Having a lush, green lawn used to require a lot of time and energy — watering, fertilizing, not to mention fending off pests and weeds. However, with high-tech grass seed, water-conserving irrigation systems and eco-safe fertilizers and pest control, it’s never been easier to tend to your turf with a clear conscience that you’re doing right by the environment.
What you'll need
- Compost bin
- Garden or pitch fork
- Organic garden soil
- Green materials
- Brown materials
How to Garden Organically
Making compost from garden and household waste is one of the best things any gardener can do. It’s easy and costs very little in time or effort.
Composting also will help you reduce pollution — cutting down on landfill — and enhance your plants’ health and happiness. Not to mention the savings on fertilizers too.
Step 1: Choose a bin location
- Select a spot that is level, well drained and partially sunny. A touch of sun helps speed the composting process.
- Make sure the area around the bin is clear.
- Place wire mesh under the bin to keep rodents out.
Step 2: Collect compost materials
- Chop or shred green materials (coffee grounds, grass clippings, vegetable and kitchen scraps, egg shells and weeds without the seeds) and brown materials (dried leaves, non-glossy junk mail, paper towels, pine needles, spoiled hay, straw and sawdust — except for black walnut, eucalyptus or cedar which inhibit plant growth).
- Aim for a mix of hard and soft items.
- Scatter a few woody plant stems or small twigs on the bottom first. This will help improve air circulation and drainage, especially if you are using a plastic bin.
Step 3. Fill the compost bin
- Use a combination (3:1) of brown-to-green ingredients.
- Spread them out to the edges and pack down gently.
- Make a layer of 12 inches or more in the bin.
Step 4: Mixing the materials
- Add water every 12 inches to moisten the ingredients. Do not soak the materials. You can use gray water (from the laundry or sink as long as the detergent is not harmful to the environment).
- Add a shovelful of organic soil to get things going.
- Poke an aerator in the bin to provide air every few weeks and turn compost with a garden or pitch fork.
When the ingredients placed in the bin have turned a dark brown with an earthy smell, the process is complete. This may take 6-8 weeks or a year or more. The more effort invested, the quicker the results.
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