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Organic Gardening Tips

Organic Gardening Tips

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The Shoestring Gardener

The shoestring Gardner product is the product that shows how to be a successful gardener, The product makes you feel passionate about all things green, to care about the environment and have a love of growing and nurturing plants. In addition to a love of plants and flowers,there are also other benefits attached, such as making you enjoy a successful gardening career and establish yourself as a reputable gardener. The shoestring Gardner product is a trusted product, efficiently providing fundamental skills needed to build a successful gardening career. The work of a Gardner has for long been a stressful work, to reduce the stress, the writer had explored and designed this awesome package which has been found efficient by many users as it contains new and improved techniques in a view to meet your taste. It offers an outline which would enable you to improve your gardening skills as well as making provision of new gardening skills you could practice,It teaches you how to cultivate a vegetable garden,One interesting teaching the product offers is the making of non-toxic herbicides(weed-killer) which helps in the control of unwanted weed,the products explain the easy way to make manure or fertilizers that increase the yield of your crop plants with the use of organic materials thereby reducing wastage as well as reducing the cost of purchasing manure from fertilizers.

The Shoestring Gardener Summary


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Author: Claudia Brownlie
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Ornamental vegetable gardens

Certain vegetables and cultivars make attractive as well as edible displays. You can plant an ornamental vegetable garden in the front or side yard or even add vegetables to your flower garden. The ornamental vegetable garden on page 3 shows one of many ways you could plan such a garden. This garden would look particularly nice on a gently sloping hillside. Theme gardens such as a salad bowl garden or a children's garden are also easy.

Basic Techniques in Organic Gardening

Understanding the philosophy behind organic gardening Nurturing the soil Diversifying your garden Managing pests Practicing conservation veryone agrees that organic gardening means avoiding synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. But the philosophy and practice of organic gardening go far beyond that simple concept. Growing organic food, flowers, and landscapes represents a commitment to a sustainable system of living in harmony with nature. For many people, organic gardening is a way of life. This chapter deals with the fundamentals of organic growing, including the philosophy behind organic gardening and the specific techniques that lead to success.

The Organic Foods Production

The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), enacted as part of the 1990 Farm Bill, set the stage for establishing uniform national standards for the production and handling of foods labeled organic. The Act authorized the creation of a new USDA National Organic Program and established an advisory group called the National Organic Standards Board to help determine the rules.

The Ornamental Vegetable Garden

Vegetables and flowers are good companions, grown together for centuries for function and beauty. For example, early Americans knew marigolds repel harmful pests. Companion planting in vegetable gardening means encouraging a symbiotic mutually beneficial relationship between one plant and another. One plant may repel insects that commonly plague another. Three years ago I introduced raised beds in my vegetable garden. and there are more benefits than I realized at the time.

Styles Of Vegetable Gardening

Peppers Vegetable Gardening

Vegetable gardens typically have been ostracized, stuck behind the garage or out back, unseen by all but the gardener. But take another look. There is nothing ugly about a vegetable garden. In fact, there is great beauty, lake pride in your efforts. Step back occasionally and look at the big picture. Not since the days of the victory garden, when vegetables were not as readily available at the market, has the vegetable garden been much praised. Put a chair or bench and even a table by your garden. Take your morning coffee, your lunch, a drink to the garden, then sit and look around you. Contemplation will teach you to see more and make you a better gardener. It is a wonderful thing to be surrounded by plants and to celebrate the miracle of life. A traditional vegetable garden, with its straight rows planted in block formation, a tapestry of green punctuated by brightly colored vegetables, is not to be taken for granted or easily dismissed. Il is no small accomplishment. A traditional...

The Vegetable Garden Planner

Vegetable gardening is for the adventuresome, imaginative child in each of us. It's never dull. Mv vegetable garden changes constantly, seemingly by happenstance. Sometimes 1 select plant varieties on a whim, and the garden changes direction with the breeze Each year 1 add to the staples I'm sure we can't be without. I've learned there are more interesting, unusual, and rewarding plants than can be grown in a lifetime. The best advice for the beginning gardener is to follow your instincts, try new vegetables, let yourself be challenged, experiment If you like to cook, you are luckier still. The opportunities with new vegetables are limitless. One of the pleasures of vegetable gardens is harvesting. Last year was potato parade. Potatoes have always been my favorite vegetable but I hadn't grown them, mistakenly believing they would take too much room in my garden and that the ones from the store were as tasty as homegrown. Was I mistaken There are even more varieties, shapes, and colors...

Designing for Dining and Getting Your Vegetable Garden Ready

Most produce is, of course, grown in a vegetable garden, and it's always best to get your garden started before even acquiring your plants. Of course, you have to dig into the soil and work in organic matter. One of the first steps, however, is designing your garden. Sketch out your vegetable garden plan on paper ahead of time. Figure out how much space to allot to individual plants and don't forget to allow for space between the rows, or paths, so you can tend the plants. (Mature sizes of various vegetable varieties are noted on seed packets and often in catalog descriptions.) To maximize needed sun, site your vegetable garden in a south-facing spot plant taller plants to the north end so they don't cast shade over their shorter fellows. More ambitious vegetable gardens need plenty of paths and rows to allow access for you, for a hose, for a wheelbarrow. Ideally, you want access from all four sides of a particular bed. Build pathways into your master plan when you're first sketching...

Vegetable Gardening Today

VEGETABLE GARDENING HAS TAKEN on dimensions unimaginable when the current boom began back in the early 1970s. At that time, one out of every four vegetable gardeners was brand, spanking new. Today, only one in fifteen gardeners is just starting out That, of course, doesn't mean that a tremendous number of new gardeners won't be turning over their first shovelful of dirt in the late 1980s. It does mean, however, that America today has a great many experienced vegetable gardeners who are looking to extend their experience, to try new things. According to the National Gardening Association, home vegetable gardening today has become a vast and almost invisible enterprise spread across 1.7 million acres in 29 million backyard and community plots, in flower borders and in boxes on apartment terraces and rooftops. In 1987, the national Gardening Association estimated the gross national home-garden product at 12 billion. Why is the vegetable gardening boom still accelerating at full speed...

