Dig a Little Deeper!


In celebration of International Compost Awareness Week, I invite our readers to dig a little deeper into the many benefits of utilizing compost.  

In a nutshell all composting is, is just nature’s way of recycling. It is a natural process of breaking down organic matter and turning it back into a rich nourishing substance. With this comes a lot of nutrition and benefits for your landscaping and gardening. Microorganisms produce a rich earthy substance called humus that is the key component in producing fine compost. Though most people think that compost is a fertilizer, it is actually a soil amendment. Fertilizers add nutrients to soil; while amendments improve the soil so that plants can make use of those nutrients. A simple way to distinguish the two is to remember that compost feeds the soil and fertilizer feeds the plant.

What Can Compost Do For You?

  • Supply nutrients for plants by providing surfaces where nutrients can be held in reserve in the soil
  • Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
  • Facilitate better drainage by loosening soil structure 
  • Use less water; Store water in the soil 
  • Help increase air drainage 
  • Increase the activity and numbers of soil microorganisms 
  • Encourage earthworms
  • Enhances the ability of vegetables to stand up to common diseases and may improve their flavor and nutrition
  • Compost can benefit year-round
  • Helps balance the pH of your soil

My Organic Compost DS: Goodness in a Bag

We celebrated this week by releasing our new "My Organic Compost DS" bag design. This double screened goodness will be available to you in a few weeks at any of our locations. We love it and we know you will too. 


Why DS? 

DS is made from leaf mold, wood, vegetative debris. We ground up the raw materials and make windrow piles by folding fruits and veggies into the piles. The juices from the fruits and veggie keep the compost with an optimum moisture content during the composting process. In addtion, we also populate the piles with a microbe pack that allows for better composting. The piles then are turned and once the pile is mature and ready for processing, we screen a 1st batch with a 3/8" screen. This product is now called Vegan Compost. The following step is to take batches of Vegan Compost and screen again. For every yard of Vegan Compost we double screen we get 60% of Finished DS product.

How can you use our Compost DS?

 Our compost DS is probably one of the finest fungal compost products you will see anywhere in the US. It's perfect for top dressing, amending, tilling, mulching, spot treating and as a general use compost.

Compost Tip:

Spread about a half-inch to an inch of compost around your trees, shrubs, and/or your lawn, and in your annuals and vegetable gardens. In established gardens, spread the compost on top of the soil, where it will eventually seep into the ground below; or you can lightly fork it over. This can help improve the first 6–10 inches.

Questions about our Compost DS or just compost in general? Head on over to www.thegroundup.com/askusanything and ask away!  We are happy to answer any questions you may have. If you'd like to see samples of our Compost DS, please visit one of our locations and we will show you this goodness packaged in a 1 cubic footbag!


The Underground Secret to a Better Garden

Mycorrhizal Fungi: 

Let's talk basics. What exactly is Mycorrhizal Fungi? 


The term mycorrhiza refers to the role of the fungi in the plants' rhizosphere, its root system. (Illustration by Michael Rothman)


A Mycorrhiza is a symbiotic association between a fungus and the roots of a vascular host plant. It's major function being the ability to exchange nutrients between their surroundings and their host plant. A white fungal network called hyphae (resembles roots) is the principal structure for the uptake of many important nutrients in the plant kingdom. The hyphae are only a single cell wide and facilitate nutrient exchanges between the root tip and fungi. While you may see them spread like a web surfacing a decomposing log, they usually remain hidden underground and invisible to us. 

In the Garden

As a gardener, you want to take advantage of this symbiotic relationship that fungi and plants have been developing for millions of years. The key lies in maintaining a healthy community of fungi. One trick is to use caution when dealing with fertilizers and stray away from the use of chemical fertilizers specifically those consisting of phosphorus. Since phosphorus can reach levels that actually discourage the formation of mycorrhizae, avoiding fertilizers with high percentages of the chemical will prevent beneficial microbes from weakening or breaking apart. You can also maintain your soil in prime condition by minimizing disturbances apart from occasional light tilling, weeding and mulching. 

Increasing Beneficial Fungi

One of your main challenges perhaps will be ensuring that this nutrient-infused goodness survives all year round. The fungi that support garden crops are not capable of living or reproducing independently so it is up to us gardeners to ensure we are maintaining and increasing the population of beneficial fungi.

We can start by preventing a decline with simple tricks such as rotating crops within your beds and avoiding empty beds by keeping plants growing at all times. Additionally, you want to take it a step further and consider growing plant rye, oats or hairy vetch. These plants have extensive root systems and readily harbor mycorrhizae. Orchards will serve you well for overwintering fungi because they don't require as much attention and buffer strips of a grass-and-legume blend will help retain fungi.  

The Benefits

    • Improved plant establishment and growth.
    • Dramatically expand access to moisture and nutrients from the soil. 
    • Increased nutrient and water uptake. 
    • Increases efficiency of water use.
    • Drought tolerance. 
    • Improved disease resistance.
    • Assists in weed suppression.
    • Improves soil structure and stability.
    • Improves root growth.
    • More blossoms and enhances nutritional value. 

    Mycorrhizae are the principal structures for the most nutrient uptake in the plant kingdom.

    Are you familiar with Mycorrhizal Fungi? Tricks of your own? What has been your experience? We want to hear all about it! Shoot us your comments below! 

    #TGULab No. 1 - Expanded Shale H2O rentention

    We placed a cup of water and a cup of expanded shale side by side. At 2:34pm on March 14th 2018, we poured the cup of water into the cup containing expanded shale. 17 hours later we drained the cup and poured water back into the original cup.

    The test showed Expanded Shale retained half the water poured into the cup.

    The benefits of ES are many and include and not limited to:

    1. increases hydraulic conductivity
    2. retains moisture
    3. help loosen compacted clay soils
    4. can be mixed and blended with compost and soils to make planting media
    5. can be used as gravel and as a road base

    Sold in Bulk and Supersack. Individual 1/2cuft bags coming soon.