Maggots in Your Compost? Why It’s Actually a Good Thing – Public Goods Blog

Do you suddenly see tiny flies and worms all over your compost?

grass, dirt, compost, rocks

Yes, those are maggots, but don’t freak out! Typically these wiggly creatures usually cause us to shriek or turn away in disgust. But here’s why it can be a good thing to find maggots in compost — and how to get rid of them if you decide they’re not.

Put simply, maggots are able to break down food waste in a compost pile, making it decompose even faster. Despite the fact that you are dealing with garbage and creepy crawlers, there’s still a certain beauty to composting.

Let’s explore why legless larvae tend to show up in your compost bin, and why you might want to overcome your fears and keep them around.

Source: Maggots in Your Compost? Why It’s Actually a Good Thing – Public Goods Blog

Opinion | America’s Killer Lawns – By Margaret Renkl – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…William DeShazer for The New York Times

“NASHVILLE — One day last fall, deep in the middle of a devastating drought, I was walking the dog when a van bearing the logo of a mosquito-control company blew past me and parked in front of a neighbor’s house. The whole vehicle stank of chemicals, even going 40 miles an hour.

The man who emerged from the truck donned a massive backpack carrying a tank full of insecticide and proceeded to spray every bush and plant in the yard. Then he got in his truck, drove two doors down, and sprayed that yard, too, before continuing his route all around the block.

Here’s the most heartbreaking thing about the whole episode: He was spraying for mosquitoes that didn’t even exist: Last year’s extreme drought ended mosquito-breeding season long before the first freeze. Nevertheless, the mosquito vans arrived every three weeks, right on schedule, drenching the yards with poison for no reason but the schedule itself.

And spraying for mosquitoes isn’t the half of it, as any walk through the lawn-care department of a big-box store will attest. People want the outdoors to work like an extension of their homes — fashionable, tidy, predictable. Above all, comfortable. So weedy yards filled with tiny wildflowers get bulldozed end to end and replaced with sod cared for by homeowners spraying from a bottle marked “backyard bug control” or by lawn services that leave behind tiny signs warning, “Lawn care application; keep off the grass.” “

“No Mow May” Campaign Asks Us to Leave the Lawn Alone Until June to Help Save Bees – ReturnToNow.Net

Not mowing in May results in more flowers and nectar all summer long for struggling pollinators. Wildlife organization urges us to leave lawnmowers locked up until June.

April showers bring May flowers, and if you like food, you should leave those flowers alone.

Not mowing in May results in a greater diversity and number of flowers throughout the summer, a British wildlife organization called Plantlife claims.

The organization conducted an experiment in last year in which hundreds of homeowners agreed not to mow their lawns until June. Participants’ lawns produced a much wider variety of flower species and enough nectar to feed 10 times as many bees as normal lawns.

The longer your grass grows, the greater the diversity of flower species you get, Plantlife found.

Because of this, the organization recommends mowing only once a month at most all summer.

If you can’t wait that long – maybe you want a place to tan or for the kids to play – mow in sections or chunks. Make a cool pattern if you wish. Plantlife suggests a mohawk! Just leave plenty of long patches for the pollinators.”

Source: “No Mow May” Campaign Asks Us to Leave the Lawn Alone Until June to Help Save Bees

composting-pine-needles

Abundant and free in most parts of the country, pine needles are a great source of organic matter for the garden. Whether you use pine needles in compost or as a mulch around your plants, they provide essential nutrients and improve the soil’s ability to hold moisture. Once you know how to compost pine needles, you don’t have to worry about any adverse effects.

Are Pine Needles Bad for Compost?
Many people avoid using pine needles in compost because they think it will make the compost more acidic. Even though pine needles have a pH between 3.2 and 3.8 when they fall from the tree, they have a nearly neutral pH after composting. You can safely add pine needles to compost without fear that the finished product will harm your plants or acidify the soil. Working pine needles into the soil without composting them first may temporarily lower the pH. Another reason why gardeners avoid pine needles in compost is that they break down very slowly. Pine needles have a waxy coating that makes it difficult for the bacteria and fungi to break it down. The low pH of pine needles inhibits the microorganisms in compost and slows down the process even more. Using aged pine needles, or needles that served as mulch for a season, speeds up the process; and chopped pine needles compost faster than fresh ones. Make a mound of pine needles and run over them with a lawn mower several times to chop them. The smaller they are, the faster they will decompose.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Composting Pine Needles: How To Compost Pine Needles https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/composting-pine-needles.htm

via Pine Needles In Compost – Are Pine Needles Bad For Compost

Composting Ashes: Is Ash Good For Compost? – www.gardeningknowhow.com

By Nikki Tilley(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)

“Is ash good for compost? Yes. Since ashes do not contain nitrogen and will not burn plants, they can be useful in the garden, especially in the compost pile. Wood ash compost can be a valuable source of lime, potassium, and other trace elements.

Fireplace Ashes for CompostComposting ashes is an ideal way to put them to use in the garden. Fireplace ashes for compost can be used to help maintain the neutral condition of the compost. It can also add nutrients to the soil. Decomposing materials in the compost pile can become somewhat acidic and wood ash can help offset this, as it’s more alkaline in nature.

However, it may not be a good idea to use charcoal ashes, such as those from grills. Compost with charcoal can have chemical residue from the additives in the charcoal. These chemicals can be harmful to plants, especially when used in large amounts. Therefore, it is better to stick with wood ash—provided that the wood used has not been treated or painted.”

Source: Composting Ashes: Is Ash Good For Compost?

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com