On Gardening: Turn trash into treasure in 2015

BY NORMAN WINTER

As I was driving around the neighborhood recently, it became quite apparent to me that a literal gold mine of soil amendments was being placed at the road side. I suppose it has always happened but with the advent of paper lawn refuse bags it is now much more apparent. The scene is surreal.

Those dozen or so bags of leaves at the street side have the potential of helping you start a compost pile that will pave the way to a great new azalea bed, cottage garden or tropical paradise.

My children grew up learning the phrase, “the key to the green thumb is how brown it gets first, in soil preparation.” Compost, that dark crumbly organic material, is the key ingredient to the garden recipe. Incorporating organic matter helps loosen tight heavy soils so they will drain, or improve sandy soil’s ability to hold water and nutrients. You win no matter your soil type.