Composting Solutions: Cleaner, Faster Methods to Redefine Rotten with Michelle Balz
Michelle Balz (pronounced Balts) is on the show today and she’s the author of Composting for a New Generation: Latest Techniques for the Bin and Beyond .A long-time backyard composter with a passion for reducing our impact on the planet, Michelle offers laid-back advice for home composters in the Confessions of a Composter blog, teaching classes on backyard composting, and learning everything she can about composting, recycling, reusing, and waste reduction.If you’ve been hesitant to begin composting (worried about appearance, smell, or lack of know how) Michelle points out that advances in technology and in composting science make composting a very doable and positive experience.If you are looking for expert advise on beginning composting or if you are curious about various techniques including traditional bins and piles, vermicomposting, trench composting, black soldier fly larvae composting - and more, Michelle shares it all in today’s episode.
- You can teach children about decomposition and zero waste using the compost pile as a home laboratory.
- Compost makes great soil to cultivate healthy plants. Compost stimulates the creation of soil particle clusters and that creates better soil structure - complete with healthy air pockets and channels that connect all the soil particle clusters.
- Compost decreases the need to use chemicals and fertilizers. Plus, it naturally reduces weeds.
- It's good old compost that fosters diverse life in the soil - from worms and fungi to bugs and birds.
- Additionally, you can conserve water with compost by improving water retention and decreasing run off.
- Compost is a fantastic way to prevent erosion and promote strong root systems in plants.
- Finally, you can reduce waste. By composting, you are diverting food waste from landfills. Yaaaaas! An EPA study performed showed that upto a quarter of all landfill waste could be composted instead of being sent to the landfill. That's incredible. Imagine... 25 percent of all waste could be turned into black gold.
- If it grows, it goes. Michelle says this, too. If the item you are considering adding to your compost pile was once part of a plant, it goes in the compost. So, the aloe leaf that helped treat my burn last week, will end up in the compost pile - not in the garbage. It sure feels good to know plant cuttings and stems can still be of use.
- Nothing green or brown leaves the property. This saying is from Peggy Anne Montgomery (SG553). We were talking about training helpers in the garden and this saying teaches that plants throughout their entire lifecycle have a role to play in the garden.
- Speaking of green and brown, the ingredients for composting can be classified into two different color categories – green and brown materials. Green material is usually of a high moisture content and is rich in nitrogen. Green materials include any grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps or peelings, coffee grounds, tea bags, feathers, and egg shells. Brown material acts as your dry material and is rich in carbon. brown material includes dried leaves, newspaper, wood chips, shredded paper, stray and haw, sawdust, cardboard, kitchen and toilet roll tubes - and money. In fact, many tons of old US paper money - called dirty money by the Federal Reserve Bank - is mulched into compost every day.
Thanks for Listening!
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What Listeners Are Saying...
I never write reviews but this is the best gardening podcast out there. Jennifer has interesting topics and guests and is not one bit annoying like some others are. I love that she involves her kids at the end of the podcast - usually with poetry or music. Really good podcast.
- Barbcfc, Mar 23, 2016
Still Growing is one of the reliably informative gardening podcasts from North America. The format consists of an intro (personal gardening status chat, seasonal remarks), an extended interview with a guest, and an outro with funny outtakes, side remarks, and some chatter (poems, readings) from the host's children. The podcast is focused on reliable knowledge - the guests are typically experts like academics, master gardeners, gardening entrepreneurs or public garden leaders. The intro and especially the outro give it a homey feel. Given I live in the high northern region, just a little below the Polar Circle, I'm always looking for more cold-weather oriented gardening information. Jennifer Ebeling is in Minnesota, so that's helpful to me! Vegetable gardening (my main interest) gets a good share, but is not predominant. Most topics transcend your specific gardening interest and are applicable to many styles: landscaping principles, vermicomposting, greenhouses. The episodes are typically an hour long, which is just fine for me.
- cwaigl, May 29, 2014
Best gardening podcast out there. Her preparedness leads to a good interaction with the guests and brings out the best in them. Very informative and yet personable.
- Corn bug, June 15, 2016
This is a great podcast. Really well produced and organized with good sound quality. I love the mix of information and personal touches. Jennifer has great guests and asks the best questions. You can tell she really does her homework. I listen to several gardening podcasts and this is my absolute favorite!
- So Cal Gardengirl, June 19,2016
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