Why Compost?

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

-feed regularly

-turn often to aid aerobic digestion

-maintain moisture

-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!!!!

COMING UP….

 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!

For Healthy Grass

 

 

Tweed and District Horticultural Society welcomed Astrid Muschalla to the March meeting.

Astrid who resides on Wolfe Island has been part of Doors Open tours, CTV Garden of the Month as well as showcasing her gardens in various garden tours. She is an active member of SOUL…Society of Organic Urban Land Care.  Astrid’s website can be found here here.

Her power point presentation certainly highlighted the “better way” to look after the soil in our gardens and lawns. Since pesticides do not help our ecosystems, there is a need to take action to protect the earth’s ecosystem. Pesticides do not cure plant deficiencies but they DO poison the soil for developing organisms.

According to Astrid, the ideal soil is 25% air, 25% water, 45% minerals and 5% organic matter. Having that 5% organic matter will reduce the need to water as organic water is great for water holding capacity…and after last summer’s heat and lack of rain, this is important for all gardeners to know. Minerals should not be added to soil unless a professional soil test is done.

Conventional practices of feeding plants with commercial products will kill the insects and pests but does not promote healthy plant growth. Therefore, the pests will return as they thrive on unhealthy plants.

Clover is an added bonus to lawns as it promotes a healthy environment to grass to grow.

Best compost is your own…as Astrid stated, “You would be surprised what goes into some commercial compost!” As a follow-up to her presentation, Astird encouraged members to attend the meeting on March 21 as Dr Judy Krzyzanowski will address the issue of commercial compost.

COMING UP….

 March 21 Re-scheduled meeting from February 7….Dr. Judy Krzyzanowski will highlight the regulations governing packaged compost as well as telling how to make our own.

Annual dues can be paid at the meeting….$12 per individual or $16 family

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. The cost is $20 per person if you wish to attend the meeting. Pre-registration is needed.

Meeting This Tuesday

A little colour to chase away the March winds.

The February 7th meeting was cancelled due to the unfavourable weather conditions.

March 7 Meeting….Astrid Muschalla will discuss how to care for lawns without the use of chemicals.
Annual dues can be paid at the meeting…$12 per individual or $16 family

March 10… Bus Trip to National Home Show and Canada Blooms at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto
Cost…$65.00. See poster below.
Price includes admission to both shows and motor coach. Bus leaves Tweed at 7 am from the parking lot behind Quinn’s of Tweed. For more information, contact Linda @613-478-6850

Annual Christmas Pot Luck Dinner

Members of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society welcomed the festive season with their annual Christmas Pot Luck dinner at the December meeting. Tables covered in bright red tablecloths and decorated with evergreen boughs intertwined with beads, ornaments and poinsettia plants created a very “holly jolly” feeling to the meeting room at the Tweed Library.

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Getting Ready for Christmas

Linda Holmes (left) and Wanita DeVries
Linda Holmes (left) and Wanita DeVries

Members of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society had a head start on  Christmas decorating at the November meeting as local Tweed resident, Wanita DeVries shared ideas about using natural items in Christmas items. Wanita discussed using items from nature and previously used items to create one of a kind Christmas pieces for the holiday season. Continue reading “Getting Ready for Christmas”

A Word About Dehydration

Local Tweed resident, Dorothy Hunt shared her dehydrating skills at the October meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society. Since Dorothy has a HUGE garden, she traditionally used canning and freezing as a means to preserve her fruits and vegetables. However, as the garden grew and storage space became limited, Dorothy needed to find another means to preserve her crops. She turned to the  dehydrating process and according to Dorothy, “It is a lot of fun and I am always trying new foods!” Continue reading “A Word About Dehydration”

Herbs for Living

After a very hot and very dry  summer, many members of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society were wondering what to do with the herbs that they had lovingly nurtured during this summer…..well Brad Smith and Michelle Cole of Herb Haven in Napanee shared many ideas with the group at the September meeting.

Herb Haven was started in 2010 as a “retirement” project for Brad and Michelle. Their goal was to promote and educate people on the benefits of herbs. Their presentation certainly highlighted the many benefits of herbs for the audience.

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All About the Bees

Brian Scott with his working demonstration hive.
Brian Scott with his working demonstration hive.

Brian Scott, owner of Innisfil Creek Honey (south of Barrie) shared his experiences as a beekeeper at the June meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society. Brian is a commercial beekeeper and operator of a beekeeping supply store in Innisfil. He is a Certified Queen and Nuc Producer and he supplies customers with honey bee nucleus hives, starter hives and Queen Bees. Brian sells bee equipment and offers lessons on the art of beekeeping.
Continue reading “All About the Bees”