Composting ”is” Recycling

Driving through the neighborhood I’ve been noticing so many big green trash bags of “leaves”🍁🍂 curbside for trash pick up. I often wonder why leaves get bagged up.

Leaves can be “recycled” and mulched with a mower which in turn adds moisture back into the soil.

If you are “new to Florida” in general, your lawn or gardens will be glad to utilize dead leaves!! If you are patient, those leaves pretty much disintegrate sitting in our toasting sun, and disappear.The same principle goes for tree branches.

What is “compost”?

As a verb, “to compost” or “composting” refers to the process used to make compost. In general, this process involves mixing together a variety of food wastes, yard wastes, and/or other compounds in proportions that are favorable for the growth and reproduction of bacteria. 

Compost is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it refers to decayed organic matter, which is a fancy term for formerly living things (plant and/or animal) that have been broken down by the feeding of bacteria and other tiny creatures into something that looks more or less like soil. This organic matter (see soil for a discussion of organic matter) is a useful addition to soil, and compost is sometimes talked about as though it were a fertilizer. 

While it does contain nutrients plants need, compost is really more of a soil amendment, whose primary benefit to the soil is an increase in organic matter content rather than a significant increase in the levels of particular nutrients. 

As discussed under soil, higher organic matter yields a number of benefits – higher water retention of the soil, improved retention and availability to plants of any fertilizer that you do apply, increased numbers of soil-dwelling organisms, etc., etc. 

Within the compost “pile” made of these materials, bacteria begin to feed and multiply. These bacteria occur naturally on the surfaces of many living things and do not need to be added to the pile to make composting happen.

The bacteria eat and eat and reproduce and reproduce until most of the readily available nutrients are used up. This process, which can take as little as a few weeks or as long as months (depending on how much or little you manage the pile) usually results in a substantial decrease in volume of the ingredients used to make the initial compost pile. Loss of 40-60% of the volume of your initial pile is not uncommon. If you manage the pile at all well, the material you end up with should look (as mentioned above) and smell more or less like soil.

Why compost? 

There are many reasons. At the most abstract level, composting takes non-toxic materials that would otherwise end up in landfills and returns them to the soil in a useful form. 

Food production should be a closed loop, meaning that food wastes (and perhaps human manure, as well) are returned to the soils used to produce the food to begin with. At present, most food production in the United States represents open loops – food comes from places, and food wastes end up in other places. 

Composting is a small step toward closing food loops. Of more relevance to individual gardeners, compost itself improves garden soils in various ways (as discussed above). Well-managed “hot” composting can kill weeds and any seeds they might be carrying, so it’s a safe way to return the weeds you kill to your garden.

Scientists have also recently begun to document a phenomenon noticed for some time by organic farmers, which is that application of compost to soils can actually help to prevent various plant diseases, particularly fungal ones. Why and how this works is still not very well understood.

For those who like physical work and are seeking “useful” excuses to be outside, building and managing a compost pile can also be just plain fun. 

Pseudo-composting

Some of us prefer “pseudo-composting,” which involves just heaping these materials up out of the way somewhere!

They will decay this way, but more slowly than if you compost them as described below. This form of composting does not necessarily kill weeds or weed seeds and the piles can in fact become homes for more weeds. 

Pseudocomposting with kitchen waste (eggshells, fruit peels, coffee grounds, etc.) can also attract raccoons, possums, and other undesirable pests. To help keep these pests away, you can cover your kitchen wastes with layers of newspaper, cardboard, or leaves.

To be continued….

Attracting Hummingbirds and Butterflies

  • Wildflower establishment requires some important steps:
  • Garden photo by Anna Sarich
    Seeding:  You will want to have good seed to soil contact, broadcasting by hand is a good approach on small plot, may want to mix with an inert carrier, sand or other. Raking in and covering with soil 2-3 times seed thickness.
    Watering: During establishment for the first month, can be from rain in spring or supplement with irrigation. 💦
    Timing: The best time to plant is in spring to early summer and even again in late fall.
    Pretty amazing assortment to get you started on your very own wildflower garden.
    If you plant it, they will come! 🐝🦋
    Click anywhere on the photos for more detail.
    Scatter and enjoy!!!