Composting for Vegetable Gardens

Perhaps you've been wondering why so many vegetable gardeners have compost piles. The short answer is that it's downright sensible. Compost is a bountiful and free source of organic matter, which vegetables adore and consume like crazy. To have it always handy when you need it is unbeatable. Compost is a pile of organic waste that breaks down into rich, dark, crumbly material that jubilant gardeners call black gold It's an excellent way to add humus to your garden, and it also acts as a natural, slow-release fertilizer. You also get to feel virtuous and efficient because you're not sending perfectly useful materials away with the household garbage. Store-bought compost, bag for bag, may not strike you as terribly expensive, but it really starts to add up when you're starting or caring for a vegetable garden. You're better off making your own. And hey, it's easy. Okay, here's the short course on creating compost for your vegetable garden. If you have need of mountains of compost or get...

Organic Gardening

To organic foods enthusiasts, organic gardening means producing food plants without synthetic fertilizers, supplementary mineral elements, pesticides or herbicides. You supply soils with high levels of organic matter from animal manures, crop residues, and compost or green manure crops. You do not use supplementary mineral elements except those from natural mineral fertilizers obtained from naturally occurring deposits.

Vegetable Gardening

Vine Plants Chayote

Chard is basically a beet without the bottom. It's a biennial that's grown as an annual for its big crinkly leaves. Chard is a decorative plant with its juicy red or white leaf stems and rosette of large, dark green leaves, it can hold its own in the flower garden. It's also a rewarding crop for the home vegetable gardener it's easy-going and very productive. If you harvest the leaves as they grow, the plant will go on producing all season.-Chard has an impressive history, too it was a popular foodstuff even before the days of the Roman Empire.

The Conditions That Add Up To Climate

The degree to which the successful growing of each vegetable type is dependent on hot and cold weather conditions indicates that temperature is the most important aspect of climate to consider when you're planning your vegetable garden. At this point it's helpful to take a good look at how temperature and other basic climatic conditions affect your garden. Rainfall and sunlight also play a most important part in how your garden grows, so let's take a look at these three elements and how they work with your plants.

The computerized garden plan

If all this planning thoroughly intimidates you, don't abandon the idea of gardening. It's the age of technology, and you can have your entire garden planned by a computer. The computer uses some basic information that you supply about your garden and develops a complete, easy-to-use plan that includes all the information the novice gardener needs to grow a vegetable garden. The only problem involved in having your garden planned by a computer is finding out who offers the service. At the moment only a few states' Cooperative Extension Services and a few seed companies provide computerized planning services, but they're rapidly becoming popular and more available. Ask your local Cooperative Extension Service if they offer computerized planning or can put you in touch with some organization that does. You may also find such services advertised in gardening magazines.

Containers Fit Everywhere

Vegetable gardening in containers is astonishingly simple no matter where you live, there is no reason not to enjoy vegetables the year round, fresh-picked from your own (container) garden. The prerequisites are very basic containers and somewhere to put them, a suitable growing medium (potting soil or other mixture), light and water, and maintenance. Just add the right kind of seeds many catalogs list varieties

Planting problemfree vegetables

Blister Beetles Eating Tomato Plants

Are they'll wing it away as fast as you put them out, deserting your vegetable garden for a more secluded spot. Also, the beneficial Insects that you import may not consider the specific variety of pest that you have in your garden to be a particular delicacy. In this case they'll fly off in search of more appetizing fare. Either way, they're likely to let you down as far as solving your pest problem is concerned. When you're talking about pest control it's an advantage to group the types of pest you may encounter in categories Some work at night some work underground some chew the plant's leaves others bore into the stems. The following is a list of pests you're most likely to meet in your vegetable garden, and chemical and nonchemical controls for each insect. If your preventive measures don't work, you'll have to cut your losses. There's little you can do to save a plant that has been attacked by a parasitic fungus or bacterial disease, and your best bet is to remove the affected...

Providing the right environment

Growing Vegetables Containers Ideas

Clearly you cannot take these pampered young seedlings straight from their protected indoor setting into the cold, cruel garden. They'd literally die of shock. You have to prepare them for the change in environment, a process known in horticultural terms as hardening-off. You can do this by taking the plants outside during the day and bringing them back in at night for at least two weeks keep them in, though, if there's likely to be a frost. You can also put them outside in a protected place a cold frame or a large box and cover them with a rug or blanket at night. This treatment will ready them for their final place in the vegetable garden. A lot of people find that buying transplants from a reputable nursery or garden center is the easiest way to start their vegetable garden, providing high-quality transplants and few problems. Growing your own transplants from seed is a challenge to your growing skills it requires a lot of time and planning. When you move your own transplants or...

How to make the most of your climate

Vegetable Gardening

Whatever the climate is like where you live, you are not entirely at the mercy of the elements. There are certain improvements you can make to enable you to grow some vegetables that would not normally do well in your area. Don't expect miracles you can improve conditions, but you can't change the climate. No amount of watering can change a desert into a vegetable garden however, if the average rainfall in your area is reasonable, a few hours of watering can improve it more than you'd think possible. Experiment with the microclimates in your neighborhood and your yard it may be possible to increase your growing season and grow vegetables that need a longer growing season than your climate technically provides. Microclimates may also enable you to grow tender perennials that would not normally survive the winter in your area. The secret is to make the most of the conditions that exist in your garden. Experiment plant a tender vegetable close to the south wall of your house it may not...

Personal Gardening Calendar

Identify Parts Garden Tools

A shovel has a curved scoop and a handle with a handgrip. It's used for lifting, turning, and moving soil. A spade is a sturdy tool with a thick handle (and a handgrip) and a heavy blade that you press into the ground with your foot. The blade is usually flatter and sharper than the shovel's, and often squared off at the bottom. A spade is for hard digging work it should be strong but light enough to handle comfortably. A nursery shovel or nursery spade is an excellent all-around tool in the vegetable garden.

How temperature affects plant growth

Scientific Walnut Growing

Making the most of your garden light. If you have a choice of where to grow your vegetable garden, don't put it in the shade of buildings, trees, or shrubs. The accompanying illustration shows how to give plants enough light. Remember that as well as shading an area, trees and shrubs also have roots that may extend underground well beyond the overhead reach of their branches. These roots will compete with the vegetable plants for nutrients. Stay clear especially

Theres a right and a wrong way to water

Watering Vegetable Garden

Gardening is a most satisfying occupation, because you are constantly rewarded for your efforts. All the work you put into your vegetable garden cultivating, mulching, watering, watching, and waiting shows dividends in the shape of healthy plants that flourish visibly under your care as the season progresses. And all the labor pays off in tangible form at harvest time.

