Tags Posts tagged with "Compost"

Compost

Pictured from left, Councilman Neil Foley, Councilman Kevin LaValle, Councilman Dan Panico, Councilwoman Jane Bonner and Supervisor Ed Romaine.

Supervisor Ed Romaine has announced that the free mulch and compost is available at seven, conveniently located Town facilities. The free mulch and compost are part of the Supervisor’s “Greening Brookhaven” initiative. Mulch and compost are available in bulk, so residents must bring shovels and containers to load it into their vehicles. All will be distributed on a first come, first served basis while supplies last.

Residents of Brookhaven Town may pick up free mulch and compost at the following Town facilities:

• Brookhaven Town Hall, South Parking Lot, One Independence Hill in Farmingville (residents only)

            Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm and Saturday-Sunday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm

• Percy Raynor Park, Route 347 and Belle Mead Road in South Setauket (residents only)

           Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm

• Rose Caracappa Center, 739 Route 25A in Mt. Sinai (residents only)

           Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm

• Brookhaven Landfill, 350 Horseblock Road in Brookhaven Hamlet (residents and commercial)

            Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 2:45 pm and Saturday from 7:00 am to 12:00 noon.

• Manorville Compost Facility, Papermill Road in Manorville (residents only)

           Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm (Closed for lunch 11:50 am – 12:30 pm)

• Holtsville Ecology Site, 249 Buckley Road in Holtsville (residents only)

          Monday – Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

• Robert E. Reid, Sr. Recreation Center, Rte. 25A and Defense Hill Road in Shoreham (residents only)

           Monday – Friday from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm

Commercial vehicles are permitted only at the Brookhaven Landfill, where a fee of $12 per yard will be charged.

For more information, call 631-451-TOWN or visit the Town website.

Mountains of mulch dwarf Councilman Dan Panico, Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro and Supervisor Ed Romaine at the Brookhaven Town highway yard in Setauket. Photo from Brookhaven Town

The severe thunderstorm that slapped around the North Shore earlier this month had one benefit: Lots of debris leads to lots of mulch.

Brookhaven Town officials announced recently that the town now has a large supply of mulch to give away to residents, and both mulch and compost will be distributed for free, as supplies last. Residents must bring their own containers to the distribution locations throughout the town and must load the materials into their vehicles themselves.

Pickup locations, which opened for distribution on Aug. 24, include:

Percy Raynor park, at Route 347 and Belle Mead Road in Centereach, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekend.

Rose Caracappa Senior Center on Route 25A in Mount Sinai, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekend.

Brookhaven Town Hall’s south parking lot, off 1 Independence Hill in Farmingville, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Robert Reid park, at Defense Hill Road and Route 25A in Shoreham, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekend.

Holtsville Ecology Center, on Buckley Road in Holtsville, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information and pickup locations, call 631-451-TOWN.

by -
0 840
Together with sun and sufficient rain, compost tea will help lilac plants bloom. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

Last week, we took a look at compost in general, what it is and how it’s made and used. This week, we’ll take a look at compost tea.

Compost tea is rich in nutrients but will not change the structure of the soil as compost itself will. It brings nutrients to plants quickly, while compost itself is more slow-release with nutrients going into the soil more gradually. Plan to use your compost tea within a few hours after its made.

There are a number of ways to make compost tea, some requiring a variety of equipment. The easiest way is to take a large bucket and fill it with mature compost. Add an equal amount of water and let it steep for a few hours to overnight. Take cheesecloth or burlap and strain the liquid out of the bucket. The liquid can be applied to the soil or used to foliar feed. It is taken up quickly by the plants’ roots. Some people take the compost and put it in a burlap sack and suspend it in a bucket or barrel of water to avoid the straining step.

Some gardeners feel that compost tea needs to ferment and therefore will add molasses to the liquid. The University of Vermont Extension, however, notes that its recommendation is to avoid adding simple sugars like molasses to the mix. It also notes that if the compost tea is made with additives but not tested for safety, then food crops may not be harvested “until 90 to 120 days after the compost tea has been applied.” This is the same recommendation for raw (not composted) manure being added to the garden.

How exactly you go about making the compost tea is up to you, but taking this extra step, while time consuming, gets nutrients into your plants quickly and makes for healthy plants. Healthy plants are more disease and pest resistant. Compost tea can be sprayed on your lawn as well as used for perennials, annuals, shrubs etc.

