Articles

How Worm Castings Can Benefit Potting Soil

 

Worm castings are a by-product of vermicompost — basically, worm manure that works as a rich, natural fertilizer.

 

Chelsie Anderson is a Calgary-based natural-gardening educator and author. As such, she’s an advocate for the power of worm castings to bring soil to vibrant life, particularly in pots where plants don’t have access to the minerals, microbes or moisture naturally found in the earth. “Potting soil is a sterile mix,” says Anderson. “You don’t get the critters that benefit plants grown directly in the ground.” The beauty of adding worm castings, she says, is that “you get all those beneficial guys to kickstart the system.”

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Fall gardening in Alberta made easy

Natural gardener Chelsie Anderson says seasonal yardwork is far from over.

 

Wet and cold are not ideal for yardwork, but there is still lots to do these days in the garden.

 

Chelsie Anderson is a natural gardener and The Homestretch's seasonal gardening columnist. Here's a roundup of her tips for fall gardening.

 

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Fortney: It's raining cats and dogs — and lily-eating beetles

 

The driving rains have come with alarming afternoon regularity, the hail has sometimes been as big as ping pong balls and the flash flooding has forced more than a few Calgarians to wait on hold with their insurance companies.

 

Welcome to the official Soggy Summer of 2016, one that has brought to life such new traditions as the daily “running of the potted plants,” as residents try to spare their container gardens from one more pummelling.

As far as Chelsie Anderson is concerned, though, things aren’t so bad. “A lot of plants are ticking along nicely,” says the proprietor of Chelsie’s Garden SOILutions, a private gardening business she’s been running for several summers. “The hydrangeas are fantastic this year, a lot of flowers seem to be big and beautiful.”

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Donna Balzer: To buy or not to buy – that is the question for gardeners

 

Every summer brings a new crop of garden gadgets and products to get new gardeners scratching their heads. Do you really need all this new stuff to be a better gardener?

 

 “To buy or not to buy” — that is the question.

 

Start growing in your kitchen:

 

Christine Nesbitt is the sole employee of Calgary-based Crop, a local shop specializing in small-space food growing. At the shop, Nesbitt bubbles over with enthusiasm for everything from seed sprouting to making your own kimchi. When pushed to suggest a single great thing, she enthuses about seed sprouting kits ($4.99), but big spenders can drop $2,699 for the Urban Cultivator, a fully automated seed sprouting system.

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