Every thing You Must Know About Eco-Pleasant Gardening

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If more people are gardening during the pandemic, why not use some of your food waste or leaves from your garden wisely?

How is your garden growing? Pretty good if you are among the millions of Americans who discovered or rediscovered gardening during the pandemic. “We’ve seen a growing need to connect with nature,” said Lisa McDonald Hanes, co-owner of Redbud Native Plant Nursery in Media.

Modern gardeners want to maintain their plots in an environmentally friendly way. This is where composting comes in. Rescued from the hippie-dippie exile of the 1970s, composting has been re-embraced as “a way to cure and make a better system,” says Hanes.

To the uninitiated, composting is the way organic matter – food scraps, leaves, even animal hair – naturally breaks down and becomes fertilizer. According to Mother Compost, the local company founded by Gwenn Nolan in 2018, the average American dumps 30 pounds of trash every week. At least 20 percent of this is organic material that could be composted. “The leftover food we eat still has nutritional value and essential nutrients that can be returned to the soil,” says Nolan.

Composting prevents biodegradable organic waste from ending up in landfills and unnaturally rot, creating greenhouse gases such as methane. “We have to get the nutrients back into the soil,” says Nolan. “Soil health is so important to our health.”

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The nutrient-rich and chemical-free compost is relatively easy to produce. There are two types of composting – cold and hot – and the right proportion of ingredients is necessary to start the chemical process. Backyard composting is easy with bins available at home and garden stores. Some communities have composting centers with collection points for organic material.

Many main liners use Mother Compost, Nolan’s subscription-based service. Customers are given a certain number of bins for their waste. Mother Compost Trucks pick them up every two weeks and deliver clean empties. These rubbish-filled bins totaled more than 430,000 pounds of scrap at the last count. They are transported to Linvilla Orchards in Media, where the compost is made. Each subscriber receives up to 60 pounds of compost in the spring, in time for planting.

In its first two years in business, Mother Compost had 500 subscribers from Bala Cynwyd to Devon – and 2020 was a stellar year for Nolan. “Seeds were sold out almost everywhere, and [orders for] Compost flew, ”she says.

Composting has numerous advantages. “If you garden with your own composted soil, you will likely use less weed control and bug sprays,” says Melissa Mattingley, nursery manager and buyer at Main Line Gardens in Malvern.

Nolan adds: “[Composting] means we don’t have to use so many synthetic chemicals and all those things that go into agriculture. “

When it comes to composting and gardening, many traditions are passed down from grandparents to grandchildren. “It can help you stay fit, flexible, and in tune with the natural cycles of life,” says McDonald, adding that the combination of gardening and composting is a “natural health cycle.”

Gardening is strangely addicting, especially when compost is used as fertilizer. “You get bigger and better plants,” says Mattingley.

For Nolan it is a “grounding, therapeutic exercise – especially since we are increasingly spending a lot of time with technology and feeling this separation from nature”.

“We have to get the nutrients back into the soil. Soil health is so critical to our health. ”—Mother Composts Gwenn Nolan

McDonald advises green fingers to start slowly. “Don’t be intimidated into thinking you have to do too much research and know too much,” she says. “A park group or another garden group is a good start.”

The location is the key. Sun exposure determines whether plants thrive – and some require more work than others. “Gardening can be very maintenance-intensive,” says Mattingley. “But there are also low-maintenance systems.”

The same goes for composting. “Where you put your compost bin affects how it affects you,” says Nolan.

Related: Growing an edible garden offers both physical and mental health benefits