Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Are You a Zen Master?


Be a Zen master of your yard. You have the gift to use nature to reduce non-point source pollution when you choose to backyard compost. More on that after this commercial break…
It’s time to forward this post to your friends and family as we are once again holding our yearly compost seminars. Quick! It’ll only take a minute. Now! J

Okay, back to reducing potential pollution through composting.
So March 22 happens to be World Water DayI’m glad water has its own day, Earth Day just has so many issues already! This year’s theme is Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century - this is where composting comes in.
When you add compost to your yard, you improve the soils ability to absorb and retain water. Compost is light and fluffy and acts like a sponge, compared to our typical clay-heavy, compacted soil. When we have downpours, amended soil that is rich in compost has a greater ability to absorb more of the rain leaving less run-off going into our storm sewers and streams. 
Compost enriched soil has the added benefit of providing nutrients to our plants and strengthens their root systems so they can grow deeper. Compost gives you beautiful, healthy plants with less water and fertilization. Using less fertilizer also reduces the chance runoff will have chemicals that contribute to non-point source pollution in our water ways.
Congratulations my wise, forward-thinking friends.

Guest post from compost aficionado, Jenny Lohmann

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Spring Composting Tips


Are you as ready as I am to jump into spring? Warmer temperatures and more rain will make your compost pile jump into action – if you follow these tips.


  1. Moisture: Watch the moisture level of your pile. All of the spring rain can add too much moisture if your pile doesn’t have good drainage. You want your pile to be as wet as a wrung out sponge. Too much water will cause the pile to go anaerobic (a.k.a. stinky).
  2. Aeration: Once temperatures warm up, aerate your pile. Food scraps tend to accumulate over the long winter months since the pile is mostly dormant. When your pile unfreezes all of those food scraps will start to decompose at once. Aerating will keep that decomposition going and speed it up.
  3. Additions: Add weeds and plant trimmings to your pile. I always have some old decorative grasses or sedums from last year to add. 

Spring is a fantastic time to start a new compost pile or maintain your old pile. Pretty soon you will want to harvest that finished compost to start new beds and for early summer planting. Take advantage of your ambitious spring gardening attitude to compost everything you can.

Happy composting!



Friday, February 9, 2018

How to Compost Logs in Your Backyard

Large logs and branches generally do not work well with most backyard composting. They take years, sometimes decades, to break down and they fill up a lot of space. But if you find yourself with a bunch of branches or large logs and want to try something new, I have an idea for you: Hugelkultur.

Hugel-what-tur? Hugelkultur is a method of building a garden bed using decaying wood. As it decays, the wood supplies nutrients to the soil and acts as a sponge, soaking up water when available and slowly releasing that water to your plants. Neato.

This is what you need: wood and other bulky material like brush and vines, a shovel, and space.

Just dig a one foot deep trench. Place hardwoods, then softwoods, and then brush into the trench. You can  mound even higher with straw, manure, and more traditional compostables. Cover the whole thing with the soil you removed to dig the trench.

Now you have a sweet Hugelkultur mound. How cool are you?

Graphic credit: Rich Soil permaculture blog.
Hugelkultur originated in Germany and Eastern Europe and means "hill culture" in German. The idea replicates what naturally happens on the forest floor- trees falling, decaying, and building the soil. 

Avoid planting on the mound for at least a few months as the material decomposing on top will steal nitrogen from the surrounding soil at first and the mound will settle some. Your Hugelkultur mound may take 10 to 20 years for the wood to slowly decompose but that is the idea. This would be a great addition to a garden with really poor soil or for someone wanting a raised bed.


For more details on Hugelkultur, check out: https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/many-benefits-hugelkultur


Friday, January 26, 2018

Winter Scrap Pile Up

Raise your hand if your food scrap collection looks like this in the winter.



January teased us in Cincinnati, oscillating between absolutely frigid to almost balmy weather. I can take scraps out in snow or even cold, but freezing rain or biting winds? Nope. Those banana peels will just have to spend another day or two hanging out in my kitchen.

Although sometimes challenging, composting in winter has its benefits. The freeze and thaw actually breaks down your food scraps. And stockpiling all of those food scraps will mean when the warm weather hits for good in the spring, your pile will kick into high gear.

Follow these tips for winter composting and before you know it, spring will arrive.

Happy winter composting!!!



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Join a Special Screening of Anthony Bourdain Documentary

40% of food produced in America is wasted each year.  

While composting is a powerful action we can take to reduce food going to the landfill, we would rather see food eaten if possible. You can be part of the solution.

A recent documentary produced by Anthony Bourdain brings attention to the problem of wasted food and the steps toward change. You can see a special screening of “Wasted: The Story of Food Waste” on January 28, at Memorial Hall in Cincinnati.



We’ll be sponsoring the event, alongside our partners: Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar, Edible Ohio Valley, La Soupe, Ohio River Valley's Chefs Collaborative, and The Madhouse Vinegar Co.

We hope you’ll join us for this screening and panel discussion, and walk away armed with more tools to fight wasted food. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcVNFJn7NgI