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Issue 39: USA & Canada

Substrates and Containers

What size and type of container should you use and what do you put in it, organic or synthetic?

Most indoor gardeners use inert mediums such as coco or peat as a base and add liquid nutrients and additives. The medium you choose as a substrate and how you amend it can significantly affect how you will care for your plants and how they will grow. I have grown successfully in almost every substrate and can’t say if one is significantly better. For my outdoor garden, I prefer large raised beds of organic soil. Indoors, I use coco/perlite blends with synthetic nutrients.

What works for me won’t necessarily apply to your gardening situation. If all growing substrates can lead to a perfect garden, what’s the difference? When we dig into this subject, we realise that life lies under the surface and how it’s cared for and managed is one of the keys to success.

Stephen Brookes offers some excellent advice in his article, The Dos and Donts of Reusing Substrates. Colin Bell documents his experiences in growing with both soil and substrates and the key differences he’s observed, and Jesse Singer takes an in-depth look at the peat industry and its impact on the health of the planet.

Once you finish reading all the gardening stuff (and if you’re in the mood for controversy), Everest Fernandez has written an opinion piece, Vaccine Apartheid – Will We Let Covid-19 Divide and Conquer Us? Certainly one of the most divisive issues of our time.

Have a green day.

In this issue

5 Cool Ways to Conserve Garden Soil

The world’s soil won’t last forever, so think about reusing it in the garden over several growing seasons by following our tips and tricks for conservation!

The Dos and Donts of Reusing Substrates

Have you thought about reusing substrates in your home garden? It’s a great way to save time and money, but Stephen Brookes tells us there are a few rules.

Grumpy’s Greens

St. Catharines , Ontario, Canada

It’s called Grumpy’s Greens, but the name is misleading because farmer Evan Hadley is very happy doing what he’s doing on his small scale urban farm.

Closter Farm

Closter, New Jersey, United States

Closter Farm grows healthy, delicious vegetables and livestock following strict organic and regenerative practices.

Growing To Give

Brunswick, Maine, United States

Growing to Give addresses both climate change and food insecurity. The organization grows organic veggies and donates them to locals in need.

Homestead 1839

West Burlington, Iowa, United States

Old-fashioned values are at the heart of the Homestead 1839. Organic fruits, veggies, and flowers grow on five acres of farmland using permaculture practices.

Peat: Should You Use It In The Garden?

It’s great for the gardens but maybe peat should be a thing of the past! Jesse Singer takes a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in the peat industry.

Coco Coir A Sustainable And Eco-Friendly Choice For Growers

More and more growers are making coco their substrate of choice these days. Rich Hamilton takes a look at why it’s so popular.

How Recyclable Are Your Garden Containers?

Container gardening is rising in popularity, especially in small urban spaces! Philip McIntosh gives us a rundown of container materials and whether they’re recyclable or not.

Experimenting With Substrates: Homemade Soil Mixes

Ever wonder how a small regenerative farm makes it work? Alan Creedon tells us about substrate experimentation and homemade soil mixes at Incredible Farm.

How To Choose The Right Containers For Growing Food

Container gardening is the perfect solution for growing food in small spaces! Anne Gibson offers advice on selecting the right pots to get the job done.

Understanding Substrate Chemistry in Hydroponics Leads To Better Grows

You’ve got your hydroponic system, lights, and nutrients. But what do you know about the growing media? Dr. Callie Seaman helps us understand substrates.