Dr. Judi’s Kryzanowski’s presentation about “Compost” on March 22 (postponed from February due to weather conditions) presented some “shocking” but very informative material to the members of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society.
Through her Powerpoint presentation, Kryzanowski who is an environmental scientist and member of the Stirling Horticultural Society shared information about packaged compost and ways to make our own.
Why should we compost? Composting increases soil nutrients and releases them slowly back into the soil. Astrid Muschalla’s presentation on March 7 highlighted the importance of good soil for our plants and crops so composting tied the two topics together for the members. Compost stores carbon, increases soil organic matter to help hold moisture as well as feeds soil organisms and most importantly it is an organic or natural alternative to chemical fertilizer.
Gardeners can make their own compost or purchase bags at a commercial outlet. Kryzanowski shared a photo of what she discovered in her commercially purchased bag of compost…a dime, plastic, pieces of metal and perhaps other items that the naked eye could not see. Through the photos, Kryzanowski was trying to show members that compost can contain “biosolids” which is a fancy name for “sewage sludge”….flame retardants, motor oil, personal care products, cleaning products, medical waste, heavy metal radioactive compounds are examples of sludge….very few nutrients for the soil, plants and crops. Municipalities can ban sewage sludge but very few do.
So what should a gardener do??? Although careful reading of labels will help, the ideal solution is making our own compost…then you will know what is going into it.
How do you make compost…..
-collect plant based food and garden waste (suggested avoiding animal waste
-make a “pile” or purchase a bin
-turn often to aid aerobic digestion
-WAIT…often the hardest part!!!
-apply to soil and continue to repeat process
-good items for composting-tea/coffee grounds, pasta, bread, egg shells, raked leaves, wood ashes, hair, dried flowers/plants, wooden toothpicks, twigs/sticks
-items to avoid-fruit/veggie stickers, plastic wrap, rubber bands, dryer lint, dirty tissue, most cat litter, treated wood products, metal
Tips for successful composting…
-air flow is important to ensure ventilation so frequent turning is important (use a pitch fork)
-ph between 6.5 and 8….not to stress about this
-moisture…50% is ideal
-temperature between 55 and 65 degrees to kill weeds, parasites
-keep participle size small when adding to pile
-pile size…1m x 1m x1m
-have a balance of nutrients….brown (leaves, twigs) and green (grass, veggies)
Now that you have this wonderful compost….spread into gardens and dig in with a pitch fork. If you have already completed your planting before your compost is ready, simply side dress around your plants…..result will be an amazing garden filled with plants, flowers and crops that you will know are safe and healthy as you know what went into your compost!!!!
April 4… Local organic vegetable gardener, Doug Gabelman will share his ideas about the best ways to prepare soil for growing plants and vegetables.
April 7, 8, 9…Peterborough Garden Show takes place at the Evinrude Centre, 911 Monaghan Road.
April 22…Tweed and District Horticultural is hosting this year’s AGM. If you can volunteer, please contact Elizabeth.
April 29…Meet at Moira Garden at 9:00 am for first garden clean-up of the season. Everyone is welcome!