raised garden bed

How to: Raised Garden Bed

If you’ve got a newfound green thumb, you’re probably eager to grab your spade and head outside at the first sign of spring. However, many new gardeners quickly discover that not all homes come with a backyard primed for gardening. When you have the space but not the soil for optimal growth, you may feel the dream of growing your own food fading away. 

Don’t give up on your gardening aspirations yet! A raised garden bed can be the perfect solution to transform your backyard. In fact, a DIY raised garden bed makes it easy to grow all sorts of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. 

Whether you’re teaching your kids where their food comes from, developing a new hobby, or trying to decrease your grocery bills, building a raised garden box is your next step. Here’s how to create your own raised beds.

What Is a Raised Garden Bed?

Trying to grow fruits and vegetables in your backyard’s compact soil can be challenging for any gardener. Plus, for new gardeners, the backbreaking work of weeding, digging, fertilizing, and managing bugs can become overwhelming.

While building raised beds may take more time initially, it can make gardening easier in the long run. Raised beds can keep bugs away, improve drainage, and reduce weeds. Plus, they can help you grow a better harvest, too! 

Raised garden beds are elevated, fully contained boxes with a built-in drainage solution. Many raised beds can be crafted from wood, but you can also buy pre-made raised boxes or make boxes from other materials. 

Ready to start building your beds? Let’s jump in. 

How to Build Raised Garden Beds

Building your own raised garden beds can make gardening fun for the whole family! The first step to building your beds is to create a plan. There are many bed styles to choose from, so check out some different raised garden bed plans for ideas to get you started.

Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to build your beds! Beyond the building materials you’ve chosen for your bed, you also need to think about drainage. Adding a garden bed liner and a plywood base with drilled drainage holes is a great start, but you can also add an irrigation system to keep your beds watered.

Choose a location for your new garden bed and set up the square or rectangular perimeter. Set up your rot-resistant wood walls and drill any holes necessary for your drainage system. Once your drainage holes are in place, screw together your wooden boards to create your box. 

Next, you can add your plywood base to drain into the ground below and wrap the bed liner along the inside of your bed. If you’ve developed a more involved irrigation system, install that before adding soil.

Then, add in your soil and you’re ready to begin planting! 

One of the benefits of using raised beds is your complete control over your soil quality. Filling your beds with new, high-quality soil and soil amendments produces better crops, while good drainage ensures that your plants’ roots don’t drown. This can also keep your soil loose and easy to work with.

Ready to Start Gardening?

Once your beds are in place, you’re ready to jump in and begin growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs! But what seeds should you start with? 

Our beginning garden kits are just what you need to get started. We’re happy to help you find the best kit for your new raised garden bed. Shop now and find the right garden kit for you today!

Agriculture waste management

Agriculture Waste Management 101: Everything You Need to Know

17.7 million tons of food waste go through an agricultural waste pathway every year. And although food waste and agricultural waste get used synonymously, they’re two very different things. 

Interested in learning the difference? If so, keep reading to learn more about what agricultural waste is. We’ll also talk about new sustainable technology that’s evolving in agriculture waste management. 

What Is Agriculture Waste?

Agriculture waste is what’s left after the farming process. Agriculture waste consists of plant and animal waste (like manure), crop waste (i.e. culls), and toxic agriculture waste. 

Toxic agricultural waste is the pesticides and herbicides used on crops. It’s also leftover animal manure and phosphate fertilizers used on farms.

Often, these chemicals will runoff and contaminate local drinking water and the environment. However, progress is made every day to help make waste management more sustainable.

For instance, our development of using microbes as fertilizer. Offering a chemical-free alternative for farmers. 

Building An Agricultural Waste Management System

Three factors go into a waste management system. They are collection, treatment, and storage. 

The first step is collecting all the waste. Set up a schedule and strategic collection areas for a streamlined method of collection. 

Maintaining a schedule and many collection areas keeps the work from becoming overwhelming. 

Next is treating the waste. All agricultural waste gets treated. Leaving waste untreated can lead to runoff and other harmful effects. Treatment alters the physical composition of the waste into a more manageable state.

