are the perfect way to easily minimize high chemical levels in your tank.
Fish need very good water, not just any water. If you load your aquarium directly from your tap, you may induce a spike of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. It’s perfect to fill containers with the fresh water, then address each container with a fish tank water conditioner. These conditioners get rid of chlorine, chloramine and ammonia, and convert nitrite and nitrate into a form that’s not damaging to fish and that the advantageous bacteria in the filter and tank can fade. Some conditioners also cleanse out heavy metals. Conditioners help defend your fish by increasing their slime coats. If you use bottled spring water or distilled water, add conditioner simply to be safe and sound.
Choosing Your First Fish Aquarium?
Aquarium fish are fantastic pets and it’s a real joy to have them in your home aquarium. It’s important to select the right aquarium, setting it up properly and preserving it to be sure you supply the fishes a clean and healthy environment to live in. There are many variations of aquariums you can pick from but freshwater aquariums are the most common choice these days.
Here are a few aspects to remember when selecting your first aquarium:
In terms of size or gallons, a basic 15-40 gallon tank should fit well. However, smaller tanks, below 50 gallons, need more maintenance and care. Water quality improvements can take place more quickly and they can get messy much faster, which requires more cleaning and water changes more often. One more factor to look at is gallonitus. Gallonitus is a term of a tank size disorder that most aquarium keepers get when they always find they want something even bigger!
Also, you can pretty much calculate the size of your tank with the quantity of fish you’re planning to get. It’s roughly 1 inch of fish per gallon size of the tank. For instance, in a 10-gallon tank you could have five 2″ fish, or ten little 1″ fish.
Don’t forget electric outlets! They need to be close enough that you can plug in aquarium accessories such as a pump, without using an annoying extension cable. The added cords are not only a stumbling hazard but a tangle of equipment cords is a critical electrical hazard. Also try to set your aquarium close to kitchen sink, or any water supply to make necessary water changes and other aquarium servicing easier.
One essential (but often neglected) accessory is an aquarium stand. You can pick a stand that will fit the style and spot of your home, just make sure it is durable and tough enough to hold your fish tank as steady as possible.
You will also need an aquarium tank canopy. Yes, these come in different materials, from plastic, the least expensive, to glass, to wood, the most costly. They can vary in respect to quality, so pick out the one that you can purchase and will give you the best cover for your water.
Fish? It may seem unreasonable to pick your aquarium fish before getting a tank, but doing this will enable you to figure out the proper tank size. If you prepare to fill your tank with small community fish like tetras and guppies you should not need anything bigger than a 20 or 30 gallon tank. Larger fish, yet, like cichlids and many saltwater fish demand even 50 gallons of tank size. When finding out the suitable size for your tank, examine the full-grown size of your fish – not the size at that you plan to buy them. If you are just beginning, remain to the rule of getting one inch of fish per one gallon of tank volume. As stated above, this principle will help to avoid overcrowding in your tank.
Need tips on how to clean your fish tank? Then head to this website.
Using Compost and Mulch
Mulch is any type of content that is distributed or laid over the surface of the soil as a coating. It is widely used to keep moisture in the soil, reduce weeds, hold the soil cool and make the garden bed look more appealing. Organic mulches also support bettering the soil’s fertility, as they decompose.
Compost and composted manure can be used at any place, given that they are fairly well composted and free of weed. You can put them in good use as a layer of mulch or just side dress plants with them during the spring and summer, to insulate and give an increase of slowly freed nutrients.
Compost tea indicates a liquid matter produced by the compost. Usually, compost creates the tea in a natural way, but you can also create your own compost tea by soaking a shovel full of compost in a 3-6 gallon container for a couple of days. When it is finished, just dump it on the flowers or plants you want to have it on. If you would like to keep the compost separated from the liquid, place the compost into a bag when you soak it into the water.
Shredded Leaves are nature’s treasured mulch. They can be used as mulch nearly anywhere you can think of and have the extra advantage of being totally free. As soon as you have your shredded leaves, you can put them in your garden as mulch right away. However, do not put too much mulch straight on the crowns of herbaceous perennial flowers. This is not needed, and it can cause roots to go rotten. If you’re not using uncomposted shredded leaves as mulch in your backyard, you must add some slow release nitrogen manure/compost in the spring, since the progression of leaf decomposition may reduce the soil from nitrogen.