One of life’s simple pleasures
Rumplestiltskin, that not-so-altruistic creature of fairy tale lore, had a knack for spinning straw into gold. His technique was no doubt better for the planet than today’s mining is, but I can’t recall scientists being able to replicate it. Fortunately, gardeners are able to see ‘gold’ as something quite different from the dense, shiny, soft and pliable metal that the king demanded from miller’s daughter (whom he subsequently married on the misguided notion that she was the spinner). This alternative gold is compost – black gold for the garden! And anyone can create it easily from such everyday throw-aways as fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds/tea leaves, grass/plant clippings, and fallen leaves.
There is a good reason why gardening gurus talk non-stop about the value of home composting. It is a simple, organic and economical way to improve and maintain the health of plants. Whether used on lawns, flower or vegetable gardens, or container plants, compost performs a number of essential functions. It helps break down organic matter into plant-available nutrients, enabling plants to grow stronger. It helps the soil retain moisture, so less watering is required. It improves soil structure and can even repair contaminated soil. And, of course, it can help prevent erosion.
An additional benefit of composting is that it reduces the amount of waste going to the dump, where mass decomposition produces methane, a damaging greenhouse gas. As well, it means less transport- and machinery-related pollution. In other words, maintaining a healthy garden contributes to maintaining a healthy planet.
At this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club, Doug Dalquist will talk about the “Magnificent Merits of Composting” and reveal how he goes about it. Doug has been doing the composting at Victoria’s Abkhazi Garden for about a dozen years and, since moving to Sooke two years ago, at the Sun River Allotment Garden as well. His presentation will include displays, discussion, and a question/answer period.
Please join us on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m., in the Sooke Legion Hall.
Note: January marks the start of the Garden Club’s membership year. By joining now, you maximize the benefits of membership: enjoyable and educational presentations by experts at monthly meetings from September through May; summer social events in members’ gardens; six judged parlour shows for learning to exhibit ornamentals and edibles; monthly plant sales; access to the Club’s library; and opportunities to share interests, ideas and experiences. Membership is $15 for the whole year and can be purchased at the door. For more information, e-mail: sookegar firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Jane at 250-646-2573.