Montgomery Botanical Gardens Composting Class Draws Enthusiastic Crowd

On a gray, gloomy February Saturday, an enthusiastic crowd gathered to watch Master Gardener Karin Carmichael explain the mystery of making rich, nutritious  composting soil to create black gold for the garden. What had seemed complicated and difficult before the class became simple and environmentally friendly as Karin showed participants how to use what they have on hand to enrich their gardens.

MBG board members Ann Oldham and Charlene Thomas register participants.

Beginning by establishing the need for composting, Karen informed participants that Alabama generates 2.6 million tons of solid waste annually, breaking down to about 2.5 tons of garbage for the average family of four. Nearly half a ton of that garbage is yard waste that can be composted. Karin emphasized that the magnitude of solid waste production is presenting disposal problems in sanitary landfills.

Some of the things that produce good compost include:

  • Kitchen scraps—apples, cabbages, carrots, celery, grapefruit, lettuce, onions, oranges, pears, pineapple, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, turnips, coffee grounds and eggshells;
  • Yard wastes—grass clippings, leaves, weeds, and prunings less than 6 inches in diameter from residences or businesses.

Things that should not be composted are:

  • Fat—butter, bones, cheese, chicken, fish, lard, mayonnaise, meat, milk, peanut butter, salad dressing, sour cream, vegetable oil and yogurt.

Participants Elaine Gault and Yvonne Elmore

Karin showed participants the correct organic components of a compost pile and mixed them during her presentation. She discussed how and when to aerate the mixture, and she offered tips on how to best use the compost mix. She also suggested using items already found around the house rather than purchasing expensive commercial tools to create the compost mix.

Cathy Maddox assists in preparing compost

Montgomery Botanical Gardens will host its next class, Trees & Shrubbery: Backyard Wildlife Habitat, to be taught by City of Montgomery Urban Forester, Russell Stringer, in the Outdoor Classroom at Oak Park on Saturday, March 9 at 10:00 am. Seating is available, but participants may wish to bring folding chairs.

Leave a Comment