compost

Yard care tips for the fall

Yard care tips for the fall
Fall is one of the best times to improve your lawn, trees, shrubs, and garden. The basic maintenance you do during this “second spring” will pay off in healthier growth and fewer problems next year.

 

Mulch Your Trees

Now is the time to add a layer of mulch around your trees. In the winter, mulch insulates the roots and provides nutrients. It helps the soil retain moisture, too. Even large and old trees benefit from adding a ring of mulch.

 
The mulch should not touch the base of the tree.

Mulch should not touch your tree.



  Apply mulch to a ring around the tree trunk. Remember the Rule of 3:
  • The mulch ring should extend 3 feet out from the trunk
  • The mulch should start 3 inches from the trunk so that no mulch touches the tree; and
  • The mulch should be 3 inches deep (but not more).

For a guide on how to apply mulch properly, visit mygreenmontgomery.org/mulch.

 

Start Organic Lawn Care

A beautiful lawn next spring starts with simple actions you can take this fall.

Learn from your soil. Whether it’s through weeds, or empty patches, the look of your lawn tells you about the health of the soil. The soil should be loose and teeming with life too small to see—if your lawn is suffering, start with aerating your lawn, adding compost, re-seeding, and leaving all your grass and leaf clippings as a source of nutrients.

Lawn Mower by Martin Cathrae, flickr

Sharpening your blades is good for your lawnmower and the grass. Leave grass clippings on your lawn to cycle nutrients. Photo by Martin Cathrae, flickr.



Replace your “weed and feed” chemicals with grass seed. Fall is the perfect time to restore bare patches of lawn with seed—do this every year to fill in your lawn, because a strong carpet of grass will keep weed seeds from germinating.

3 ways to prep your lawn for winter.
  1. Dethatch (remove thick mats of dead grass down at the ground level).
  2. Aerate the soil (add small holes) to allow water and nutrients to penetrate.
  3. Add compost.
Download our fall organic lawn care guide.
Visit our new organic lawn care website

 

Recycle Your Yard Trim

During the fall, your yard becomes covered with leaves. What should you do with these leaves and other types of yard trim?

Hands holding compost

Black gold



Compost It. Take leaves, grass clippings, and garden prunings, and recycle them into a nutrient-rich soil amendment, better known as “black gold” or compost.

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection provides compost bins at no additional charge to residents of the County.  Simply add leaves, grass clippings, and garden prunings into the compost bin, add water, and mix the materials periodically. Then, let nature do its thing.  Over time, microorganisms will feed on the organic material, leaving you with compost you can add to your soil.

Recycle Yard Trim Properly. If you receive Montgomery County-provided recycling collection service, and you don’t have the space to compost, place your yard trim out for weekly curbside recycling collection.  The County collects yard trim year-round. Place yard trim in paper yard trim bags, in reusable containers labeled with a yard trim sticker, or bundle with twine.  Please note, yard trim cannot be placed in plastic bags.

For more information about the County’s yard trim recycling program or where to get a compost bin, visit montgomerycountymd.gov/yardtrim or call 3-1-1 or 240-777-0311.

 
Image of Recycling bins and yard trim

Place yard trim out for pickup

 

Come to a Screening of Wasted!: The Story of Food Waste

Come to a Screening of Wasted!: The Story of Food Waste
You’re invited to a screening of the documentary Wasted!: The Story of Food Waste at the Bethesda Landmark Theaters. The screening will be followed by a discussion and Q & A with local food waste experts. This screening is brought to you by Montgomery County, Bethesda Green and the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital.

 

The Details:



  Share the event flyer. 

Featured Speakers:

After the screening, we are pleased to welcome these amazing speakers to talk about what individuals, businesses and the Montgomery County community can do about food waste.

Maryanne Culpepper is the Executive Director of the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital and an award-winning writer/filmmaker with extensive experience in developing, writing and producing high-profile documentaries and nonfiction series.  She is the former President of National Geographic Studios, where she oversaw development and production of 100+ hours of factual programming annually. She recently coproduced Vamizi: Cradle of Coral, a film on the coral reefs of Mozambique, now in international distribution, as well as video and editorial content for a traveling exhibition for science museums. She is an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs and serves on the Advisory Council for the Cuba Environmental Film Festival and for Women in Film and Video. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and an Affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Cheryl Kollin is the Program Director of Community Food Rescue, a program of Manna Food Center in Montgomery County, Maryland. Community Food Rescue, takes a systems approach to reducing wasted food and increasing good food to people experiencing hunger. Cheryl is a business consultant in local sustainable food systems. She earned her MBA in sustainable business from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute. She’s a founding member of the Montgomery County Food Council.

