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by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

One of the great things about working at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is that as a staff we are always learning.  Our weekly staff meetings might be just as likely to include a PowerPoint presentation on LewisG Ginter & the Civil War,  how to use Outlook more efficiently, or Hort  University: The Life Beneath Your Feet (all about soils). Today’s presentation was the later — all about soils.  After shooting off a few tweets from the meeting with facts I was learning,  I got a response from Laura McLay (@lamclay) who wanted to know if we had some tips on composting for people who are busy or lazy  to share with the rest of the compost-loving world.
Well,  Laura, I emailed Shannon Smith, our horticulturist & resident soil expert and asked her if she would share some  more of her wonderful knowledge & advice with us.  She hasn’t gotten back to me yet, but in the mean time, here are a few things to get you started: A do it yourself compost bin, composting with kids (a 1-minute video) and (if you can spare the time) a class all about soil.

Do it Yourself Compost Bin

Making your own compost bin can help reduce the cost of gardening. All you need is a lidded, heavy-duty plastic garbage can and a drill. From the top to the bottom, drill small holes every three
inches along the lid, sides and base. Place the can in a well-ventilated area that is protected from strong winds and direct sunlight. Fill the container over time with layers of green leaves, grass clippings and non-meat, non-dairy kitchen scraps, etc. Turn the compost occasionally, and add water periodically to keep it moist. Eventually the layers will decompose, forming rich compost that’s ideal for use in garden and landscapes.

Composting with kids! 

I made this video one day when I was hanging out with some of the children visiting the Children’s Garden on a field trip.  If you have enough room to make a 3-bin system, this would probably be a faster, better way to compost than the DIY project above.

And if you can spare the time, consider taking out soils class with garden volunteer Hugh Rooney.  Hugh is  a really nice guy & a wonderful teacher.  He is a long-time volunteer, and a soil specialist.  There are still a few spots left in the class.

Building Good Garden Soil

Saturday, November 12, 9 am – 12 pm

Everything starts with the soil, and late fall / winter is a good time to begin building your soil for spring gardening! Learn the characteristics of basic soil types, and how to analyze your own soils. Soil types and characteristics, amendment techniques, drainage, and more are discussed. Receive a soil test kit to start you on the quest for the perfect soil for your garden!

Register: $41 / $30 member

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