ORGANICS FOR BEGINNERS

Making Organic Teas
The same 5-gallon buckets are perfect for brewing custom teas for each stage of plant growth. Early on, a compost tea is perfect for both watering and foliar spraying. Fill a nylon stocking with your chosen ingredients, which can include compost, guanos from seabirds and bats and a little bit of molasses to feed the microorganisms. Fill the bucket with water and use an air pump and air-stone bubblers to oxygenate the water for a few hours (this helps remove chlorine and other potential pollutants). Now dunk the nylon sock into the water and steep for two days while stirring occasionally and allowing the air stones to bubble throughout the process to keep everything aerobic (oxygenated).

Now you're ready to use the tea. Let it sit for a half hour or so to settle and then strain it into another bucket. You can feed this tea directly to the plant's roots by saturating the growing mix in your buckets and/or you can spray the leaves for the added benefit of suppressing foliar diseases. Use the tea immediately. It's only at its most effective for an hour or so.

Organics Outdoors
It's even easier to grow organically outdoors. If you've got the space, start a compost pile with leaves and kitchen scraps as well as lawn clippings (and even spent root-balls and used bubble-bag scraps).
Turn the pile once a week with a shovel or compost fork and you'll have plenty of free compost (a.k.a. "black gold") to mix into your outdoor soil and use as a nutritious mulch for your pot plants.

Outdoors, the bigger your container, the better. Loose organic mixes and plenty of sunshine encourage roots to grow at tremendous rates, leading to huge bushes that yield over a pound per plant and more! Better yet, dig your own hole deep and fill it with a variety of organic materials for a custom "seasoned" spot you can reuse year after year by simply replenishing the mix. Liquid seaweed and liquid fish as well as compost and guano teas combined with a healthy regimen of organic additives will keep plants happily thriving in the sun. Before long, you'll be growing trees with trunks that need a hacksaw to take down!