Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dog Waste Causes Composting Woes

Because you asked, let’s talk about dog poop.

Hi, I’m Cher, a guest blogger for today. I am the human caregiver of two large dogs and the resident dog-lover in the office where Michelle and I both work.

It’s not a pleasant topic, but one that comes up often. What to do with all that dog poop? We are often asked whether dog feces can be added to backyard compost.

The quick and dirty answer is, no.

I hate waste and it always bothers me to throw anything away – including dog feces. But what bothers me more is the possibility of polluting ground water, spreading diseases and parasites to other dogs, and introducing harmful pathogens to my garden. These are all possibilities if dog feces are added to your backyard compost.

Your backyard compost bin/pile would need to reach certain temperatures to ensure harmful pathogens are killed, and these temperatures are difficult to obtain and maintain.

A quick Google search on “composting dog feces” will provide you with amateur advice and products to do so. I am not a scientist, and do not feel comfortable endorsing any non-scientific advice. So after my research, and careful consideration, I still say don’t do it. It's not worth the risk.

My best advice is to do your part to reduce dog feces by getting your furry friend spayed or neutered. (Fewer dogs = less poop!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Making Organic Compost Infographic

Here's a handy infographic on Making Organic Compost that a reader shared with me. (Be sure to click on the link rather than the picture to view the full-size image.)

Sam is a gardening enthusiast who recently started growing a mini organic garden in his apartment. His inspiration for gardening came after looking into ways to boost his own environmental sustainability efforts. You can learn more about his gardening progress by checking out his blog, the Organic Lesson

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ode to the Compost Pile

(This blog post is from guest author, Joy Landry)

For International Composting Week, we found ourselves waxing poetic about our favorite green hobby.

Ode to the Compost Pile

“Hope springs eternal,” once said a poet,
So do dandelions and other weeds, wouldn’t you know it?

A windy spring has scattered the leaves,
And twigs aplenty have been cast off by the trees.

These natural materials don’t belong in the trash,
And burning is wrong – too much smoke and ash!

You want to help the environment, it’s true
So what is a homeowner going to do?

We suggest composting – it’s not very hard
First find a good place in your backyard.

A few small stakes and a bit of wire,
You can build it yourself, no contractor to hire.

Collect all those yard trimmings to start your pile,
Then go back to the kitchen, just for a while.

Consider your garbage, I know it sounds strange,
Your way of thinking just needs a small change.

Go bananas, and grab your discarded fruit,
Apple cores, orange peels, and berries to boot.

Limpy lettuce and spoiled spinach are perfectly green,
To add to your compost pile – it’s a biology machine!

Mix in your grass clippings if you like,
Coffee grounds and tea bags are also all right.

Be sure to turn your compost with zest,
Rain and sunshine will all do the rest.

By the time fall arrives, what have you got?
Rich moist compost and there’s a whole lot.

It’s perfect for flower beds and trees,
Mix it in with potting soil if you please.

You can continue to compost year round,
You’re putting back what first came from the ground.

Composting is fun, we hope you agree!

And it all started with a mere pile of leaves.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Compost Makes You Happy (No Really, it’s Science!)

If you’re happy and you know it, dig in the compost. If you’re happy and you know it……..

Don’t you love when science proves something you have always known? Scientists have now found a substance in soil that acts as a natural antidepressant.

Mycobacterium vaccae has been found “to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide.” (Check out this Gardening Know How page for details).

Basically, as you are working with compost or soil in the garden you inhale this bacteria which stimulates serotonin production, making you relaxed and happy. But it gets even better; the effects of this bacteria can be felt for up to 3 weeks after it is inhaled.

I wonder if we can adopt our own lingo like “runner’s high” but call it “composter's high”? Hmm, not quite the same ring to it.

HAPPY composting, y’all.

I guess this is what happy bacteria look like.
Disclaimer: Please don’t allow the blogging of a silly composter to replace real medical advice. If you feel depressed, seek help from a medical professional. You deserve to be happy. J

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Growing Mushrooms in Compost

I’m a sucker for pasta with lots of mushrooms and creamy tomato sauce. But when I think of cooking this at home, I always wish I had access to really fresh mushrooms. Who knew one of my favorite dishes has a connection to compost.

