Turning trash into garden treasure

By Rick Carr

Have you ever wished to reduce the trash that makes its way to the curb and ultimately to the landfill? According to the EPA, yard and food waste combined account for 25% of solid waste and nearly 11% by volume in landfills. Backyard composting is just one approach to diverting these materials from the landfill and producing a valuable resource from what was once a waste material.

For gardeners, composting is a tool for managing fruits, vegetables and flowers past their prime, as well as yard trimmings. When managed effectively, these green wastes can be converted into a rich soil amendment to boost plant growth in the garden and landscape. Compost is teeming with bacteria, fungi, invertebrates and many other organisms, much like a micro-ecosystem, that provide beneficial services for your soil and garden. What’s more, backyard compost can replace the need for store-bought synthetic fertilizers.

Composting in your backyard is easy to learn and requires minimal effort. One thing to keep in mind is that there is no one right way to compost – everyone does it differently. However, there are a few simple techniques to managing a pile effectively in order to reduce foul odors, deter pests and return a valuable soil amendment.

The internet is full of information on backyard composting but if you are the type of person that learns best by doing, Rodale Institute is offering a 3-hour, hands-on workshop designed for teaching backyard composting on April 5, 2014 from 10 am to 1 pm. Our new compost demonstration site provides the perfect setting for illustrating various techniques and different vessels for composting. {REGISTER}

Rick Carr is the Compost Production Specialist here at Rodale Institute. Click to read his full bio or invite him to speak.

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