Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring is here... almost

Spring is here! Though you wouldn’t know it with the near foot of snow we just received yesterday. Regardless, Spring planting, and planning for planting, is upon us. The snow won’t last forever so let’s talk about a few things that will help our gardens grow.

First, before you mulch- compost! Adding good, organic compost to your lawn, flower beds, and garden will jump start the nutrients and help to feed your new plants. I buy compost that is locally made by a food scrap compost program and it works wonders! Apply a generous amount (half and inch to an inch) and turn it into the soil. Then you can go ahead and put mulch down to keep weeds from emerging.

If you grow a food garden, remember that some plants take more of one thing than another from the soil so some nutrients can get depleted quickly. Apply a generous amount of compost and turn the soil. This will help your garden get all the nutrients it needs to grow. I have seen 12 foot tomato plants with tomatoes all the way to the top with a good compost mix applied!

In my garden, I try to make raised rows for plants with nice deep valleys between them. This helps with watering. Water in the valleys and put down straw to keep the sun from evaporating too much water (also prevents weeds), and you will conserve water usage.

It depends on where you live and what grows well there but try to get plants that are native to the area. That means less maintenance is required so you can have a beautiful garden that won’t require too many additional resources to maintain. Hey, I am all about having more time to do other things in the Spring and Summer.

What are some of your planting and gardening tips?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why We Don't Recycle

What is it about recycling that turns some people off and others get really excited about it? I heard a recent report about interviews with several hundred non-recyclers who gave many reasons for not recycling. Some of these were the usual ones that we recyclers hear all the time about it not being convenient, not knowing what the rules are, and not thinking it really does any good.

But the most often stated answer was very shocking to me. They most often stated reason was that they didn’t like the attitudes of those of us who do recycle. Saying that we act like we are better than them and it makes them want to throw it away instead of recycle just to spite us.

I have to wonder about this answer. It sounds more like a teenage rebellion response than a legitimate one. I admit; I do give people several economic and environmental benefit reasons to recycle that material they just threw away if I see it happen. But does this make it sound like I am better than them in their minds? Or do they just feel guilty and resent me for making them feel guilty?

This is important to me because I would like to know how we as a nation get beyond the 34% national recycling rate that we have been stuck at for several years. And that counts everything, not just residential. Residential recycling is a mere 21%.

So, what ideas are out there to help get the message out there about the benefits of recycling and how to recycle? The industry has tried many approaches but we still seem to stagnate. Please comment with your ideas and suggestions. Or, if you have different reasons why you don’t recycle (if you don’t recycle) please share as well.