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Sniff the Soil

shovel and dirt compost

It is verifiable that soil microbes and human health and happiness have a link.
Studies show the bacterium Mycpbacterium Vaccae is in all Heathy soils.
This bacterium boosts the serotonin levels and increases the cognitive function.
This Happy Bacterium has been studied for the past 16 years. And only occurs in healthy soil.
You won’t get the benefits of the serotonin booster if you’re smelling sterilized soils.
Only when you smell the earth sweetness, coolness, perfect soil moisture smell will you know your happiness is about to be boosted.

Get a load of leaf compost delivered to your house or pick it up!
Use the leaf compost on your yard, on your vegetable garden, in containers around Roses.
Use it for everything!

Other products that give you wonderful soil are:

  • Plant Tone
  • Cotton burr compost
  • Worm casting
  • Foxfarm products

Tip from a clumsy gardener….Next time you fall down In the garden, pick up a handful of healthy soil and breath. It will be funny in no time.

Keep slugs off your plants by preventive maintenance.
Remove wet leaves mulch and debris away from plants that slugs like.
You can also find slugs under flower pots. Lift the pots off the ground with pot feet or rocks. That takes care of the shady cool area that slugs like around flower pots.

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Getting Ready For Gardening

Yes, it is winter but we are going to start planning now.
We covered how to build a raised bed vegetable garden blog on August 9th.
No worries If you don’t have your Garden plot prepared you can start today.
First on the list of vegetable gardening.


Many gardeners have relied on the moon to tell them when to plant what.
It goes like this….plant above ground crops in the light of the moon.
Which is the day of the new moon to the day of the full moon.
Root crops have to be planted by the dark of the moon which is the day after the full moon
and the day before the new moon.


Try these vegetables from seed this month

  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Head lettuce


Rosemary is a cold hardy shrub ( sometimes) that is an herb used for many purposes.
Mourners would throw Rosemary into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead.
Now scientific evidence suggests that rosemary in-fact stimulates the memory center.

Plant your seeds in a row
One for the pheasant one for the crow,
One to rot and one to grow
Sow seed generously one for the rook, one for the crow
One to die and one to grow.


Happy Gardening

Vador Vance

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Why should you add compost under your mulch?

shovel and dirt compost

A soil food web helps makes healthy soil. Compost and mulch are part of this food web.

Adding compost provides the soil food web with nutrients to keep producing strong, healthy and beautiful plants. Mulching over compost covers the exposed soil and shelters all the microorganism’s beneficial fungi and bacteria living in the soil. Plants send chemical signals to nearby soil bacteria and fungi that indicate nutrients the plant needs.

When you are fertilizing with natural products like compost, worm casting and Plant-tone you are providing the needed nutrients when the plant needs them – unlike the results you get from using synthetic fertilizers. We tend to think we are fertilizing our plants with everything they need when using synthetic fertilizers. We’re not, the soil scenario becomes a feast or famine issue. Natural, organic products feed the soil and the soil feed the plants!

Boom you’re done! The secret to a great garden is providing the soil food web with all its needs.

Take a look through our products for items than you can use to improve your soil!

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Volcano Mulching Your Trees Or Not?

Painted Black Mulch

Ready to mulch?

This year as you put your mulch around the trees take a little extra time to not pile the mulch higher than one inch or less.  The 6 to 8 inches high piled up like a volcano is not the correct way to mulch. The industry as given a name to this practice: volcano mulching.

Visualize the forest floor.  Do you see big piles of mulch packed around the trees?

You’re right, the trees in the forest do not have mulch piled high upon the trunk of the tree.

Leaving soil or mulch piled around the trunk provides an environment for insects and fungi to live under the bark of a tree. The trunk also needs to breath.  When the mulch is layered to high on the trunk the bark becomes wet and rotting which begins to destroy the cambium layer of the tree. Excessive mulch gives critters such as mice and voles a place to live. As we know the critters will eat or chew into the bark therefore cutting the source of nutrients and water.

Mulching does control weeds.  It provides cover for the soil web and holds moisture longer which is all beneficial to the soil.  But moisture isn’t good for the base or trunk of tree.  Mulch piled on top of the root ball also causes the roots to grow up into the mulch.  This leads to root girdling.

According to the University of Florida these issues have become more prevalent in the last 10 to 15 years.

What to do?

The recommendation is to lightly sprinkle mulch on the root ball area of the tree after that point you can add more mulch.

Ultimately you should have mulch out to the drip line.

Always check periodically through the years to insure mulch as not piled into a volcano.

This practice goes the same for shrubs.

Take a look at our products page to see what’s available.

Vador Vance Gardening Services

For more gardening advice listen to In the Garden with Vador and Kenneth live on AM600 WREC every Saturday morning 6am to 8am

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Raised Bed For Vegetables and More

Wow!! What a break we have in the weather!  Why not get your raised garden ready for planting?  Raised bed gardens are not for Vegetables only. You can make a perennial garden, an herb garden or a cottage garden. I enjoy mixing vegetables along with annuals perennial and herbs.  Raised beds make gardening easier and more convenient.