    FREE SEED KIT WITH PURCHASE TODAY – SUGAR ANN PEAS

    Sugar Ann Peas Purchase info

  • Sweet dwarf “snap peas” are great fresh from the garden, with dips and salads. Also great steamed or stir-fried.
  • Peas grow on 24-30″ vines that doesn’t need support to grow.
  • Produces medium sized green peas with 3″ pods.
  • Excellent flavor and easy to grow.
  • Days to Maturity | 55-70 days

    Pea Seeds | Peas are a cool season vegetable, and do best in a climate where there are two months of cool growing weather, either spring planting in the northern regions or fall planting in the warmer, southern regions. Plant seeds 4″-6″ apart. – Includes Instructions.

  • *LIMIT ONE PER CUSTOMER*

    More about Peas

    Peas are a cool season vegetable, and do best in a climate where there are two months of cool growing weather, either spring planting in the northern regions or fall planting in the warmer, southern regions. They are hardy to frost and light freezes.

    Peas have smooth or wrinkled seeds. Most of the varieties grown are wrinkled seed, since these are sweeter and more flavorful. The advantage of smooth seed is its toughness in withstanding rot in cold, wet soil, although many wrinkled seed varieties are now treated with a mild fungicide to prevent rotting. Plan on an average of 25-60 plants per person depending on how much you want to freeze, dry, or can for winter. Pole and climbing peas produce over a longer period and up to 5 times more than dwarf bush varieties. 

    When to Plant

    The earlier the better. Seeds should be planted in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked. Do not plant in the hot summer months. Where winters are mild, a second fall crop could be planted in late summer, but where the summers are long and hot, this is not practical as the plants do not thrive, producing poor flowers and a disappointing crop. The simplest way to prolong harvest is to plant early, mid season, and late varieties at one time rather than sowing every 2 weeks. Gardeners with mild winters can plant peas in both spring and fall.

    How to Plant

    Plant dwarf varieties about 8 seeds to a foot, about 1/2 – 1″ deep; and in rows 18-24″ apart. Tall-growing varieties should be planted in double rows 4-6 inches apart, 2 1/2 feet between double rows. Supports for climbing vines can be put in at planting time, or just as seedlings are 3 inches high. Peas can cross-pollinate, so for seed-saving, space different varieties at least 150′ apart. Dwarf varieties don’t need a trellis if you plant them close together. For support use twiggy bush, chicken wire fencing, or weatherized trellis netting sold commercially for vine crops.

    Peas have fragile roots and don’t transplant well. While some gardeners recommend presoaking seeds, research has indicated that presoaked legume seeds absorb water too quickly, split their outer coatings, and spill out essential nutrients, which encourages damping-off seed rot. Yields can increase 50-100% by inoculating with Rhizobium bacteria.

    How to Harvest

    Peas are ready to harvest in approximately 60-70 days. When pods of the peas appear to be swelling with rounded pea forms visible, they are ready for picking. Take a test picking every day or so, and note the appearance of the pods with the sweetest peas. If the pods are left on the vines too long, they become tough and starchy. Pick black eyed peas slightly before maturity. They should still be a light green with a purplish eye. They are still easy to shell at this stage and taste delicious. Pick the pods just before cooking, since they, like corn, deteriorate quickly after harvest. Choose a cool morning, not the heat of the day, or just after a cooling rain. The edible pod peas should be picked when the pods are well developed, but before they become swollen with the outline of peas. 

    Peas usually develop from the bottom of the vine up. Pull firmly but gently, and hold the vine with one hand so it is not jarred loose from its support when picking. When peas start to ripen, pick them often, and pull all ripe pods present each time to encourage development of more pods; otherwise the crop stops developing. You can pick peas for about 2 weeks once they start coming. After the harvest, turn under the plant residues to improve the soil.

