Composting: From Grand Scale to Your Back Yard
In this episode we find Patti and Joe crossing the country joining Nathan in Seattle, Washington to put you in touch with one of the greatest soil amendments nature has to offer: Compost.
Joe gets the grand, behind the scenes tour of the largest composting facility of it’s kind in the world. Cedar Grove Composting has had its roots in the waste management industry since 1938. The family owned business is now home to 250 employees whose job it is to convert mountains of grass, leaves, trimmings, yard waste, food waste, and wood waste into nutrient-rich finished compost made available to the public in a variety of ways. They have perfected the magical process of transforming matter that would simply clog landfills, straining the environment and turning it instead into gardeners’ best friend.
But you don’t need mountains of waste to enrich the soil in your own landscape. Joe and Nathan meet up with Patti at Seattle Tilth for a lesson on just how easy it is to compost at home. This nationally recognized organization educates anyone willing to learn about proper gardening techniques and seeks to inspire people to garden organically and preserve our natural resources.
There are classes for adults and children, workshops, demonstration gardens and the popular Master Composter/Soil Builder program. Master Composters develop the skills to bring their expertise to the community as a key part of Seattle’s waste reduction and recycling efforts.
When your soil is healthy so then is the bounty from it. Chef Nathan showcases a popular root crop, beets, where he roasts them to perfection in an easy to make recipe you’ll want to try at home.
This is my cry for help. I have stink weed in my flower gardens. I brought it home with free mulch from the city about 7 years ago. This particular weed has a long thin white root that ends about 12-15″ from the top at a white carrot looking head. I have dug it up, pulled it by hand, tilled it up after pulling everything else out and put a week killer on it. It just traveled to another bed. I really don’t want to dig up all the flowers again and would really like something that I can just spray on. It has gone wild and is even in the grass around my beds. I have been fighting it diligently for about 5 years. I need help.
Joe Lamp'l says
It is especially frustrating when you introduce a weed to your garden from a source of mulch or soil. Unfortunately, weeds like the one you describe are adaptable and successful, often growing in soils where other plants would languish. From your experience it sounds as if herbicides (chemical weed controls) have not been effective and I would not recommend them. There is no easy answer but it may be worth carefully digging up the desirable plants and making sure there are no white weed roots in the soil around them. Hand pulling is effective if you pull the weeds before they set seeds. (the seeds will spread and create more weeds.) I would not rototill the soil, this just spreads the roots around and seeds if there are any. If you dig up a bed with
plants, you could cover it with a 2 inch layer of newspaper and let it sit for several months. For the areas of lawn where the weed has spread, keep mowing it down and this will greatly reduce its vigor. If your soils are healthy and well drained this will also help. I would work on getting rid of this tenacious pest one bed at a time. Best of luck.
Julie McElroy says
Wouldn’t miss your show so I record it and watch some episodes again. This one on composting was great. I compost everything possible and also have a worm bin in my basement where it survives our below freezing temperatures. One tip worth mentioning is that the worm compost will contain viable seeds so if you don’t want surprises (I like them) in your vegetable garden you should avoid adding items with seeds into your bin.
Thanks for making all this great information readily available to the public.
Great site, hope you can help me.
I have a 8′ by 8′ wire fenced area where I am trying to compost oak leaves and grass clippings. Added top soil and cut up veg.waste but it is not breaking down a year later. Seems to have decent air flow and gets rained on??
Any help will be appreciated. Have thought of buying earth worms?
Alicia Lorance says
Thanks for the tips on composting. I have never composted and am thinking of starting. I wasn’t really sure what to do, but the Seattle Tilth segment helped, as well as articles on the website. Thank you so much for what you all are doing.
Rose Terry says
Wonderful show! Great info, but unfortunatley this company has added a HORRIBLE smell to our neighborhood and is lowering the value of our homes because of it….. wish there was a way to correct this!
Oh NO Rose! This is a good news / bad news comment. We’re really glad to hear you like the show but so sorry to hear the composting matter is creating quite the stench around the hood. I hope there is some way to resolve that problem and I’m sure it’s not an easy answer. In the mean time, I guess you’ll have to stay inside and watch more of our episodes. Thanks again for the comment and I really do hope the smell problem gets resolved!
Thank you. I appreciate you allowing myself and others to review your show. I will continue to watch on the tv, as well as internet. Keep it GREEN!