Before doing this, it’s essential to consider what the waste consists of and what characteristics of the waste need changing. Understanding these components will change the needed treatment process. 

Finally, it’s time to store and package the waste. Proper storage offers flexibility and control over the disposal process. Specialized storage units will need to be installed. 

If turning the waste into fertilizer, then consider specialized packaging machines to help pack and ship the product. 

That’s Not All…

Building a sustainable agricultural waste management system is great for the planet. But did you know it’s great for companies too?

When treating waste correctly it can be recycled into mulch, energy, fertilizer, and organic matter. Fertilizer is the most common recycled use. But, all forms of recycled waste prove to be profitable.

By recycling waste, you save money and earn money by selling to other farms. Sustainable handling of agricultural waste is a profitable investment. It ends up bringing in more money than what’s saved on inappropriate disposal.

Agriculture Waste Management: Why It Matters

Handling anything without care can have severe negative effects. Agriculture waste management is no different. But when handling waste management the right way, it becomes marketable and sustainable. 

We hope this article provides a clearer understanding of what agricultural waste management is. Here at Earnest, we strive to educate others about sustainable practices and how to achieve them. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or check out our blog for more information. We’re here to help!

Types of soil

Different Types of Soils, Different Uses

Are you finding plants wilting in the garden even though you’re watering, pruning, and doing everything right? Or are you looking to work with different types of soil but you’re not sure which is best?

Soil is the basis of plant life and the right type of soil can be the difference between your garden flourishing and failing. Check out our guide to the different types of soil here. 

4 Types of Soil

Soil can be classified into four categories. Each soil has its own characteristics, benefits, and uses. However, you should always look to enhance your soil with organic matter, fertilizer, manure, and compost. 

1. Sandy Soil

This type of soil is dry, light, and gritty and does not hold water well. Most sandy soil is acidic and lacks a lot of nutrients. Because this soil drains water quickly, in the hot summer months it warms up and dries out quickly.

This is one of the best types of soils to grow vegetables because of the good drainage and because it warms up quickly. However, it doesn’t retain nutrients so you will need to add nutrients throughout the growing season. Adding compost or manure, for example, is an excellent way to enhance sandy soil.

2. Silt Soil

Silt soil is packed with nutrients as it originates from river sediments. It’s one of the best types of soil for gardening as a lot of plants flourish in silt. The particles are medium-sized and therefore retain water quite well but drainage can become a problem.

An issue with silt soil is that it is easily compacted. This becomes a problem with a downpour of rain that can wash it away or if it is continuously walked on. Adding organic matter to create larger clumps of soil can resolve this issue.

3. Clay Soil

This can be a difficult soil for inexperienced gardeners. It’s very heavy and holds a lot of nutrients which is good. However, it also holds a high amount of water and drains very slowly.

This means that it remains very moist and wet in winter and dries out and cracks in summer. Clay soil is useful for growing crops such as wheat but needs to be amended with organic matter.

4. Loam Soil

This is a mixture of the three previous different types of soil: sand, silt, and clay. The combination works to create a fertile, rich soil that offsets the negative characteristics of the three soils on their own. There is always a dominant component that can make this type of soil a sandy loam or clay loam.

This is absolutely one of the best types of soil for plants and gardening and experienced gardeners and beginners alike will love working with it. The mixture of particles holds a lot of nutrients and has excellent drainage – the perfect condition for growing.

The soil is often referred to as ‘agricultural soil’ because of the perfect balance of properties.

Identifying and Improving Your Soil

The first step is identifying the different types of soil you have in your garden. Then you can work to optimize and enhance it. Do you need to make the soil less compact because it’s too silty or add more nutrients because the sandiness doesn’t hold much? 

Check out our shop for amazing soil amendment products to turn your soil into a nutrient-rich and fertile field for growing plants.

