In the garden
Recycling and composting
Ever feel guilty about throwing all those plastic garden pots in the trash can? Well, here’s good news. Now you can recycle them.
A number of local garden centers are participating in a plastic pot recycling program that enables gardeners to get rid of those pots without adding to the local landfill.
“The project was intended to help people responsibly get rid of their pots by recycling,” said Dr. Joyce Latimer, an Extension Specialist at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Dr. Latimer coordinates the program that began in Henrico in 2010 and was taken state-wide last year.
“It’s still a small effort,” said Dr. Latimer, “but both years, we've filled an entire tractor trailer.”
Proceeds from the sale of the recycled pots help fund the state Master Gardener Coordinator position at Virginia Tech, and by serving as collection points garden centers and growers find that many of their customers make repeat visits to their businesses.
The program only accepts horticultural plastics, which include cell packs, trays, pots, and hanging baskets. Pots should be empty of soil, and metal hangers should be removed before the pot is recycled.
Look for the resin code on the bottom of the pot. The primary plastics used for garden and nursery containers are No. 2, No. 5 or No. 6. Biodegradable pots and pots made from organic materials are not eligible for the program, and no household plastics are accepted.
Nest pots as tightly as possible, and group them by resin codes before recycling.
A list of participating garden centers is available at http://www.hort.vt.edu/vagardenersrecycle. The local garden centers participating in the program include Strange’s Garden Centers on West Broad Street and Mechanicsville Pike, Cross Creek Nursery & Landscaping on Courthouse Road, and Shipp & Wilson on Turkey Hill Trail in Mechanicsville.
And while we’re on the subject of recycling, remember to add compost as you’re preparing and planting your garden this spring.
Compost improves soil structure, enabling sandy soils to hold more water and clay soils to drain faster. While it isn’t considered a fertilizer, compost does contain some micronutrients beneficial to plant health, and it helps the soil hold nutrients, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
You can spread compost about two inches deep over your entire garden before tilling. More than two inches applied at one time can encourage grubs in your garden.
Or, if you have a limited supply of compost, use it with your transplants. Mix compost into the backfill before you replace it in the hole you dig for your plants. It will loosen the soil and promote better root growth.
You can purchase compost. If you do, make sure you get it from a reliable source so that it is not filled with weed seeds or organisms that can spread diseases in your garden.
You can also make your own compost from kitchen and yard wastes. Starting now will produce compost that can be used late this fall or next spring. To learn more, read Making Compost from Yard Wastes at http://www.ext.vt.edu or call the Henrico Master Gardener Helpline at 501-5160.
Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.
Three local churches are holding events on Saturday: A Fall Veterans and Community Health Fair and Blood Drive at Antioch Baptist Church in Varina; a Fall Children’s Consignment Sale at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in the West End; and a Community Day event at Fair Oaks Baptist Church in Highland Springs. Two events are also planned in Henrico for history buffs: A tour of New Market Heights and a commemoration of the battle for Fort Harrison. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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