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What is NOFA?

"What is NOFA?" NOFA stands for Northeast Organic Farming Alliance. It is a non-profit organization with the goal of promoting healthy food, organic farming practices, and a cleaner environment. NOFA has chapters in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. NOFA-NY is the New York chapter. They provide educational conferences, workshops, farm tours and printed materials to educate farmers, gardeners, consumers, and land care professionals.The Natural Farmer, the quarterly newspaper of the NOFA Interstate Council, publishes features on organic farming techniques, certification issues, environmental developments as they impact farmers and growers, organic market conditions and other topics of interest to the Northeast organic community. Another valuable service offered is NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC, accredited by the USDA National Organic...

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Do You Cherish Your Roots?

For your plants, one of the most important things that you can give them is good, strong, healthy roots. Good roots will enable your plants to get nutrients out of the ground. Remember, nutrients are made available to roots by microorganisms releasing and making available nutrients in the soil. Good roots also let your plants become drought resistant so that they will not be negatively affected by dry spells. An easy way to put valuable microbes into your soil and make it healthier is to add Devine Gardens vermicompost. The above picture shows on the left a tomato grown in a pot with commercial fertilizer. The roots on the right are from a tomato plant grown with vermicompost. An amazing...

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Types of Mulches

Mulching is covering the soil with a thin layer of material to block weeds, retain moisture, increase nutrients and microbes in the soil and/or for appearance sake. There are different reasons to use mulch and different types of mulches. Ground bark mulches are good spread around trees and shrubs. Ground bark mulches will suck nutrients away from plants so I don't recommend using them near flowers and vegetables. Mature stable compost is better around flowers and vegetables because it will add nutrients to the soil not take away.  Shredded leaves from the year before are great to use as a mulch. Unshredded leaves may become matted and repel water.  Straw can be used but I find it to be expensive. Hay...

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How to Buy Good Quality Compost

A local farm dumps manure/bedding in a field all winter long. In the spring there appears a sign "Free Compost". Don't be fooled. It may be free but it is not compost. Compost is organic matter that has been mixed to the correct carbon: nitrogen ratios received oxygen to encourage the movement of aerobic microbes. This movement creates heat which when over 131 degrees will kill pathogens and weed seeds. A big pile of manure/bedding would have to have temperature monitored over at least 15 days and turned at least 5 times to destroy weed seeds and pathogens. Yes, there are many people that do like to add aged manure to their gardens, as long as you understand the difference....

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