Some years ago, I came across the perfect white cotton t-shirt. The fabric was soft and comfortable, the fit was great, and I wore it often. Over time, holes developed. I mended what I could.
The day came when I had to declare the shirt ready for the rag pile. Reluctantly, I pulled out the scissors, and cut my t-shirt into a number of cloth wipes. The wipes served us well, helping us to clean dishes and mop up spills.
Even wipes wear out. When the holes got too big, I added the pieces of cloth to a compost pile in the backyard.
As I turned the pile this spring, the item in the picture got caught up in my pitchfork. I'm used to finding all sorts of hidden treasures in with the composting yard trim, but what was this?!
Thread... a tag... Of course! These were the remains of my t-shirt. At least, what I had in my hands was what was left of the shoulder seam: while the t-shirt fabric was 100% cotton - and had completely decomposed - the thread and tag were apparently not!
The University of Maryland's Home and Garden Information Center recently uploaded a YouTube video on No Till Gardening. It shows how easy it is to turn lawn into garden, and... features Montgomery County's very own Leafgro® as the compost used for the project!
During the week, our Compost Facility bustles with activity. It receives deliveries of the yard trim you've set out at the curb for collection, and workers are busy turning and processing leaves and grass in various stages of becoming LeafGro.
But, early in the morning, before the Facility's workday begins, things are much quieter. Here's a photo taken by a colleague on her way to an assignment:
In addition to the beautiful compost-in-progress within the Compost Facility itself, staff and visitors are greeted by a cheerful patch of wildflowers near the entrance, complete with industriously buzzing bees:
Are you interested in picking up one of our compost bins, but concerned about how you'll get it home?
When set up for use, the bins are roughly 2.5 feet tall, and the same in diameter (the diameter is adjustable).
However, the bins come packaged as tight rolls of approximately 2.5 feet long, and 4 inches in diameter.
So, the roll fits easily into the truck, footwell, or seat of your car.
And, if you're using public transportation? Carrying one bin is no problem. Carrying multiple bins... well, that can get interesting, especially during the rush hour -- I've attempted it! And, while you're on the bus or Metro, you'll find your bin to be a good conversation starter.
Regardless of how you get your bin to your home, happy composting!
Please share your omposting success stories! And, what questions do you have about composting? We'd love to address them in future blog posts!
In addition to many exhibits and activities, we'll be offering tours of our Recycling Center -- tour buses arrive / depart 850 Hungerford Drive every 15 minutes.
Our celebration features two special drop-offs for Montgomery County residents!
Have you been saving papers for the next community shred? We will have on-site shredding provided at no charge by Office Paper Systems (limit 3 paper bags or 1 office paper-sized box of paper per person).
And, bring your unwanted jeans and denim clothing for recycling into insulation for houses in areas of need. The denim collection is a partnership between Cotton Incorporated and Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County ReStore, in collaboration with Amicus Green Building Center.
The leaves are falling from trees in full force! My household had an industrious weekend of raking. The casualties included a snapped rake and some sore muscles. But, we're delighted that our "Vintage 2008" batch of compost is in progress.
If you need a compost bin for your yard, stop in at one of our bin pick-up locations. We've made sure that they are well-stocked for your visit.
Leaf vacuuming collection began on November 3, 2008, and will continue for several weeks. Our colleagues in Highway Services are posting updates on their crews' leaf pickup progress. Also, check out the do's and don'ts that will help keep your neighborhood safe while your leaves await collection, and enable crews to work more efficiently.
When the "Extreme Makeover - Home Edition" show featuring the construction of a home in Poolesville airs on television tonight, keep an eye on the exterior work, too. The landscaping part of the project used Leafgro, produced at our nearby Compost Facility! Here, workers added Leafgro to the planting hole as they installed a tree:
We recently mailed a flyer titled "Compost Happens" to single-family home residents. This mailing has generated lots of phone calls and emails from you to us. Thank you!
Having raked up lots and lots of leaves in and around my own yard over the past two days -- yes, they are finally falling! -- I want to address some of the questions I have fielded from you by phone and email as a result of our mailing.
Your flyer says that compost piles should be located "at least one foot away from any fence". Why?
Following this recommendation can be a challenge, especially in a small yard. But, it's an important recommendation to heed. See, the industrious decomposers in your compost pile are not terribly picky. To them, a piece of dead wood is a piece of dead wood. Whether the wood is question is a twig you've raked up into the compost pile, or a fence post is of little consequence to them. Keeping a little distance between (wooden) fences and compost piles is therefore good practice. For this reason, it is also wise to avoid siting your compost pile right next to your house, garage, or shed.
Now, if your fence or structure is made from a non-decomposing material (recycled plastic, for example!), then there is no problem in putting your compost pile close to it.
Updated August 14, 2012: We no longer use biodiesel fuel for this equipment.
How do you turn your compost pile? A pitchfork works splendidly for backyard composting. But, when you have 77,000 tons of leaves and grass to process, you need a tool that is a bit more robust.
The folks at our Yard Trim Composting Facility in Dickerson, MD, are delighted with their new tool, this bright blue Backhus compost turner. Compared to the turner it replaced, the Backhus is easier to maintain, because it has fewer moving parts. It is also more energy-efficient. And, it cost less money.
Not only does the new machine use less fuel, but it runs on biodiesel.