Different Organic Methods

There are many schools of thought within the organic gardening community. Some organic gardeners garden in moderation that is, while they prefer compost and organic fertilizers, sometimes they also use chemicals in controlling insects. Other gardeners treat organic gardening like an exacting and exact science. Between these extremes fall several other variations, including

Food Drying Methods

Oven drying is faster than using an electric dryer or dehydrator, but the electric dryers can handle much larger food loads than any of the ovens. Oven drying is best for small-scale preserving, since the ordinary kitchen model will hold no more than four to six pounds of food at one time. If you've got an extra-big vegetable garden and expect to dry food in quantity, you may want to investigate the new electric dryers or dehydrators, available in some stores and through seed catalogs. Several of the small convection ovens now on the market also have special racks available for drying vegetables. When using an electric dryer, or a convection or microwave oven for drying vegetables, always read and follow the manufacturer's directions.

Widerow gardening

Which method for you That depends on your gardening conditions. But if your time and space are limited, consider either small-space intensive or wide-row gardening. If you are interested primarily in organic gardening, and want to try a more productive method, consider either the raised-bed or depressed-bed method. If you live in an apartment or townhouse with a patio, try container vegetable gardening. There are, of course, many other methods besides these one of the great joys of gardening, as you become more experienced, will be to experiment with the many methods and to decide for yourself which best suit your needs or goals.

Vertical containers

One of the most innovative developments of recent years is vertical vegetable gardening. This adds a new concept to balcony or patio gardening height Now you can plant gardens that climb up the walls for as high you can plant and harvest Following are some of the variations on this basic theme -

Planting Mixes

Some gardeners simply go out and dig common garden soil to fill their vegetable containers. In most cases this won't do. An ideal soil for growing vegetables has fifty percent solid matter and fifty percent air space. Most garden soils are either too sandy or too clayey, giving a less than ideal balance. In addition, in a contained space even a good garden soil becomes compacted more easily than it does in the ground, thus closing the air spaces and causing water to run almost straight through. It also dries out faster and often drains poorly, creating a root-rot problem. It is best, therefore, to use a special container soil for vegetable gardening.

Bean cfaif

Red Kidney Bean Plant

Their leaves are usually composed of three leaflets, and the small flowers are pale yellow or white. Dry beans are seldom planted in the home vegetable garden because it's so easy and inexpensive to buy them. They're fairly easy to grow, however, and give good yields, so if you have space in your garden you may want to try them.

Organic Mulches

Ordinary kitchen foil Increases light intensity, helping to grow vegetables in shady parts of your garden. Foil lowers the soil temperature about 10 F and helps keep lettuce from going to seed during hot weather. Experiments show that kitchen foil is an effective control against aphids because the insects seem to dislike light reflected under leaf surfaces.

Bottom watering

Vegtable Garden Irrigation Systems

All parts of this system are made to be snapped or threaded together. Drippers and adjustable minisprinklers put the water just where you want it Can be used for vegetable gardens as well as shrubs and flower beds. Once the system is laid out, all you do is turn on the faucet Enlarge the entire system at will by simply snapping additional units together. All parts of this system are made to be snapped or threaded together. Drippers and adjustable minisprinklers put the water just where you want it Can be used for vegetable gardens as well as shrubs and flower beds. Once the system is laid out, all you do is turn on the faucet Enlarge the entire system at will by simply snapping additional units together.

Plastic pails

They may not win many design awards, but plastic pails are inexpensive and practical containers for use in vegetable gardening. You can buy the 2- or 3-gallon type at the local variety store, or you might be able to pick up larger, 5- or 10-gallon models that have been tossed away after use at construction sites. There are many ways to doll up these plastic eyesores, such as covering them with metal foil or placing them inside larger wicker baskets.

Small Cultivators

Seed Bed Cultivators

Horsepower There are three broad categories Tractors with under 10 hp. are used primarily for tending a yard under one acre and for light snow removal those with 10 to 14 hp. are good for preparing a good-sized vegetable garden and are able to handle a variety of cultivating equipment* those with 16 to 20 hp. are designed for heavier-duty, large garden work, and utility chores.


Polypropylene Tank

Chernicai fungicides are effective in preventing and controlling vegetable disease. Because fungicides can be blown or washed off plants, they must be reapplied at regular intervals while the disease is active, The following chemicals are often used in vegetable gardens.

Potting mixes

Although it is possible to grow vegetables in one of these potting mixes, they generally do better in a combination of soil, potting mix and other ingredients. Vegetables in soil mixes require less frequent feeding than those in potting mixes. Furthermore, a combination soil-potting mix holds water better.

Methods Of Watering

Rain Guard For Rain Bird

Pulsating sprinkler This is the well-known rainbird' type, where water striking an arm moves the sprinkler around in a circle. Each sprinkler will cover an area 50 to 75 feet in radius and can be adjusted to water in a full circle or part circle. It is available in brass or less expensive plastic. Pulsating sprinklers can be used with a stationary underground pipe system and screwed into a standing pipe or utilized with a portable spike or sled base. One operating alone in a full circle is enough for a small garden. Rated excellent for vegetable gardens. Oscillating sprinkler This sprinkler is operated by water, moving back and forth to cover an area of 50 to 60 feet It can also be set for varying coverage within that area. Oscillating sprinklers are available with timing devices that allow you to dial the total amount of water you want up to 1,200 gallons. These sprinklers spray in squares or rectangles the shape of most gardens. Rated good for vegetable gardens. Rotating sprinkler...

Drawing a plot plan

Draw up a simple plot plan giving your garden's measurements in all directions. Remember there's no law that says a garden has to be square or rectangular. Your vegetable garden can be round, triangular, curved, or any shape that fits your landscape and takes best advantage of the space you've got. When you've drawn the outline, sketch in all the nongrowing areas where you won't be able to plant trees, shrubs, sidewalks, sheds, buildings, walls, and the garage. Indicate any areas that are particularly shady or poorly drained and, therefore, aren't suitable for fussy crops.

