Friday, June 26, 2009

Movies anyone?

Summer is the time for cold lemonade, backyard barbeque, and picnics in the garden. On days when temperatures climb into the 90's, air-conditioned movie theatres begin their silent siren call, beckoning us to come, relax, chill-out, and be entertained for a couple hours. Blockbuster movies are released left and right at this time of year, but there always seems to be a few gems produced each year that play at smaller theatres and film festivals, the independent ones flush with originality and charisma.

Recently I was told about the movie - A Chemical Reaction. Please take a moment to check it out at The progress the director has made on the overall project is stunning. The film will be playing at festivals across North America by this September.

Also, if you havent made plans yet to go see FOOD, INC. the movie, I highly recommend it! In the Philadelphia region, head into the city and check it out at Ritz at the Bourse, 400 Ranstead Street, Philadelphia, PA - (215) 925-7900, and while youre in Old City, grab a bite at Farmacia - delicious!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Container Gardening on a Sunday

Ahh, Sunday morning in the garden. Plump shelling peas were ready for harvest, carrots and radishes received their final thinning, and summer crops got their second dose of liquid organic fertilizer. After some much overdue weeding in the front garden bed, there was plenty of planting to there seems to be every weekend in our garden.

I'll confess, I am a plant-a-holic. Especially this time of year, I seem to find myself coming home with one of these, three of those...adding small plugs or 4" pots to crowded beds tends to be my mode of operation.

Renting an apartment doesnt tame my appetite for plants, just causes me to put a lot of them into containers. Container gardening lets me grow plants into specimen sized proportions, but still remain mobile. Container gardening also frees your inner creative spirit to try new combinations. If something doesnt work out that great, you just separate the plants at the end of the season, and try another idea. If youre lucky, you end up with a couple stunning combos each year.

I'll post some pictures of my favorite container combos later this year after they grow up and out. Post a picture of your favorite container planting on our photo contest when it goes up later this summer. Go to our News & Events page to check it out.

Until next time, get out there and get your hands dirty!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Why peat free?

We are a peat-free company for a few reasons. The biggest reason we do not use peat is because we have high-quality, locally made compost we can substitute for peat. In the US, peat comes mostly from Canada, so buying local compost takes thousands of miles "off the road", and reduces our carbon footprint.

Additionally, as peat breaks down, it changes from carbon sink to carbon source, which contributes to global warming...and the porosity is reduced in your potted plants...thereby reducing available air space needed for oxygen around plant roots.

Plus, high-quality compost imparts special properties to a potting soil, namely, increased ability to hold moisture longer, resulting in less watering. Using less water saves you time and helps our planet.

Adding compost to potting soil also gets valuable members of the soil food web into the mix, providing beneficial biology in the root zone. University trials have shown high-quality compost can improve overall plant appearance and quality. Dr. Harry Hoitink has published volumes on this subject while at Ohio State.
Another reason to use compost instead of peat is habitat preservation. I'd rather save the habitat for the regional flora and fauna. Also, compost is a by-product of existing agricultural operations, whereas peat is a harvested natural resource.

Perhaps the most compelling, is that harvested peat is actually the fossil deposits produced by peat moss. EU scientists have reminded us that peat has been forming for over 360 million years and forms at a very slow rate of approximately 1 millimeter (mm) / year. Think about it...1mm of peat moss at the surface is not exactly equivalent to 1mm of peat 20 feet under the surface.

It is controversial, and you can find both sides of this story online. For us, the big picture is we feel we create a superior potting soil using compost, coconut husk fiber, pine bark, worm castings and rice hulls. Water less, use it twice, locavore friendly, earth friendly, whats not to love!

So, it is less about being detrimental to the average gardener, and more about looking to our collective future, and helping gardeners reduce their carbon footprint by making exceptional quality potting soil from earth friendly ingredients.

If you want to read more on the topic, check out:

Welcome to The Organic Mechanic's Blog!

Wow! The day has arrived and our new website is going up! Day by day we are finishing all the extra pages, but wanted to get things started so everyone can see our new fresh look. Let us know what you think!

Check out the FREE subsccription to Organic Gardening when you buy any 2 bags Organic Mechanics Potting Soil! Link on the home page has all the details.

Check back often for news, tips, rants, and garden musings from The Organic Mechanic. Now, get out there and get your hands dirty!