Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer is over... Hello Grow Season!

It has been a few months since CSI Natural update our community blog... CSI Natural has to admit, putting effort into developing the best range of sustainable landscaping and gardening products is no quick task. Over the summer, CSI Natural began working with different labs/universities to further enhance the level of quality our current product line delivers. It has been a success, for the most part, and moving forward CSI Natural intends to put even more effort into these projects.

CSI Natural is also redeveloping our web presence to further enhance the CSI Natural's User Community's experience. A few new features will be more specific content generated from industry professionals throughout the world in hopes if educating our local community within Volusia County, FL. Other features will include regular updates to the CSI Natural Blog, a CSI Natural Community Forum for sharing green topics and other useful tid-bits of information specific to the local green community, and the list goes on...

CSI Natural Compost, Mulch & TopSoil is working hard every day, both in the field and in the office, to deliver our local community here in Edgewater, FL, the best landscaping and gardening alternatives available in Volusia County. Stay tuned and learn more...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

CSI Natural Compost, Mulch & TopSoil was present at the 2nd Annual Parktowne Business Expo. in Edgewater, FL...

Photo of CSI Natural Compost, Mulch & TopSoil Banner on Delivery Truck
CSI Natural Compost, Mulch & TopSoil
Delivery Truck at Parktowne Business Expo.
CSI Natural Compost, Mulch & TopSoil had an excellent showing at the 2nd Annual Parktowne Business Expo. located in Edgewater, FL. Local businesses within Volusia County are present to showcase thier business products and/or services in hopes of gaining popularity within the community. CSI Natural was ready from the beginning and put on a stellar presentation which introduced many local residents to the all important decision to "purchase locally".

The benefits were obvious to Edgewater's attending public. Everyone who stopped by the booth learned very quickly the benefits of purchasing locally. The Edgewater residents couldn't believe the natural material they had put at the curb months prior, was now being utilized in decorative landscapes and fuitful gardening projects throught the city of Edgewater, FL.

Photo of CSI Natural Sales Rep. helping customers at Parktowne Business Expo.
CSI Natural Sales Rep chatting with
local residents in Edgewater, FL.
"So let me get this straight, the resident (me) puts the yard trimmings, grass clippings, tree limbs (green debris) etc... at the end of the driveway. The City collects the green debris and passes it all to CSI Natural, where everything is processed-out in the form of totally natural, 100% sustainable, gardening & landscaping alternatives at affordable prices... This makes perfect sense, HOW DO I BUY?" -Local.

For anyone who doesn't already know... CSI Natural introduced the process of composting to a local facility who contains municipal green debris (tree trimmings, grass clippings, leaves, etc...) for the City of Edgewater. The primary benefits of this process are completely natural, gardening and landscaping by-products in the forms of compost, colored mulch varieties, soil amendments, topdressings and topsoil.

Photo of Vegetables, Herbs and Palm Trees in CSI Natural compost.
CSI Natural Compost, Mulch & TopSoil
booth at the Parktowne Business Expo.
Most residents could not believe how nice the products looked when introduced to a native florida potted palm tree. "I really like the Burgundy Mulch because of the dark red appearance. It's better than that radioactive red I see around town." -Local

"To think I could produce a plentiful bounty of my own herbs and vegetables... After learning that there's nothing better for me to be growing-in for reasons of cost, quality and sustainablity, CSI Natural just makes the best sense." -Local

The reception was tremendous! Everyone who approached the CSI Natural Compost, Mulch & TopSoil booth left with a better understanding of the recycling process as well as the benefits of using local materials as an alternative to mass-market gardening and landscaping products.

Featured Products:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sand Lot, Sand Lot... CSI Natural Sustainable Landscaping Products Chosen by Homeowner with Pets in New Smyrna Beach, FL

Photo of Landscape Installation located in New Smyrna Beach, FL
The backyard was finished with
CSI Natural Soil Amendment,
CSI Natural Hardwood Fines Mulch
and CSI Natural Burgundy Mulch.
Every now and then, CSI Natural is contacted by someone who has no idea how to Improve their existing backyard and/or tackle those BIG backyard nightmares... To make matters worse, most customers don't know how to identify, purchase or even utilize sustainable landscaping products. Well, as more people learn about CSI Natural Compost, Mulch & TopSoil, better decisions will be made regarding sustainable landscaping and gardening products.