Look for cinder blocks, wall blocks, brick, fieldstone, cedar, untreated pine, spruce or redwood.  Using wood means you need to nail and construct your bed. To make it easy to build your raised beds, you can purchase pre-made corners, which are pictured below.

raised bed

Image source:

The size of the garden bed can be 4×4, 8×6 or whatever fits your needs.  You can put a garden trellis, an obelisk and so on to help keep vines growing upward instead of growing along the edge of raised bed.  This allows you to grow more plants!

Time to add the soil to your raised bed. It’s a good thing Nature’s Earth has the soil mix you need.  Garden mix is excellent for starting new flower beds and gardens. This product consists of leaf compost, dirt, sand and processed pine. You can plant directly into this product without having to till your soil.

You are going to need to add a variety of extra soil amendments.  My favorites are Wormcasting (you can purchase at Nature’s Earth) and plant-tone.  Mix these products into the top few inches of soil.  Wormcastings do so much for your soil. For instance, worm casting gives you a large variety of nutrient and lot of micro-organisms. Your garden is guaranteed to make your plants stronger vegetables sweeter and flowers have bigger blooms!!

By: Vader Vance

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Grow Your Lawn Green

I love green soft grass. As do toddlers. I know this because all the small kids play in my yard. My secret is compost. I didn’t want to use synthetic products for so many reasons and one is I like to save money and do less watering and work. Organic lawn care gives you just that. You may look at your yard and wonder will it ever be the same, maybe I should double the rate of everything I am using on my lawn.  Let’s talk about how to grow your lawn green!

As Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.  I am sure this is how a person can feel every spring as the weather begins to warm and the weeds began to grow.

Many years of treating your lawn using synthetic products has left the soil sterile. Our soil needs micro- organisms, good fungi, bacteria and minerals, paired with Major and Minor macronutrients, minor micronutrients and secondary nutrients. The traditional way of lawn care does not provide our soil with any of the soil life need to maintain a healthy lawn. Therefore, I am recommending leaf compost as a light layer on your lawn. Also leaf compost should be used in place of sand. Why would you use sand when leaf compost offers more!

Some of you have a great looking lawn but you get patches of grass that turn brown. This is a fungal issue. Leaf compost can aid in elevating that problem. When your soil become sterile and weak the fungi that causes the brown patch can thrive. Healing the soil heals the grass. Apply over an inch to the diseased areas. You will see grass grow back within a week and I bet it looks so good you will want to put compost on your entire yard. The difference in your lawn will be seen by the end of spring. I could promise but Mother Nature is a tough lady that tells us we can’t control nature

Another benefit of natural products like leaf compost will reduced use of weed killers which in turns saves the good wasps, big-eyed bugs, dragonflies, earthworms, lace wing and honeybees.

If you can tolerate a few weeds in the spring you will be providing more pollinating plants.  Several spring weeds have beautiful flowers.

Weeds are a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially: one that tends to overgrow or choke out desirable plants. But spring weeds don’t take over your lawn long term only in the spring and then the weeds die out naturally.

Here is a list of poplar spring weeds and their benefits.

  • Plantain: edible
  • Mouse-ear chickweed: edible; widely used as an herb
  • Henbit: edible; herbal properties
  • Dandelion: Edible and provides early nectar sources for bees.
  • Violets: many are edible: used as ornamental ground covers.

By:  Vador Vance Gardening Services

For more gardening advice listen to In the Garden with Vador and Kenneth live on AM600 WREC every Saturday morning 6am to 8am

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Better Soils Make Better Landscapes


I’m thinking the first thing I want to do for the spring, which I feel is moving closer, will be planting flowers and shrubs and veggies and perennials! But Wait! You need to stop and reevaluate what the goal is.  Of Course, the goal is to have new plants in your landscape, however, more planning needs to be considered.  Soil is what most people think is boring or the least of the priorities of having a great landscape.  But to have a better landscape, we need better soils.

We need soil to amend our dirt. Yes, I did say soil to amend our dirt. Why? Because soil and dirt are different.

The definition of soil is the upper layer of earth in which plants grow, a black or dark brown material typically consisting of a mixture of organic remains, clay, and rock particles

The definition of dirt is filthy or soiling substance (such as mud, dust, or grime) something worthless

You may have somethings not blooming as you know they should be, your fruit tree may not give you enough fruit and why does that plant not grow?

Maybe it is the soil?!  How do we get better soils?

Let’s start with Soil Conditioner – this material is excellent for starting new landscape and flowerbeds.  It makes better soils.

Soil conditioner consists of leaf compost, sand, and processed pine.

You should till this mix into the existing soil. As much as we hate clay we do need to have a small amount mixed together with the soil conditioner.

***Do not till excessively this will cause the air pockets to become flattened which does nothing to improve the soil. **

To find out the amount of soil needed use our mulch calculator.


Blog post written By: Vader Vance

For more gardening advice listen to In the Garden with Vador and Kenneth live on AM600 WREC every Saturday morning 6am to 8am.