More Composting Tips

by Cindy Pantea

Awhile ago I wrote a post about my Grandma, who was a recycler and composter. Her way of composting, though, was to keep her food scraps in the coffee can underneath her sink and then add them to her garden when the can was full.

As Polly, our Flowerscape Director, and composting experts will tell you, however, it is not a good idea to put food scraps directly into your garden due to the acidity of the decaying materials.

Actually, it is best to mix already composted materials with the natural soil on your property/in your garden, and it will help keep the soil moist for your plants.

Normally people do not even get that far because just the idea of a compost pile scares them. They think it smells.

But I am here to tell you again that compost piles do not smell if done correctly. And it is simple. Basically equal parts of green material and dirt or other brown materials are going to keep the compost from smelling at all.

To prove this, allow me and our President & CEO, Paula Davis, share something that Paula took from her HGTV Magazine this month. It is written by Daryl Beyers who gives us specific suggestions for green and brown materials that make for the best compost.

Green materials being: fruit ends and peels, fruit cores, corn cobs, vegetable ends and peels, grass clippings, egg shells, coffee grouds and tea bags.

Brown materials being: peanut shells, twigs, leaves, toilet paper rolls, shredded paper towels and paper, cooked pasta (without butter or oils), and plain popcorn (without butter or oils).

DO NOT COMPOST: Meat, milk cheese butter, yogurt, oils, salad dressing or dog poop.

Here are the directions from Beyers:

  1. Put ingredients in an outdoor compost bin or a pile in your yard that will get four to six hours of sun a day. (Note: Compost housed in a bin can be ready in 30 days while it may take a few months for a pile of compost to be ready.)
  2. Add a shovelful of garden soil then mix every week or two by turning the materials with your shovel or pitch fork. (Note: The more you mix, the faster it will be ready.)
  3. Add water if the compost seems dry.

The compost is done when it looks dark, rich and fluffy with no recognizable materials, except for maybe a piece of a leaf or twig.

The picture article is shown below. Click on the picture and zoom in for better viewing capabilities.

composting tips for a no smell compost




2013 Summit of Sustainability Award Winners Announced

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

This is the second year for the countywide awards program that will showcase the best examples of sustainability, e.g. commercial energy efficiency, waste reduction and employee engagement in five categories: small companies with 25 employees or less; mid-size companies with 26-249 employees; large companies with 250 or more employees; Nonprofits/Community and Public Sector (Governmental/Schools). The Summit of Sustainability awards program will culminate in a breakfast which is taking place on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at The University of Akron’s Quaker Station Ballrooms. Seats are $25 each, or a table of eight for $250 which can be purchased from Parking is free at the surface lots surrounding the venue. Registration is at 7:30 a.m., and the breakfast and program begins at 8:00 a.m.

The panel of esteemed judges selected the following 2013 Summit of Sustainability Award Winners:

To be sustainable is to balance economical, environmental and social concerns, and to think about how actions today will affect future generations! It is also about helping our community save energy and money, create more transportation choices, preserve clean air, and bring economic prosperity through the process. The awards program will reveal the best sustainable business practices going on within our community and will showcase the winners for others to emulate. Plan to attend the breakfast to support the five winners and view the videos to showcase how these organizations are setting the bar.

Thank you to our judges:

  • Dr. Nicholas Zingale, Faculty Member, Cleveland State University
  • Dr. Stacey Willet, Faculty Member, The University of Akron
  • Sam Rubens, Administrator, Akron Regional Air Quality Management District
  • Robert Marshall, AIA, Principal, Robert Marshall Architecture
  • Mike Long, P.E., Network Leader, Ohio By-Product Synergy Network

We look forward to seeing you at the SOSA Breakfast on October 25!

Beekeepers of America to Present at Akron Community Garden

by Cindy Pantea

If you have been following our Keep Akron Beautiful blog, you might have read our posts on the Akron Summit Community Action “Talking in the Garden” series sponsored by Little Mikes Corner Store.

Well, TOMORROW, September 17, Randy Katz of Beekeepers of America will do a presentation on the art of beekeeping: “What’s all the BUZ? — Honey you don’t want to miss it!

bee keepers of America to present at Akron Community Garden

The “Talking in the Garden” series takes place at the Community Garden at Kenmore Boulevard and Ira Avenue, from 6-7 p.m. No registration is necessary, just bring your own chair! For more information, contact Veronica Sims at 330.572.8304.

We invite you to check out the Beekeepers of America website for additional information about this group. Just click on their logo (pictured above). Or, check out their Facebook page.


Mums Galore!

By Jacqui Flaherty, Program Manager

Every fall it happens, mums (Chrysanthemums) galore appear in the grocery stores and nurseries. It’s a tradition that rings in autumn like college football, apple picking, corn mazes and Pumpkin Spice Latte’s. But what do you look for when you buy your mums in the store? Choosing the right mum plant and keeping it healthy is important. So… do you choose a full bushy plant loaded with flowers or the newly budded beauty about to burst with blooms? The answer to that question is one my mother often asks… so, I did a little research this year! Thank goodness our friends at HGTV came to the rescue through my research!

Fall mums are a beautiful addition to any garden!

Fall mums are a beautiful addition to any garden!

Here’s how to choose the right mum plant and keep it healthy, via HGTV Gardens:

  • First, decide when you want to plant. If you’re reading this now and haven’t already gotten started,  you’ll probably need to go with a fall planting! Keep in mind that fall-planted mums may not survive the winter since their roots haven’t had a chance to get established, but since mums are relatively inexpensive, you can treat them as annuals and re-plant from year to year.
  • Next, choose your variety. Your two basic options are “florist” or “hardy” mums. While both types come from the same original parent mum, they’ve been extensively hybridized over centuries to create many offshoot varieties. Florist mums are meant for cutting blooms, while hardy mums are bred to flourish longer-term in the garden. If you plant a potted florist mum in spring it may thrive while the weather is warm, but won’t survive the winter.
  • Caring for your mum depends on whether you want to keep it for a season or for more seasons to come: If you are planting your mum as an annual, all you need to worry about is planting in well-draining soil in a partly-sunny area of your garden. Choose a container or bed that offers plenty of space for the formed root ball. Water well, and continue to water every other day or so, or as much as needed to maintain blooms. If you’re planting mums as perennials, it’s best to start in spring in full sun to give roots a chance to get established. Plant the mums in well-draining soil, making sure to leave 6-12 inches between each plant and water frequently. Before winter, protect the mums by covering plants with several inches of mulch.  Wait until the following spring to cut back stems, and fertilize well to encourage blooms. If the mums produce spring blooms, pinch them back before late summer to encourage fall flowering.

Happy Fall! Happy planting! Happy mums!

Interested in purchasing mums in Akron? One of our Dreamscape Vendor Partners, Donzell’s Flower and Garden Center hosts a Fall Festival each year and has great mum deals! Check out more information on Donzell’s and their mums!