Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful, Stonefield Organic Farm to Host Composting Workshop

Judy WomackSpecial to the Leader

Summer is fast approaching and many of us are looking forward to getting outdoors, beautifying our landscapes and planting our gardens.

Composting is a great way to enhance your beautification efforts and the health of the yield from your garden. Even if you are only planning to plant a few tomato plants (or not), learning how to properly compost your waste will benefit you greatly.

If you are not familiar with composting, it is nature’s way of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose and basically, backyard composting is an acceleration of the same process nature uses. By composting your organic waste you are returning nutrients back into the soil in order for the cycle of life to continue. Finished compost looks like soil—dark brown, crumbly and smells like a forest floor.

There are several types of composting:

• Backyard composting — If you have a yard and a balance of browns (fallen leaves or straw) and greens (grass clippings and food scraps), you have all you need to make compost.

• Worm composting (vermicomposting) — If you have a tiny yard or live in an apartment or have an abundance of food scraps, this type of composting is for you.

• Grasscycling - If you have grass clippings and don’t want to use them in a compost pile you can leave them on the lawn to decompose. 10 good reasons why you should compost:

Why Compost?

1. Yard and food waste make up 30% of the waste stream. Composting your kitchen and yard trimmings helps divert that waste from the landfill, waterways and water treatment facilities.

2. You will significantly reduce pest problems–and your use of pesticides.

3. Healthy plants from healthy soil look better, produce better and have a much greater ability to fight off pests and diseases.

4. Adding organic materials to the soil improves moisture retention.

5. Adding decomposed organic material to the soil feeds beneficial organisms.

6. Compost amends both sandy and clay soils.

7. Compost provides a balanced, slow–release source of nutrients that helps the soil hold nutrients long enough for plants to use them.

8. Composting saves money–you avoid the cost of buying soil conditioners, bagged manure etc.

9. Feeding your plants well will improve your own diet. Plants grown in depleted soils have a reduced nutrient content.

10. Home composting is a valuable tool in educating children about nature and the cycle of life. (http://www.recycleworks.org/compost/index.html)

Please join us Saturday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. at the Van Alstyne Community Center (262 North Preston Avenue). We will primarily discuss backyard composting and will briefly introduce the other types. Erin Hoffer, the Environmental Education Coordinator from the City of Plano will be presenting the workshop.