Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Organic Gardening Tips

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Harness Compost to Heat Water

August 17, 2017

Dennis Carter and Anneli Carter-Sundqvist needed an ample supply of hot water for summer guests at their Deer Isle Hostel. Inspired by Paul Wheaton's video, "500 Showers Heated from One Small Compost Pile," Dennis built an 8-foot-wide by 5-foot-tall compost pile with 200 feet of half-inch diameter poly pipe coiled inside. The pile heated the water in the pipe, and the water was transported through a hose to an outdoor watering-can shower. Read the details in Carter's article, "Compost-Heated Outdoor Shower," in the summer issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.


Handle Seedlings by Their Cotyledons

April 13, 2017

When transplanting seedlings, handle them by their cotyledons – the "seed leaves," or the first leaves to emerge from the seed. These are the most expendable parts of the seedling, which will grow new leaves. Handling by the stem could crush that delicate tissue and kill the seedling. For an innovative way to use the heat from a compost pile to help grow heat-loving seedlings, see Adam Tomash and June Zellers' article "Low Cost Ways to Grow Heat-Loving Plants in Maine" in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.


Compost All Winter

December 11, 2015

You can keep adding food scraps to your outdoor compost pile all winter, if you want. The new material won't compost much until warm spring temperatures arrive. As an alternative, you could try "bokashi" composting indoors. Bokashi refers to breaking down organic materials through fermentation by adding microorganisms to the material in a covered container. MOFGA gardener extraordinaire Adam Tomash wrote about his experiences with bokashi in his article "Bokashi: A Compost Alternative" in the winter 2015 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener