YCSW Ideas For Garden

Like to garden or work outside but want ideas for maintaining your plants without harming the environment? We have small ways you can save money and protect the environment. From taking care of your tools to mulch, we’ve got you covered!

The most current articles are listed on this page:

Rust Removal 101: How To Remove Rust From Your Garden Tools The Natural Way

Now that spring is here, you may be ready to start working in your garden. But what about those rusty tools? Before you rush out to the store to buy new ones or reach into the cupboard for rust remover, consider using this homemade rust removal technique.

  1. Make sure your tools are free of any dirt, grass or leaves left over from last season’s gardening.
  2. If the rusty object is large, like a shovel or hoe, spray or dab it with undiluted white vinegar. If the object is small, like a pair of clippers, you can simply submerge it in the vinegar.
  3. Allow the vinegar to soak in for 30 minutes. Then, rinse the object off, and dry thoroughly.
  4. Repeat the process, if rust remains.
  5. Note: Objects may appear black after being soaked in vinegar or lemon juice, but should return to their original color after being rinsed in water.

Learn How to Compost

Do you want to learn how to compost? Check out these resources to get you started!

Composting Bins:

Greenlands
2200 NE Orchard Avenue, McMinnville
Located at Western Oregon Waste’s Recovery Zone

Waste Management Newberg
2904 South Wynooski Road, Newberg

Composting Resources:
“Home Composting Made Easy”
This 31-page pamphlet includes simple step-by-step instructions, illustrations and answers to frequently asked questions on composting.
Call 503-434-7445 to request your free copy!

Just Say 'No' to Wasting H2O

Five easy ways to save water (and money) when watering your yard this spring.

  1. Position your sprinklers so the water lands on the grass or garden, not on the sidewalk or patio.
  2. Avoid watering on windy days, when the water may not fall heavily enough on your lawn to water it sufficiently.
  3. Water your lawn long enough for the water to soak in completely. Sprinkling it lightly will cause water to evaporate too quickly. Not sure how much is enough? Put an empty tuna can on your lawn. When it fills up, you’ll know you have watered enough. Most healthy lawns require only 1″ of water per week.
  4. Water early in the morning. Much of the water from daytime watering is lost to evaporation.
  5. Avoid watering on rainy days. If your sprinkler system is on a timer and the forecast calls for rain, adjust the timer. If you’re going on vacation, consider showing a neighbor how to turn the water off in the event of rain.

Wriggle Into Small Space Composting: Vermicomposting in Small Places

Do you live in an apartment, condo, duplex or small home? If so, you might want to consider “wriggling” into composting through worm composting (vermicomposting).

It’s easy, helpful to the environment and creates great, non-toxic plant food. But we know you’ll have questions, so ask away! I’ve seen those compost bins and they look huge. I don’t think I have room for one. Compost bins come in many different shapes and sizes. The popular vermi-composter is available in a mini size that’s a compact 12” x 15” x 12”. It will fit under most kitchen counters or on a small patio.

I don’t have grass clippings or leaves from my yard. Does composting really make sense for me?
Yes, even those scraps from your kitchen – old bread, and fruit and vegetable peelings – are being sent to the landfill when they could create for you a rich, all-natural plant fertilizer.

Can’t I just send them down my garbage disposal and not to the landfill?
Then you’re using water, electricity – and your own money – all valuable resources – to get rid of stuff that can be re-used to create fertilizer for free.

What would I do with fertilizer when I don’t have much of a yard?
Sprinkle compost on your potted plants (indoors or out) or in your flowerbeds. You’ll never have to buy plant food again.

Worms, really? Yuck!
If you have flashbacks to hooking worms for fish bait, don’t worry. You don’t even have to touch these little worms. They are happy as can be eating your leftovers and creating rich, all natural compost.

Are there other benefits?
You may notice your mood improves as you feel good inside knowing that you’re doing your part to reduce the 30% of waste caused by kitchen and yard waste. And that’s not all. If you have kids, they’ll have a built-in science fair project, and maybe they’ll even stop bugging you about getting a pet!

Okay, maybe I won’t wriggle out of this one. I like the idea of helping the environment and never having to buy plant food again. How do I get started?
You can order a free booklet “Home Composting Made Easy” by emailing mathiss@co.yamhill.or.us or calling 503.434.7445. Although it covers all home composting, there is a section on worm composting. Also, there are many helpful websites that both provide information and sell ready–made bins, worms and all the supplies you’ll need.

www.cityfarmer.org - A great Canadian site with special pages complete with photos for urban farmers and apartment dwellers.
www.composters.com – Several small, ready made worm bins available for purchase.
 
www.wormwoman.com - A very helpful site with great links from the guru of vermicomposting.
 
www.wormdigest.org – A quarterly newsletter that covers everything about worms.
 
www.howtocompost.org - A general site with a special section on vermicompsting.
 
Share a Cup of Tea...With Your Plants!
 
If you’ve successfully made your lawn clippings into compost, you are ready to take the “plunge” into the liquid version and brew up a batch of compost tea. It’s an inexpensive liquid plant food that helps enhance flowering, restores the soil and helps suppress plant disease.
 
Here’s how to brew a nice, strong, healthful cup of tea!
 
Materials:
 
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Two 5 gallon buckets
  • An old pillowcase
  • 1 oz unsulfured molasses (optional)
  • Aquarium bubbler (optional)
Step 1: If you are using well water, you can begin the process right away. If you are using city water, aerate the water in the bucket for a day to deplete the chlorine. The chlorine will kill off the compost’s naturally beneficial organisms. Mix compost with water in one bucket at a ratio between 1:5 (1 part compost to 5 parts water)
 
Step 2: Add about 1 oz of unsulfured molasses (preferably organic). It feeds the bacteria and starts the beneficial species growing well. Stir.
 
Step 3: Let the mixture sit and ferment between 2-3 days, stirring often to keep it well aerated. (You can use an aquarium bubbler to keep it well aerated, too.)
 
Step 4: Strain the mixture, using the old pillowcase or tea towel, into the second bucket. Spray on plants. Caution: Use the compost tea within 2-3 days because the organisms will quickly use up the oxygen and the tea will start to stink and become anaerobic. An anaerobic tea can harm your plants. Compost and tea should smell sweet and earthy. Never use a smelly compost tea on your plants.

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