Project Description:

The Homeowner wanted to tear-out the entire backyard, install a new irrigation system and incorporate sustainable landscaping products as much as possible within his backyard. He contacted CSI Natural and purchased locally.

Step 1 - Sterilization & Irrigation 

Photo of Landscape Installation located in New Smyrna Beach, FL
Step 1 - Sterilization & Irrigation System
The Sterilization Process began by preparing the entire yard for the install. The Homeowner took care to remove all unnecessary objects and really hit those hard to reach areas around the shed and by the fence line. After the backyard was free of debris, the time came to dig-up the backyard removing all existing grass, weeds and debris (natural/unnatural). Once the yard was completely stripped to it's natural state, Round-Up was applied to further ensure a weed free backyard. A new irrigation system was installed by a trained professional and a Preferred Vendor, Barefield Landscape & Irrigation.

Step 2 - Apply Organics & Create Landscaping Beds 

Photo of Landscape Installation located in New Smyrna Beach, FL
Organics installed within
landscaping beds.
Time to add the new materials. First thing added was CSI Natural Hardwood Fines to sculpt the pathway leading from the front yard to the backyard. The Homeowner chose to apply the CSI Natural Hardwood Fines first because the constant wear during the installation was a great way to compact the material. And, that's where the dogs run n' play, daily.

After the main pathway was completed, CSI Natural Soil Amendment was used to build the landscaping beds. Each bed was built around existing trees in the backyard. CSI Natural Soil Amendment retains lots of water and any fertilizer that's applied during the year.

Step 3 - Install Sod/Grass/Turf/Lawn 

The Homeowner knows a few local contractors who were able to hook him up with a pallet of sod. The amount of sod worked out perfectly and no more than one pallet was needed.

Step 4 - Install Sustainable Burgundy Mulch 

Photo of Landscape Installation located in New Smyrna Beach, FL
Photo of new walkway framed with
CSI Natural Hardwood Fines Mulch.
The Homeowner wanted a nice contrast in the beds and was undecided which colored mulch variety to use. CSI Natural encouraged him to try CSI Natural Burgundy Mulch. A deep burgundy color which is quite different from other "radioactive reds" in the marketplace. The deeper color was the perfect contrast for his backyard.

After a few afternoons with help from friends and family, the backyard was a success and met the Homeowner's budgetary requirements. His girlfriend was stoked and so are the pets.

"The dogs don't get dirty when they go outside anymore. Before they come inside, we brush off the mulch and we're good! " -Homeowner

Products Used:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Agony Acres & CSI Natural discover obvious benefits of soil amendments during commerical grows at family farm in Samsula, FL.

Photo of tractor in the field during an
excellent Spring day in Samsula, FL.

CSI Natural received the call, "Get out here and see for yourself how much of a difference CSI Natural Soil Amendment made on our crops this year!", said Ray Wright, owner of Agony Acres in Samsula, FL. CSI Natural amended 2-3 acres of family farm land with different blends of soil amendments in November, 2010 with the hope of testing what we've learned about soil amendments in real-life.

CSI Natural loaded-up the truck and headed to Samsula, FL for an unannounced visit to Agony Acres. Upon arrival , CSI Natural had no idea what to expect but we definitely needed to see the results with our own eyes. In theory, the soil amendments should provide a weed free source of stabilized organic matter, increased water/fertilizer retention, and often times will increase crop yield. So we weren't sure what all the the hype was really about but we did have an idea.

Proof is in the pudding... CSI Natural
Soil Amendment performs outstanding
during real life example.
"Holy S**!, you weren't lying Ray!" What an obvious difference in weed suppression when compared to traditional methods. The alternative is usually to apply a variety of herbicides to control weed invasions. "I can't believe how well CSI Natural Matting Mulch worked-out!", said Mr. Wright. "That stuff tilled into the ground so nicely and I I didn't have to apply ANY herbicide to the rows which utilized the CSI Natural Soil Amendment". The rows where no soil amendment was applied, a herbicide had to be used to control weed growth.

