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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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Take Me out to the Ball Game, Take Me out to the Green!

Since today is MLB opening day, we thought it a great idea to recognize Major League Baseball for their involvement in the recently launched Green Sports Alliance, which supports sports venues all around the country becoming more eco-friendly, to help enhance the organic movement across the US. Along with the NHL, NFL, MLS, WMBA and NBA, major league baseball fields are taking steps to educate their fan base and reduce the trash production of their sites. It goes without saying that one baseball or football game can produce thousands of pounds of trash, and looking for more green options, like composting for the organic garbage, will help drive the consumer market toward green ideals as well. The founding members, according to a Huffington Post article, of the Green Sports Alliance, GAS, are the Portland Trail Blazers (NBA), the Seattle Mariners (MLB), the Seattle Seahawks (NFL), the Seattle Sounders FC (MLS), the Vancouver Canucks (NHL) and the Seattle Storm (WNBA). Each team has taken steps at their venues to move toward eco-friendly choices. Educating about compost and offering compost bins onsite for organic trash are just two options the parks could use  to reduce the trash residual of professional sporting events. If you local sports team hasn’t taken the green plunge and joined the GSA, now might be the time to seek out your local parks and recreation or public works department to see about getting them moving in the right direction. Now, PLAY BALL!!!

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Rhode Island Turns to Compost Options

Gathering at the Rhode Island School of Design, about 200 community eco-minded community members heard argument s for a Compost Initiative in the state. According to the Providence Journal ”The goal of the Compost Initiative, sponsored by the Environment Council of Rhode Island Education Fund and the Southside Community Land Trust, is to remove all food scraps from the Rhode Island waste stream. Doing that could create green jobs, extend the life of the Central Landfill, produce electricity to sell and help residents grow their own food or buy locally grown food, said Greg Gerritt, conference organizer. Gerritt said it’s a big job, requiring the cooperation of everyone who touches food. Waste haulers and commercial food handlers would have to find each other, entrepreneurs would be needed to devise products and systems, and facilities would have to be built for composting on a large scale, such as anaerobic digesters that also produce electricity for sale. Reese Howle of Orbit Energy said his company is planning to build an anaerobic digesting plant in Rhode Island that will process 150 tons of food waste a day. Orbit Energy is negotiating to sell to National Grid the electricity generated by the biogas the plant will produce. He said his company, which operates a digester in North Carolina, is pursuing contracts with Rhode Island food handlers that could supply food waste.” As the compost movement continues to sweep the nation, the question composting at home becomes moot. It is absolutely vital the community members …

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Time to Scrap in New York

No, this isn’t a new boxing event or even street fighting. This particular scrap focus refers to the expansion of GrowNYC to six additional Greenmarket sites, two in Manhattan. The compost continues to be a success in the city of more than 19 million people. According to the Gay City News site: “Compost drop-offs can now be made at the Abingdon Square Greenmarket, West 12th Street and Eighth Avenue, on Saturdays, from 8am to 12:30pm; and at the Tribeca Greenmarket, at Greenwich and Chambers Streets, on Saturdays, from 8am to 1pm. The scraps will be transported to a compost facility and turned into a fertile additive for soil for local farming projects and other uses.” The Union Square Greenmarket has hosted a compost collection site since 1994, organized by the Lower East Side Ecology Center. ‘You could throw a banana peel or apple core in the garbage, but that’s just wasting valuable energy,” said Quinn at the announcement earlier this month. “That’s why I’m thrilled to be able to support the opening of these new compost drop-off sites. And what better place to offer them than at the Greenmarkets, where many of the fruits and vegetables sold benefit from the rich, nutrient-filled compost New York City residents will be contributing to every time they drop their food scraps.’” Annually, more than 17% of the garbage in New York City is made up of food scraps. If a city this large can make an initiative to move to composting, it goes without …

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Spread the Word to Spread the Compost