Indoor plants

How to: Decorate With Indoor Plants

Is your home dead and dull? Are you looking for ways to spruce up your space? When thinking of new and fresh ways to liven up your living situation, look no further than indoor plants. Having indoor plants make for a happy home. Each room can take on a life on its own with the accent of indoor plants. Becoming a green thumb is an endeavor all in itself.

Fear not, there are easy maintenance indoor plants to take care of. Whether tall or for the windowsill, there are plenty of indoor plants to make our homes happier and healthier.

Deciding what are the best indoor plants is no easy feat. From lighting to watering to maintaining their existence, we need to find the ones that will suit us.

Don’t let the task of indoor plant decoration take you over. Read our blog post for discovering the best indoor plants and where to place them. Your home will never be happier!

Bomb Bookshelf

Displaying your plant friends on the bookshelf is such a nice way to incorporate them into your home. Smaller indoor plant pots fit nicely amongst your library. They can even serve as bookends.

At the top of your bookshelf, look to have trailing indoor plants. This will truly make your bookcase come to life. Succulents would look cute here.

Whimsical Windowsill

To continue with our book theme, why not create a wonderous reading nook? This can easily become one of your favorite spots in your home. Combine indoor hanging plants with potted.

Nature Extended

Rooms with large windows are a great place to have your plants thrive. By playing with the view of nature, we can create an extended world inside.

Cute Corner

You can have your plants have their own corner of the room. This is an easy yet effective way to have your plants looking good. Have fun with this by mixing and matching different indoor plant pots of varying sizes.

Warm Welcome

Why not wow your company with a warm welcome of green. Plants that don’t need a ton of sunlight are best in the entryway of your home. Try narrow, easy to fit plants such as a snake here.

Delicious Dining

For an attractive centerpiece, look no further than greenery or florals. Have it be the length of your table. Get creative and integrate various textures into the mix such as candles and knick-knacks.

Not a Faux Pas

If you’re not a green thumb, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Look for dry or faux plants here. This is a low-maintenance approach with exceptional results.

Kitchy Kitchen

Indoor plants in the kitchen are an excellent way to spruce things up. Healing plants such as aloe are your best friend when you have a cut or burn. Other suggestions are venus fly traps or pitchers to take care of those pesky fruit flies.

Like Indoor Plants, We Thrive

We hope you’re as inspired as we are. Your indoor plants will never have looked so good.

We encourage you to grow with us. Try one of our grow kits today! They are fun for the whole family.

Health benefits of gardening

What Are the Health Benefits of Gardening?

If the stresses and strains of life are getting to you, then it might be time to do head into your garden.

As well as being fun and rewarding, there are many health benefits of gardening for the body and mind.

Whether you want a new hobby, to improve your health, or spend time with family, getting green-fingered is just what you need.

What Are the Health Benefits of Gardening?

As well as being good for you, there are health benefits of gardening for environment. It can reduce energy costs, erosion, minimize our carbon footprint, as well as providing a home for bugs and animals. 

Being outdoors is beneficial for our health and mental well-being. Getting down and dirty in the soil can help with a wide range of health issues.

Here are some of our favorite health benefits of gardening for family and for you.

Gardening Burns Calories

Gardening is considered as moderate to intense exercise. An hour of gardening can burn more than 300 calories. This activity can also help prevent high blood pressure.

Raking, digging, planting, and cutting are all brilliant forms of exercise that you can enjoy while tending to your garden.

Eat Healthier by Growing Your Own Food

Growing a vegetable patch in your garden is a fun and healthy way to spend time with family. Instead of buying those everyday veggies from the store, grow them yourself! It is also a much more economical way to eat.

Growing your food without chemicals means you can eat tasty, organic goodness. The health benefits of organic gardening will be enjoyed by the whole family.

Teach the kids where their food comes from. They will love joining in and watching their veggies grow. By growing vegetables themselves, kids will always be more inclined to try them.

Gardening Helps Strengthen Bones

Being outdoors in the sun makes your body produce vitamin D. This essential vitamin helps your body absorb calcium, which is vital for bone growth, formation, and health. Getting a daily dose of vitamin D is especially beneficial to anyone suffering from a condition such as osteoporosis.

