wrapping paper

Buy wrapping paper that you can compost

by Connie Oswald Stofko Before you buy wrapping paper, make sure you know which kinds you can compost. Some wrapping paper contains heavy metals that can contaminate your compost. Get all the details in this previous article. If you don’t compost yet, autumn is a great time to start because you have oodles of fallen leaves at your disposable. Your plant material will break down faster if you balance your kitchen scraps with materials such as dry leaves and paper….

compost in lid

Tip: How to keep worms in your compost pile

by Connie Oswald Stofko I like to have worms in my compost bin to help break down the plant matter that will turn into rich compost. When I harvest my finished (or partly finished) compost from the bottom of my bin, it’s full of worms. I don’t need the worms in my gardens or containers; I’d prefer to keep them in my compost bin, but I don’t want to take the worms out one by one. Here’s a quick way…

clay in soil

Clay soil: compost is better than sand

by Connie Oswald Stofko When you have clay soil, should you add compost or sand? Compost. “In the long run, by far, the best thing you could possibly add is organic matter,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. Organic matter can be compost, autumn leaves, peat moss or other plant material. Organic matter is better because you have to add so much sand to loosen the clay, it’s not practical, Farfaglia said. I asked this…

wrapping paper

Before you buy wrapping paper, consider this: Can you compost it?

by Connie Oswald Stofko Those glossy wrapping papers are so pretty when they’re on a package, but what happens to the gift wrap after the package is opened? You might think that adding wrapping paper to your compost pile is a great way to use up the paper, but think again. Some wrapping paper can actually contaminate your compost with heavy metals– and that could affect your garden, too. Many kinds of gift wrap contain heavy metals such as lead,…

Eastern coyote

Coyotes: Another reason to use a covered compost bin

When you started your compost pile, you may have worried about attracting mice and rats. But here’s a new concern: coyotes. Eastern coyotes are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments. They are becoming a more common sight to gardeners in Western New York, and you don’t want to attract them to your yard. One thing gardeners can do is to enclose compost piles so coyotes can’t get at them. That’s a tip from the New York State…

the Earth Machine Composter for sale in Erie County

Buy compost bins, rain barrels during Erie County sale

You can buy compost bins and rain barrels at wholesale prices during a sale being held by Erie County in partnership with the Western New York Storm water Coalition, the City of Buffalo and the Town of Wheatfield. The deadline to order is Friday, May 3. You will pick up your order at one of two locations: the City of Buffalo Engineering Garage, 1120 Seneca St., Buffalo, or the Town of Wheatfield Town Hall, 2800 Church Rd., North Tonawanda. The…

composting poster 2018

Compost poster contest seeks entries by Nov. 5; prize is $500

The International Compost Awareness Week Committee is offering a prize of $500 to the winner of the poster contest promoting International Compost Awareness Week, which will be held May 5 -11, 2019. The theme for the poster will be “Cool the Climate – Compost!” The contest is open to anyone from ten years old to adult. There are three contest divisions: grades 3-7, grades 8-12, and college – adult. The best from each division will be entered into the final contest. The…

plastic bottle protecting sprout

Tips on deer, composting & more for Western New York

  by Connie Oswald Stofko I am fortunate that so many Western New Yorkers share gardening tips with me. People often share tips with me after I give a talk. Unfortunately, I am so busy scribbling down notes about the tips themselves that I don’t always get the name of the person who shared the tip. My apologies. Today I’ll share a few of the tips I’ve accumulated. If you have a tip that worked for you, you can share…

the Earth Machine Composter for sale in Erie County

Rain barrels, compost bins on sale in Erie County; order by May 25

A sale of rain barrels and compost bins is being held by the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, the City of Buffalo and the Western New York Stormwater Coalition. Prices are 50 percent off retail. The deadline to order is May 25. Quantities are limited. You have to pick up your items on June 7. The pick-up sites are in Buffalo and Tonawanda. See more details here.  This is the third year the organizations have held the sale. Some…

wrapping paper to compost

What wrapping paper can you compost and which will contaminate your soil?

by Connie Oswald Stofko It’s so exciting to see beautifully wrapped gifts, but what happens to all of that wrapping paper once the gifts are opened? Can your compost it? You can compost some kinds of wrapping paper, but many kinds contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic that will contaminate your compost, said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County. “Those heavy metals don’t break down and could end up in your vegetable garden,”…