Container Gardening

If you don't have a garden or even a balcony, you can still have a container vegetable garden. Don't underestimate the number of vegetables that can be grown successfully indoors. Near a bright window that is not too warm, leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, parsley, and chives, will do nicely. Fruiting plants are worth a try, but they take a lot more light at a higher intensity unless the window is very bright, the plants may grow but not produce. Cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets will sometimes grow in very bright windows, and sometimes plants can be brought in from outdoors and grown on for several months. Herbs are rewarding indoor-garden plants, and they go a long way in adding your personal touch to everyday eating. If you have lights or if you have a place for putting lights, you can grow vegetables indoors without any sun at all. Lettuce does beautifully in the basement or the attic when grown under fluorescent light usually these spots are not as warm as the rest of the...

Organic Soil Care

Reduced to its basics, organic gardening is a system of maintaining the soil's fertility by replenishing it, not with chemicals, but with organic materials in the form of humus and compost Organic gardening stays true to the natural life cycle in which soil, water, plants and animal life all work in harmony, one having a part in the nourishment of the others. Organic gardening is almost as old as the earth itself. Our current system, however, was developed early

Types Of Soil

Very few soils are ready to grow vegetables most soils need to be worked before they will yield as they should. If soil has a high clay content, or too much sand or silt, if s got to be improved. Fortunately, it is possible to change the structure, drainage and circulation of most types of soil by the addition of organic material and inert materials such as gypsum. This is also dealt with under Organic Gardening in Chapter 3. Organic additives should be the first alternative considered by the gardener.

Postharvest tilling

That's one classic method of establishing and maintaining a vegetable garden. Other ways have been developed, and are worth consideration by all gardeners. So popular has vegetable gardening become today, that not only are millions of new gardeners growing vegetables, but dozens of different gardening methods are springing up all across the country. These methods differ in one way or another from the conventional way of planting vegetables in wide rows in a fairly large garden. Here are a few.

Dealing with Vegetable Pests

If you build it, they will come, sorry to say. Because you're growing edible plants, you should be very reluctant to throw chemical remedies at pest problems in your vegetable garden. Fortunately, you can choose from plenty of proactive, less-risky strategies and deterrents.

Clues to Quality Cultivating Tools

What exactly is cultivating, anyway After all, this is gardening I'm talking about, not farming. All it really means in the context here is stirring up the soil and fighting weeds. These jobs, quite honestly, always seem to go hand in hand. You need to do them for the good of the soil and the survival and prosperity of your garden plants. Cultivating tools exist to make the job easier and more efficient, regardless of whether you're tending a vegetable garden or a flowerbed.

Food Glorious Food Growing Your Own Veggies

Looking at veggies and vegetable-garden fruits Getting seeds and transplants Preparing your bed, sowing seeds, and planting Making safe compost for edibles and feeding your food Supporting vegetable plants Keeping pests away or the cost of a packet of seeds, you can have your own, homegrown produce. The requirements are simple good soil, moisture, and full sun. This type of gardening is usually called vegetable gardening, even though it also involves growing items that are technically fruit, such as tomatoes and melons (Chapter 15 can fill you in on growing traditional fruits and berries). Growing your own produce or vegetables, as it were can be fun and fairly easy for the beginner gardener. This chapter gives you the basics. If you want even more information, please check out Vegetable Gardening For Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc.). If you're new to vegetable gardening, you may have a vague sense that it's complicated seeds to start indoors and other things to sow outside or plant...

Teed Mour harden with Cover Crops

Fifth generation farmer Dean Berden of Snover, Michigan, uses cover crops for fertilizer in his farm fields and his family vegetable garden. Dean produces dry beans, soybeans, wheat, oats, and organically certified cover crop seeds on his 500-acre Thistle Down Farms without using any commercial fertilizer supplements.

How This Book Is Organized

The basic goal of every chapter is to give you the information you need to go out and create a garden, or at least plant something, no matter what your level of experience. You may already know a lot about roses, for example, but perhaps you want information on how to start an annual flowerbed the chapters in this book can help out in that regard. Even if your primary interest is in growing roses or daylilies, or in setting up a basic vegetable garden, you can find useful information in every chapter that you can probably apply to your planting project.

Developing the vegie patch

Many people feel reluctant to start a vegetable garden because of the initial heavy digging. However, an easy, simpler alternative is to establish a NO-DIG garden. This method can be used by elderly people and is especially suitable for stony or gravelly areas. If you prefer to DIG over your new vegetable garden do not dig too deeply because most micro-organisms in the soil are contained in the top few inches. Digging too deeply will simply bury live soil and bring the less fertile soil to the surface. Grass or weeds on the surface can be removed and this will make the patch easier to dig. Or, after mowing the grass closely the weeds can simply be incorporated into the soil. In the past, I have experimented with different types of paths in the vegetable garden. Mulched paths have the advantage of being soft to walk on, control weed growth, and need only to be topped up regularly with extra mulch material. However, after trying out several types of garden design, I now find that if the...

Helping herbs find their place in the world

Herbs growing by vegetables Adding edible herbs to your vegetable garden is a good idea. They like the same growing conditions of fertile soil and full sun, and when you're in the mood for a spontaneous summer meal, everything you need is right at hand. Some of my favorite choices include basil, dill, parsley, cilantro, fennel, thyme, and chives. Check out Chapter 13 for info on vegetable gardening. If you prefer informal herb gardens, take note A casual bed devoted to all herbs can look delightfully cottage-gardeny, or it can look like a jumble. (A jumble is bad It's hard to care for and harvest from, and crowded plants become more vulnerable to pests and diseases.) So make a plan on paper for this sort, too set it up like your vegetable garden or your favorite flower garden and then see what happens, making alterations as you see fit. Aim for a harmonious mix of foliage colors and types, with the occasional exclamation point of a flowering herb.

Taking care of the plants

Don't toss the pieces back in the water where they can break down and foul and water Add them to the compost pile or dig them straight into a vegetable-garden's soil. For potentially invasive floaters and submerged plants, play it safe and add them and their prunings to the household garbage.

Getting to know the site and your needs

But understanding the site isn't enough you also have to learn what you want and need. Rushing into the design phase without going through this process leaves you without the information you need to make good decisions. Think about your needs and desires. What do you want from the finished landscape Make a simple list. Do this outdoors so you can imagine the possibilities better. If you stand in your backyard and dream about what you need, for example, you might list privacy, a shady place with a hammock or a patio, a play space for the kids, a vegetable garden, a few fruit trees, secure fencing, and a water feature. Take the time to get everything down on paper. Include your family in the process, and make sure that everybody gets heard.

