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MAY
INTERNATIONAL
COMPOST AWARENESS WEEK

If you have not joined the Green Wave of Recycling, why not begin during International Compost Awareness Week, celebrated the first full week in May? Composting councils, gardening clubs and 3Rs environmental groups will mark the occasion. Communities that offer its beneficial municipal compost, and sell composters to residents during Earth Week, can extend the promotion into the month of May. It is also an opportunity for students who have placed an Earth Week display in their school’s foyer to leave compost information in view for another week or two.

Those who have been composting all year know that the materials added over the winter will break down quickly after having been frozen. Adding a thin layer of soil and mixing it in will help to rejuvenate a compost heap. Old leaves and plant materials can be included to the pile as the heap warms. In May, before planting, it is a good time to work finished compost into your garden.

Early American presidents shared compost information regarding the need to preserve the earth’s fertility. Today with global warming it is even more essential to compost in order to keep the soil fertile and to help retain moisture in times of drought. Apart from creating rich organic soil, waste management is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our times, and for the future.

You do not need any special knowledge, nor do you need to be a dedicated gardener, to compost. Simply find a suitable location then begin layering yard debris with unwanted kitchen organics. Start composting with a base of brush cuttings to ensure a good flow of air into the pile. As well as adding veggie and fruit peelings, coffee grounds etc. you can include cooled wood ashes, sawdust from untreated wood, hair clippings, pet fur, wilted flowers and even bits of cotton, felt, rope, feathers and string. Soil should be added occasionally as it acts as an odour suppressor and introduces more micro-organisms to speed up the decomposition. Do not include meat scraps, fats and dairy products. Once you’ve got it going, the compost heap takes care of itself.

If you live in an apartment, turn a container into a worm bin by poking air holes and adding damp shredded newspaper for bedding. Check out a local vermicompost supplier who will provide you with those eager little champions of the earth – the red wigglers. In fact, they can set you up with their specialized worm bin, bedding and all the information you need. Students can compost at school and adults can compost at work. Anyone can return home from an event with apple cores. Organizers of marathons should place bins to collect all the banana and orange peelings that are donated to runners. Restaurants as well as cruise ships, airlines, and movie theatres can each provide manageable composting systems. Next time you dine out or attend an event ask if compost facilities are available on site.

Unwanted food is not a waste, but rather a valuable resource. This is the decade to regard compost as the new gold – black gold that is!

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Written by: Larraine Roulston, Castle Compost
Larraine Roulston authors the Pee Wee at Castle Compost illustrated adventure book series.


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