Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why do we need the rain anyway?

Today's post is from guest author Joy, one of Michelle's coworkers

It seemed like it rained or stormed every day in July except the Fourth. By mid-month, I found this old Sesame Street song running through my head: “It’s a rainy day, it’s a rainy day. It’s raining outside and I can’t go out and play. Why do we need the rain anyway?

As the song wisely points out, every living thing needs water and that includes our compost piles. While you may associate your compost with decomposition, it’s actually a vibrant, biological community of greens, browns, bugs, oxygen, sunshine - and yes – rain. All those elements work together to create that rich compost that can be used to fertilize your garden or mulch your landscaping.

Like most everything in nature, your compost pile needs balance.

Too much of one element is not a good thing. My compost pile had compressed nicely this summer due to all the moisture. However, it became too saturated which can lead to an anaerobic pile.

To help your compost pile maintain its job, now is a good time to add dry, carbon rich material. Some composters keep bags of fall leaves handy for just this reason. I save the dried out leaves from my ornamental grass that I trim back each fall. Shredded paper works just as well. Be sure to mix it into your pile thoroughly; the process of turning the pile while “stirring” in the shredded paper will create air pockets within the pile.

While rain is a vital ingredient to your compost cocktail, don’t let it water down your pile. Counteract the moisture with dry carbon. Happy composting!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How Superhero Compost Reduces Chemicals in Your Home

We all know compost kicks ass. It saves us money and helps us burn calories. But compost has real life super powers you should know about.

Holy Compost, Batman!

According to the U.S. EPA, compost can reduce or eliminate your need for chemical fertilizers. Compost provides humus to your soil, increasing the nutrient content and encouraging beneficial microorganisms. All that great compost can drastically reduce or eliminate your use of chemical fertilizers.

The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District recommends testing your soil after adding compost to determine if you need to anything else.

Compost SMASH!

Compost has been shown in studies to suppress plant diseases and pests. I would like to see the Hulk do that (and keep the plant alive).

Up, UP, and Away!

It may not be bullet proof, but compost has been shown to cleanup and remediate soils. Compost absorbs odors, treats volatile organic compounds (VOCs), binds heavy metals, and prevents them from being absorbed by plants. KAPOW!

Here I Come to Save the Day!

Compost prevents pollutants in storm water from reaching surface waters. It has also been shown to prevent erosion and turf loss.

All with no cape or leotard.

At least not on the compost, what you are wearing is none of my business.

Happy composting, superheroes. J

How great is this clip art?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bins in Action

Compost bins come in all shapes and sizes. Here are several bins in action from the backyards of me and my coworkers. They are all different but yield the same wonderful black-gold results.