Cultural Requirements

The duration and intensity of sunshine the quality of the soil and such environmental factors as temperature, annual rainfall, humidity, and wind are all variables that affect plant growth. As you may have noticed, not everyone requires the same amount of food or water. Also, some of us actually like cold weather, whereas others prefer the heat. The specific cultural requirements of a plant in a vegetable garden are different from those of a plant in the wildflower meadow, as are those that evolved in alpine versus tropical versus desert environments. Cultural requirements for sunshine, soil quality, water, and climate are described below.

Years of Horticulture

Years, but how is it relevant to life in the twenty-first century Plants still represent an important source of food, fuel, clothing, shelter, medicine, perfume, and recreation they also add oxygen to the atmosphere and help in the removal of toxic waste from the soil. We have become dependent on commercial horticulture to supply our produce and other plant products. What if your favorite fruits or vegetables were no longer commercially available You would either have to cultivate the plants yourself or go without them. The act of cultivation could be as simple as the use of a hoe to weed and loosen the ground under a berry bush you found in the woods or as complicated as the design and maintenance of a year-round vegetable garden.

What is organic growing

Organic gardening means growing high quality, delicious and nutritious food in an ecologically balanced way. Organic gardeners respect the Earth and work within the cycle of Nature. Organic gardening and farming improves the 'living soil' with its myriad of microbes and earthworms, rather than degrading the soil by saturating it with artificial and toxic chemicals.

Whats Wrong with Chemical Fertilisers

What would you say to a non-organic gardening friend if you were asked these questions And what would you make of the following information from a synthetic fertiliser manufacturer's website These are important questions and deserve a serious reply from an organic gardening perspective. Basically, its all a matter of focus. Growers who rely on artificial chemical fertilisers are foeussed on the plants. They view soil mainly as a support medium for fertilisers. The basic principle of organic gardening is this feed the soil and let the soil feed the plants. Soil is more important than oil in the long run because it is as much a non-renewable resource as oil.

Mixing It Up with Flowers The Basics

Promoting diversity in any garden and landscape is a crucial part of organic gardening, and nowhere is it easier than in the flower garden. Except for large formal plantings or commercial-cut flower fields, most gardeners grow only a few plants of each flower species or variety and tend to mix them up in their gardens. Here are a few good reasons to continue that practice

More nutrients in organically grown foods

Most organic gardeners will tell you that the fruits and vegetables they harvest from their gardens taste better than their supermarket counterparts. Are the foods healthier, too A multi-million-dollar, four-year study of the benefits of organic food, funded by the European Union (EU), suggests that some organically grown foods are more nutritious than their nonorganic counterparts. The study the largest of its kind also found that in some cases organically grown foods had higher levels of antioxidants, which are believed to be beneficial in fighting cancer and heart disease.

Manuring and Composting

Time when concerns about microbial contamination are high, there are questions about the risks associated with manure use on food crops. A focus piece on the February 2000 television news program 20 20 was especially controversial. The segment suggested that organic foods were more dangerous than other food products in the marketplace due to manure fertilization. (22) The reporter ignored the fact that conventional farms also use manures. Were all the manure generated annually in the U.S. (about 1.4 billion tons) applied only to organic farm acreage (estimated at roughly 1.5 million acres in 1997), each acre would receive about 933 tons. (23) Furthermore, certified organic producers have strict guidelines to follow in handling and applying manures. The National Organic Program regulations require raw animal manure be incorporated into the soil not less than 120 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion has direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles, and...

The dislike of synthetic chemicals

Organic farmers are the people most likely to demonstrate the practicality of private plant breeding and of self-organising agro-ecosystems (see 11). Organic farmers and consumers of organic food have a general dislike of 'chemicals'. By this, they mean synthetic chemicals, produced in chemical factories. (Water, oxygen, and common salt are also chemicals but no one denies their essential role in living systems). These factory-produced chemicals include all the synthetic crop protection chemicals, such as insecticides and fungicides, as well as herbicides, and artificial fertilisers. In attempting to avoid these chemicals, organic farmers aim to produce food that is almost entirely free of them. I say almost because chemists can now detect concentrations of less than one part in a billion, and it is worth understanding exactly However, some synthetic chemicals, including insecticides, can be dangerous at very small doses. This is particularly true of chemicals that act as hormone...

Composting Toilets And Systems

Under contract with private sector composting facilities. Currently, other recyclable materials such as bottles and cans are collected from homes by municipalities in some areas organic food materials are also collected and composted at centralized composting facilities. The day will come when the collected organic materials will include toilet materials.

Getting the timing right

When you plant your herbs really depends on the plant, but you can't go wrong planting herbs the same way you plant vegetable seedlings that is, plant them out in the garden after all danger of frost is past (see Chapter 13 for info on vegetable gardening). The reason this strategy works for most herbs is that a lot of them aren't especially cold-tolerant. This technique also gets them in the ground under encouraging conditions warm soil, warm air, and a good summer stretching out ahead of them. They should surge right into robust growth.

The Top Ten Of Vegetables

A fascinating study undertaken at a Californian university has revealed that many of our most popular vegetables are the lowest in nutritive values. Researchers studied 39 of our most popular vegetables and the following ten were selected as the highest in essential nutrients. For the home gardener, perhaps the best way to use a small area would be to grow vegetables specially selected for their high nutritional qualities.

Lets Grow Some Vegetables

The following list covers the most popular and easy to grow vegetables for warmer climates. When sowing seeds, it isn't that important to place the seeds in a straight row. I remember when I was a child, watching my father plant his seeds. He would put two wooden pegs into the ground, then tie string from one peg to the other in order to have an absolutely straight row of plants Seeds can be planted in circles, curved rows, or 'almost straight' rows. It really doesn't matter. In Nature, seeds usually grow best in the most suitable spot never in a straight row.

Analyses of various composts

Municipal composting operations find it impossible co get market gardeners to accept their product. Ultimately its destiny is to be mulch along roadsides, under ornamentals in parks, and sometimes in homeowners' yards and gardens. Those who foolishly try to use it to grow vegetables are sorely disappointed.

