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There are many ways each individual can make a difference in the health of our planet.
In honor of Earth Day, the U.S. Postal Service released a sheet of forever stamps with 16 suggestions. Each stamp has one idea including: Buy local produce and reuse bags, plant trees, insulate the home, maintain tire pressure and compost.
Composting may be one of the easier suggestions since the process is simply piling up yard waste and letting it decompose. Other waste that can be added to compost include fruit and vegetable trimmings, manure, coffee grounds and tea bags, newspaper and the contents of your personal shredder.
Stephanie Davies is a physical therapist with an avid interest in composting. Her website is called The Urban Worm Girl at http://urbanwormgirl.com and (773) 355-4804. At the site, Davies promotes her worm parties and worm composting equipment.
In her new book, “Composting Inside and Out: 14 Methods to Fit Your Lifestyle,” Davies points out the importance of composting. Across the globe, topsoil is being removed by wind, rain, erosion and poor farming practices that take from the earth without giving back.
Humus is the organic matter that gives soil the healthy qualities needed for plant health, and by extension, our health. Without humus in the soil, plants cannot grow and provide us with the food nutrition we need.
“The most nutrient rich stage of humus is active . . . In this initial stage, the nutrients are readily available for most plant roots to access. The soil microbes have transformed it, creating the perfect texture for water retention and drainage, airflow and plant root penetration and support. Because stable humus can hold approximately 80 percent of its weight in water, it has drought resistant properties. This significantly reduces its likelihood for erosion and natural disaster in addition to increasing its growing potential. Humus is no longer being broken down at the stable stage and has been estimated to last thousands of years in the soil.”
You can easily get started with this environmentally sustainable effort using one or more of Davies’ 14 methods.
Enclosed bins are the most common composting option. They are wooden boxes with one removable wall or three-sided wooden boxes.
Put the compost container close enough to the house that you can easily take waste out to it from the kitchen and close enough to a water source that you can water it.
Many gardeners direct compost by digging holes in the garden and burying compost directly into the ground. If necessary, a compost pile can easily be hidden with a trellis of blooming flowers.
Many cities compost food wastes from schools and restaurants. See http://bit.ly/gt4WTN for a story about one program.
Composting using worms in a container rather than microbes in a compost bin or tumbler has become quite popular because you get the environmental points without needing the piles and bins of yard waste.
Many worm compost bins live in kitchens and basements inside homes and apartments. (Our worm bins are outside in the spring, summer and fall and in the garage only during the coldest winter months.)
Worm composting tips are on Davies’ site http://urbanwormgirl.com and at Organic Living Corner http://bit.ly/gF1nTb.
Worms eat kitchen scraps such as banana peels, vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds, as well as their newspaper bedding. Their waste is a highly valued fertilizer called worm castings.
It's easy and will reward you and your garden.
Enter the drawing to win a copy of "Composting Inside and Out" by leaving your name in the comments section or sending me an email MollyDay1@gmail.com.
Due to the intense storms, our internet connection is abysmal and pictures will not load. Hopefully it will get back to normal sooner than later.