Dan Keiper, currently the Sodexo Dining Services Operations Manager atAsbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, MD., has been involved in senior dining since his entry into the work force in 1978.  Prior to his coming AMV, Daniel, who is a graduate of George Mason University, has been in management roles in senior communities around the D,.C. area such as Manor Care Arlington, Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads, the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Knollwood, and the Jefferson by Sunrise.

Tanya Spandhla was born and raised in Zimbabwe. Growing up, her parents instilled in her the importance of growing your own produce. It is from this upbringing that inspired her to develop a passion for farming. After exploring numerous opportunities on how she could continue gardening in the US she became a member and active participant of the Montgomery Community Gardening in Germantown, MD since 2010. In 2015, she became part of the New Farmer Pilot Project program initiated by the Montgomery County Dept. of Agriculture in conjunction with the Montgomery Countryside Alliance through the Land Link program. She is in her third year of growing a wide range of vegetables & grains catering to the ever-changing diversity and appetite of Montgomery County and beyond. She has a 3-acre leased farm, which is meaningfully & fittingly named “Passion to Seed Gardening.” Besides farming, Tanya works for an IT company in Rockville.

Janet Ranganathan is the Vice President for Science and Research at the World Resources Institute (WRI), an action-oriented global research organization that works in more than 50 countries. She ensures WRI’s research is robust and its strategies evidence-based. She is a co-author of the World Resources Report, Creating a Sustainable Food Future which defines a menu of scalable solutions for how the world can adequately feed more than 9 billion people by 2050 while advancing economic development and reducing pressure on the environment.

 

Brought to You By: New Bethesda Green Logo Logo of the Environmental Film Festival            

Leafgro is switching to 100% sugarcane bioplastic packaging!

Leafgro is switching to 100% sugarcane bioplastic packaging!
The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has taken another step to protect the environment. DEP will partner with Braskem’s I’m Green™ polyethylene (PE) and ProAmpac’s Trinity Packaging Division to provide packaging for the County’s compost product, Leafgro®. The new wrapping is a sustainable resource made from sugarcane.

“I made the commitment to improving the County’s environment a priority for my administration,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “Adopting this more environmentally-responsible packaging product reflects this commitment, as well demonstrating the County’s embrace of the Governor’s Sustainable Materials Management Policy. I commend DEP and the Division of Solid Waste Services for their leadership in achieving this important accomplishment.”

Leafgro® is made from composted leaves and grass collected from around the County which is converted into a soil conditioner. If not for the composting option, the leaves and grass clippings used to make the rich organic compost would be combusted.

  Leafgro Logo

  Leafgro® brand compost, is sold throughout the U.S. mid-East Coast in “big box” stores and in select home and garden centers. Once our composting facility has worked through its existing stock of regular (fossil-based) bags, Leafgro® will begin to be sold to distributors in its new, plant-based packaging — early April, 2018.

The partnership with Braskem and ProAmpac ensures that future Leafgro® packaging will be 100% based on I’m Green sugarcane bioplastic. This means it is produced from renewable resources that are carbon negative to help the County reduce its carbon footprint.

“This Department’s mission is to continue to be a leader in managing municipal solid waste. Being a leader means continuing to innovate and to move the County forward in environmentally-responsible ways,” said DEP Acting Director Patty Bubar.

Different types of compost

Old Leafgro packaging. Image by UMD Extension



“The composting operation we manage in conjunction with our partner, Maryland Environmental Service, has continued to be an innovator – reflected in their ISO 14001: 2015 certification. Decisions about the materials that are part of the composting process, and the materials we use to package the finished product are both part of our ‘lifecycle’ approach to waste management. The ability to adopt plant-based packaging for our Composting materials is a major step forward as we continue to look for the most environmentally-responsible methods to recycle materials that would otherwise wind up in the trash.”

For more information on the DEP composting program, go to the Montgomery County Yard Trim Composting Facility.

Waste not? Not quite – Attempting a day without waste

Waste not? Not quite – Attempting a day without waste
The U.S. is known for producing blockbuster films, fast food and a really insane amount of trash. We make up less than 5% of the world’s population yet generate 15-20% of its waste. Bottom line? The average U.S. citizen produces 2,076 pounds of trash per year. Whether you blame it on our affinity for consumption, the built-to-break approach to modern manufacturing or our never-ending quest for convenience, it’s clear that our habits are far from sustainable. In an effort to reassess our personal contributions to this gargantuan problem, The Pegs (The staff at Roundpeg Benefit LLC) decided to follow in the footsteps of fellow B Corp Sustrana and try for A Day Without Waste. To participate, we all kept track of what we reused, recycled and threw away. Continue reading →