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Earth Friendly: Digging up some dirt, good dirt, that is

By By Marie Lester
Aug. 23, 2012 at 3:23 a.m.

Marie Lester

I never realized the value of good dirt until I threw my amaryllis bulb, that hadn't bloomed in three years, into the compost pile. I thought - "this no good bulb won't ever make a flower." A few days later, I looked out my kitchen window and behold - a bright pink flower stood tall above the compost mound. Now, I believe.

So, what is good dirt? Good dirt has just the right amount of nutrients, air space, moisture content and beneficial soil life. If the dirt on your property is not so good, try composting.

Composting is the controlled decomposition (decay) of organic material, such as yard trimmings, kitchen scraps, wood shavings, cardboard and paper. Composting is a lot like following a recipe - you combine the right amount of ingredients (those listed above are just examples), stir it around a little bit, wait for a while, stir it some more, and voila. Finished compost is beneficial in flower and vegetable beds, on lawns, around trees and shrubs or in potting mix.

Want to try making your own compost? Attend a composting class at the Historical Hiller House from 10 to 11 a.m. Aug. 30 and learn from the best. Volunteers from the Victoria County Master Gardeners Association and Keep Victoria Beautiful will teach you composting basics, methods and troubleshooting.

The first nine paid guests to the class will receive a free Soilmaker Compost bin. The composting class is $10 for non-KVB members and free for KVB members. Call Dian Denker Patterson, Keep Victoria Beautiful executive director, at 361-571-0582 to RSVP.

If you don't want to make your own compost, visit the Garden-Ville composting site, 18125 Farm-to-Market Road 1866 just south of Victoria (near the landfill off the Bloomington Highway). Garden-Ville specializes in natural and organic landscape and gardening products and their exclusive Coastal Gro compost is produced right here in Victoria.

Coastal Gro is rich in organic matter and beneficial microbes, both of which are essential components to healthy and productive soils. Coastal Gro compost is excellent for amending depleted soils, enriching planting mixes and enhancing the growth of turf and plants.



Coastal Gro quick facts•  Adds valuable organic matter - improving soil structure.

•  Improves the moisture holding capacity of light, sandy soils.

•  Reduces the bulk density of heavy, clay soils - increasing moisture, infiltration and aeration.

•  Slows soil compaction.

•  Reduces soil erosion and nutrient leaching.

•  Improves the microbial activity of the soil.

•  Provides essential nutrients for plant and turf growth.

For more information, contact Garden-Ville at 361-897-1500 or Keep Victoria Beautiful at 361-571-0582.

Marie Lester, is the Environmental Programs Coordinator for the city of Victoria's Environmental Services Department. You may contact her with topic ideas, inspiration, questions and comments at cmlester@victoriatx.org.

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