Monastery Horticulture

Vegetable Garden Layout

The planting of gardens, orchards, and vineyards was one of the first steps in the foundation of a new monastery complex, undertaken simultaneously with the construction of a church and cells. The intertwining of the establishment of garden and church (Fig. 11), as the two essential elements of monastery foundation, is demonstrated by a passage in the typikon for the monastery of the Savior at Messina. Its founder Luke writes that he planted the monks, like some sacred shoots in this spiritual paradise of Christ. Then we most frequently irrigated with the sweet and most fresh springs of the sacred commands and teachings. In a subsequent paragraph he describes how he established olive groves and vineyards, vegetable gardens, and very large buildings in the fields to receive the fruits of the harvest time and to serve as quarters for those laboring out there. In some places, too, we built and planted holy churches. 44 The written sources furnish virtually no information on the location...

The Grow Biointensive Sustainable Mini Farm

Biointensive Plant Spacing

Even though we are pleased that so many people and programs have adopted grow biointensive practices, there is still a challenge to be met. Many people are successfully using grow biointensive farming techniques to grow food for nutrition intervention, but few are trying to grow all their calorie food needs on a basis that also feeds the soil adequately. When people say they are growing all of their own food, they generally mean that they are growing 5 to 10 of their diet (the vegetables that they can produce during the growing season). Calorie and sustainable soil fertility mini-farming and gardening is the next step, which needs to be catalyzed by each of us The Ecology Action publications One Circle, The Sustainable Vegetable Garden, and the Self-Teaching Mini-Series Booklets 14, 15, 25, and 26 deal with growing a complete diet. Once this additional 90 of calorie-growing area has been established in the garden, it only takes an average of about 15 minutes or less each day per bed...

New Depth Only Inches Deep

Starting Vegetable Box

( an you really grow vegetables and flowers in only 6 inches of soil regardless of how good it is I've been doing it for the last ten years in my display and home garden, and it really works. Of course in my lectures when I mention the 6 inches, I can see the audience squirming in their seats, heads shaking and hands rising with the usual question, How can you grow long carrots or potatoes in just 6 inches of soil It's a good question, so we developed a special feature of SFG where you build a 1-foot X 1 -foot box one foot tall for crops that grow in the ground.

Tfspialfcu Seed Ujs j SiMnfi

Vegetable Garden Tropical Climate

Absolute cleanliness in the garden is essential to minimise the many pests and diseases which will attack vegetables at every opportunity Remove spent crops or discarded leaves from the vegetable garden because these will attract 'pests'. Rotting vegetation gives off large amounts of both ethanol and ammonia, attracting many insects.

Cultivated Brassica Species And Forms Brassica oleracea group n the European group

Brassica Oleracea Sabauda Cropp

WHITE-HEADED CABBAGE, RED-HEADED CABBAGE AND SAVOY-HEADED CABBAGE White-headed cabbage, B. oleracea L. var. capitata L. f. alba DC red-headed cabbage, B. oleracea L. var. capitata L. f. rubra (L) Thell and savoy-headed cabbage, B. oleracea L. var. sabauda L. were defined by Nieuwhof (1969). Heading cabbages are the popular definitive image of vegetable brassicas in Europe indeed the terms 'cabbage garden' and 'vegetable garden' were synonymous in some literature.

See title verso for ISBN details

The Roman Book of Gardening brings together an extraordinarily vivid selection of texts on Roman horticulture, celebrating herb and vegetable gardening in verse and prose spanning five centuries. In an anthology of vivid new translations by John Henderson, Virgil's Georgia stand alongside neglected works by Columella, Pliny, and Palladius, bringing to life the techniques and obstacles, delights and exasperations of the Roman gardener. For all the cultural differences, modern gardening enthusiasts will recognize much of the familiar heaving and chopping that the writers describe but may be surprised at other aspects of horticulture that have changed significantly over the centuries.

Insect and Disease Control

Compressed Air Sprayer

Rotate families of vegetables among different areas of the garden each year. Grow resistant varieties whenever possible. Do not save seed if diseases are present. Other tips concerning cultural control of insects and diseases are found in Extension PB 1391, Organic Gardening and Pest Control. When insect and disease problems occur, they must be identified and treated as soon as possible if damage is to be minimized. County Extension offices can assist with identification. Extension PB 595, You Can Control Garden Insects, and PB 1215, Disease Control in the Home Vegetable Garden, contain recommendations for controlling specific insect and disease problems.

Organic Certification Legalities and Logistics

When Congress passed the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) in 1990, it was heralded by many as the first U.S. law to regulate a system of farming. This law can be accessed at the Web site http www.ams.usda.gov nop . OFPA requires that anyone selling products as organic must follow a set of prescribed practices that includes avoiding synthetic chemicals in crop and livestock production and in the manufacturing of processed products. Organic certification agencies were established in the United States to provide the required third-party certification. Some states, including Iowa, followed suit and established their own organic laws. In 1990 Iowa passed Chapter 190, In October 2002, the USDA began enforcing a set of national standards that food labeled organic must meet, whether it is grown in the United States or imported from other countries. The use of the seal is voluntary, so some organic food products may not carry the new label, but all organic products will carry notification of...

Cover Crops and Green Manures

Cover crops also offer protection from plant diseases and insects after seasonal crop rotation. They are excellent for areas of the vegetable garden that are not in use because they bind the soil (reducing the impact of raindrops) and prevent erosion in heavy rainfall areas. Plant roots open up the soil channels, penetrating deep into the earth to improve soil porosity and allowing water to run slowly downwards to prevent soil run-off. These crops can also be used for making compost.

Planning Your Organic Landscape

0esign is fundamental to successful organic gardening. Well-placed plants can shelter your house provide refuge for wildlife and give you all the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers you desire. This chapter may be the most important one in the book because it's about putting plants in the right places and starting them off on the right foot, so to speak. It provides an overview of designing all types of gardens. For specific information on individual categories of plants, see Chapters 13 through 20.

Testing on your own or sending a sample to the tab

You can also send a soil sample to a lab for testing. The nutrient level and pH test results are more accurate and detailed than those provided by home kits. In addition, testing labs can look for things that home kits can't, such as organic matter and micronutrients, as well as heavy metals and other industrial residues. (Soils near heavily traveled roads or on old industrial sites can contain chemicals and metals that you may want to know about before planting a vegetable garden.)

