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The Green Life: The Gentle Gardener: Composting with Critters

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February 07, 2013

The Gentle Gardener: Composting with Critters

CompostThis week, we're sharing a series of tips from organic gardener George Gibbs. Yesterday we pondered furry and feathered pests. Today, we're talking about compost. 


Tip #3: Compost with critters.

Gibbs did use fertilizers while working with his dad’s New Jersey landscaping and lawn-care company growing up.

“I never liked the way they smelled,” he said. “They didn’t smell like the earth.”

Now he lets the littlest guys do the work.

“I knew that I wanted my yard and garden to smell like the forest, like nature,” Gibbs said. “I wanted to encourage as much of the natural world as possible to be here.”

Remember the snail and slugs that Gibbs says you should put work in the compost bin? Instead of a rotating compost bin, Gibbs uses one with trays, so the mollusks on top and the worms in the middle can work unperturbed. Like this 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin, for instance.

Gibbs avoids adding animal manure, which he says can harm new, young plants.

“The concentration of uric acid in factory-farmed animals is high. Without water diluting it, you’ll burn the leaves and maybe even kill the plant.”

He prefers, instead, the byproducts of the worm and other small-scale contributors.

“Bugs can also be good,” he said. “They’re eating and composting, as well. Everything comes from that. We all come from compost.”

Check the Green Life tomorrow for tips on tapping into your gardening zen. 


HS_Mackenzie_BLOG Mackenzie Mount is an editorial intern at Sierra. She's cleaned toilets at Yellowstone National Park and studied sustainable cooking at The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts in Austin, Texas.



The Gentle Gardener: Day 1, Small Pests

The Gentle Gardener: Day 2, Large Pests

Boston guy starts a compost company by bike

--image by istockphoto/audaxl


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