Monday, September 13, 2010

Go green with brown!

This weekend I decided to start composting. There are different options for how you can do it. Whether you choose a pile, bin, or cage, you just need to make sure the materials can get air, water and proper nutrients (by contributing a variety of waste). Over 20% of waste in Alabamas landfills are organic materials like grass clippings, branches, leaves and fruit/vegtable scraps. I visited the Alabama Cooperative Extension website to learn more about composting in general. They have so many great resources for everything in the residential back yard from gardening to lawn maintenance, tree identification and earth friendly living.

We learned that pretty much anything I mentioned above in addition to egg shells and coffee grounds are perfect for compost. You can add fertilizer to help the process get started but usually the natural microorganisms will do the work on their own. Steer clear of adding meat scraps, bones, oil, grease or anything that might attract unwanted wildlife. And, cut down your branches so there is more surface area to begin decomposing. We are so excited to have rich soil to use in our garden next spring!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rolling out a green carpet!

I love green grass and that's something we lack at our new house. The poor Bermuda just doesn't do well unless it has full sun and good soil. Our soil is almost 100% red clay and we have some big trees so the grass is sparse. But, we have raked up some dirt and moved dirt to places that needed it so we can start with a good base. We've been laying sod in many areas and we plan to aerate, seed and fertilize the areas that have grass.

The sod is great! It's like a rug of soft green grass immediately. We know people who own a turf farm and we are able to pick up scraps for $25 a truckload. It's regularly $40 but we got a discount. I thought we would be getting corners and funny shaped pieces but most of this is perfect! Whatever they leave in the field after they cut is fair game- you just go out, take what you want and load it in your truck. Thank goodness we have friends with trucks or this would be a pretty messy project.

I definately recommend calling your local turf/sod farms to see if they sell scraps. It's great to fill in an area and this place recommended laying Zoysia in the spots that are bare because it will do better with shade than the Bermuda. And, since Zoysia spreads it should blend right in with what we already have. If you have a few friends to help load and unload you can be on your way to a perfect green lawn in no time.