Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Become a Master Composter

Be honest, are you considered a master of anything? Well, you can learn everything you ever needed to know about composting (and brag to your friends with a cool new title) by attending our free Master Composter training this fall.

The three week Master Composter Class is the most intensive composting training available in Cincinnati. You will become a whiz-bang virtuoso on a wide array of topics including: where to locate a compost pile, how to build a compost bin that is best for you, how and when to turn your compost, the fascinating biology of a compost pile, and how to incorporate compost into your existing garden.

Whew, I feel smarter already.

You will build and take home a wire compost bin and also have the option of making a vermi-composting system for a nominal fee. Classes are Wednesdays September 7, 14, and 21 from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. Visit this site for more information and registration details: www.hamiltoncountyrecycles.org/index.php?page=master-composter-training.

Class size is limited, smarty pants, so register soon!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Cheat at Composting

Diligent composters will make sure their pile is balanced, turned frequently, and watered when needed. But if your pile is too slow and impatience gets the best of you, here is an “ace up the sleeve” trick that works to create a winning pile.
Cheater, Cheater Pumpkin Eater
Sometimes called inoculants or starters, compost activators generally add a boost of nitrogen to heat up a pile and make finished compost faster. Some people swear by them, others think they are a waste of money. Either way you look at it, activators have proven results to speed up the composting. And they say cheaters never prosper…

You can buy prepackaged activators which usually contain blood meal, bone meal, or some other grim sounding meal, dried manure, enzymes, and bacteria. Avoid products with ammonium sulfate, I hear they are toxic to worms. ):

Fair and Square
There are plenty of “free” materials that will act as a compost booster without breaking the bank:

Old Beer
Coffee Grounds
Grass Clippings
• Comfrey (a plant)

You can also toss a shovel of healthy garden soil in your bin if you want a boost of microorganisms.

If you keep a balanced, moist pile you will not need to use an activator to create compost quickly. But in the end, there is no shame in using an activator- store bought or homemade- to give your pile a little umph.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chance to Talk with a Composting Expert

Sometimes the best way to learn new composting skills is to speak face to face with a composting expert. The Civic Garden Center is offering just an opportunity this weekend. Take a composting class, peruse the compost demonstration area, and explore their beautiful gardens.

Composting is not as difficult as it may seem.

It’s amazing how efficient all those little microbes are at doing their job. Compost happens whether we want it to or not. But there are some key skills to master to get the most out of your compost pile. Come to the Civic Garden Center’s Backyard Composting class to see different styles of composting, learn all the troubleshooting tricks, and ask those burning questions about the mystery of compost. The class runs from 10-11:15 am this Saturday, August 6.

You can register by calling 513-221-0981 or online. Or just show up Saturday morning with your burning compost questions.


Ryan Mooney-Bullock is a Program Manager at the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati and contributes to the Garden Cincinnati Blog.