COMPOSTING IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
LET'S DO SOME COMPOSTING!
IT ISN'T REALLY THAT HARD TO DO, AND ACTUALLY, COMPOSTING CAN TURN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WASTES INTO VALUABLE FERTILIZER AND ORGANIC SOIL MATTER
ALL ORGANIC MATTER EVENTUALLY DECOMPOSES. COMPOSTING WILL SPEED THE PROCESS BY PROVIDING AN IDEAL ENVIRONMENT FOR BACTERIA AND OTHER DECOMPOSING MICRO-ORGANISMS. THE FINAL PRODUCT, ... HUMUS OR COMPOST, WHICH LOOKS AND FEELS LIKE FERTILE GARDEN SOIL.. THIS DARK, CRUMBLY, EARTHY-SMELLING STUFFF WORKS WONDERS ON ALL KINDS OF SOIL AND PROVIDES VITAL NUTRIENTS TO HELP PLANTS GROW AND LOOK BETTER.
DECOMPOSING ORGANISMS CONSIST OF BACTERIA, FUNGI, AND LARGER ORGANISMS SUCH AS WORMS, SOW BUGS, NEMATODES, AND NUMEROUS OTHERS.
DECOMPOSING ORGANISMS NEED 4 KEY ELEMENTS TO THRIVE:
FOR THE BEST RESULTS YOU WILL NEED TO MIX MATERIALS HIGH IN THE NITROGEN, (SUCH AS CLOVER, FRESH GRASS CLIPPINGS, AND LIVESTOCK MANURE) AND WITH THOSE, INGREDIENTS HIGH IN CARBON, (SUCH AS DRIED LEAVES AND TWIGS). IF THERE IS NOT A GOOD SUPPLY OF NITROGEN-RICH MATERIAL, A HANDFUL OF GENERAL LAWN FERTILIZER WILL HELP THE NITROGEN-CARBON RATIO.... MOISTURE IS USUALLY PROVIDED BY RAIN, .. BUT YOU MAY NEED TO WATER OR COVER THE PILE TO KEEP IT DAMP. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SATURATE THE PILE. TURNING OR MIXING THE PILE WILL PROVIDE OXYGEN. FREQUENT TURNING OF THE PILE WILL YIELD FASTER COMPOSITION.
LET'S GET STARTED:
MANY MATERIAL CAN BE ADDED TO A COMPOST PILE, INCLUDING LEAVES, GRASS CLIPPINGS, STRAW, WOODY BRUSH, VEGETABLE AND FRUIT SCRAPS, COFFEE GROUNDS, LIVESTOCK MANURE, SAWDUST, AND SHREDDED PAPER. DO NOT USE DISEASED PLANTS, MEAT SCRAPS THAT MAY ATTRACT ANIMALS, OR DOG OR CAT MANURE WHICH CAN CARRY DISEASE. COMPOSTING CAN BE AS SIMPLE OR AS INVOLVED AS YOU WOULD LIKE, AND IT WILL DEPEND ON HOW MUCH YARD WASTE YOU HAVE, HOW FAST YOU WANT RESULTS, AND THE EFFORT YOU ARE WILLING TO PUT INTO YOUR COMPOSTING PROJECT.
COLD OR SLOW COMPOSTING:
WITH COLD OR SLOW COMPOSTING, YOU CAN JUST PILE YOUR GRASS CLIPPINGS AND DRY LEAVES ON THE GROUND OR IN A BIN. THIS METHOD REQUIRES NO MAINTENANCE, BUT IT WILL TAKE SEVERAL MONTHS TO A YEAR OR MORE FOR THE PILE TO DECOMPOSE. COLD COMPOSTING WORKS WELL IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME TO TEND THE COMPOST PILE AT LEAST EVERY OTHER DAY, OR YOU HAVE VERY LITTLE YARD WASTE, OR, YOU ARE NOT IN A HURRY TO USE THE COMPOST.
KEEP WEEDS AND DISEASED PLANTS OUT OF THE MIX, SINCE THE TEMPERATURES REACHED WITH COLD COMPOSTING MAY NOT BE HIGH ENOUGH TO KILL THE WEED SEEDS OR DISEASE-CAUSING ORGANISMS. ADD YARD WASTE AS IT ACCUMULATES. SHREDDING OR CHOPPING SPEEDS UP THE PROCESS. TO EASILY SHRED YOUR MATERIAL, RUN YOUR LAWN MOWER OVER SMALL PILES OF WEEDS AND TRIMMINGS.
COLD COMPOSTING HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE BETTER AT SUPPRESSING SOIL-BORNE DISEASES THAN HOT COMPOSTING. COLD COMPOSTING ALSO LEAVES MORE UN-DECOMPOSED BITS OF MATERIAL, WHICH CAN BE SCREENED OUT IF DESIRED.
HAVING A BACKYARD WATER GARDEN
The Enjoyment and Tranquility of having a water garden in your backyard. Think about it, water gardens can turn your backyard into a wonderful peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere. A water garden can bring your backyard to life with birds, butterflies, frogs, fish and best of all, you and your family can even have a nice get together with friends and family.
Your water garden can be any size you want, you can even build them in barrels or other pato containers.
Water is a natural way to draw wildlife to your backyard. It is also relaxing, and scenic, providing a lot of interesting additions, beautifying the atmosphere and enhancing the enjoyment of your backyard.
Let's consider where to put your water garden. It needs to be located near a deck or patio so that you can see it and enjoy everything the water garden has to offer.
It should also blend in with its natural surroundings. Make sure that any drainage from the pond is away from your house. Plan to landscape around the pond to provide habitat for the frogs and birds that need land and water. If you plan to use a pump to re-circulate water, use a filter, and light the area, be sure electrical service is available. There will be less maintenance if your pond is not under a bunch of trees. Most aquatic plants will grow better in full sun.
If you are short on space for the build-in earthen pond, why don't you consider a "tub" pond or large water bowl? These can be placed on the patio and provide many of the same benefits as built-in Pond including dressing up your patio or deck.
There are also numerous tub kits available that can be as simple as adding water, a pump, and some plants. They can also be moved inside in the winter as long as good lighting is provided for the plants.
Let's look at Pond Liners, they will keep water from seeping into the soil. Even in heavy clay soils, a liner is necessary. You can buy rigid pond liners in many shapes. These are durable and may include built-in waterfalls. Many are quite small. If you want a larger pool or would like to design your own shape, consider using a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) liner. Use a liner specifically designed for pools. While other plastics may be initially cheaper, many are not resistant to ultraviolet light and will break down quickly. Some plastic may also be toxic to fish. Liners also come in different thicknesses. A thicker liner tends to be more resistant to punctures. While expensive, and requiring more expertise to install, cement is also an option as a pool-liner.
If you use PVC, you will need to get a liner large enough for your pool. To determine how large a piece you will need, determine the maximum width, length, and depth of your pond. Multiply the maximum depth by 3. Then add this number to both the length and width. This will allow enough plastic to be securely held down around all pond edges.
Installing your pond or water garden can be done anytime the ground is not frozen or overly wet. If using a preformed liner, dig a hole to the correct depth and slightly wider. Insert the liner, making sure it is level and sits securely in the ground, backfill around the sides, add water, pump, and plants. Then complete landscaping around the pool.
If you use a PVC liner, plan on at least a weekend to install and landscape.
If you are interested in this do it yourself project, we have the instructions free of charge for you to pick up at any time.
Tina M. Haun,