Agony Acres uses a flood-n-drain approach to irrigation and the effects CSI Natural Matting Mulch had on water retention was tremendous. Mr. Wright was quick to also point out how the rows where the CSI Natural Soil Amendment was applied; the fertilizer was absorbed and retained by the rows instead of running-off. As a result, CSI Natural Soil Amendment absorb the fertilizer and as the woody materials broke-down over time, all absorbed fertilizer was slowly released into the ground providing nutrients as needed.

Obviously, with no soil amendment present,
the results are clear... MORE WEEDS!!
"I spent less money to produce a better crop and it's a better approach to farming, soil amendments are a no-brainer".
-Ray Wright

Products Used:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Backyard Gardener in Edgewater, FL produced a plentiful bounty with CSI Natural Spent Compost.

Photo of a very nice Raised-Bed Garden,
located in Edgewater, FL.
Edgewater, FL is a town located in Volusia County in between New Smyrna Beach and Oak Hill. Within Edgewater is a gardener who has been growing fruits/vegetables and landscaping shrubs since CSI Natural began our operation 9 months ago. As a result, the gardener provided great feedback along the way which helped in developing the CSI Natural Products line.

The gardener has been growing a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant within a raised bed system he created, right in his backyard. "Growing vegetables has never been easier, given everything I plant in my garden seems to grow really well!", said gardener.

Oh yes, the S*&!... All year long.
Not only is the backyard gardener producing food all year long, he's taken it a step further by teaching different gardening techniques to his son. "He really likes to help out in the garden, from planting new seedlings to keeping the raised bed system watered in the Florida heat."

The raised bed garden system utilized by the gardener is a simple solution to backyard gardening and it's very effective. To make the raised bed, there are a couple of options, buy new or salvage materials and make your own. Obviously CSI Natural encourages everyone to Reduce.Reuse.Recycle so salvaging used materials for a raised bed system is often preferred.

Good technique starts at a young age,
get em' on the program and
eventually, they'll be rippin'.
After you locate the proper materials to construct a raised bed garden (x4 2" x 12", untreated), you'll need to construct it. Make sure the four 2" x 12 " boards are nailed together securely on all four ends. After the "Box" has been assembled, fill the raised bed with a combination of CSI Natural Spent Compost and CSI Natural TopSoil. Plant whatever is to be grown in the raised be system and remember to water frequently, but do not overwater... After a few months the garden will produce healthy vegetables faster than you can keep up.

Products Used:

Farmer's Irrigation & Landscape chose CSI Natural Chocolate Mulch for beachside project.

Photo of a landscaping bed at
"Shorehom By The Sea" utilizing
CSI Natural Chocolate Mulch.
New Smyrna Beach, FL condominium "Shorehom By The Sea" was very much interested in updating their exhisting landscaping beds and parking lot landscaping with a different colored mulch solution. CSI Natural Chocolate Mulch was chosen over CSI Natural Red Mulch because the color created a more obvious contrast based on a variety of vegetation chosen for the project.

Shorehom By The Sea is situated on the beachside of New Smyrna Beach, FL and borders the natural sea dune line. CSI Natural Chocolate Mulch provided a natural transition from the condominiums backyard into the actual sea dunes. The dark color pushes the green vegetation; Green Schefflera, Maui Ixora, Fireworks, Fountan Grass, Asian Jasmine and Dwarf Oleander, into the foreground by reducing the background.

CSI Natural Chocolate Mulch used to
ensure maximum water retention in
the Florida heat.
"Farmer's Irrigation & Landscaping", a CSI Natural "Preferred Vendor", was responsible for the installation of all the CSI Natural Products used on The Shorehom By The Sea Project.

Products Used:

CSI Natural products chosen by United Methodist Church in Venetian Bay to be used on playground.

Photo of new playhouses that sit on top
of CSI Natural Shell and Hardwood Mulch.
Venetian Bay Community hosts the United Methodist Church's After-School Program. The After-School Program is headed by seasoned veteran and founder of "Miss Peggy's Day School" in Edgewater, FL Peggy Imbert. Miss Peggy was determined to create a playground area for the kids. Having years of experience Miss Peggy knew what she wanted and how much it should cost.

