The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has released a sticker that allows you to show others your passionate love of soil. These stickers are an easy lead in for you to profess your love of soil to friends, family, colleagues, and strangers on the street. Place them anywhere and everyone. Shout it from the rooftops how much you love soil. Okay, here’s how you get them!
Send your request for stickers to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, address, quantity requested, and how you will use them. I received mine in a couple of days! For more information about the “I Heart Soil” project visit, http://www.iheartsoil.org/.
Let’s start by talking about compost itself. What is it? How is it created? Is it useful or just some environmentalist invention?
Webster’s defines compost as “a mixture of various decaying organic substances, as dead leaves or manure, used for fertilizing soil.” Perfect! So we know, its a combination of things that break down over time to create soil. The simplest way to explain it is taking things that are solid and tangible like orange peels and apple cores. We give these things the right environment to break down over time and eventually they will create “soil”. This “soil” or compost can be added to containers, gardens, raised beds, etc… to help provide nutrients to your growing vegetation.
It also is a great way to close the loop. Something is grown, we eat it, and then reuse it by making compost. This compost will help grow food (or flowers) again.
Here is a picture of our compost demonstration area in our teaching garden. This compost allows us to keep three different piles of compost. The pile on the far right is the most recent. This is where we add new material. After a couple of days (sometimes weeks), we move the compost one bin to the left. This is when things we recognize (peels, cores, leftovers), start to break down and not look like those things anymore. The last bin on the left is compost that is ready to be used in the garden.
We’ll soon talk about different ways to compost as well as what things can be put into compost piles (and what things should be left out).