Bob Hatton’s Gardening Column for November 21: Environmental Responsibility
As I took my morning walk on Tuesday, I remembered Texas black gold. Growing up in the oil fields, with the lifestyles we lead and with the tendency to be “green”, petroleum and petroleum-based items are never far from the consciousness. The items that caught my eye this time were the trash cans on the street with plastic bags full of leaves and other lawn and garden debris waiting for the city to pick them up. Homeowners, like me, who raked, mowed and otherwise collected debris from lawns and gardens over the weekend disposed of it on Tuesday day for garbage collection in our area.
Unfortunately, we only have a limited curbside recycling pickup in Amarillo, so in addition to leaves and grass, we have a lot more trash going to the landfill than with a recycling program. . However, while there are places all over the city where we can take recyclables, we can recycle our leaves and grass clippings at home where they are otherwise made available to be picked up by the city. These can also be made into black gold, only this black gold will fuel plant growth, not internal combustion engines.
The simple act of composting not only saves landfill space and reduces waste collection and disposal costs, but it also saves us money by providing valuable nutrients to the plant. our garden rather than buying chemicals, petroleum-based or commercial compost.
And, even if you don’t build a compost pile, the leaves and grass can be added directly to flower or garden beds where they will save water, as weed germination prevents mulch. to decompose. For this use as well as for stockpiling compost, decomposition will be faster if the compostable material is cut into smaller pieces using a mower or shredder.
Composting is easy and doesn’t have to be a complicated project. After all, organic matter decomposes on its own in nature without any human intervention. One can simply build an open compost heap or contain the material in a containment device purchased or built at home. My three piles are each contained on three sides by chicken wire mesh attached to metal fence posts. The open front allows easy access for turning and using the compost.
Perfectionists can study composting and stick to the right percentages and types of materials to mix. People like me just stack what they have, mix brown and green materials if they are both available, wet them and wait. It will take longer than using the scientific methods that will optimize the speed of decomposition, but it will happen.
The simple method can be speeded up by periodically turning the pile, mixing the materials together, introducing oxygen into the mixture and keeping the pile evenly moist. The choice is yours, but whatever, the materials will eventually break down into usable
Environmental responsibility must and can become second nature to all of us for the future good of all.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Hatton Gardening Column: Environmental Responsibility