Where should I grow my tomatoes

Growing Outdoor Tomatoes

The vegetable garden, or perhaps on an allotment or in a field. Good crops can result from plants in any of these situations. It is, however, important to consider choosing plants that are more resistant to pests and diseases (pp114-119) tomato blight in particular can be a problem with outdoor crops. Some outdoor bush tomatoes may be allowed to sprawl over the ground, but this makes them vulnerable to pests, such as slugs, and to rotting. Support them with canes and twine or proprietary support systems.

Creating a bubble diagram

Bubble Diagram Landscape Design

When you're ready to write down your landscape design ideas, make a rough sketch of your property on a sheet of paper. This rough sketch, or bubble diagram, doesn't have to be to scale at this point, but try to make it reasonably accurate. Then start writing words and phrases in appropriate locations new patio, remove tree, dog run, vegetable garden, and so on. The ideas you write down can include anything from problems, opportunities, and needs to desires and specific features you know you like. Encircle each feature with a simple oval. Now isn't the time for fancy graphics your bubble diagram just needs to be useful, much like the simple diagram in Figure 6-1.

Insect Reproduction Growth and Development

Insect Reproduction

With each molt insects change their form to varying degrees, depending on the kind of metamorphosis that insects may have. Most vegetable garden insect pests have either gradual (Figure 1) or complete metamorphosis (Figure 2). Examples of gradual or incomplete metemorphosis, in which the very young resemble the adults, include plantbugs, grasshoppers, stink bugs, squash bugs, aphids and leafhoppers. Examples of pests with complete metamorphosis are Mexican bean beetles, cabbage loopers, hornworms, flies, June beetles, cutworms and armyworms.

Cutting flowers for bouquets

Plants that produce long stems for cutting, as well as colorful or fragrant flowers, are tops in my garden. Many of these plants mix well in a perennial border, or you can devote a row in your vegetable garden to them. If you have space and a passion for bouquets, give them a garden of their own. Don't forget to add some everlasting flowers, such as statice and strawflower, which have papery petals that remain colorful for months or even years when dried. Use them for making dried bouquets and craft projects.

Tips for Gardening Success in Drought

There are a number of watering tools, from a variety of sprinklers to cone and fan sprays. For vegetable garden use, the most practical and the least wasteful of water is the soaker hose. Lay it between rows, holes down, for a deep soaking of the roots, holes up for a fine spray.

Basic Gardening Resources

From practical tips to the latest research, universities offer valuable info and give a regional perspective. National organizations also have regional and local branches, and their sites tell you of events to attend, groups to join, and gardens to visit. If you have a particular plant passion, you're likely to find a plant association of like-minded gardeners on the Web. Many offer expert advice, publications, and regional gatherings. You can also find many sites on organic gardening, which can help you create a garden that's healthy for your family, for wildlife, and for the environment. And of course, you can search through numerous online mail-order companies that can supply you with what you need to get your garden started. Pull up a seat to your computer and get ready to explore (In case the computer doesn't appeal to you today, I also give you the phone numbers and addresses of the mail-order companies so you can request a catalog.) Organic gardening experts Organic Gardening...

Fast tun and fabulous fertilizer Quicktixes

Feed the soil, and the soil will feed your plants. That's one of the basic tenets of organic gardening. In most cases, an annual application of rich compost or weli-aged manure will provide enough nutrients and organic matter to sustain your plants all through the growing season. Even so, your garden will probably need a quick pick-me-up from time to time. That doesn't mean Lhat you have to run out to the garden center and drop some cash on an expensive lertilizer, Chances are you have the ingredients for making your own inexpensive, earth-friendly plant food right at hand.

Solar Power In A Banana Peel

Organic refuse contains stored solar energy. Every apple core or potato peel holds a tiny amount of heat and light, just like a piece of firewood. Perhaps S. Sides of the Mother Earth News states it more succinctly Plants convert solar energy into food for animals (ourselves included). Then the refuse from these animals along with dead plant and animal bodies, 'lie down in the dung heap,' are composted, and 'rise again in the corn.' This cycle of light is the central reason why composting is such an important link in organic food production. It returns solar energy to the soil. In this context such common compost ingredients as onion skins, hair trimmings, eggshells, vegetable parings, and even burnt toast are no longer seen as garbage, but as sunlight on the move from one form to another. 5

Nodig Gardening In The Tropics

Before beginning your new vegetable garden, it is a good idea to have some well-made compost available to give your seeds or seedlings a good start. When you're selecting a suitable site be sure that the area is free from vigorous weeds or grasses (nut grass will penetrate a layer of plastic without any problems at all). Remove any larger weeds or grasses by hand before mowing the area. A site which is gently sloping is best, so that excess water from seasonal rains will drain off easily.

Sweetness As Nature Intended

Lint them t us at ogiq rodale.com or mail to Organic Gardening Editors. 33 E. Minor St Emmnus. PA 18098. Be sure to include your mailing address, email address, and telephone number. Submissions, including photos and illustrations, should be your original work and no more than 100 words. Submissions will become the property of Rodale. and cannot be returned. The reader tips that appear here haven't been tested by us, so we can't guarantee that they will work in every garden. But we do our best toscreen out anything we think might be harmful.

Really Rotten Exhibit

Kitchen waste and rotten vegetables will form part of Garden Organic's daring display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2006 (23-27 May). Europe's largest organic gardening charity will be going back to basics at this year's show with an exhibit called 'Garden Organic - it starts with compost'. The aim of this exhibit, sponsored by NFU Mutual, is to show that creating compost should be the very first step for all gardeners. Garden Organic

Masanobu Fukuoka of Japan

Organic gardening simple when fully understood Organic gardening is complex, yet quite simple when fully understood. The basis is a healthy 'live' soil, rich in organic matter and natural minerals, and teeming with life. Such a soil will provide all the nutrients that plants need to be healthy and productive. In this healthy state they will also be more resistant to pests and diseases. Using natural fertilisers and mulches, companion planting, rotation cropping, and the minimal use of even non toxic pesticides, organic gardening works in harmony with natural laws and the wholeness of Nature.

