||Sonia Uyterhoeven is Gardener for Public Education. Join her each weekend for home gardening demonstrations on a variety of topics in the Home Gardening Center.
This week we’ll celebrate Earth Day by focusing on sustainable practices. In the Home Gardening Center from Thursday through Sunday we’ll present demonstrations on composting, compost teas, vermicomposting, and vegetable gardening.
You can greatly improve your soil by adding compost to your garden, as I wrote in last week’s blog.
Compost can be added any time, but is usually applied in the spring and often repeated in the fall after garden cleanup. Spread a half-inch to an inch of compost around your trees, shrubs, and perennials, on your lawn, and in your annuals and vegetable gardens. In established gardens, spread the compost on top of the soil, where it will eventually seep into the ground below; or you can lightly fork it over. This will improve the first 6–15 inches.
Shredded leaves are a cheap and easy way to add organic matter to your garden. They decompose quickly and add nutrients to the soil. To shred the leaves, run your lawn mower over them or use a leaf shredder. Leaves that aren’t shredded take longer to break down and if too thick can become matted, impenetrable clumps. Remember to use caution when using a leaf shredder or any powered equipment. Avoid wearing dangling scarves or loose clothing.
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