Posts Tagged ‘compost’
We all like to fertilize our gardens. It sort of makes us feel good, like in some small way we helped our budding plants become the bountiful harvest we always knew they could be if they just set their minds to it. And we also like to do things we think are good for the environment. Composting lets us do both.
Not only is composting a great way to dispose of yard clippings, leaves, and food waste in an environmentally friendly way, it also provides your plants with a virtual buffet of beneficial nutrients and increases your soil’s water-holding capacity. It can even enhance your plant’s ability to ward off insects and disease. Plus if you have children or grandchildren, it makes for a fun and interesting at-home science project. And it’s not nearly as hard to start a simple compost pile as what you might think.
First you need to make a house for your compost. Now compost isn’t finicky about its surroundings. It’s just as happy in a store bought bin as it is in a homemade bin. You can make a simple, inexpensive bin from welded wire, chicken wire, or even plastic garden fencing. Just make a circle or square of 3 to 4 feet in diameter with the building material of your choice and make sure the ‘walls’ of your compost’s new home are at least 3 to 4 feet high.
Next, add some ingredients. You can start with something easy like brown leaves, sticks, or plants that have passed their prime. Then throw in kitchen scraps, grass clippings, chopped leaves, or other dead plants as they become available. Every so often, add some water. Not enough to make a swimming pool mind you, just enough to keep your compost pile moist, like a wet sponge.
Some people like to mix their compost piles every so often. This is optional. Compost piles will naturally break down on their own, but mixing them does help to move things along. If you are the mixing type, invest in a pitchfork to help you shake things up.
Your compost is ready when you can no longer tell what the original ingredients are. If your compost matures before you’re actually ready to use it, make sure you cover it to keep any rain from stealing away those nutrients you worked so hard to obtain.
And it’s that easy! A treat for your garden and a good deed for the environment all in one!
Lacey created a compost pile last year that was a huge success. The compost pile picture featured above is hers. She says layering your compost pile with ‘greens’ and ‘browns’ makes all the difference in the world. Browns are dry materials like dead plants, brown leaves, pine needles and small sticks. Greens are your wetter materials like fresh grass clippings and kitchen scraps.
Now, I know you’re just as ready as I am to start your very own compost pile this year, but before you go, keep these dos and don’ts in mind….
– leaves hay and other dead plant material
– fruit and veggie trimmings
– herbicide-free grass clippings
– paper or cardboard (torn in small palm sized pieces)
– meat scraps
– fatty, salty, or sugary foods
– chips and/or sawdust from treated wood
– manure from omnivores (humans, dogs, cats, etc.)
Ok, I think you’re ready! Happy Composting!!!
When my little boy presented me with my Mother’s Day gift this year, I was tickled pink. It was a beautifully handwritten book of all his thoughts and ideas. Every page had a different topic and beneath each header were little snippets from the mind of an eight year old. One page in particular seemed to leap out at me. ‘”What would make the World a Better Place?” My little boy’s answer was ‘The world would be a better place if everyone threw their trash away and quit littering.’ And you know, when I look back (way way back) to when I was his age, I can’t for the life of me say I ever once worried about the effects of littering. But as the Environment takes center stage in news and politics, it’s not surprising that even a child would be concerned with environmental issues.
And the trend-setting word these days as we battle toxic waste, ozone depletion, and unsightly soda cans tossed on the side of the road is green. Once thought to be just a color on the color wheel, Green is now a personal choice to making the world a better place. Going Green is the new hip way of living. Recycling. Conserving Water and Energy. Saying ‘no’ to plastic and carrying a re-useable shopping tote instead. As well as replacing harmful chemicals with more organic options. It’s all part of Green Living. And it’s the ‘in’ thing to do. Everyone and everything wants to be green these days. Even Gardening.
So how do you make your Garden Green? Use Organic Pesticide? Well, yes, that’s a start. But there are other things you can do to create a greener garden that would make Mother Nature proud.
1. Conserve Water – Now, don’t panic. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that you deprive your garden of water. That would be silly. Instead of going green, you’d be going yellow with half starved plants. But with a little effort, you can collect rain water and/or pump water from a nearby stream or pond. You can even use waste water. Not only would you be saving on your water bill, you would be helping the environment. There are lots of options in the water conservation arena, but below are just two to get you started.
Rain Water: Collecting rain water is fairly simple and not very costly. It just requires something to catch the water in and a little help from a storm cloud. You can use anything to catch the water from a barrel to a bucket. Just whatever you have on hand. That’s the easy part. Getting help from a storm cloud may prove to be more difficult. But if you do manage to charm the cloud with a rain dance, be sure to teach the dance to us too cuz that’s one skill we haven’t mastered yet either.
Irrigation Pump: Water Pumps range in price starting around $30.00. There are all kinds of pumps available depending on your needs and watering requirements. They even have solar powered pumps if you want to be super green and conserve electricity too. Although a water pump requires a little setup and creativity, it’s a long term investment that you can use year after year.
2. Recycle and Reuse – Everything in a garden, from the plastic containers to spoiled veggies, can be recycled and/or reused in your garden. So before you toss that tomato the worm made a home in while you weren’t looking, think about starting a compost pile instead. Compost piles are a great alternative to chemically enhanced fertilizers and are fairly easy to make. Plus you can throw just about anything in a compost pile. And don’t give your slightly used containers to the trash man to discard, rinse them out and store them to plant new seedlings in next year. If you want to go an extra step, you can recycle yesterday’s newspaper and conserve water at the same time. Just fold up a couple of pages and place them under one of your containers on the patio. The paper will absorb the runoff water and allow the plant to get excess moisture when it needs it all at the same time. Or spread your old newspapers under your garden mulch. Not only will it absorb the excess water, weeds will smother underneath them.
3. Plant More – Gardening itself is green. Planting veggies, flowers, trees, and shrubs is in essence going green. And isn’t it nice to know that your love for gardening is actually just one more step to making the world a better place?
Going Green isn’t easy, but then nothing extraordinary ever is. However with a little thought and effort, pardon the age-old saying, you can make a difference. For more tips on Going Green in your Garden, visit PeachyGreen. And if you have some ideas for a Greener Garden, share them with us here. We would love to hear from you!
And remember, it’s ok to purchase a few more pretty flowers and rose bushes than what you actually need, because you’re not really purchasing them for you….you’re saving the world one plant at a time!!!