CSI Natural was contacted by Miss Peggy to discuss mulch and topsoil varieties. Miss Peggy was recently influenced by the "Green" movement and sought-out CSI Natural because of our unique REDUCE.REUSE.RECYCLE approach to product development. Her idea was to remove the existing grass, place 2 recently ordered playground sets there and surround both with mulch so the kids wouldn't get hurt.

After the turf was removed, the area was
back-filled with CSI Natural Shell
to add stability.
No problem! CSI Natural offers a variety of natural products but for this particular project, Miss Peggy needed a natural material that provides support and stability underneath the weight of the new playground sets. The obvious choice was CSI Natural Shell for the playground pads. CSI Natural Shell will not washout and under wear-n-tear conditions, shell compacts and stabilizes nicely.

After the pads were in place, the playground sets were added and the perimeter surrounding the playground sets were filled with CSI Natural Hardwood Mulch. Miss Peggy liked that the mulch was recycled from the City of Edgewater by Cloer & Sons, Inc. She also liked that the mulch looked very nice and cost much less than other local mulch suppliers. She was SOLD!

Products Used:

CSI Natural products, an obvious choice for young Homeowners in New Smyrna Beach, FL

New sod and CSI Natural TopSoil showed-up
to the job site today.
The family built a brand new home 3 years ago. In the beginning, the couple had more time and less responsibility which allowed for plenty of "Yard Time". "Over the past three years, everything has worked-out wonderfully, except the front yard", claimed the couple. Unfortunately, their work and family life requires so much of their time the front yard took a turn for the worst last year.

After locating CSI Natural on the internet and reading about the availability of natural products, the couple decided to spend a little money and address their front yard. The idea occured to them and they decided to only use sustainable products. The couple hired an Independent Contractor to complete the project and purchased products from CSI Natural, separately.

Photo of more material showing-up
First, the contractor removed the old, dead grass with a skid steer. After the old grass was scrapped clean, the front yard was backfilled with CSI Natural TopSoil to ensure level surface. The couple took the contractor's advice and installed a front parking space which runs in front and along the side of the house to provide access to the back yard. The contractor also added a curved landscape bed to create a buffer between the parking space/driveway and the freshly applied sod. The new sod was topdressed with CSI Natural Enviro TopDressing to provide fertilizer going into winter.

Photo from front of house overlooking
CSI Natural Spent Compost
landscaping bed.
The new landscape bed was filled with CSI Natural Spent Compost and outlined with coqina rock. The existing primary bed was cleared of weeds and old mulch. Proper weed matting was installed and a thick 5" layer of CSI Natural Hardwood Mulch was applied to provide water retention for plants/vegetation. The parking space and easement into the backyard were topped with CSI Natural Hardwood Fines to provide a nice soft walking surface from the driveway, along the front and down the side into the backyard.

Products Used:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quick, my son is turning 2yrs old and we need a "Child-Proof" Landscape in New Smyrna Beach, FL.

A photo of CSI Natural Spent Compost Bed.
According to the public shool teacher, her backyard was in shambles and needed to be "Child-Proof" by the time her first born turns 2 years old, approximately 1 month away... CSI Natural met with the family to discuss their needs and time-line in more detail. After meeting with the family, the decision was to tear-out the entire backyard except for the tropical landscaping already in place. No Problem!

CSI Natural contacted a local preferred Independent Contractor and discussed the project in greater detail. The contractor removed all existing grass and cleaned-out the existing mulch beds. Shortly after, a thin layer of CSI Natural Earth Matting was applied within the beds creating a nice porous base and then built-up the beds with 8" - 10" of CSI NaturalSpent Compost which provided a nutrient rich grow medium for existing plants/trees.

A photo of CSI Natural Hardwood Fines which
was used as the flooring of the playground.
After all of the beds were completed, a 3" layer of Natural TopSoil was applied on top of the existing foundation for the new sod to be laid over. After the sod was layed down, a 2"-3" layer of Natural Spent TopDressing was applied over the top of the sod, which will actively fertilize through the winter months moving into spring.

