15 October 2009

Go Green and Learn Worm Composting at a Workshop in Muskogee Saturday morning

Go Green Oklahoma reports that paper manufacturing is one of the most energy and resource intensive processes in our economy. Their website urges us to reduce our paper consumption.

The site has other go-green suggestions at their Make Every Day Earth Day link.

1. Plug printers and chargers into power strips and turn off the strips when not in use.

2. Waste less water. It is cycled through a chemical bath before it comes out your faucet.

3. Read product contents and choose the ones with less packaging and fewer chemicals.

4. Slow down on the highway. Avoid long drive-through lines where your car engine runs while you wait.

5. Choose locally grown food and compost what you don’t use.

6. Take re-usable bags to the store instead of getting oil-produced new ones on every trip. Keep them in your car.

7. Reduce paper use and recycle the rest.

8. Compost and worm compost. Each of us wastes 1.3 pounds of food scraps daily. Yard trimmings and food waste combined make up 25 to 30 percent of our nation’s waste.

In states from Minnesota to New Mexico and Oregon it is illegal to send easy-to-compost items to the dump with the trash. At http://tiny.cc/Y9xiX, All Business reports school, restaurant and grocery store green-waste success stories.

Start small.

The easy one is to never send plastic bags full of leaves and garden waste to the dump. Another easy one is to stop sending green food waste to the dump in plastic bags.

Make a leaf pile in a corner of the yard or pile them onto vegetable and flower beds where winter weather will decompose them into mulch and leaf mold. This will turn into a gold mine of microbes for your garden.

Leaf mold does not have many nutrients but when it is added to the soil, it makes the soil composition spongy so it will hold the moisture and air that are necessary for plant roots.

Leaf mulch on top of the soil prevents soil temperature fluctuations from damaging plant roots and stimulates microbial activity that reduces pests.

Try a worm compost bin.

Drill holes into a solid plastic storage container. Fill it with damp shredded paper and some non-meat food scraps. Add red wriggler worms and feed them. Every few months dump out the contents onto the garden. Separate out the worms and re-start the bin with fresh bedding and food. The remaining worm castings are gardener’s gold.

Friends of Honor Heights Park is sponsoring two speakers at a worm composting workshop, 9:00 Saturday morning in the Garden Education Room near the splash pad at the park. For more information contact Martha Stoodley 918.683.2373 and honorheightsfriends@gmail.com. Or go online to Oklahoma State University Fact Sheet Vermicomposting BAE-1742 at http://tiny.cc/45rPt

Start a compost bin or pile.

Compost is a cornerstone of soil fertility for gardeners who try to avoid chemicals.

A compost project can be as simple as making a pile that starts with twigs and fall garden cleanup leaves and plant stems. A structure can be built from panel wire or cinder blocks. Or, you can buy a compost bin from a garden supply or big box store.

Choose a spot in the shade and start the bottom of the pile with twigs you have cut with a pruner or lopper. Continue with layers of non-meat kitchen waste and yard waste. Adding water, alfalfa pellets and turning it will help, too. But if you have plenty of space and time to wait, you can skip those steps and just start another pile next year.

Oklahoma State University Fact Sheet BAE-1744 Backyard Composting in Oklahoma is available online at http://tiny.cc/yBsLE and from any local extension office.

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