17 July 2008

I'd like to propose a compost

I have a dear, dear friend whose yard is his pride and joy. The photo above is not his yard, though I wish it were. Hah! Anyhow, despite my incessant demands that he replace his resource-intensive and inefficient lawn, he persists. Like a lot of people, he spreads fertilizers on said lawn and then basks in the glory of an all-American patch 'o green surrounding his home when they kick in. Then, just like a lot of people, he cuts and trims that now lush and full lawn then throws away the clippings. So the nitrogen and potash and phosphate he spends all that money and effort on in their powdered form go into the trash in their grass clipping form. That makes no sense to me. Why not just buy a bag of fertilizer and then set it out in the trash immediately and save the effort extended on the intermediate steps?

What he could be doing is composting that yard waste. By composting his yard waste, he'd preserving some of his investment in fertilizers. All of that nitrogen and potash and phosphate he used to throw away would end up in his compost. When he spread his compost around his yard later, he could forgo the additional fertilizers. Once he started composting his palm fronds, oak leaves and kitchen scraps, he could forgo buying the tons of cypress mulch he buys every year too. Generating your own slow-release, non-toxic fertilizer and mulch. Imagine!

Well, he doesn't have to imagine and neither does anyone else. Enter the ComposTumbler, a device that's been around for 40 years. The ComposTumbler is made in Lititz, PA --a stone's throw from another picturesque little town in PA that begat me. The ComposTumbler comes in four sizes and each size has a specific indication and application. My beloved friend from the beginning of this post is a prime candidate for the Compact ComposTumbler. A model made for the home gardener. Slick urbanite that I am; if I had a yard I'd be the first in line for a Back Porch ComposTumbler. That's a model made specifically for the urban gardener. The original ComposTumbler is for the serious gardener and the ComposTumbler 2 is for continuous composting. Check out their website and consider a ComposTumbler of your very own.

Re-using your yard waste after composting it makes perfect sense from an economic standpoint. And you needn't be a member of the Sierra Club to realize that spreading fertilizers on a lawn that's near a body of water is a recipe for fertilizer run-off. That's something that you needn't be a Sierra Club member to admit is an undesirable thing. If you insist on keeping a lawn, use your head about it. Composting is a good start. Making use of rainwater and graywater recapturing is another great start. But let's start with the basics --buy a composter.

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