Composting Made Easy

Composting will benefit both the environment and your wallet!  When you make compost, you create a source of high quality nutrition for your garden

Did you know that composting can be not only easy but a great way to provide your soil with beneficial nutrients to help plant life thrive?  Composting is a process of taking everyday waste from your kitchen, or leaves and other natural matter and decomposing it to provide a rich fertilizer that you can use throughout the year, in your garden, on your lawn, and even for potted plants.

Compost systems range in size from small bins used to recycle a household’s scrap all the way to industrial sized bins for farmers.

Composting will benefit both the environment and your wallet!  When you make compost, you create a source of high quality nutrition for your garden and eliminate the need to constantly purchase a fertilizer.

Composting will improve the soil structure and moisture retention which can actually protect plants from certain diseases.

A good compost starts a home!  Begin your search for ingredients for your compost in your own backyard, kitchen and even your neighborhood.  What waste could you divert from the trash into your compost pile? Most of us can find a wealth of nutrient rich materials such as grass clippings, pine needles, cones, hay, manure, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and dried leaves to turn into a soil nourishing compost.

Your goal to build a compost pile is to provide the best possible conditions for the proliferation of a hardworking micro-herd of organisms.  Begin your compost pile or bin with a compost starter.  This is done to introduce organisms to your pile.

Composting piles or bins are quite simple actually, they need only a balanced diet, water, air and warmth.

Remember anything living can be composted, but the quality and quantity of the materials you use affects the process and determines the nutrient value of the finished compost.

The ideal Carbon/Nitrogen level ratio is 25-30 to 1.  You can achieve this by layering your compost.  Build your compost into alternating layers of high carbon materials like saw dust and high nitrogen materials like fresh grass clippings.

As with anything all living organisms need water, however; too much water will drive out air and will drown the pile.  Good, rich compost is about as damp as a moist sponge.  Make sure your compost pile is in a place that is well drained, you can achieve this by building the compost pile on a layer of sand.

Finished compost is one of the most versatile fertilizers you will ever use.  You can apply it freely at any time of the year without fear of buring plants or polluting water.  Compost can be used on vegetables, annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and even in potting mixes for your house plants.  Composting is easy, beneficial to the environment and most importantly beneficial to your garden, lawn and all living plants!

Victory Gardens

Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Germany during World War I and World War II. They were used along with Rationing Stamps and Cards to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Besides indirectly aiding the war effort, these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens a part of daily life on the home front.

In March 1917, Charles Lathrop Pack organized the US National War Garden Commission and launched the war garden campaign. Food production had fallen dramatically during World War I, especially in Europe, where agricultural labor had been recruited into military service and remaining farms devastated by the conflict. Pack and others conceived the idea that the supply of food could be greatly increased without the use of land and manpower already engaged in agriculture, and without the significant use of transportation facilities needed for the war effort. The campaign promoted the cultivation of available private and public lands, resulting in over five million gardens in the USA[2] and foodstuff production exceeding $1.2 billion by the end of the war.

President Woodrow Wilson said that “Food will win the war.” To support the home garden effort, a United States School Garden Army was launched through the Bureau of Education, and funded by the War Department at Wilson’s direction.

In 1946, with the war over, many British residents did not plant victory gardens, in expectation of greater availability of food. However, shortages remained in the United Kingdom, and rationing remained in place for at least some food items until 1954.

Land at the centre of the Sutton Garden Suburb in Sutton, London was first put to use as a victory garden during World War II; before then it had been used as a recreation ground with tennis courts. The land continued to be used as allotments by local residents for more than 50 years until they were evicted by the then landowner in 1997. The land has since fallen into disuse.[13]

The Fenway Victory Gardens in the Back Bay Fens of Boston, Massachusetts and the Dowling Community Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota remain active as the last surviving public examples from World War II. Most plots in the Fenway Victory Gardens now feature flowers instead of vegetables while the Dowling Community Garden retains its focus on vegetables.

Since the turn of the 21st century, interest in victory gardens has grown. A campaign promoting such gardens has sprung up in the form of new victory gardens in public spaces, victory garden websites and blogs, as well as petitions to renew a national campaign for the victory garden and to encourage the re-establishment of a victory garden on the White House lawn. In March 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted an 1,100-square-foot (100 m2) “Kitchen Garden” on the White House lawn, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s, to raise awareness about healthy food