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Lewes, Delaware
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January 8, 2008     Cape Gazette
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January 8, 2008

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20 - CAPE GAZETTE - Tuesday, January 8 - Thursday, January 10, MI08 ! GARDEN & FARM By composting our lawn and garden waste along with kitchen scraps we will be able to use that dark, rich, earth-smelling organic material to improve our soil structure. My re000000,lution: to do a better j.,b of composting I put together my list of new year's resolutions. Not to be boastful, but I'm pretty good at keeping those resolutions. The reason for my yearly success is that I make resolutions that are obtainable -not lose weight, exercise more or get better organ- ized for me. Rather, I make a lit- fie list of specific projects that I know I will be able to accom- plish. Is that cheating? Heading the list, this year, is to do a better job of composting. Composting is the most practical and convenient way to handle our yard wastes. I'd rather use this waste product than send it to those ever-expanding landfills in Sussex County. I bet I can reduce the material I send to the landfill by 50 percent! How about you? By composting our lawn and garden waste along with kitchen scraps we will be able to use that dark, rich, earth-smelling organic material to improve our soil struc- ture. Adding this crumbly humus to our garden is a great way to. improve water retention and drainage and add nutrients. The addition of compost to the garden soil will enable the plants to develop a stronger, deeper root system. Compost will reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and mulches, reducing chemical run- off into our streams and bays. The added bonus of saving money is okay too! There are many different com- posters on the market, or you can make your own out of heavy-duty chicken wire or snow fence. Simply wrap the wire or snow fence around four posts pounded in the round for supjoort. Choose. $b:efh-9b-tuare site, fiat and GARDEN JOURNAL Mary Sue Colaizzi well-drained. A location of light shade is best that is 20 feet away from the near- est house. Make sure your com- post pile is within reach of the garden hose. Simply remove the wire or fence when the compost- ing is compete and you,re ready to go. Alternating the types of materi- al that you add to the compost pile will speed up the decomposition process. Four- to six-inch layers of high-carbon products (leaves, straw, woodchips) alternated with high-nitrogen material (vegetable waste, grass clippings, poultry manure) decompose more quick- ly. Anything that was once alive can be composted - no Wash or plastic. Turning, chopping or shredding these materials will produce a fin- ished product in two to three months. Materials that should not be added to the compost pile are: bones, pet waste, dairy products, fish or meat scraps, or diseased , plants__ t th__em in._e_arbage to go off to the landfill. You can get started on your compost pile immediately but the bacteria activity will be minimal dining the winter months. It will start to cookup with the arrival of the warmer spring weather. During the summer, keep the pile moist and turn the pile every week or two. Mixing will control the odors and aerate the compost pile. ff you don't turn your pile, the compost should be ready in about a year. Finished compost Can be spread in a layer of three to four inches over our entire vegetable gardens and then worked into the soil. Or if you have manufactured only a small amount of compost, simply place a handful of compost in each transplaht hole. Compost can be used as a top dressing for perennials, trees and shrubs instead of mulch but must be replenished several times dur- ing the summer as it will continue decomposing in the garden. If you have a garden, trees, shrubs, garden containers or even house plants, you have a use for composL You might as well get in the composting habit as eventually our waste management compa- nies will not be collecting lawn or garden debris. Mary Sue Colaizzi is a master gardener with The Delaware Cooperative Extension and recipient of the Sussex County Master Gardener of the Year 2007 Award. She has been a gardener in Rehoboth Beach for the last two decades. Address questions or comments to Mary Sue Cqlz.zj_ _ c/q _ newsfpgm - @caRe : Master Gardeners to offer workshops The Sussex County Master Gardeners of Delaware Cooperative Extension for both Delaware State University and University of Delaware have announced their workshop sched- ule for the first half of 2008. The workshops are being held at the Sussex County Extension office at the Carvel Research and Education Center and in the Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden. The workshops are free except where noted. In addition to the presentation- style workshops, the Master Gardeners are inviting the public to work or visit with them in their garden, 9 -11 a.m., Tuesday, April 15, May 20, and June 17. Participants should bring gloves and favorite hand tools. The Carvel Research and Education Center (REC) is locat- ed on Route 9, five miles west of Georgetown. The garden is just behind the Carvel Building Call Karen Adams at 856-2585, Ext. 540 to register for the work- shops and let her know of any spe- cial needs. Classes held indoors include the following: Square Foot Gardening - 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22. Fred Silva will teach the latest in Square Foot gardening devel- oped by Mel Bartholomew. Revised concepts promise the joys of gardening to everyone including those deprived of that pleasure by space limits or inabil- ity to bend or work in a "regular" garden. It is easy to understand, user friendly, e, conomical, easy to protect from pests and weather, efficient, earth friendly and involves no weeding, thinning or heavy digging. Bird Feeders - 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 5. Nancy Davis will discuss more than one way to feed the birds. Find out when to feed, what to feed and where to feed; learn the different ways to feed and attract many feathered friends. Fruit Tree Care 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19. Derby Walker covers how to raise high-quality peaches, pears and apples in your own backyard. The class will give tips on how to successfully produce tree fruits. Varieties, tree selection, pest management, pruning, fruit thinning and how to harvest ripe Continued on page 22 Buchanan to address Friends of Agriculture Gale Buchanan, the U.S. Department of Agriculture under- secretary of agriculture, will be the guest speaker at the Friends of Agriculture Breakfast, to be held Friday, Jan. 11, in Harrington. Buchanan is appearing as a spe- cial guest in conjunction with the celebration of Delaware Ag Week, which runs Jan. 7-12. Buchanan will speak about "Ag Research," Education & Extension: A New Paradigm." Before becoming the undersecre- tary of agriculture, Buchanan served as the dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Science. He also devoted more than 20 years of his professional career to weed research and teaching at Auburn University. "I couldn't be more pleased that Undersecretary Buchanan is join- ing us for the Friends of Ag Breakfast and Delaware Ag Week," said Jan Seitz, associate dean and director of the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension. "His insights will help everyone who is involved in Delaware agri- culture to deal with the challenges and opportunities that change brings." The Friends of Agriculture Breakfast is just one of many activities taking place during Delaware Ag Week. Other events include meetings and workshops about such topics as grain market- ing, crop pollination, agronomy, organic farming and forestry. An Ag Issues Forum will be held immediately following the Ag Breakfast, at 9 a.m. For a com- plete schedule of Delaware Ag Week events, go to ule.htm. The Friends of Agriculture Breakfast will be held at the Harrington Fire Co., beginning at 7:15 a.m. Registration is $15. For more information, or to register, call Alice Moore at 302-831- 2504.