Any good advertising is done by word of mouth. No matter how many ads, commercials, billboards (do people still use them?) or other forms of buzz building is used, nothing has the impact of over-the-fence or standing in the driveway chatter between friends and neighbors. Tom Watson, special writer with the Seattle Sun Times agrees, especially when it comes to compost. In a recent article, Watson faced the questions and curiosity that surrounds composting and requested that his readers “spread it around.” According to Watson, despite the continuous growth of the composting market, the movement simply is not happening fast enough. (read the entire article here) The final result, that rich, loamy, black and nutrient-filled compost, is not being utilized quickly enough or in enough areas of our communities to push the demand in the market. In other words, despite awareness and action on the part of many, the market is not exploding as it should due to a low demand. People (that compost) have enough compost for their yards, gardens, etc. Why speed up the process? Consider the effect of an entire community taking on the composting trend and making the whole town compost-oriented. Even as small borough of a few thousand people all composting and using the compost for their parks, school flower beds and yards and green fields, no matter what they harvest, would have an incredible effect on that local compost industry. Consider if 10 towns in every state did the same? The demand for compost …

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Benefits of Red Wiggler Worms for Composting

You’ve heard about red wiggler worms in your compost research, but is there really a difference between this large, red-colored worm variety and the typical garden worm you may find as you turn over your garden soil? Wouldn’t is just be easy to dig up those worms and use them in your bin to make compost? Short answer – no. Composting, while it relies on your worms eating and secreting, is hard work even for worms. Here’s why you need to rely on red wiggler worms to get the most out of your worm composting this year: Size Matters. When you’re considering a worm to use in your compost bin, then size really does matter. Depending on the amount of organic materials you have to put into your bin on a regular basis, the worms inside need to be able to munch through it quickly enough to maintain the pH levels in the compost bin. Keep in mind that when using red wigglers, you should maintain a ½ pound of worms for every cubic foot of bin space for optimum composting. Multiplication Nation.  How do you ensure ongoing success with your composting? You keep your worm ratio constant, that’s how. Red wiggler worms mature in 3 months, which means they can match up and begin making worm babies to ensure the future of your compost bin. Consider a bin with 500 worms at the outset, with an average of three cocoons a week and about 3 hatchlings per cocoon, one …

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Spring Garden Prep

In these last few days of March, there are still alot of signs of winter left in the yard. Still hard soil, little grass and only buds on trees and plants. This is the time, however, to take stock of what your yard will need to brighten up for the warmer weather. Even if the ground is still too hard to fertilize yet, it’ll be necessary to clean up the mess left behind by winter’s visit before your garden can begin to grow again. Survey your garden and remove the sticks, rocks and fallen leaves that cover your plants and bulbs. These materials make it harder for the rains that will come soon reach down to the roots of your plants, shrubs and trees. This rain is crucial to waking up your plants and giving them the shot of H2O they need to begin to bloom. Cleaning up your landscape also makes it easier for bulbs to reach out through the soil and makes it easier for you to assess what your garden will need come spring. Once you can see what you’re working with, test the ph levels in your soil to see if you need to increase or decrease the acidity. If you haven’t had your soil professionally tested in three or four years, have it done. Add an inch-deep layer of your composted materials, especially if you used tea, seaweed or fish remains in your pile. These materials can be as beneficial as commercial fertilizers for your garden, …

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Get Back Outside with Your Red Wiggler Worms and Compost!

Finally. The birds are singing again, the air is warmer and fragrant with the smells of flowers and new grass. Spring is here. All your patience and diligence during the winter means that you can now get back outside with your worms and begin cultivating your compost! As the world wakes up again along with your compost worms, it’s time to take a look and see how they fared over the long, cold winter. Keeping up a ratio of about 500 worms, around ½ pound, for every cubic foot of worm bin will ensure the best composting. If you need some worms, remember to order our robust Super Reds (Uncle Jim Worm Farm’s renowned red wiggler worms). Remove the plastic or wrapping you used to insulate your worm compost bin the last few months and check the bin itself for any cracks, leaks or oversized holes. Keeping the moisture level in your bin is important for the lifespan of your worms. If there are excessive holes that will cause drainage to happen too quickly, it’s time to replace your bin. Once you verify the stability of your compost bin and your worms, layer in some materials to kick-start your worms into composting. Adding a little more brown material for a little extra heat can move things along nicely. A little TLC at this point will keep your worms happy and decomposing your material to the best of their ability. Throw on your galoshes and shuffle on out onto the (hopefully) …

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