Greenhouse Blog 3- Supplying your garden with nutrients

Ally Francisco- the significance of composting

If you are not already composting, you should! Composting will not only benefit your garden but the earth as well. Plus, the process is not complicated.

By choosing to compost, you can divert as much as 30% of household trash from the garbage dumps.  This is crucial because when compostable organic matter is thrown into a dump, it lacks the air that it needs to decompose quickly. As a result, harmful methane is released from organic materials, adding to global warming.

The compost that you add to your garden introduces microscopic organisms that help break down organic material for plant use and ward off plant diseases. The plants will use the microorganisms of the food web and absorb them through their roots.  Also, the nutrients in the compost do not leach or wash away unlike the nutrients in fertilizers.

Guide to composting:

  1. Start your compost pile on the bare earth.

  2. Add carbon elements including items such as branches, dried leaves, and sawdust.

  3. Add nitrogen elements such as food scraps and green lawn clippings.

  4. If needed, keep the compost moist with water.

  5. Once you lay down the nitrogen materials, cover it up with sawdust or other wood materials.

  6. Turn your pile every two weeks with a shovel. This will allow oxygen to mix into your compost.


Nicole Marco- pesticides: not as beneficial as you might think

Many people rely heavily on pesticides when insects invade flowerbeds or gardens. They are seen as a quick way to get rid of the pesky bugs that damage your plants. Although this may be true, the effects of pesticides—even organic— is not entirely positive. 

All pesticides are non-selective, meaning that even if the insect is not a pest, the pesticide will kill it. Pests only account for 1% of insects, so by applying pesticides, you are often creating more harm than benefit. Also, many of the pests you are trying to exterminate from your landscape have built up a resistance to the commonly used pesticides. This results in their populations rebounding quicker than the other beneficial or neutral insects. With fewer predators, the pest populations can grow dramatically. Another unseen negative impact of pesticides is its effect on the food web. Birds are the primary consumer of insects. So if pesticides are used to kill all of the insects around your home, the birds will have to migrate to another area in search of food. 

There are many alternate solutions to help get rid of pests. For example, planting a variety of plants will help to decrease the likelihood of an insect whipping out your crop. This also attracts beneficial insects such as bees and ladybugs to your plantings which will limit the population of pests. Another solution is to use physical barriers such as lightweight nets over the plants to help keep the majority of insects off.

Sarah Tiggleman-  composting to slow global environmental degradation

Lately, there has been a drive in our society to help become a greener planet as we realize the detriments of global warming. It’s harming our glaciers, our forests, and our planet’s biodiversity. People have been reposting pictures on Instagram to raise awareness for certain endangered species and harmed habitats as well as making the decision to stop using plastic straws to help the sea turtles and ocean life. But, what else can we do? We all are responsible for the place we live in, and therefore, we need to personally make an impact. We can’t individually solve the worlds’ problems such as bringing the coral in Austria back to life, but if we all have the mindset of having the power to change the small things we can control, it would add up to have a larger impact. One of these things is making a composting system. Anyone is capable of composting, and it is an easy way to positively help our environment even if you don’t have that much space.

How is composting beneficial? When using a composting system for your waste, it will eliminate items from our landfills and turn it into nutritious soil. Each year there are roughly 1,200 pounds of garbage that could have been composted. This compost consists of an incredible amount of diversity that is capable of breaking down your waste. It has all of the elements necessary for plant growth as well.  With problems like deforestation, we have the power to help replenish the soil of nutrition and reduce erosion. Composting reduces greenhouse gases that impact the issue of rising global temperatures. Overall, compost helps create a healthier environment. 

To make compost, you need 4 ingredients air, water, carbon (browns), and nitrogen (greens). Green waste includes things like coffee grounds, plant trimmings, and food scraps like vegetables and salad scraps. Brown waste are things like yard debris, dead leaves, shredded paper, brown paper bags, and paper towel rolls. The smaller the better for the materials you put in as they will decompose in a faster manner. When combining these elements, it is important to water the compost weekly to produce a moisture similar to a moist sponge. A way to test this is to squeeze the mixture in your hand, and if water drips down, there is too much water. Conversely, if you feel no water, it is too dry. Ensure that the soil is turned weekly along with watering. In general, it will take a few months until your compost is ready to use. This will vary based on the location, how much you turn your soil, and the moisture level. Your compost is ready for use when the original content is unrecognizable with a sufficient moisture level. 

We can’t solve the world’s problems single-handedly, but we can do something to help. Composing is an easy way to positively contribute to our environmental issues with simple to follow directions.

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