Just remember to always apply sunscreen.

Mental Health Benefits of Gardening

Spending time outside is great for our bodies and our minds. Stepping outside into the fresh air can immediately lift our spirits and make us feel energized. 

Some other ways gardening can help with your mental health include:

  • Gardening is therapeutic. It makes you stop thinking about everyday stress and just concentrate on the job at hand.
  • It can help us vent anger. If you are feeling frustrated, pick up a spade or some shears and hack out that frustration.
  • Gardens don’t judge us. If you live with anxiety, then spending time in your garden can help alleviate any fears you have of being around others.
  • Give a feeling of worth. You are responsible for the growth and health of your garden.
  • It can help you to relax. Being outdoors has a calming effect on the soul. 

Working in a garden with others can also help you connect with other people. This in turn can help the mental health of anyone who is living alone. There are health benefits of gardening for the community, such as creating relationships, discussion, and growing produce for everyone to enjoy.

Start Your Gardening Journey

The health benefits of gardening can improve health and mood, for you, your family, and the community. Enjoy simple outdoor time with the kids, and introduce them to the natural world right outside their front door. 

If you have never gardened before, then don’t worry. Getting started is easy and fun. Pick up one of our garden kits, and get started on your green-fingered journey.

Organic Farming

What Is Organic Farming?

From the 1970s through today, people have become increasingly concerned with the origins of their food. Organic farming has become a hot topic for many who want to know how their food was grown, and about its journey from the soil to their plate.

But why is organic farming so important? And how can I find organic farms near me?

Keep reading for an organic farming definition and to find out the essentials of organic farming.  You can also learn more about what we, Earnest Agriculture, is doing here(earnest.ag/technology).

What Is Organic Farming?

Organic farming is a practice that favors the use of natural methods and materials to encourage crop growth. It operates in contrast to modern farming which uses synthetic chemical processes. It advocates returning to a more natural method of farming, producing crops in a sustainable way.

Conventional farming practices value profit margins and crop yields above all else. Organic farms mark a return to more traditional methods. For certain crops, the consumer may face higher prices due to the additional labor and lower yields.

You can use this tool to find the organic farms or Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) operating in your area.

What Are the Benefits?

There are many benefits that come with doing your food shopping from local organic farms. By opting for organic produce, you can help make important changes to the local environment as well as the quality of the food you consume.

Conventional farming utilizes potentially harmful chemical pesticides that can be dangerous to animals and humans. What’s more, weeds can become resistant to synthetic pesticides. This results in an ongoing cycle of using stronger and stronger chemicals.

Organic farming also helps to encourage greater biodiversity, lower levels of pollution, and healthier soil.

Finally, organic agriculture also helps in the fight against climate change. Organic farming practices help to lock carbon in the soil, as well as building soil health. This makes the earth more likely to recover from severe storms and hurricanes.

What Methods Are Used in Organic Farming?

The specific methods of organic farming differ from farm to farm and from region to region. However, the general principles remain the same.

These include using natural rather than synthetic fertilizers and encouraging biodiversity through crop rotation. Finally, they avoid all Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) which are used to improve crop yields.

For example, the Honey Brook Organic Farm in New Jersey have used crop rotation to great effect. They sustain low levels of cucumber beetles and the tobacco mosaic virus while allowing the ‘good’ insects to carry on thriving. Crop rotation also helps to keep the soil rich in vitamins and minerals, as different plants take different elements from the earth.

Now You Know All About Organic Farming

We’ve now covered the basics of organic farming, so the next time you are doing your grocery shopping, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at. What’s more, we hope you’re now inspired to check out the local organic farms near you, to see exactly who to buy from in your area.

For more information about our products(earnest.ag/earth) and services, be sure to check out the rest of our website(earnest.ag)!