    Volusia County Tree Ordinance

    Tree Preservation

    PART II – CODE OF ORDINANCES

    Chapter 72 – LAND PLANNING

    ARTICLE III. – LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS

    DIVISION 10. VOLUSIA COUNTY TREE PRESERVATION ORDINANCE

    DIVISION 10. VOLUSIA COUNTY TREE PRESERVATION ORDINANCE [46] Sec. 72-831. Purpose and jurisdiction.

    (a) The county council finds and determines that it is in the best interest of the public health, safety and welfare to protect and preserve trees and enhance tree cover in Volusia County, Florida. The value of trees are many and varied and include, but are not limited to the following:

    (1) Trees are valuable producers of oxygen, a necessary element to the human survival, and serve to reduce the environmentally dangerous carbon dioxide concentration in the air.

    (2) The leaves of the trees trap and filter out ash, dust and pollen in the air.

    (3) Trees may reduce wind velocity and noise levels.

    (4) Trees may prevent erosion by stabilizing the soil through their root system and by breaking the force of raindrops pounding upon soil surfaces.

    (5) Trees reduce the quantity of surface runoff and reduce the percentages of impervious surfaces.

    (6) Trees help purify water by removing the nutrients from waters passing through the ground from the surface to the groundwater table.

    (7) Trees provide shade and transpire water which helps to moderate temperatures and cleanse the air.

    (8) Trees provide food, shelter and essential habitat for wildlife.

    (9) Trees provide valuable visual aesthetics and psychological contrast to the urban environment.

    (10) Trees are a valuable asset and increase the economic and aesthetic value of developed and undeveloped properties.

    Therefore, for the above-described reasons, the county council has determined that it is necessary to enact this division.

    (b) Jurisdiction. This division shall apply to the unincorporated areas of Volusia County, Florida.

    (Ord. No. 02-13, § I, 7-18-02; Ord. No. 2008-25, § III, 12-4-08)

    Sec. 72-832. Penalty.

    (a) Violations of this division are punishable as provided in chapter 1, section 1-7, Code of Ordinances, County of Volusia.

    (b) Any person who violates a provision of this division may be required to replace an affected tree, at the county forester’s option. Application and approval of a tree permit in accordance with the requirements of section 72-836 must be obtained. Replacement stock must be planted within 90 days of permit issuance. The cross sectional area of the replacement stock shall be taken at the tree’s caliper and shall be equal to 150 percent of the cross sectional area of the tree removed. The county forester may reduce the replacement schedule based on the nature of the violation. All other tree replacement provisions of section 72-842 shall apply.

    (Ord. No. 02-13, § I, 7-18-02; Ord. No. 2008-25, § III, 12-4-08)

    Volusia County, Florida, Code of Ordinances Page 1

    To read code in its entirety –

    www.volusia.org/core/fileparse.php/4726/urlt/Division10TreePreservationOrdinance01-30-2014.pdf

    Biblical Herbs: Mints in the Bible

    by Herb Exchange

    Plants are first mentioned in the Bible in the first chapter of the first book: “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind…” (Genesis 1:11). Throughout the ages, the Hebrews have attributed holiness to many species of plants. The Scriptures associate feasts, rites and commandments with many plants and their cultivation. Early written information about herbs is found in the Bible back to the time of Moses or even earlier. In Exodus 12:22 Moses tells the children of Israel how to save their children by using the herb and lamb’s blood. “And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin.” In Numbers 19:6, 18 hyssop is again mentioned. Also, in 1 Kings 4:33 God gave Solomon wisdom, “And he (Solomon)spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall…” Psalms 51:7 refers to this plant: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” While pride is symbolized by the majestic cedar of Lebanon in Jewish tradition, the lowly hyssop represents modesty and humility. At least eighteen plants have been considered for the hyssop of the Bible, but modern botanists have generally agreed that Syrian majoram (Origanum syriacum) is the likely plant. It seems to fit well with these verses. It was used to cleanse homes defiled by leprosy or death and came to symbolize cleanliness. Its fragrance and taste led it to be prized by the ancient Romans and the Greeks before them. Bridges and grooms wore crowns made of marjoram. It was also quite likely prized in the kitchen, as it is now.