Weed And Pest Control

You can control the weeds in your garden quite easily if you follow these guidelines. Mulching is most important for good weed control. A good thick mulch will suppress many weeds although some strong-growing species will push through the thickest mulch with comparative ease. These weeds should be pulled out by hand before seeding and should be added to the compost heap because most weeds contain valuable mineral nutrients. You should mulch not only in the vegetable garden but around fruit trees and in ornamental gardens as well.

Home Gardens

Put your home vegetable garden in a place that has well-drained soil and is convenient to the house. The garden should not be shaded by buildings, trees or shrubs vegetables need full sunlight throughout the day to grow well. Trees and shrubs close by also compete with garden plants for moisture and fertilizer.

Scare tactics

Stringing fishing line between posts scattered through your garden sometimes confuses deer enough that they go elsewhere. You'll have to remember that the fishing line is there, however, or you'll keep walking into it too. This option is better for less frequently visited gardens than for your vegetable garden.

Knowing Your Soil

If you maintain tidy perennial beds or harvest crops from your vegetable garden, you change this natural dynamic. By raking up fallen leaves or picking produce, you're removing organic matter and the nutrients it contains from the garden environment. To keep soil healthy, you must put some back, which may mean mulching flower beds with bark mulch or adding compost to vegetable gardens. Most of the soil-building techniques I discuss in this chapter center on nurturing beneficial soil life and maintaining this dynamic underground ecosystem.

Developing a design

Design deserves your best thinking because it determines the outcome of the project and how it will function over time. The design phase is a time to slow down and pay attention. Design goes from the general ( I think I want a vegetable garden ) to the specific ( I want four 4 x 10 raised stone beds in the northeast corner of the back yard with six kohlrabi plants, a dozen rutabagas, and five Bad Boy tomatoes ).

Potting Compost

These are equally suitable for an allotment, fruit and vegetable garden, or as an ornamental feature. Use railway sleepers, decking boards, bricks, rocks or even the very ornamental flint blocks. Fill to the brim with a mixture of garden soil (if not alkaline) and organic matter. Plant with a selection of highbush and half-high blueberries, and finish off with cranberries or even alpine strawberries as a carpet below them.

Gardener s Gold

This is what we all strive for. Somewhere between clay and sand, containing organic material that gives it a fluffy, light texture. The best soil in any garden is the top few inches where decaying plant roots, leaves and other organic matter naturally decay. This is called the top soil. For a vegetable garden more than for any other kind of garden, you need a deep loam 8 or 12 inches deep. Loamy soils are physically easy to prepare, and weeding and watering are easier too.

Table of Contents

Part I Understanding the Basics of Organic Gardening 3 Part I Understanding the Basics of Organic Gardening 5 Chapter 1 Basic Techniques in Organic Gardening 7 Defining Organic The Organic Foods Production Planning Your Vegetable Chapter 21 Ten Best Organic Gardening Practices 333

About This Book

Organic gardening covers a lot of ground, so to speak from maintaining a lawn and growing roses to harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables. If you've read this far, you must be curious about how to garden organically in your own yard. This book takes you step by step through building and maintaining healthy soil, encouraging helpful insects and other organisms, choosing problem-free plants, and getting your plants off to the right start. In addition to the basic concepts of organic gardening, it also includes information about how to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, trees and shrubs, fruits and nuts, roses, and lawns without harmful pesticides or synthetic chemical fertilizers.

In this part

J lot sure what organic gardening is all about Jump m w right into this part for an overview of what organic means. Chapter 1 introduces the foundations of organic gardening, along with basic techniques you'll use whether you're growing edibles, flowers, or lawn and landscape plants. Chapter 2 describes the benefits of gardening organically, as well as the risks to you and to the environment of using synthetic pesticides. If you need to justify your organic preferences to naysayers, you'll have plenty to say after reading this chapter.

The Part of Tens

F you like lists as much as I do, welcome to Part V. It's also a good place to get started if you want to be an organic gardener but really don't know what to do first. This part sums up the major principles and techniques of organic gardening in a few short pages and offers ideas for making your home and landscape more eco-friendly.

Try a Cye ed

To make a weed-free garden bed from scratch, try smothering the weeds in winter rye, suggests Julie Berbiglia, author of The hazy Gardener's Guide to Organic Gardening. Julie says that she and her coworkers kept an 11 X 11-foot plot in rye all summer at the organic demonstration gardens of the Scarritt-Bennett Center's Organic Garden and Arboretum in Nashville, Tennessee. By July, the rye was completely dried, and it had smothered out every kind of weed, says Julie. The roots went down several inches and aerated the soil. When we pulled them up, the soil was very soft, without any digging,

Managing Nutrients

Plants need nutrients to grow flourish and fend off pests, diseases, and environmental stresses. Giving them what they need is a key to successful organic gardening, but as with humans, overdoing poor food choices spells trouble. The best way to feed plants is to feed the soil. Vast numbers of beneficial organisms call the soil home nourish them, and you nourish the plants. Adding organic matter, such as compost, provides fungi, bacteria, earthworms, and other soil dwellers both food and a hospitable environment. In turn, they break down this organic matter into nutrients that plants can use.

Establish thresholds

In IPM, this process is called establishing damage thresholds, and it's fundamental to organic gardening. Small populations of pests may not cause enough damage to warrant control, and they may provide a consistent supply of food for the predators that keep them in check. Kill all the pests, and their predators will leave too. When the next population of pests arises, the predators will be gone.

Organic Produce

Rodale edited the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening in 1959 in response to the American public's request for an approach to the cultivation of produce free from chemical residues. The method has been popular with home gardeners ever since and has grown steadily in the commercial sector through the 1990s and into the 21st century. The common goal with all organic approaches is to grow high-quality produce while having only a low impact on the environment. The methods can also be applied in floriculture and landscape horticulture.

The future

Currently, Australia has more than 2000 certified organic producers, processors and retailers of organic food and fiber products. Scottish farmers now produce enough to meet 70 per cent of the demand for organic food up from the 35 per cent estimated level in 2002. Scotland plans to double the area of organic agriculture and production by 2007 Organic News, 2005.


Blemishes on fruit and vegetables are often caused by crop parasites. Since the development of synthetic crop protection chemicals, it has become fashionable to see only blemish-free produce on sale. However, blemishes are an indication of freedom from pesticides and are valued for this reason by lovers of organic food. Blighia sapida

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