Importance of Fertilizer

Fertilizer plays a major role in the agriculture industry, not just in farming but also in gardening and harvesting. Fertilizers are used daily by the families and farmers to help gardens and crops grow. All the nutrients in our food mostly come from the soil. To create healthy crops, farmers do need to work with healthy soil and fertilizer is something that makes the soil healthy. Soils naturally contain a lot of nutrients and these nutrients are what allows plants to grow. If soils are missing these nutrients, then plants suffer from nutrients deficiency and stop growing. When the nutrient level is too low, the plants cannot function properly and produce the food necessary to feed the world’s population and that’s where fertilizers come in.

Nutrients can be added from a variety of fertilizer for example, organic and inorganic. Organic fertilizers are made from natural and organic materials like manure and compost. Inorganic fertilizer includes nitrogen, phosphate, phosphorus, and potassium. Farmers usually turn to these fertilizers because all these substances contain plant nutrients. Fertilizers are something that has been used since the start of agriculture. Most farmers today prefer to use fertilizers that are either mined or manufactured. The use of fertilizer is expensive and can also harm the environment if not used correctly especially inorganic fertilizers. Farmers usually send a soil sample to a laboratory for testing to know which nutrients and how much to apply to the soil. Gardeners and farmers are very careful in adding fertilizer because even too little is added the crops or plants will not produce as much as they should. Fertilizers are crucial to the security of the world’s food supply, and they must be used properly.

What Is Vermicomposting?

Vermicomposting is an easy way to help our environment by reducing waste. It is a win-win situation for both us and worms. Vermicomposting is a type of composting in which certain species of earthworms are used to enhance the process of organic waste conversion and produce a better end-product. It’s a convenient way to dispose of organic waste, such as fruit or vegetable scraps, and also reduces your carbon footprint because your food isn’t contributing to overfilling landfills. You could even use this compost to feed and provide nutrients to your home garden and indoor plants. Composting is a great way to recycle your food into a rich and nutrient-filled soil addition. For worms, it gives them a healthy and bountiful home with all of the free food they could ever need. If you’re worried about the smell, have no fear. Focus on properly setting up your compost bin and caring for your earthworms; smell should not be a problem!

Technology in Agriculture

We currently live in a world where technology affects every aspect of our life. Technology is extremely important in several fields such as education, nursing, engineering, and agriculture as well. Before the recent technological rise, many agricultural functions were performed by hand; however, modern farms and agricultural operations today work vastly differently. 

A great deal of these functions have changed due to new advancements in technology including the introduction of sensors, devices, machines, and much more. Through using advanced devices and robotic systems, businesses are now more profitable, environmentally friendly, efficient, and safer. Today’s agricultural fields are more likely to use technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS because of the advantages that they can provide. For example, robotic machines are exceedingly reliable when monitoring data, managing natural resources, and tracking air and water quality. Technology also gives producers greater control over plant and animal production, processing, storage, and distribution. This results in safer growing conditions, greater efficiencies, and lower prices. 

In today’s society, farmers no longer have to apply water, fertilizers, and pesticides evenly across entire fields by hand. Instead, they can easily target a specific area or even treat individual plants differently with the help of technology. This technique can present several benefits, such as higher crop productivity, and a decrease in use of water, fertilizer, and pesticides, which result in keeping prices down and maximizing profits. It also increases the safety of workers and results in minimal runoff into rivers and groundwater, which ultimately helps preserve the environment in that area. In all, technology has proved to be a great asset to utilize as it makes agricultural production easier and more efficient.

Untitled design (8)

Understanding Soil Microbes….What are they?

Soil microorganisms can be classified as bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, algae, and protozoa. Each of these groups has characteristics that define them and their functions in soil. Up to 10 billion bacterial cells inhabit each gram of soil in and around plant roots, a region known as the rhizosphere. Worm castings are a great example of a soil microorganism. They contain a highly active biological mixture of bacteria, enzymes, and most importantly animal manure. These castings are extremely rich in water-soluble plant nutrients. It is the best 100% organic fertilizer that can increase a plant’s yield, protect both soil and plants from diseases and help the soil retain moisture. 

At Earnest Earth, we want our buyers to have the best gardening experience so we have teamed up with local farmers and use microbes to enhance your experience.