    Herbs of the Bible

    In the New Testament a sponge soaked in sour wine or vinegar was stuck on a branch of hyssop and offered to Jesus of Nazareth on the cross (John 19:29). Hyssop-Oregano was often gathered in bunches and used as a brush or sprinkler for Jewish purification rituals.

    Hyssop, Bible Psalms 51:7

    Mint (Mentha longifolia) or horsemint is thought by many Jewish scholars to be the mint referenced by Jesus in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 in His discourse with the Pharisees. It along with anise or dill and cumin grow wild in parts of Palestine, mint being the most common. The Pharisee taxed himself lightly if he paid the tithe of mint, for it was too common and too easily cultivated to be of much worth, even though it was valuable as a medicinal herb. It was one of the plants subjected to the ban on sowing and gathering every seventh year. Jesus’ lesson on hyprocrisy is told by Matthew and again by Luke, and mint is the one herb mentioned by both. The Greek word Heduosmos, or mintha, means “having a sweet smell” and refers to “a sweet-smelling herb or mint.” The plant derives its name from Mintha, a Greek nymph who was transformed into the herb by Persephone after Persephone learned that her husband, Pluto had loved the nymph. Several varieties of mint grew in Israel, but horsemint is the most common and probably the one referred to by Matthew and Luke. Horsemint is still found today in the Holy Land and is cultivated at Aleppo in Syria. It is much larger than the other mints, reaching a height of three feet or more, with lilac flowers. It grows in moist, sunny places where it tends to run wild. It has been confused with Mentha spicata, or spearmint. The Hebrews used mint as a strewing herb at home and in the Temple, prizing its clean and aromatic scent. They served mint at the Spring Passover Feast of the Paschal Lamb, and today it is one of the “bitter herbs” of the paschal feast.

    Bible Herbs: Genesis 1:11

    In Israel the branched inflorescence of the Salvia dominica is one of the several salvias thought to have inspired the design of the menorah, seven-branched candelabra, or lampstand. Other scholars believe Judean sage (Salvia judaica) may have been in view. Judaica is from the Hebrew Yehudah, or Judah, the name given to the mountainous southern part of the land of Israel. The Bible describes God’s instructions to Bezalel of the tribe of Judah, one of Moses’ Israelites, to make an ark, altar and table of acacia wood: And he made the lampstand of pure gold; of hammered work he made the lampstand. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its ornamental knobs, and its flowers were of the same piece…” (Exodus 37:17). Sage had already proven its value as both a flavoring and a medicine, so it is hardly surprising that it appeared in religious symbolism.

    (This article was submitted by Randy, and taken from Randy’s book  “Stop…and Smell The Mints”)  For more information go to https://outskirtspress.com/stopandsmellthemints

    Down the Garden Path Radio

    Easy Care Perennials Podcast
    🌸
    “Listen and surf the web at the same time!”

    https://www.iheart.com/podcast/263-Down-The-Garden-Path-Podca-30526563/episode/gardens-plus-easy-care-perennials-30772990/?embed=true

    Butterfly Bush Care – How To Care For A Butterfly Bush

    Butterfly bushes are grown for their long panicles of colorful flowers and their ability to attract butterflies and beneficial insects. Read this article to learn how to care for a butterfly bush of your own.
    — Read on www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/shrubs/butterfly-bush/butterfly-bush-care.htm

    One of my favorite garden guests is the butterfly. Read this article to take a look at plants that attract butterflies so that you can welcome these flying beauties into your garden too.
    — Read on www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/beneficial/butterfly-garden-plants.htm