Remember, a benefit of compost and compost tea that you make yourself is that you control exactly what goes into it. You can totally avoid pesticides and chemical fertilizers if you want. Also, remember to avoid adding diseased plant matter to the compost pile.

If you are interested in making compost tea, there are two excellent, detailed articles from the University of Vermont (www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/composttea.html) and the University of Illinois (https://web.extension.illinois.edu/homecompost/materials.cfm). Cornell Cooperative Extension also has an excellent online brochure on composting in general (https://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/compostbrochure.pdf).

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

by -
0 929
Hydrangea macrophylla. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

In many of my previous columns, I’ve talked about the benefits of using compost and compost tea on your plants. Let’s start with some basic information on what compost is and how to make it.

Compost is decayed organic matter. It’s full of nutrients and makes a great fertilizer for plants. Compost aerates clay soil and helps to hold moisture in sandy soil, so it improves soil structure. Making your own compost keeps waste out of the land fill. It also ensures that you can keep pesticides and other chemicals out of the compost and therefore out of your soil.

There are two types of compost piles, hot and cold. The hot pile raises the temperature of the ingredients to at least 135 degrees. There are several benefits of a hot compost pile. One is that many damaging organisms, like plant bacteria, are killed in a hot pile. Another is that the hot pile decomposes more quickly. Add equal parts green and brown matter, grass clippings and dry leaves, for example, all finely chopped and mixed together. Smaller pieces will decompose more quickly than larger ones. Add some manure in the ratio of 1/3 to 2/3 plant matter for a hot pile or add some blood and bone fertilizer.

A cold compost pile takes longer to decompose, but you need to be less concerned with ratios, manure, etc. Never put diseased leaves in a cold pile. You’re just saving the disease organisms for the next season. Actually, I never put diseased plant parts in any compost pile, just to be on the safe side. Make sure that you keep the compost pile moist or the plant matter will not decompose. Think about the Egyptian mummies, in the desert for thousands of years, yet not decomposed. Periodically turn the pile over. If you use one of the rotating composters on a stand, this step is very easy.

What goes in the compost pile? Any healthy green plant matter, but not woody as it takes too long to decompose, and lawn clippings; coffee grounds and used tea bags; paper towels; and kitchen peelings including apple cores, orange peels, etc. — keep a closed container in the kitchen to collect them and then periodically bring them out to the garden — crushed eggshells and manure from herbivores, such as cows and horses.

Do not add protein, such as leftover meat, which draws critters and is slow to decompose; fatty substances; manure from carnivores, such as dogs and cats, as it can transmit disease; and diseased plant parts.

Compost can be applied as a top dressing or lightly dug into the soil, being careful to avoid surface roots of plants. It can also be mixed into the soil when you transplant or add a new plant to the garden.

If you choose not to make your own compost, but acquire it from other sources, remember that you don’t know what has been used to make that compost. It may be exactly as you would make yourself or not. If you are keeping a strictly organic garden, this can be a problem. For example, whoever made the compost may have used insecticides on the plant matter or weed killers. I used to get compost from a local free source only to find pieces of broken glass in it along with pieces of wire. So, always wear your gardening gloves to protect your hands.

Next week, making compost tea.

Ellen Barcel is a freelance writer and master gardener. To reach Cornell Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener program, call 631-727-7850.

The town is offering free mulch and compost, above, to town residents as supplies last. Photo from Brookhaven Town

Brookhaven Town has started giving away free mulch and compost to residents as part of a push to get some more green around town.

The mulch and compost will be distributed, upon submitting proof of residency, as supplies last. The material is not bagged, so people must provide their own containers and load the mulch and compst into their vehicles themselves.

Local distribution sites are open at Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville, on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Percy Raynor Park on Route 347 in South Setauket, on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and the Rose Caracappa Center on Route 25A in Mount Sinai, on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The material is also available at the Holtsville Ecology Center off Buckley Road from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday; at the town landfill on Horseblock Road in Brookhaven hamlet on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and on Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon; and at the town compost facility on Papermill Road in Manorville on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.

All six sites are open to residents, but commercial vehicles may only pick up mulch and compost at the landfill and the compost facility, where there will be a fee of $12 per yard.

For more information about the mulch and compost distribution program, call Brookhaven Town at 631-451-TOWN.