The "Child-Proof" play zone is the designated area for playground equipment, toys of all sizes and lots of kids... The contractor applied the proper weed matting sheets to reduce weed invasion within the play zone. After the weed matt was layed down, a 4" layer of Natural Hardwood Fines was applied over the top which floored the play area. Natural Hardwood Fines were chosen because of the consistently small size of the woody materials (approx. 1/2") which reduces risk of injury while playing with friends and family.

A photo of the playground area which
utilizes the very fine textured
CSI Natural Hardwood Fines.

Upon completion of the project, under budget and on-time, the Volusia County public school teacher had money and time left over to throw the best 2nd Birthday Party any 2 year old could wish for. Family and friends agreed, the renovation was a wonderfully natural solution to a "Child-Unfriendly Backyard".

Products Used:

Red Maple Farm in Edgewater, FL is set to begin the Fall Grow Season using CSI Natural's TopSoil Blend and Compost.

At Red Maple Farm, work is a choice that's
made every day, because they like it!
CSI Natural is ready to assist local residents any way possible and when it comes to backyard gardening, Red Maple Farm, located in Edgewater, FL, has been growing and harvesting seasonal fruits and vegetables year round, for over 10 years. Bob & Terry have been homesteading for the last 30 years, building and maintaing the family farm in conjunction with raising livestock/horses and growing/canning/freezing their own fruits and vegetables. They chose a more sustainable lifestyle because it makes sense for them. Both are very in-tune with nature and both have professional careers with responsibilities. Building and enhancing their land was a choice they made a long time ago and it's a choice they belived in. Living on a farm is what they do and they enjoy it, very much!

A quick glimpse at Red Maple Farm's early
Fall grow season... Not bad!
Bob and Terry have a good sized raised-bed backyard garden where they grow their own variety of fresh herbs and seasonal fruits/vegetables. Florida soil is very sandy, making for lots of water loss and lack of nutrients. Bob and Terry were looking for a way to enrich the soil naturally and stumbled upon CSI Natural Soil Amendment while browsing the web. Because they are growing fruits/vegetables, only natural soil amendments were desired. Their objective was to increase water retention and deliver an over abundance of nutrients naturally instead of chemically, over a period of time.

Products Used:

Agony Acres & CSI Natural are ammending agricultural soil using locally recycled woody materials.

Central Florida has a relatively large agricultural community and within that community is a little town known as Samsula. Samsula, FL is home to an agricultural base that contains everything from commercial sod farms to large/small scale producers of fresh fruit and vegetables, year round. CSI Natural researched the growing conditions within Samsula, FL and elected to donate 750 yards of our CSI Natural Matting Mulch and CSI Natural Soil Amendment to Agony Acres, a major producer/wholesaler of fruits and vegetables in Central Florida for over 50 years.

Agony Acres in Samsula, FL amended 2 acres
of farm land with CSI Natural  Matting Mulch.
After years of intense family farming, Agony Acres' was in need of a natural soil amendment to rejuvenate and maximize the grow space (approx. 2 acres). CSI Natural worked with the owners of Agony Acres, Father Ray Wright and son Randle Wright, to introdocue a variety of natural woody materials which act as a natural nutrient source over time (3-5yrs) while adding water retention and boosting soil pososity.

The first step was to till-into the existing soil, approx. 750-800 yards of woody material ranging in size from 1" - 3". CSI Natural worked with Cloer and Sons Inc., in Edgewater, FL, to load and deliver the woody materials to Agony Acres in Samsula, FL.

After the woody materials were tilled into the
ground, the rows were pushed into shape
and prepared for planting.
Over the course of 10-14 days, the ground was continuously tilled-in to really ensure that all of the woody material into the soil so in years to come, the already spent soil will gradually rejuveniate itself, naturally.

At the end of the two weeks, the land was pushed back and forth into rows to hold varieties of vegetable seedlings that when fully grown will be distributed and sold throughout Volusia County at vegetable stands and flea markets.

Products Used: