Time to plant? Don’t forget the Compost

April is often the month that all the people that have been cooped up for months indoors begin to feel that urge to get back out into the yard and get to planting new bulbs, seeds or plants. If you’re ready to get your hands (and knees) dirty in your yard, don’t forget to add a little TLC (compost) to your planting efforts. Vegetable Garden Planting After you rototill your garden to expose the softer soil, layer on about 2 inches of compost from end to end an organic feed for your plants. Shrubs, Plants and new Trees When planting plants, shrubs or trees, leave about 3 inches at the top of the hole after you place the roots in and fill with compost. Cover with topsoil. Seeds and Bulbs Before placing your seeds or bulbs into the ground, sprinkle some compost around the soil then cover with top soil. Add a thin layer of compost to the top of the ground as well. Tip: Like with any other plant food or fertilizer, water well to push the nutrients down into the earth around the plants immediately after planting.  

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Upcoming Earth Day Composting Events

Earth Day is April 22, 2011 and communities around the country are gearing up to teach local residents the benefits and how-to’s of composting.  The process of composting is much easier than many people think and offers a great solution to reducing food and yard scraps waste in our dumps and trash heaps. The following events are a small selection of those planned around the country to celebrate Earth Day with composting initiatives. Don’t see a composting workshop in your neighborhood? Call you local Parks and Recreation department and see what they have planned for your local Earth Day celebration. April 16, 2011 – Composting Workshop at the Earth Day Fair in Portola Valley, California. Learn more about this event: http://almanacnews.com/news/show_story.php?id=8661 April 16, 2011 – Porter County Indiana Earth Day Fair Composting Workshop. Learn more about this event: http://www.itmeanstheworld.org/ April 16, 2011 – Deerfield Beach Florida Earth Day Composting Workshop. Learn more about this event: http://www.deerfield-beach.com/ April 19, 2011 – Lexington, KY – Home Composting Management. Learn more about this event: http://www.topsinlex.com/ April 23, 2011 – Columbia Springs Canada Backyard Composting Workshop

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Earth Day is April 22 – Use the Day to Begin Composting!

Earth Day 2011 is April 22, and that means that our focus needs to turn to the steps we can each take as individuals to help improve the ecology around us. Composting is an obvious answer sine it allows us to reduce our garbage production by utilizing a bulk of our yard and food scraps as a basis to create nutrient-rich compost in our compost bins that can then take the place of chemical-based grass and plant fertilizers. Reducing garbage production slows the growth of our local dumps and trash heaps as well as reduces the harmful ozone-deteriorating gases produced by rotting food scraps. Replacing chemical-based fertilizers with compost in our yards and gardens reduces the harmful chemical runoff that often ends up in our local streams, lakes and waterways. They kill local wildlife and cause extensive damage to our natural water sources. Composting is not a complicated process – it takes a lot less time and effort than many people think, and the good that it can do both for the environment and your yard and garden are incredible. Even if you live in an apartment, you can have a compost bin or even compost with worms to do some good in your neighborhood.

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Welcome Summer by Revitalizing Your Worms!

Can you feel the warm sun on your face? Are you watching the big, fluffy white clouds track lazily across a deep blue sky? Spring is here and that means the red wiggler worms living in your compost bin may need a little TLC to revitalize them. Clean Up the Mess To make your compost bin a little more livable for your wiggly pals, try to remove any stray sticks or rocks that may have ended up in the bin. These barricades make it difficult for your wigglers to effectively do their job of aerating the compost and can slow down the process. Keep it Humid, but Not Too Humid Good humidity levels in your compost are crucial to keep your worms happy and munching away. The summer can bring dry heat that can make the top layer of your pile dry out and increase the temperatures of the bin beyond the composting temperature of 120 to 150 degrees F. To battle the dry-out and prevent a possible burn-out, move the bin to a shaded area in your yard during the hotter months. If necessary, trickle the hose over the contents to add a bit more hydration. Also, turn the materials a little more frequently to maintain proper moisture levels all through the bin. Bring Friends to the Party As living organisms, there is always a certainty that one day you’ll head to you bin and find a few of your wriggly little buddies has move on to that great …

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Three Uses for Compost in your Yard

So, you have all that nutrient-rich compost that your red wiggler worms made out of your food and yard scraps. You understand that compost offers a better option to your yard than chemical-based feeds and products, but exactly how can you use that compost around your yard? Cover it Up: Have you used mulch in the past to cover your flower beds and under shrubs to protect against drought and weeds? Your dense compost can offer the same protection, at a fraction of the cost. Spread 2-3 inches of compost around your flowers, your trees, under your shrubs and your entire lawn will benefit from the nutrients that naturally break down into the soil. Rich Soil Feed: No more store-bought yard or flower. Dig down into your garden as you plant and toss some compost down into the hole. Spread a little around in the top soil and water it down. Your plants and flowers will thrive. Refreshing Cool Drink: Compost tea is the natural equivalent of that container of garden feed you attached to the end of your hose or mix up for your sprinkler, without the harmful chemicals.

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3 of the Most Common Misconceptions about Composting

There has been a solid wave towards adoption of composting as a practice both on the commercial and residential end in the last few years, but there are still some of you that may be wary of starting your own compost bin. Yes, my composting friends, some of your neighbors, some of your friends, even some of your family members may avoid taking the composting plunge due to the following misconceptions. Read on and then take it upon yourself to educate them: The smell. The number one fear of the compost-challenged, this issue is usually the first derailer of any potential composter and is not even a reality. No well maintained compost bin that is monitored regularly for pH and moisture levels will have any smell. Period. I won’t have a use for it. Compost is not dirt, it is organic feed for your garden and yard. You can use it for your grass, your trees, your flower beds and your shrubs. Have a little left over – give it to your neighbor. No time to manage it. Composting takes only a few minutes every couple of days to manage. Turning your compost, checking the pH levels and adding organic materials to your bin can all be done in a short time. While the setup may be a little intensive, once it’s ready, time involvement is very manageable. Better yet, composting with red wiggler worms takes even more stress off you in that they really do all the work, munching through …

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Local Classes in Chambersburg PA Covers Composting Tips

The word and the practice of composting continues to spread. As the spring begins to really bloom, gardener-lovers are attending courses in their neighborhoods to learn new skills and tricks to beautify their yards and lead a greener life. TheRecordHerald.com reports on local classes in the Chambersburg PA area covering gardening and composting including: — “Composting,” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 5, 2011 at the Cooperative Extension Office, 181 Franklin Farm Lane. The cost is $10. Environmental educator George Hurd and Master Gardener Jane Krumpe will present information on the various methods for producing compost. Participants will learn how to create their own “Garden Gold” from kitchen scraps and yard waste. Want to find composting classes in your area? Try Googling “compost classes + your town” into your Internet search bar!

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QUIZ: Is your Yard Ready for Spring?

Finally, the weather has started to warm and the ground is thawing. Soon, buds will be popping out on trees and flowers blossoms will be bursting forth. Is your yard ready for the explosions of spring? Take the following quiz to be sure you’re ready to enjoy the spring. Have you prepped your yard for new growth with lime or other ph balancing products? Do you have sticks and rock debris around your yard that needs to be removed before you can aerate? Have you trimmed back any shrubs or plants that will bloom this year? (Rule of thumb: wait until after March 17th in the northern US to avoid frost threats.) Do you have spotty patches of grass that need seeding? Do you plan on investing in fresh mulch or wood chips for your garden and flower beds? (Be sure to weed before your lay it down.) Do you have tree branches that could use a trim? Have you checked on your red wiggler worms in your compost bin to see if they need a little TLC? Is your compost bin ready for the warm weather? (See how to check that here) Use these questions as a guide to get started on caring for your garden and yard this year and enjoy the coming spring!

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The Benefits of Compost Soil for your Garden and Yard

Your yard is where you and your family spend the most time outdoors, so it’s probably true that you want to be as careful as possible about the products you use to feed your lawn and garden, for the best results for your yard and the highest safety levels for your family. Unfortunately, most garden feeds and yard fertilizers are full of harsh and sometimes toxic chemicals. These products may feed your grass and improve the growth rate of your veggies and plants, but they are toxic to your toddler that may want a tomato off the vine as they play outdoors, or to your pooch that licks at a plant out of curiosity. Everyone knows that creating compost out of your kitchen and yard waste is a simple way to “go green” and create less waste to go to the garbage heaps, but the second, and possibly just as important benefit of composting at home is being able to use your rich, loamy compost to feed your plants, trees and yard, without the threat of poisoning your kids, your pets or the local wildlife with toxins. Most water pollution happens from runoff from yards. This means, when you water our grass or plans that have been treated with chemical feed solutions. Some of that toxic wasted is rinsed off and runs in the local water table. Now is the time for all of us to speak about the benefits of composting, for our immediate families and for our planet. …

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