You can grow edible mushrooms in compost!

I’ve never tried it and I’m certainly no expert, but I received a catalog from Field and Forest Products which details how to grow edible mushrooms in compost. Looking at all the varieties of mushrooms I could grow makes me hungry!

My coworker Chris told me about his experience growing mushrooms. He used a kit that included compost as a means of growing the mushrooms. Chris says he yielded plenty of mushrooms, but he’s not sure the amount covered the cost of the kit.
Another person at the office told me mushrooms can be grown in old coffee grounds. Hmm, I have those on hand. I googled it and sure enough, there it was.
Whatever you chose to grow them in, I think to be safe you would need to buy your mushroom spawn (yes, that is what they call it) from a reputable source. You certainly don't want to eat just any mushroom growing in your compost.
Does anyone have experience growing mushrooms? If so, did you use compost or coffee grounds?

I don't think I would eat these either...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Master Composter Series 2015!

A guest blog from Mary Dudley of the Civic Garden Center

Cincinnati has spent the past few months shivering but there are some areas in our yards that are literally steaming with activity!

If you have a compost pile outdoors (or inside) you are headed in the right direction for a sustainable planet. The Civic Garden Center is hosting a Master Composter series this March for all interested in learning more about this amazing process. The mission of this training series is to teach local gardeners, teachers and facility personnel advanced practices in composting so they can practice sustainable methods and share this information with the community.

This series includes 20 hours of intensive composting instruction. Tuesday evening lectures will cover the details of soil science, a variety of composting methods, strategies for overcoming challenges and how to share your knowledge with our local community. Evening lectures will be complemented by Saturday morning field study sessions. These morning sessions will introduce participants to large scale composting operations in the Cincinnati area.

The final piece to obtaining certification as a Master Composter is the completion of 30 volunteer hours in which participants pass on their knowledge and contribute to local composting projects.

A small fee of $30 includes 10 hours of classroom instruction, 10 hours of field study experience and the opportunity to earn certification with perfect attendance and successful completion of 30 documented volunteer hours. Please note that this is an advanced course, some basic composting knowledge is expected.

There are two steps involved with signing up for the Master Composter series. One step is the completion of an application and pre-test which will be emailed to you (send initial email to The second step is to register for the course through our website (link below, just be scroll down to "March" and you'll see the link to register).

Tuesday evening lectures: March 10, 17, 24 & 31.
Saturday morning field study sessions: March 14, 21, 28 & April 4.

Don’t miss your chance to join this unique opportunity! Contact Mary Dudley at for more details. The last day to register is 3/13/15 by 5pm.

Class will be held annually so if you would like to be notified in the future send an email to

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Soil Regeneration Taught at Spring Composting Seminars

Dreaming of rich, dark, crumbling soil for your gardens and grass to grow big and strong? Well, 2015 is officially the International Year of Soil and we have a number of ways to help you achieve your goal.

If it’s the basics of composting you seek then our spring seminar “Get the Dirt on Backyard Composting” is for you as compost is that important ingredient that regenerates soil, as well as serving other purposes. We are asking blog readers who have attended our seminar to pass on this information to friends, family, and neighbors.
The eight locations are listed below. To get more information and register click here.
Date                                                 Community

March 25, (Wednesday)              Terrace Park

April 1, (Wednesday)                   Elmwood Place

April 8, (Wednesday)                   Green Township

April 14, (Tuesday)                       Springfield Township

April 29, (Wednesday)                 Northside

May 6, (Wednesday)                    Anderson Township

May 6, (Wednesday)                    Forest Park

May 19, (Tuesday)                        Sharonville

For those of you who have attended our one hour seminar on backyard composting, you may want to further your knowledge by attending the Civic Garden Center’s Master Composter series which begins March 10, 2015. Click here for more details.
Individuals preferring the arm chair-style of learning, a soil facts guide can be found here.
Spread the word: composting is trés chic!

written by guest blogger: Jenny