Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Compost Makes You Happy (No Really, it’s Science!)

If you’re happy and you know it, dig in the compost. If you’re happy and you know it……..

Don’t you love when science proves something you have always known? Scientists have now found a substance in soil that acts as a natural antidepressant.

Mycobacterium vaccae has been found “to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide.” (Check out this Gardening Know How page for details).

Basically, as you are working with compost or soil in the garden you inhale this bacteria which stimulates serotonin production, making you relaxed and happy. But it gets even better; the effects of this bacteria can be felt for up to 3 weeks after it is inhaled.

I wonder if we can adopt our own lingo like “runner’s high” but call it “composter's high”? Hmm, not quite the same ring to it.

HAPPY composting, y’all.

I guess this is what happy bacteria look like.
Disclaimer: Please don’t allow the blogging of a silly composter to replace real medical advice. If you feel depressed, seek help from a medical professional. You deserve to be happy. J

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Growing Mushrooms in Compost

I’m a sucker for pasta with lots of mushrooms and creamy tomato sauce. But when I think of cooking this at home, I always wish I had access to really fresh mushrooms. Who knew one of my favorite dishes has a connection to compost.

You can grow edible mushrooms in compost!

I’ve never tried it and I’m certainly no expert, but I received a catalog from Field and Forest Products which details how to grow edible mushrooms in compost. Looking at all the varieties of mushrooms I could grow makes me hungry!

My coworker Chris told me about his experience growing mushrooms. He used a kit that included compost as a means of growing the mushrooms. Chris says he yielded plenty of mushrooms, but he’s not sure the amount covered the cost of the kit.
Another person at the office told me mushrooms can be grown in old coffee grounds. Hmm, I have those on hand. I googled it and sure enough, there it was.
Whatever you chose to grow them in, I think to be safe you would need to buy your mushroom spawn (yes, that is what they call it) from a reputable source. You certainly don't want to eat just any mushroom growing in your compost.
Does anyone have experience growing mushrooms? If so, did you use compost or coffee grounds?

I don't think I would eat these either...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Master Composter Series 2015!

A guest blog from Mary Dudley of the Civic Garden Center

Cincinnati has spent the past few months shivering but there are some areas in our yards that are literally steaming with activity!

If you have a compost pile outdoors (or inside) you are headed in the right direction for a sustainable planet. The Civic Garden Center is hosting a Master Composter series this March for all interested in learning more about this amazing process. The mission of this training series is to teach local gardeners, teachers and facility personnel advanced practices in composting so they can practice sustainable methods and share this information with the community.

This series includes 20 hours of intensive composting instruction. Tuesday evening lectures will cover the details of soil science, a variety of composting methods, strategies for overcoming challenges and how to share your knowledge with our local community. Evening lectures will be complemented by Saturday morning field study sessions. These morning sessions will introduce participants to large scale composting operations in the Cincinnati area.

The final piece to obtaining certification as a Master Composter is the completion of 30 volunteer hours in which participants pass on their knowledge and contribute to local composting projects.

A small fee of $30 includes 10 hours of classroom instruction, 10 hours of field study experience and the opportunity to earn certification with perfect attendance and successful completion of 30 documented volunteer hours. Please note that this is an advanced course, some basic composting knowledge is expected.

There are two steps involved with signing up for the Master Composter series. One step is the completion of an application and pre-test which will be emailed to you (send initial email to The second step is to register for the course through our website (link below, just be scroll down to "March" and you'll see the link to register).

Tuesday evening lectures: March 10, 17, 24 & 31.
Saturday morning field study sessions: March 14, 21, 28 & April 4.

Don’t miss your chance to join this unique opportunity! Contact Mary Dudley at for more details. The last day to register is 3/13/15 by 5pm.

Class will be held annually so if you would like to be notified in the future send an email to

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Soil Regeneration Taught at Spring Composting Seminars

Dreaming of rich, dark, crumbling soil for your gardens and grass to grow big and strong? Well, 2015 is officially the International Year of Soil and we have a number of ways to help you achieve your goal.

If it’s the basics of composting you seek then our spring seminar “Get the Dirt on Backyard Composting” is for you as compost is that important ingredient that regenerates soil, as well as serving other purposes. We are asking blog readers who have attended our seminar to pass on this information to friends, family, and neighbors.
The eight locations are listed below. To get more information and register click here.
Date                                                 Community

March 25, (Wednesday)              Terrace Park

April 1, (Wednesday)                   Elmwood Place

April 8, (Wednesday)                   Green Township

April 14, (Tuesday)                       Springfield Township

April 29, (Wednesday)                 Northside

May 6, (Wednesday)                    Anderson Township

May 6, (Wednesday)                    Forest Park

May 19, (Tuesday)                        Sharonville

For those of you who have attended our one hour seminar on backyard composting, you may want to further your knowledge by attending the Civic Garden Center’s Master Composter series which begins March 10, 2015. Click here for more details.
Individuals preferring the arm chair-style of learning, a soil facts guide can be found here.
Spread the word: composting is trés chic!

written by guest blogger: Jenny

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mother Nature Can't Stop Me

As mothers, we should stick together. But jeez, Mother Nature, what's with the weather these days?!

Mother Nature and her cold, wind, and snow can't stop me from composting!

In the interest of full disclosure, this picture was taken last year during a snowy spell. But if we do get snow this weekend, you can be sure I'll still be taking out my food scraps to feed my compost bin.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Winter Composting Inspiration

We could all use a little inspiration now and then. Here's a great winter composting video from a fellow composter.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Divine Winter Composting

Neither rain nor snow will stop the post office (most times), but it sure puts a damper on my backyard composting. These cold months don’t stop me from collecting fruit and vegetable scraps, but I don’t hike to the back 40 as often. I store my odds and ends in limbo for a time.
Limbo in my case happens to be the garage. Here the scraps can sit until I am ready to pull on my Wellies, zip up my parka and head out. Upon venturing out, I’m sure to have on a pair of work gloves so I can easily deposit the scraps and finish with a topcoat of shredded leaves.
Once leaving limbo, it’s agony having to wait in purgatory for spring to come. Finally when the weather warms, I can turn that pile and an inferno takes place, leaving me with hallowed ground- finished compost.  Ah paradise!

My apologies to Dante…
Dante Alighieri by Sandro Botticelli

Guest Blogger, Jenny